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 1.7 million barrels to a total of 363.1 million barrels. At 363.1 million barrels, inventories are 5.4 million barrels above last year (5.4%) and remain above average. Supply at NYMEX delivery point, Cushing, Oklahoma increased some 0.2 million barrels to 37.6 million barrels this week.

Gasoline inventories decreased 600,000 barrels to 218.3 million barrels. At 218.3 million barrels, inventories are now 13.3% higher than last year (last week that number was 8.6% higher). Decreases in gasoline inventories were seen in the Midwest (-0.3mb) and the East Coast (-1.3mb). The West Coast posted a small gain (0.3mb) last week.

Distillate inventories increased by 1.8 million barrels to a total of 156.6 million barrels. At 156.6 million barrels, inventories are again higher (6.6%) than a year ago. Demand for distillate fuel (diesel, industrial fuels) is up an average of 12.5% over the last four weeks. Diesel demand continues to grow faster than gasoline demand as use from industrial users rises.

Refinery utilization decreased slightly to 87.9%, a fall of 1.1% over last week's numbers. Gasoline production increased last week to 9.4 million barrels per day while distillate fuel production averaged 4.3 million barrels per day, a decrease over the prior week. Refineries in the Gulf Coast operated at the highest utilization- some 91.3% of capacity. Refiners in the Midwest were a close second at 90.9%. Refiners on the West Coast ran the lowest percent of available capacity at just 77.5%. This may be a contributing reason for prices that have moved higher faster than the rest of the United States.

Production of fuel ethanol, a key ingredient in gasoline in much of the U.S. was 839,000 barrels per day. This statistic has been released only for the past two weeks. We'll start tracking it.

Overall, this report shows that crude oil and gasoline supply remains well above last year's numbers, so even if something impacted supply, we have above average supply to make up the gap should the issue be short lived.

Total oil stocks in the United States are down 4.5% over last year and stand at 1.095 billion barrels (excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve).