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 decreased by 5.1 million barrels to a total of 353.1 million barrels. At 353.1 million barrels, inventories are 8.6 million barrels above last year (2.5%) and remain slightly above average. Supply at NYMEX delivery point, Cushing, Oklahoma increased some 300,000 barrels to 36.1 million barrels this week. Supplies at Cushing have increased for the first time in a month.

Gasoline inventories increased 1.6 million barrels to 221.0 million barrels. At 221.0 million barrels, inventories are now 6.5 million barrels, or 3.0% higher than last year (last week that number was also 3.0% higher). Decreases in gasoline inventories were seen in the Midwest (-0.1mb) and the West Coast (-0.1mb). The Gulf Coast posted a huge gain (1.6mb) last week, along with the East Coast (0.3mb).

Distillate inventories increased by 2.9 million barrels to a total of 162.6 million barrels. At 162.6 million barrels, inventories are 2.1% higher than a year ago (A week ago that number was 0.6%). Demand for distillate fuel (diesel, industrial fuels) is up an average of 12.9% over the last four weeks. Distillate inventories are now 3.3 million barrels above their year ago level.

Refinery utilization increased slightly to 90.5%, a rise of 0.7% over last week's numbers. Gasoline production increased last week to 9.5 million barrels per day while distillate fuel production averaged 4.5 million barrels per day, an increase over the prior week. Refineries in the Midwest operated at the highest utilization- some 95.1% of capacity. Refiners in the Rockies came in second at 94.7%. Refiners on the West Coast dragged once again, down 3.0%, and again ran the lowest percent of available capacity at just 83.3%, certainly contributing to higher prices on the West Coast.

Production of fuel ethanol, a key ingredient in gasoline in much of the U.S. was 821,000 barrels per day a decrease of 34,000bbls/day.

Total oil stocks in the United States are down 11.0 million barrels (-1.0%) over last year and stand at 1.1157 billion barrels (excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve).