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 3.1 million barrels to a total of 355.5 million barrels. At 355.5 million barrels, inventories are 2.4 million barrels above last year (+0.7%) and remain above average. Supply at NYMEX delivery point, Cushing, Oklahoma rose 0.6 million barrels to 37.6 million barrels this week.

Gasoline inventories decreased 0.8 million barrels to 211.7 million barrels. At 211.7 million barrels, inventories are now 9.3 million barrels, or 4.2% lower than last year (last week that number was 3.1% lower). Regions posting gains in inventories last week were the East Coast (+0.5mb) and the Gulf Coast (+0.5mb). Decreases were seen in the Midwest (-0.5mb), the Rockies (-0.4mb), and the West Coast (-0.8mb).

Distillate inventories increased by 3.0 million barrels to a total of 145.0 million barrels. At 145.0 million barrels, inventories are now 10.8% lower than a year ago. Supply of distillate fuel (diesel, industrial fuels) is down an average of 5.2% over the last four weeks (last week the number was 5.4% lower than last year). Distillate inventories are 17.6 million barrels lower than their year ago level.

Refinery utilization fell to 88.0%, a drop of 0.4% vs. last week's numbers. Gasoline production decreased last week to just 8.9 million barrels per day while distillate fuel production averaged 4.5 million barrels per day, an increase over the prior week.

Refineries in the Gulf Coast PADD operated at the highest utilization- some 89.9% of capacity. Refiners in the Midwest PADD came in second at 87.9% while refiners in the West Coast PADD came in third with 86.7%. East Coast refiners took the position of utilizing the lowest percentage of their plants last week, edging out the Rockies. Rockies plants ran at 86.6% of their capacity while East Coast plants ran 80.8% of their available capacity.

Production of fuel ethanol, a key ingredient in gasoline- decreased 32,000bpd to 872,000 barrels per day.

Total oil stocks in the United States are down 34.8 million barrels (3.2%) over last year and stand at 1.0699 billion barrels (excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve).