The Energy Information Administration released its weekly report on the condition of petroleum inventories in the United States today.

Here are some highlights:

Crude oil inventories decreased by 1.1 million barrels to a total of 337.0 million barrels. At 337 million barrels, inventories are 20.6 million barrels below last year (-5.8%) and are in the upper limit of the average range.

Gasoline inventories increased by 1.0 million barrels to 205.2 million barrels. At 205.2 million barrels, inventories have declined by 2.5 million barrels, or 1.2% lower than last year. Here's how individual regions and their gasoline inventory fared last week: East Coast (+0.2mb); Midwest (-0.7mb); Gulf Coast (+1.2mb); Rockies (+0.2mb); and West Coast (+0.4mb). It is important to note which regions saw increases/decreases as this information likely drives prices up (in the case of falling inventories), or down (in the case of rising inventories).

DISTILLATE (diesel, heating oil) INVENTORIES:
Distillate inventories decreased by 2.1 million barrels to a total of 133.7 million barrels. At 133.7 million barrels, inventories are now 15.8% lower than a year ago. Distillate inventories are 25.1 million barrels lower than their year ago level.

Refinery utilization climbed to 84.8%, an increase of 2.6% vs. last week's numbers. Gasoline production increased last week averaging 9.1 million barrels per day while distillate fuel production also increased, averaging 4.8 million barrels per day, up from 4.3 million barrels per day during the previous week.

Utilization rates for the last week were as follows: East Coast: 72.4%, Midwest: 87.9%, Gulf Coast: 89.0%, Rocky Mountain: 87.1%, West Coast: 75.3%. These percentages show how much of a region's overall capacity were used to refine oil. It is important to note these percentages, because the lower the utilization percent, the lower output, which has a direct impact on local gasoline prices. If refiners in your region have low output, your more likely to see prices rise.

Total oil stocks in the United States are down 65.7 million barrels (-5.9%) over last year and stand at 1.040 billion barrels (excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve).

The U.S. imported 762,000 barrels per day of gasoline and 82,000bpd of distillate fuels. However, during the same time frame, the U.S. exported 529,000bpd of gasoline and 948,000bpd of distillates. In total, U.S. refineries exported nearly 2.8 million barrels per DAY of oil and products! (These numbers are last weeks numbers. New numbers become available Thursdays)


Although it's cause for consternation when NYMEX crude oil is selling at more than $100 per barrel, this report offers good news since it reflects that gas production and refinery outputs have increased in most regions. Disconnects between retail gasoline and crude oil pricing are rare, but for now much of the country should still see fuel prices decline despite the altitude crude prices are reaching.