Updated from 11:44 a.m. ESTCrude prices surged to a seven-week high Tuesday as traders focused on falling gasoline supplies and political tensions in Nigeria and Iran. Light, sweet crude soared $1.91 to close at $66.07 a barrel on the Nymex. Oil, which is now up 5% on the year, last cleared $66 a barrel on Feb. 6, when it settled at $66.10. "The reason, obviously, was gasoline and geopolitical unrest," said Abe Glass, president of Glass Futures Corp. in White Plains, N.Y. The spike in crude prices came a day before the Energy Department's weekly report on fuel inventories. Gasoline stockpiles are projected to fall by 1.5 million barrels to 220.1 million barrels, according to a Bloomberg survey of analysts. It would be the fourth week in a row gasoline supplies declined. Gasoline stockpiles likely fell because of ongoing refinery maintenance. Refiners, which process crude into gasoline and other petroleum products, have closed some units as they retool to make cleaner, summer-blended gasoline and switch over to a fuel that can be blended with ethanol. By May 31, refiners must stop blending gasoline with MTBE, or methyl tertiary butyl ether, an additive linked to water pollution. Unleaded gasoline prices have skyrocketed 14% over the past month as the deadline for the switch from MTBE to ethanol draws near. Traders are also worried inventories won't be enough to meet peak demand during the summer driving season. They bid up gasoline 5 cents to $1.88 a gallon. There is 1% more gasoline in U.S. storage now than at this time last year. As refiners undergo maintenance, crude builds up. Domestic supplies now stand 9% above last year, and are expected to climb even higher in the Energy Department's report. Analysts were calling for a 1.4 million barrel-rise for the week ended March 24.