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 2.2 million barrels to a total of 356.2 million barrels. At 354 million barrels, inventories are 3.5% lower than last year, but remain above average.

Gasoline inventories decreased by 1.1 million barrels to a total of 222.4 million barrels. At 221.3 million barrels, inventories are 2.6% higher than last year. While inventories fell over the, they didn't fall as much as they did the same week last year.

Distillate inventories increased by 1.1 million barrels to a total of 145.7 million barrels. At 146.8 million barrels, inventories are 1.4% higher than a year ago.

Refinery utilization jumped to 85.6%, a gain of 1.1% over last week's numbers. Gasoline production increased last week to nearly 9.2 million barrels per day. Demand for gasoline over the last four weeks is now above 9 million barrels per day, nearly 3% higher than a year ago.

The biggest regional drops in gasoline supply last week were in the Midwest, which reported gasoline inventories dropping 1.1 million barrels. The other drop came via the West Coast, where supplies dropped 700,000 barrels.

If you've taken notice lately, Chicago spot prices for gasoline have easily been the highest in the country (excluding the West Coast). There's an issue that may need additional examining in coming days, but the main point has been new gasoline specs for that area may result in a pinch in available supply. I'm keeping my eye out.