Oil prices rise on wholesale stockpiles and sales

NEW YORK -- The price of oil is rising Wednesday after the government reported U.S. wholesalers' sales rose for the first time in four months.

Benchmark crude is up 74 cents to $93.13 per barrel in New York morning trading.

The Commerce Dept. said Wednesday that U.S. wholesalers increased their stockpiles by 0.5 percent in August after a 0.6 percent increase in July. Sales increased by their biggest margin since February.

Companies typically boost their stockpiles when they anticipate sales will rise in coming months. Faster restocking helps drive economic growth, which would be a boon for oil prices. When businesses order more goods, it generally leads to more factory production.

The national average for a gallon of regular gasoline stayed at $3.81.