Oil broke above the $100-a-barrel level Wednesday, the first time it has crossed that threshold since the summer.
The December futures contract for West Texas Intermediate was up $2.65 to $102.02 a barrel in late morning trading Wednesday. Oil prices have risen almost 17% in the last month.
The last time oil was above $100 was on July 26.
Phil Flynn, senior market analyst for PFG Best in Chicago, said the prices are being driven higher by encouraging U.S. economic readings in recent days. These include the 0.7% rise in industrial production reported Wednesday by the Federal Reserve that was nearly twice as much as economists expected, or the stronger-than-forecast rise in the October retail sales reading reported by the Commerce Department on Tuesday.