Fears the slowing global economy will dry up demand has sent oil prices tumbling to their lowest levels in more than a year.
The price of crude oil for future delivery fell more than $4, or six percent, to $67.93 a barrel, during trading Wednesday in New York.
The drop in oil prices was fueled by today's report from the U.S. Department of Energy, which found the country's oil inventories increased by about one percent last week to about 311 million barrels. The report also said demand for oil-based fuels fell more than eight percent compared to the same time last year.
Those findings support growing fears by many investors that the U.S. may already be in a recession and that demand for oil will continue to drop. They also outweigh concerns OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, may cut oil production at an emergency meeting on Friday.
Oil prices had briefly rebounded over speculation about OPEC's intentions.
OPEC President Chakib Khelil has said the ideal price for a barrel of oil would be between $70 and $90 a barrel.
Oil prices have now fallen 54 percent since hitting a record-high of $147 a barrel in July.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Bloomberg.