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 5.3 million barrels to a total of 357.1 million barrels. At 357.1 million barrels, inventories are 4.7 million barrels below last year (-1.3%) and are above average. Supply at NYMEX delivery point, Cushing, Oklahoma fell 0.6 million barrels to 33.1 million barrels this week.

Gasoline inventories decreased by 2.8 million barrels to 208.6 million barrels. At 208.6 million barrels, inventories are now 16.8 million barrels, or 7.4% lower than last year (last week that number was [NA]% lower). Regions posting gains in inventories last week were the Gulf Coast (+0.1mb). Decreases were seen on the East Coast (-0.8mb), the Midwest (-0.7mb), the Rockies (-0.2mb), and the West Coast (-0.9mb).

Distillate inventories increased by 0.4 million barrels to a total of 156.1 million barrels. At 156.1 million barrels, inventories are now 10.9% lower than a year ago. Supply of distillate fuel (diesel, industrial fuels) is up an average of 5.5% over the last four weeks (last week the number was 4.7% higher than last year). Distillate inventories are 19.2 million barrels lower than their year ago level.

Refinery utilization hit 89.2%, a drop of 0.8% vs. last week's numbers. Gasoline production increased last week to 9.6 million barrels per day while distillate fuel production averaged 4.7 million barrels per day, an increase over the prior week.

Refineries in the Gulf Coast PADD operated at the highest utilization- some 91.8% of capacity. Refiners in the Midwest PADD came in second at 90.3% while refiners in the Rockies PADD came in third with 84.5%. East Coast refiners took the position of utilizing the lowest percentage of their plants last week, edging out the West Coast. West Coast plants ran at 84.2% of their capacity while East Coast plants ran 84.0% of their available capacity.

Production of fuel ethanol, a key ingredient in gasoline- increased 5,000bpd to 888,000 barrels per day.

Total oil stocks in the United States are down 51.1 million barrels (-4.5%) over last year and stand at 1.0923 billion barrels (excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve).

It is notable that the Strategic Petroleum Reserve continues to drop, declining 4.7 million barrels to 701.8 million barrels from its peak at 726.5 million barrels.