Rising oil prices are again threatening to stall the fledgling U.S. economic recovery just as it may have been gaining some momentum. The Middle East remains politically volatile. Mounting tension with Iran — and the threat of a supply disruption — has been the primary price driver in recent months. Crude oil near-futures contracts have increased steadily since last summer, averaging $86 per barrel from August through October 2011, in the upper $90s in November and December, ...

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