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Oil prices jumped to a new record above $56 a barrel on Wednesday when traders reacted to shrinking fuel supplies in the United States and brushed off a largely symbolic effort by OPEC (news - web sites) to cool the red-hot market
The Energy Department said the nation's inventory of unleaded gasoline fell by 2.9 million barrels last week to 221.4 million barrels. However, that still leaves the market with 9 percent more gasoline than it had at the same time a year ago.
The U.S. Senate on Wednesday voted to keep, in a broad federal budget legislation, the language that would open Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil drilling. Although the Senate vote on Wednesday was a major step forward for supporters of drilling in ANWR, it remains unclear if the measure will win the full support of Congress.