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 2.5 million barrels to a total of 357.4 million barrels. At 357.4 million barrels, inventories are 24.6 million barrels above last year (7.4%) and remain above average. Supply at NYMEX delivery point, Cushing, Oklahoma decreased some 500,000 barrels to 35.0 million barrels this week. Supplies at Cushing have decreased for the last six consecutive weeks.

Gasoline inventories decreased 0.7 million barrels to 224.5 million barrels. At 224.5 million barrels, inventories are now 16.8 million barrels, or 8.1% higher than last year (last week that number was 8.7% higher). Decreases in gasoline inventories were seen on the East Coast (-0.9mb) and the Gulf Coast (-0.5mb). Increases in inventories were seen on the West Coast (+0.2mb), Midwest (+0.5mb), and Rockies (+0.0mb).

Distillate inventories decreased by 0.2 million barrels to a total of 174.5 million barrels. At 174.5 million barrels, inventories are 6.7% higher than a year ago. Demand for distillate fuel (diesel, industrial fuels) is up an average of 11.5% over the last four weeks (last week the number was 9.4%). Distillate inventories are now 6.7 million barrels above their year ago level.

Refinery utilization decreased to 87.6%, a fall of 0.7% over last week's numbers. Gasoline production decreased last week to 9.2 million barrels per day while distillate fuel production averaged 4.4 million barrels per day, an increase over the prior week.

Refineries in the Rockies operated at the highest utilization- some 93.5% of capacity. Refiners in the Midwest came in second at 90.5% while refiners on the Gulf Coast came in third with 89.9%. For the first time since regional utilization records started, refiners on the West Coast were not the lowest, running 80.8% utilization while East Coast refiners ran 79.0% of capacity.

Production of fuel ethanol, a key ingredient in gasoline- increased to 872,000 barrels per day- a drop of 3,000bpd.

Total oil stocks in the United States are now up 47.9 million barrels (4.4%) over last year and stand at 1.1406 billion barrels (excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve).