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Oil and gasoline prices continue to march higher

Indications that the U.S. economy is getting stronger helped push benchmark crude up 70 cents to $107.77 per barrel in New York on Thursday.

Gas pump prices continued a five-week rise to a national average of $3.74 per gallon. That's up 37 cents per gallon, or 11 percent, since late January.

Economic data released Thursday showed applications for unemployment hit a four-year low, spending on residential construction rose and major retailers reported stronger-than-expected sales for February.

Oil prices have risen 9 percent this year because global demand is high and there is concern that tension with Iran over its nuclear program could lead to supply disruptions.

U.S. oil demand has been falling, but the slide in demand could slow or reverse if the economy picks up.