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 3.3 million barrels to a total of 364.9 million barrels. At 364.9 million barrels, inventories are 27.2 million barrels above last year (8.1%) and remain above average. Supply at NYMEX delivery point, Cushing, Oklahoma decreased a whopping 1.7 million barrels to 31.8 million barrels this week.

Gasoline inventories decreased 1.9 million barrels to 210.3 million barrels. At 210.3 million barrels, inventories are now 0.5 million barrels, or 0.2% lower than last year (last week that number was 1.9% higher). Decreases were seen on the East Coast (-1.2mb) and in the Midwest (-1.1mb). Gains were seen on the Gulf Coast (+0.1mb) and the West Coast (+0.3mb).

Distillate inventories decreased by 5.0 million barrels to a total of 159.9 million barrels. At 159.9 million barrels, inventories are now 4.7% lower than a year ago. Demand for distillate fuel (diesel, industrial fuels) is up an average of 16.0% over the last four weeks (last week the number was 11.1%). Distillate inventories are now 7.8 million barrels below their year ago level.

Refinery utilization dropped to 82.4%, a fall of 1.3% vs. last week's numbers. This is kind of a surprise to see the utilization drop this week again- typically refiners are finishing up maintenance by now. Gasoline production increased last week to 9.0 million barrels per day while distillate fuel production averaged 4.2 million barrels per day, no change over the prior week.

Refineries on the Gulf Coast operated at the highest utilization- some 86.3% of capacity. Refiners in the Midwest came in second at 85.0% while refiners in the Rockies came in third with 84.7%. 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 79.7% of their capacity while East Coast plants ran just 57.1% of their available capacity.

Production of fuel ethanol, a key ingredient in gasoline- increased 12,000bpd to 877,000 barrels per day.

Total oil stocks in the United States are now up 25.3 million barrels (2.3%) over last year and stand at 1.1155 billion barrels (excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve).