NEW YORK --- The price of U.S. crude oil hit a record high of $93.20 a barrel earlier today, after the value of the dollar hit new lows and Mexico briefly stopped one-fifth of its production. Reuters reported that strong crude demand from the U.S. and China, coupled with the weaker U.S. dollar, has helped propel the price hike. Oil prices have risen 30 percent since the Federal Reserve cut U.S. interest rates in mid-August and central banks funneled billions of dollars into financial markets to ease a credit crunch. The political unrest in Nigeria and Iraq, combined with concerns about supply disruptions in Iran, has also contributed to higher prices in the global oil market. An article in the Houston Chronicle attributed the oil price surge to a range of factors, including "rising demand, inadequate investment in oil production and refining capacity, OPEC's rethinking of what the markets can bear, the growing importance of hedge funds in oil trading, the dollar's slide against other world currencies, and instability in the Middle East."