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 2.0 million barrels to a total of 368.2 million barrels. At 368.2 million barrels, inventories are 32.2 million barrels above last year (9.6%) and remain above average. Supply at NYMEX delivery point, Cushing, Oklahoma decreased 0.2 million barrels to 33.5 million barrels this week.

Gasoline inventories decreased 2.7 million barrels to 212.3 million barrels. At 212.3 million barrels, inventories are now 4.0 million barrels, or 1.9% higher than last year (last week that number was 3.1% higher). Decreases were seen in nearly every PADD district: East Coast (-0.9mb), the West Coast (-0.9mb), the Midwest (-0.8mb), the Gulf Coast (-0.3mb). The only region reporting a gain was the Rockies (+0.2mb).

Distillate inventories decreased by 3.6 million barrels to a total of 164.9 million barrels. At 164.9 million barrels, inventories are just now 1.5% lower than a year ago. Demand for distillate fuel (diesel, industrial fuels) is up an average of 11.1% over the last four weeks (last week the number was 8.7%). Distillate inventories are now 2.5 million barrels below their year ago level.

Refinery utilization dropped to 83.7%, a fall of 1.9% vs. last week's numbers. This is kind of a surprise to see the utilization drop this week. Gasoline production decreased last week to 9.0 million barrels per day while distillate fuel production averaged 4.2 million barrels per day, a decrease over the prior week.

Refineries on the Gulf Coast operated at the highest utilization- some 86.9% of capacity. Refiners in the Rockies came in second at 85.5% while refiners in the Midwest came in third with 81.6%. East Coast refiners took the position of utilizing the lowest percentage of their plants again last week, edging out the West Coast. West Coast plants ran at 79.1% of their capacity while East Coast plants ran just 55.6% of their available capacity.

Production of fuel ethanol, a key ingredient in gasoline- decreased 15,000bpd to 865,000 barrels per day.

Total oil stocks in the United States are now up 38.1 million barrels (3.5%) over last year and stand at 1.1273 billion barrels (excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve).