The price of crude oil hit yet another record high Thursday of more than $135 ($135.09) a barrel before easing downward in later trading.
The latest price surge came as a news report in the Wall Street Journal said the International Energy Agency is studying world oil supplies and worrying about whether they can meet growing demand.
The soaring oil price pushed U.S. gasoline prices to new record highs above $1 a liter ($3.83 a gallon) and forced a major automaker to cut production.
Ford Motor Company says high fuel prices and an economic slowdown have hurt sales of SUVs and trucks. Ford officials say they will probably not return to profitability in 2009 as previously hoped.
The economic impact of rising oil prices has members of the U.S. Congress asking the Bush Administration to use oil from the strategic petroleum reserve to increase the amount of oil on the market to ease prices.
But U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman told a congressional hearing that the reserve should be saved for an emergency. He blamed high oil prices on restrictions on the areas in the United States where oil companies can drill for oil.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.