U.S. oil prices closed higher Wednesday in seesaw trading, as strong U.S. gasoline demand offset worries over record high crude stockpiles.
U.S. government data showed crude stockpiles rose 3.5 million barrels last week to reach an all-time peak above 507 million barrels.
But U.S. gasoline demand over the past four weeks rose more than 5 percent compared with a year ago, and inventories of the motor fuel also slid from record highs on lower refinery runs.
Brent crude was up $1.21 at $34.48 a barrel. U.S. crude settled at $32.15 a barrel, up 28 cents, or 0.88 percent, after falling more than 4 percent at session lows. Both dropped more than 5 percent in intraday trading on Tuesday.
"It's a mixed bag for both bulls and bears as crude stocks continue to rise while gasoline and distillate stocks dropped," said Chris Jarvis, analyst at Caprock Risk Management in Frederick, Maryland.