Petroleum futures prices plunged sharply Thursday because of higher stocks of heating oil and diesel fuel.
The declines hit the limits for daily trading at the New York Mercantile Exchange for some contracts of crude and heating oil and unleaded gasoline.
Figures released late Tuesday by the American Petroleum Institute showed a daily buildup of about 3.5 million barrels of diesel fuel and heating oil, when ordinarily stocks would be declining this time of the year, said Peter Beutel, an analyst in New York with Rudolf Wolff Energy.
"Stocks are still building higher at this moment," he said.
"During the last 13 years, stocks have always peaked between Sept. 25 and Dec. 10," Beutel said. "We're in new territory, now."