U.S. light crude surged to a record $99.29 early in the session, but then edged down from this peak to stand at $98.39, up 36 cents at 8:04 a.m. EST. London Brent crude was up 28 cents at $95.77.
Prices blasted past the previous $98.62 record, extending a rally that has lifted oil by 45 percent since mid-August as speculative investment rises, supplies tighten and the dollar weakens.
Oil's strength is in part a result of the weakness of the dollar, which has spurred buying of relatively cheap dollar-denominated commodities.
High oil prices could add to pressures on the fragile U.S. economy, which could ultimately impact demand for oil.