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 2.6 million barrels to a total of 343.2 million barrels. At 343.2 million barrels, inventories are 14.2 million barrels above last year (4.3%) and are now much above average. Supply at NYMEX delivery point, Cushing, Oklahoma rose 0.6 million barrels to 38.3 million barrels this week.

Gasoline inventories increased 6.2 million barrels to 236.2 million barrels. At 236.2 million barrels, inventories are now 8.1 million barrels, or 3.6% higher than last year (last week that number was 1.4% higher). The only decrease in gasoline inventories occurred in the Rockies (-0.1mb). Gains were seen on the East Coast (+2.4mb), Midwest (+0.8mb), Gulf Coast (+2.3mb), and West Coast (+0.7mb).

Distillate inventories decreased by 1.6 million barrels to a total of 165.8 million barrels. At 164.1 million barrels, inventories are now 4.8% higher than a year ago. Demand for distillate fuel (diesel, industrial fuels) is down an average of 0.3% over the last four weeks (last week the number was 1.6%). Distillate inventories are now 7.5 million barrels above their year ago level.

Refinery utilization fell to 84.5%, a rise of 1.5% vs. last week's numbers. Gasoline production decreased last week to 8.8 million barrels per day while distillate fuel production averaged 4.2 million barrels per day, a decrease over the prior week.

Refineries in the Midwest operated at the highest utilization- some 91.2% of capacity. Refiners on the Gulf Coast came in second at 87.2% while refiners in the Rockies came in third with 80.2%. West Coast refiners took the position of utilizing the lowest percentage of their plants again last week (just barely), edging out the East Coast. West Coast plants ran at 72.9% of their capacity while East Coast plants ran 78.6% of their available capacity.

Production of fuel ethanol, a key ingredient in gasoline- decreased 17,000bpd to 908,000 barrels per day.

Total oil stocks in the United States are now up 28.9 million barrels (2.8%) over last year and stand at 1.0749 billion barrels (excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve).