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 3.8 million barrels to a total of 355.9 million barrels. At 355.9 million barrels, inventories are 19.8 million barrels above last year (5.9%) and remain above average. Supply at NYMEX delivery point, Cushing, Oklahoma rose 0.4 million barrels to 34.9 million barrels this week.

Gasoline inventories increased 3.8 million barrels to 214.0 million barrels. At 214.0 million barrels, inventories are now 2.4 million barrels, or 1.1% lower than last year (last week that number was 1.3% lower). Decreases were not seen in any region. Gains were seen in the Midwest (+0.9mb), the Gulf Coast (+0.5mb), the West Coast (+0.4mb), the East Coast (+1.6mb), and the Rockies (+0.4mb)

Distillate inventories increased by 2.2 million barrels to a total of 160.2 million barrels. At 160.2 million barrels, inventories are now 4.2% lower than a year ago. Demand for distillate fuel (diesel, industrial fuels) is up an average of 5.3% over the last four weeks (last week the number was 8.8%). Distillate inventories are now 7.1 million barrels below their year ago level.

Refinery utilization soared to 87.5%, a rise of 4.9% vs. last week's numbers. Gasoline production increased last week to 9.4 million barrels per day while distillate fuel production averaged 4.5 million barrels per day, an increase over the prior week.

Refineries in the Midwest operated at the highest utilization- some 92.0% of capacity. Refiners on the Gulf Coast came in second at 89.5% while refiners in the Rockies came in third with 89.3%. East Coast refiners took the position of utilizing the lowest percentage of their plants again last week (just barely), edging out the West Coast. West Coast plants ran at 80.2% of their capacity while East Coast plants ran 78.9% of their available capacity, a large jump vs. last week.

Production of fuel ethanol, a key ingredient in gasoline- increased 54,000bpd to 939,000 barrels per day.

Total oil stocks in the United States are now up 14.5 million barrels (1.3%) over last year and stand at 1.1008 billion barrels (excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve).