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 9.9 million barrels to a total of 346.0 million barrels. At 346.0 million barrels, inventories are 13.6 million barrels above last year (4.1%) and remain above average. Supply at NYMEX delivery point, Cushing, Oklahoma rose 1.0 million barrels to 35.9 million barrels this week.

Gasoline inventories increased 0.8 million barrels to 214.8 million barrels. At 214.8 million barrels, inventories are now 2.4 million barrels, or 1.1% lower than last year (last week that number was 1.1% lower). Decreases were seen in the Midwest (-0.2mb), the Gulf Coast (-1.0mb), and the Rockies (-0.1mb). Gains were seen on the East Coast (+1.9mb), and the West Coast (+0.5mb).

Distillate inventories increased by 1.1 million barrels to a total of 161.3 million barrels. At 161.3 million barrels, inventories are now 1.9% lower than a year ago. Demand for distillate fuel (diesel, industrial fuels) is up an average of 3.9% over the last four weeks (last week the number was 5.3%). Distillate inventories are now 3.1 million barrels below their year ago level.

Refinery utilization rose to 88.0%, a rise of 0.5% vs. last week's numbers. Gasoline production decreased last week to 9.3 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 90.4% of capacity. Refiners on the Gulf Coast came in second at 90.3% while refiners in the Rockies came in third with 85.7%. East Coast refiners took the position of utilizing the lowest percentage of their plants again last week (just barely), edging out the West Coast. West Coast plants ran at 83.3% of their capacity while East Coast plants ran 79.7% of their available capacity.

Production of fuel ethanol, a key ingredient in gasoline- decreased 2,000bpd to 937,000 barrels per day.

Total oil stocks in the United States are now up 11.6 million barrels (1.1%) over last year and stand at 1.0852 billion barrels (excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve).