Oil prices continue to climb, reaching their highest level in two and a half years at over $103 a barrel, as political upheaval in Libya does not look to ease anytime soon.Light sweet crude for April delivery rose $0.91, or just under 1%, to $102.82 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after climbing as high as $103.57, the highest level since Sept. 29, 2008. Brent crude on the ICE also gained, adding $0.54 to $115.33.Prices had eased slightly Thursday following reports that Venezuela president Hugo Chavez would help mediate the crisis in Libya. However, with renewed fighting in capital Tripoli and doubts about Chavez' ability to rectify the situation in Libya, oil prices returned to advancing.
Gasoline prices are setting records in Europe and have passed the $4 a gallon mark in California. The current U.S. gasoline average of $3.81 a gallon is near a two-year high.
Trade in the oil market has been volatile over the past weeks as investors worried about supply if Libya's unrest spreads to other OPEC nations. Most of Libya's oil production has been halted due to the nation's instability.