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NEW YORK (AP) – Oil prices are higher as investors anticipate a government report on U.S. petroleum demand.

Benchmark crude added 73 cents at $105.70 per barrel Wednesday morning on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

After a sharp increase recently in oil and gasoline prices, economists are looking for signs that Americans are pushing back. A drop in consumption would suggest that motorists are starting to drive less.

So far, it’s not clear how consumers are reacting.

A Tuesday report by SpendingPulse showed that drivers cut back on fuel purchases last week, but the petroleum industry later reported that U.S. gasoline supplies dropped more than expected. The Energy Information Administration will release its numbers on oil and gasoline supplies later on Wednesday.

Average gas pump prices held steady at $3.55 per gallon on Wednesday.

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