It's not yet clear whether Europe's ongoing efforts to put the financial crisis to rest will result in an economic turnaround. "It just doesn't seem like that's very close," said Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research.
Meanwhile, oil supplies continue to build despite ongoing weak demand around the world.
U.S. oil production topped 6 million barrels a day in the first quarter of 2012, which was a 14-year high, according to the Energy Information Administration. Most of the increase was the result of more production in North Dakota, Texas and the Gulf of Mexico.
Oil's decline was tempered by date showing China imported nearly 6 million barrels of crude a day in May. That was about 10 percent more than April and 18 percent more than a year earlier. China is a huge importer of oil and other commodities.
Meanwhile, motorists are continuing to see a steady decline in pump prices. The national average for gasoline fell less than a penny overnight to $3.54 per gallon, according to AAA, Wright Express and the Oil Price Information Service. That's 19 cents less than a year ago. Gas has dropped 50 cents per gallon in a little more than two months.
Natural gas dropped 8.1 cents to $2.218 per 1,000 cubic feet. The price has plunged about 50 cents in three weeks as supplies remain well above normal levels.
In other trading, heating oil fell 3.64 cents to $2.638 per gallon and gasoline dropped 2.86 cent to $2.657 per gallon.
Intellpuke: You can read this article by Associated Press Business Writer Sandy Shore in context here: www.guardian.co.uk/world/feedarticle/10284235