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Oil rises nearly 1%, settling at $49.59, after report shows record US gasoline demand


WTI crude oil
Oil prices edged higher on Wednesday, as surging U.S. fuel demand offset data from the Energy Department that showed crude inventories did not fall as much as expected last week.

Crude inventories in the United States fell by 1.5 million barrels in the week to July 28, the Energy Information Administration said, about half the decline analysts had expected.

However, the report also showed estimated weekly gasoline demand at a record high 9.842 million barrels.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude ended Wednesday's session up 43 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $49.59 per barrel, after falling to a low of $48.55 earlier in the session.

Brent crude, the international oil benchmark, was up 60 cents, or 1.2 percent, at $52.38 per barrel by 2:28 p.m. ET (1837 GMT), after hitting a session low of $51.18.

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