Analysts were already forecasting that the U.S. government would report a 2 million-barrel increase in oil supplies in its weekly update Thursday, according to Platts, a division of McGraw-Hill.
U.S. drivers won't mind if oil prices level off or fall. The average price for a gallon of gas has gone up nearly 10 cents since Dec. 21. But the increase so far in January is just 2 cents a gallon. Last year gas prices rose an average 16 cents in the first month and kept rising until reaching a peak of $3.94 a gallon in early April.
Brent crude, used to price international varieties of oil, rose 38 cents to end at $112.80 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.