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 3.7 million barrels to a total of 351.7 million barrels. At 351.7 million barrels, inventories are 1.7 million barrels below last year (-0.5%) and are slightly above average. Supply at NYMEX delivery point, Cushing, Oklahoma rose 0.9 million barrels to 36.7 million barrels this week.

Gasoline inventories increased by 0.8 million barrels to 212.5 million barrels. At 212.5 million barrels, inventories are now 9.7 million barrels, or 4.4% lower than last year (last week that number was 4.3% lower). Regions posting gains in inventories last week were the Gulf Coast (+0.2mb), the Rockies (+0.0mb), and the West Coast (+0.6mb). Decreases were seen on the East Coast (-0.1mb) and the Midwest (-0.1mb).

Distillate inventories increased by 3.4 million barrels to a total of 148.5 million barrels. At 148.5 million barrels, inventories are now 10.9% lower than a year ago. Supply of distillate fuel (diesel, industrial fuels) is down an average of 2.5% over the last four weeks (last week the number was 5.2% lower than last year). Distillate inventories are 18.1 million barrels lower than their year ago level.

Refinery utilization rose to 90.3%, a rise of 2.3% vs. last week's numbers. Gasoline production increased last week to 9.2 million barrels per day while distillate fuel production averaged 4.6 million barrels per day, an increase over the prior week.

Refineries in the Midwest PADD operated at the highest utilization- some 96.6% of capacity. Refiners in the Gulf Coast PADD came in second at 90.1% while refiners in the West Coast PADD came in third with 88.8%. East Coast refiners took the position of utilizing the lowest percentage of their plants last week, edging out the Rockies. Rockies plants ran at 86.3% of their capacity while East Coast plants ran 81.3% of their available capacity.

Production of fuel ethanol, a key ingredient in gasoline- increased 1,000bpd to 873,000 barrels per day.

Total oil stocks in the United States are down 36.1 million barrels (3.3%) over last year and stand at 1.0737 billion barrels (excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve).