- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 6, 2008

NEW YORK (AP) — Oil futures surged to a new record over $120 a barrel yesterday, raising concerns about higher prices for gasoline and goods and services throughout the economy. Retail gas prices fell more than a cent over the weekend, but oil’s advance increased the likelihood that pump prices would resume their climb.

Supply threats that emerged overseas and a weaker dollar sent light, sweet crude for June delivery to a new trading record of $120.36 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange before futures retreated slightly to settle up $3.65 at a record $119.97.

Oil’s sharp rise this year has driven gas prices to unprecedented levels, prompting consumers to reconsider summer vacation plans and limit daily excursions; they are also spending less at malls and shopping centers because of paying more not just for fuel, but for all kinds of goods and services. Americans are also being pinched by tight credit conditions, a sluggish jobs market and a downturn in the housing market.

“American consumers are being hit hard financially from a bunch of different directions,” AAA spokesman Troy Green said.

The average national price of a gallon of regular gas slipped to $3.611 a gallon yesterday, down 1.1 cents from Friday, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service. Prices reached a record $3.623 a gallon on Thursday.

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