Crude ends lower, despite Gustav

NEW YORK (AP) -- Speculation that emergency oil reserves could be tapped, if needed, helped to pull crude futures down from their highs of the day.

Light, sweet crude for October delivery settled $2.56 lower at $115.59 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That was down nearly $5 a barrel from the highs of the day.

In recent days, traders had sent crude higher on fears that Tropical Storm Gustav could dent production in the Gulf of Mexico. Analysts say any damage to oil and gas facilities -- especially along the Gulf Coast -- could send retail gas prices spiking back above $4 a gallon.

Along with the speculation the federal government could release supplies from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to counter any drop in production from Gustav, the International Energy Agency said the 27-member body was prepared to tap its emergency stocks if needed.

At the pump, auto club AAA says the average for regular unleaded gasoline is $3.66 a gallon.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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