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Another New High for Oil

The benchmark U.S. crude is now approaching $42 a barrel.
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Updated from 12:06 p.m. EDT

For the moment, it appears there's no stopping crude oil prices.

Oil futures hit another new record high Monday as supply worries were heightened after the head of Iraq's governing council was killed in a blast Monday morning.

The benchmark U.S. crude gained 17 cents, or 0.4%, to $41.55 in New York exchange trading. At one point, oil was just 15 cents shy of $42 a barrel. Gasoline futures also settled at a record high again, adding less than 1 cent to $1.417.

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The latest bump in energy prices came after the Iraqi official, Izzedine Salim, was killed in a car-bomb attack in Baghdad.

U.S. oil prices last week closed above $41 a barrel for the first time ever on the New York Mercantile Exchange, surpassing the previous record high set in October 1990 when Iraq occupied Kuwait.

Prices have surged in recent weeks on worries about supply following attacks on oil-producing facilities in the Middle East and an increase in seasonal gasoline demand as the peak summer driving period approaches.

Key OPEC producer Saudi Arabia has called on its fellow cartel members to increase production about 6% to help prevent any negative impact on world economic growth, but oil traders have shrugged off any possible impact because oil producers are already pumping more than their official quotas.

OPEC meets with representatives of oil-consuming nations later this week in Amsterdam.