The Department of Energy released its weekly report on the condition of petroleum inventories in the United States today.
Here are some highlights:
Crude oil inventories increased by 1.9 million barrels to a total of 356.2 million barrels. At 357.8 million barrels, inventories are 3% lower than last year, but remain above average.
Gasoline inventories decreased by 1.2 million barrels to a total of 223.7 million barrels. At 223.7 million barrels, inventories are 4.7% higher than last year. Refiners are continuing to produce nearly 9.2 million barrels of gasoline each day, a good number with Memorial Day approaching.
Distillate inventories increased by 2.9 million barrels to a total of 151.8 million barrels. At 151.8 million barrels, inventories are 3.3% higher than a year ago. Distillate fuel is an important indicator of the economy as it is used widely in industry and construction.
Refinery utilization jumped slightly to 89%, a gain of 3.1% over last week's numbers. Gasoline production decreased last week to nearly 9.2 million barrels per day. The surprise this week was the large jump in refinery utilization. It signals that many refineries are increasing output and finishing maintenance ahead of the summer driving season.
Overall, an excellent report as total commercial inventories increased by 12.9 million barrels. Domestic supply of crude oil continues to increase. Last week, the U.S. pumped nearly 5% more oil than it did just one year ago. This is a sign that more rigs are taking advantage of the higher oil prices.
The U.S. now has 24.4 days of oil supply available. This is lower than a year ago when the number was 26.0, but a huge improvement still over 2008 when prices rose and the number of days of oil supply was 21.9.
Gasoline supply stands at 24.6 days, the highest number in April since 2002. Supply stood at 24.0 a year ago at this time, and 22.9 in 2008. This means we're heading into the start of summer on a better foot than in years past.