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 2.3 million barrels to a total of 357.0 million barrels. At 357.0 million barrels, inventories are 1.1 million barrels above last year (0.3%) and are above average. Supply at NYMEX delivery point, Cushing, Oklahoma fell 0.3 million barrels to 41.6 million barrels this week.

Gasoline inventories decreased 1.6 million barrels to 208.1 million barrels. At 208.1 million barrels, inventories are now 16.8 million barrels, or 7.5% lower than last year (last week that number was 5.3% lower). Regions posting gains in inventories last week were the West Coast (+0.5mb) and the Gulf Coast (+0.7mb). Decreases were seen on the East Coast (-1.2mb), Midwest (-1.5mb), and the Rockies (-0.1mb).

Distillate inventories decreased by 2.5 million barrels to a total of 148.3 million barrels. At 148.3 million barrels, inventories are now 0.4% lower than a year ago. Supply of distillate fuel (diesel, industrial fuels) is up an average of 6.2% over the last four weeks (last week the number was 1.4% over last year). Distillate inventories are now 0.5 million barrels lower than their year ago level.

Refinery utilization rose to 82.5%, a drop of 1.1% vs. last week's numbers. Gasoline production increased last week to 9.2 million barrels per day while distillate fuel production averaged 4.2 million barrels per day, an increase over the prior week.

Refineries in the Midwest PADD operated at the highest utilization- some 88.8% of capacity. Refiners in the West Coast PADD came in second at 84.9% while refiners in the Gulf Coast PADD came in third with 84.7%. East Coast refiners took the position of utilizing the lowest percentage of their plants last week, edging out the Rockies. Rockies plants ran at 73.6% of their capacity while East Coast plants ran 54.4% of their available capacity.

Production of fuel ethanol, a key ingredient in gasoline- decreased 42,000bpd to 856,000 barrels per day.

Total oil stocks in the United States are down 29.3 million barrels (2.8%) over last year and stand at 1.0307 billion barrels (excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve).