Crude oil prices rose to their highest level in six years early Tuesday before falling slightly, as rising post-pandemic oil demand and stalled producer discussions add to the market’s volatility. By midday Tuesday, futures on West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. oil benchmark, were trading at $73.32 a barrel, down from a high of $76.90 earlier in the day. Since the beginning of the year, WTI oil price has risen by more than 50%.
Brent oil futures, the worldwide benchmark, were trading at $74.50 at lunchtime Tuesday, down slightly from their early morning high of $77.82. Brent Crude prices have increased by more than 45 percent since the beginning of the year.
The volatility comes as the pandemic is winding down, resulting in a jump in oil demand as businesses reopen and worldwide travel resumes. A meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which was set for Monday, was also hastily canceled. OPEC Secretary-General HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo did not provide a reason for the last-minute cancellation in a terse statement, instead stating that the date of the next meeting will be determined “in due course.”
After failing to reach an agreement last week, oil producers were scheduled to discuss production increases. However, Americans are likewise experiencing no reprieve from rising gas prices. According to the American Automobile Association figures, the national average gasoline price was $3.13 per gallon on Tuesday. Furthermore, the AAA anticipates that petrol prices will rise another 10 to 20 cents per gallon until the end of August, pushing the national average to over $3.25 by the end of the summer.