Petroleum futures prices advanced sharply Wednesday in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, bolstered by a report showing "very lean inventories" of oil and gasoline.
In its weekly report, the American Petroleum Institute said domestic heating oil stocks were down 35 million barrels from the same time last year.
The report also showed "very lean inventories of gasoline" and, to a lesser extent, crude oil, said John Hill, a petroleum analyst with Merrill Lynch Commodities in New York.
The figures triggered heavy buying, especially in the heating oil pit.
"We're going to enter the winter extremely lean" in terms of heating oil supplies, Hill said. "If we get a cold spell," consumers probably will see a sharp rise in heating oil prices, he said.