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The New York Post

Oil could break the $100-a-barrel barrier today, fueling fears of an economy-wrecking inflation rate that could empty Christmas stockings.

Crude soared past $97 a barrel yesterday, with analysts saying the price could jump easily into triple-digits in just a trading session.

The latest government data due today on petroleum supplies is expected to show reserves are lower than expected, an event that could push traders into bidding up oil sharply.

Analysts predicted crude could linger above $100 and trade as high as $120-$130 a barrel before it drops.

Crude is up 66 percent this year, hitting a trading high of $97.10 a barrel intraday before settling at $96.70, up $2.72.

Heating oil hit a 30-year intraday high of $2.6198 a gallon wholesale before settling at a record $2.6078, a surge of 6.39 cents. Consumers can now expect to pay a whopping 25 percent more this year to heat homes with oil, said experts.

Wholesale gasoline hit a high of $2.435 a gallon, up 5.39 cents — totaling a 20-cent a gallon wholesale rise in the last week.

Gas could soon fetch $4 a gallon at pumps in New York and California, said the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights.

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