Oil prices volatile, but end where they began

The price of oil bounced around on Wednesday but finished almost where it began.

Benchmark oil gained 3 cents to $92.12. It rose as high as $92.85 per barrel in the morning after gains in European stocks. But then the price dipped after the U.S. government reported a bigger-than-expected increase in U.S. crude supplies.

Supplies rose by 2.9 million barrels last week. That was almost double what analysts had forecast, according to Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

Gasoline supplies also rose. Analysts had predicted a decline.

The extra gasoline and oil in storage tends to push prices down, because it suggests that there's enough to go around, or that demand is low.

Gasoline prices at the pump fell almost 2 cents, to $3.756 per gallon, according to AAA.

Brent crude, which is used to price international varieties of oil, fell 78 cents to $113.22 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:

_ Heating oil fell almost a penny to $3.1894 per gallon.

_ Natural gas gained 3.3 cents to $3.47 per 1,000 cubic feet.

_ Wholesale gasoline fell 6.4 cents to $2.7817 per gallon.