NEW YORK - Crude-oil prices broke through $75 a barrel to hit a new record Friday, fueled by concerns about Iran's nuclear ambitions and tight U.S. gasoline supplies.
Prices at the pump also kept rising, with the average price of a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline at $2.855, up 3 cents from a day earlier and more than 60 cents higher than a year ago, according to AAA's daily fuel gauge report.
Crude prices, which are more than 40 percent higher than a year ago, have risen 8.4 percent from Thursday's closing price - the biggest weeklong jump since the week of June 17, 2005, when crude futures rose 9 percent.
Analysts say oil prices are likely to climb even higher in the weeks ahead as worries grow about how international pressure on Iran, OPEC's No. 2 oil producer, will affect its crude output. Rebel disruptions of oil production in Nigeria, the fifth-biggest source of U.S. oil imports, also pose a risk to supply.
''You put all these headlines together, you see the situation is getting charged up and getting out of control. That's why oil traders and speculators are having a field day - this is exactly the kind of environment that speculators want to operate in,'' said Oppenheimer & Co. oil analyst Fadel Gheit.
Light, sweet crude for June delivery rose $1.48 to settle at a record $75.17 a barrel Friday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after peaking at an all-time trading high of $75.35. The May contract, which expired Thursday, had settled at $71.95 on Thursday.
Accounting for inflation, prices are still about 20 percent below the records reached in 1981, when supplies became tight after a revolution in Iran and a war between Iraq and Iran.