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 4.2 million barrels to a total of 354.0 million barrels. At 354.0 million barrels, inventories are just 200,000 barrels below last year. Supply at NYMEX delivery point, Cushing, Oklahoma fell 900,000 barrels to 33.6 million barrels this week.

Gasoline inventories decreased by 3.5 million barrels to 210.1 million barrels. At 210.1 million barrels, inventories are now 5.9% lower than last year (last week that number was 4.4% lower). All regions posted declines in inventories last week; with declines as follows: the Rockies (-0.2mb); the West Coast (-1.8mb); East Coast (-0.4mb); the Midwest (-1.0mb), and the Gulf Coast (-0.2mb).

Distillate inventories increased by 2.5 million barrels from 151.5 last week to 154.0 million barrels. At 154.0 million barrels, inventories are now 11.5% lower than a year ago. Distillate inventories are 20.2 million barrels lower than their year ago level.

Refinery utilization slipped to 89.1%, a decrease of 0.3% vs. last week's numbers. Gasoline production decreased from 9.5 million barrels last week to 9.3 million barrels per day while distillate fuel production averaged 4.6 million barrels per day, a slight increase over the prior week.

Refineries in the Midwest PADD operated at the highest utilization- at 90.8% but that was a decline from 93.9% of capacity the previous week. Refiners in the Gulf Coast PADD came in second at 90.2% while refiners in the East Coast came in third at 89.1%. Refiners in the West Coast and Rocky Mountains operated at 88.5% and 88.4% respectively.

Production of fuel ethanol, a key ingredient in gasoline- decreased from 908,000bpd to 899,000 barrels per day.

Total oil stocks in the United States are down 46.4 million barrels (4.3%) over last year and stand at 1.084 billion barrels (excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve).

Once again, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve declines (-5.9 million barrels) from 717.3 million barrels two weeks ago to 711.4 million barrels last week. SPR's peak level was 726.5 million barrels.