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 1.1 million barrels to a total of 359.7 million barrels. At 359.7 million barrels, inventories are 19.8 million barrels above last year (5.8%) and remain above average. Supply at NYMEX delivery point, Cushing, Oklahoma rose 0.9 million barrels to 34.5 million barrels this week.

Gasoline inventories increased 0.6 million barrels to 210.2 million barrels. At 210.2 million barrels, inventories are now 3.9 million barrels, or 1.8% lower than last year (last week that number was 0.2% lower). Decreases were seen on the East Coast(-0.9mb) and Rockies (-0.1mb). Gains were seen in the Midwest (+0.4mb), the Gulf Coast (+0.4mb), and the West Coast (+0.7mb).

Distillate inventories decreased by 0.2 million barrels to a total of 158.1 million barrels. At 158.1 million barrels, inventories are now 4.6% lower than a year ago. Demand for distillate fuel (diesel, industrial fuels) is up an average of 8.8% over the last four weeks (last week the number was 11.9%). Distillate inventories are now 7.6 million barrels below their year ago level.

Refinery utilization surprisingly fell to 82.6%, a drop of 2.9% vs. last week's numbers. Gasoline production decreased last week to 8.8 million barrels per day while distillate fuel production averaged 4.3 million barrels per day, a decrease over the prior week.

Refineries in the Rockies operated at the highest utilization- some 89.7% of capacity. Refiners in the Midwest came in second at 85.8% while refiners on the Gulf Coast came in third with 85.0%. 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 77.2% of their capacity while East Coast plants ran just 68.4% of their available capacity, a large jump vs. last week.

Production of fuel ethanol, a key ingredient in gasoline- decreased 6,000bpd to 885,000 barrels per day.

Total oil stocks in the United States are now up 15.6 million barrels (1.4%) over last year and stand at 1.1061 billion barrels (excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve).