U.S. crude prices closed higher on Tuesday, rising more than 2.5 percent, after a spike in Middle East tensions from Turkey's downing of a Russian fighter jet and a rally in U.S. gasoline stopped crude futures testing low $40 levels.
Russian President Vladimir Putin called Turkey's shooting of its jet a "stab in the back" that could have "serious consequences." Middle East tensions have already been heightened by Russian air raids over Syria to punish those it blamed for the downing of a Russian passenger jet over Egypt last month.
Gasoline jumped as much 5 percent as bearable pre-winter temperatures and low pump prices continued to encourage road travel in the United States. Traders also cited the delayed restart of the 70,000 barrels-per-day gasoline making unit at Irving's St. John, New Brunswick refinery.
Brent futures for January were up $1.34, or 2.99 percent, at $46.17 a barrel at 2:33 p.m. EDT, after hitting a two-week high at $46.50.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude settled up $1.12, or 2.68 percent, at $42.87. It hit $43.46 earlier, its highest since Nov. 11.