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 1.6 million barrels to a total of 359.3 million barrels. At 359.3 million barrels, inventories are 5.3 million barrels above last year (1.5%) and are above average. Supply at NYMEX delivery point, Cushing, Oklahoma rose 0.0 million barrels to 41.9 million barrels this week.

Gasoline inventories decreased 7.0 million barrels to 209.7 million barrels, likely as they drain the system of winter spec (high RVP) gasoline. At 209.7 million barrels, inventories are now 11.7 million barrels, or 5.3% lower than last year (last week that number was 2.6% lower). The only region posting gains was the West Coast (+1.4mb). Decreases were seen on the East (-3.0mb), Midwest (-1.8mb), Gulf Coast (-3.1mb), and the Rockies (-0.5mb).

Distillate inventories decreased by 2.7 million barrels to a total of 150.8 million barrels. At 150.8 million barrels, inventories are now 2.8% higher than a year ago. Supply of distillate fuel (diesel, industrial fuels) is up an average of 1.4% over the last four weeks (last week the number was 0.9% over last year). Distillate inventories are now 4.1 million barrels above their year ago level.

Refinery utilization fell to 81.4%, a drop of 3.0% vs. last week's numbers. Gasoline production increased last week to 9.0 million barrels per day while distillate fuel production averaged 4.1 million barrels per day, a decrease over the prior week.

Refineries in the Gulf Coast PADD operated at the highest utilization- some 87.2% of capacity. Refiners in the Midwest PADD came in second at 86.1% while refiners in the West Coast PADD came in third with 81.5%. East Coast refiners took the position of utilizing the lowest percentage of their plants last week, edging out the Rockies. Rockies plants ran at 69.3% of their capacity while East Coast plants ran 39.0% of their available capacity.

Production of fuel ethanol, a key ingredient in gasoline- decreased 4,000bpd to 898,000 barrels per day.

Total oil stocks in the United States are down 11.9 million barrels (1.1%) over last year and stand at 1.0374 billion barrels (excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve).