Oil prices climbed Tuesday as energy traders kept an eye on supply threats ranging from a tropical storm in the Caribbean to fighting in the Middle East.
Natural gas futures eased slightly after a heat-induced surge in electricity demand pushed them sharply higher a day earlier. "We're moving into a very strong seasonal trend" for energy prices to move higher, said Societe Generale commodities analyst Mike Guido. Light sweet crude for September delivery rose 35 cents to $74.75 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, where gasoline futures jumped by more than a nickel to $2.2625 a gallon.
Car salesmen say that buyers are asking about a car's gas mileage, even before they talk price. Some brand new hybrid models are hot sellers, and now crossovers are becoming the new SUV's because of their better mileage.