– Crude futures fell slightly on Tuesday, as strong consumer prices for the month of February halted the dollar’s rapid depreciation against the euro. During an extremely volatile month of March, analysts have viewed the strength of the dollar as one of the main indicators of the fluctuations in oil prices. In recent days, energy traders have used a weaker dollar to hedge their positions in crude oil. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, WTI crude for May delivery dropped 0.11% to 47.49 a barrel. Prices for Texas light sweet futures surged to a daily high of 48.35 on Tuesday morning following the U.S. Labor Department’s release of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the month of February, before wavering for the remainder of the day. WTI crude reached a daily low of 47.20 in U.S. afternoon trading. The U.S. Department of Labor on Tuesday said its Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.2% for February, one month after declining 0.1%. The slight uptick last month ended a three-month streak of declines. On a year-over-year basis the CPI remained unchanged from its February 2014 level, though analysts had forecasted it to slip by 0.1% from last year’s figure. Additionally, the Labor Department said gasoline prices for February rose 2.4%, one month after the prices dove 18.7% in January. The increases last month ended a streak of seven straight months of declines. Shares in Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) and Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) were each down 0.75% for the day in U.S. afternoon trading. EUR/USD fell 0.27% to 1.0915, while the U.S. Dollar Index rose 0.25% to 97.44. The U.S. Dollar Index measures the strength of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies. On the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), meanwhile, brent oil for May delivery fell 1.41% to 55.13 a barrel. Prices for brent futures peaked at 56.79 in European morning trading, before reaching a daily low of 54.93. The spread between the international and U.S. domestic benchmarks narrowed to $7.64 a barrel. Trading was light on Tuesday, as investors await Wednesday’s weekly inventory report from the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Last week, the EIA said oil supply in the U.S. for the week ending Mar. 4 grew by 9.6 million barrels to reach an 80-year high at 458.5 million. At the Cushing Oil Hub in Oklahoma, inventories for the week ending Mar. 4 grew by 2.8 million barrels as storage levels reportedly exceeded 70% capacity. The increased storage level has exacerbated fears that Cushing could reach full capacity sooner than expected, a development that may cause oil prices to plunge. By comparison, inventory levels at Cushing this time last year were at roughly 25% capacity. Oil in the U.S. is being pumped at its highest level in more than 30 years, a trend Opec is blaming on the shale boom. Production could level off sooner than expected if the U.S. reaches capacity before the start of the summer.