A stronger global economy is likely to mean more demand for oil and gas, which points to higher prices for fuel.
U.S. stock markets rebounded from a recent slump on concerns about the fate of the Fed's stimulus program and looming budget cuts in Washington. The major indexes were all higher in afternoon trading.
In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:
— Natural gas rose 4.5 cents to finish at $3.29 per 1,000 cubic feet.
— Heating oil was up less than 1 cent to end at $3.10 per gallon.
— Wholesale gasoline for April rose 3 cents to finish at $3.27 per gallon.
David McHugh in Frankfurt, Germany, and Pablo Gorondi in Budapest contributed to this report.