Commodity Corner: Oil, Natural Gas Edge Upward

Crude oil for July delivery settled higher Tuesday on optimism that Greece's parliament would vote in favor of the country's existing government, paving the way for an austerity program and bailout.

Oil ended the day at $93.40 a barrel, a 14-cent gain, as investors speculated about the outcome of a pending confidence vote in Greek Prime Minister's George Papandreou's government. The country's parliament was set to begin voting at midnight local time.

Surviving the confidence vote would give the Papandreou government momentum to pass a slate of austerity measures through parliament that are key for Greece to obtain debt restructuring loans from the European Union and International Monetary Fund. The austerity program includes tax increases, spending cuts, and privatization measures.

July crude traded within a range from $92.50 to $94.74 Tuesday.

Thanks to new weather forecast models predicting hotter-than-normal temperatures from the Southwest to the Northeast, front-month natural gas gained seven cents Tuesday to settle at $4.39 per thousand cubic feet.

July natural gas futures peaked at $4.41 and bottomed out at $4.305. Gasoline lost three cents to end the day at $2.88 a gallon. The July contract price fluctuated from $2.85 to $2.94.