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 5.3 million barrels to a total of 340.7 million barrels. At 340.7 million barrels, inventories are 13.1 million barrels above last year (4.0%) and remain above average. Supply at NYMEX delivery point, Cushing, Oklahoma rose 0.5 million barrels to 36.4 million barrels this week.

Gasoline inventories increased 2.4 million barrels to 217.2 million barrels. At 217.2 million barrels, inventories are now 0.8 million barrels, or 0.4% higher than last year (last week that number was 1.0% lower). Decreases were only seen on the West Coast (-0.4mb). Gains were seen on the East Coast (+0.1mb), the Midwest (+0.1mb), the Gulf Coast (+2.4mb), and the Rockies (+0.1mb).

Distillate inventories decreased by 0.6 million barrels to a total of 160.7 million barrels. At 160.7 million barrels, inventories are now 0.6% lower than a year ago. Demand for distillate fuel (diesel, industrial fuels) is up an average of 3.2% over the last four weeks (last week the number was 3.9%). Distillate inventories are now 0.6 million barrels below their year ago level.

Refinery utilization fell to 87.7%, a drop of 0.3% vs. last week's numbers. Gasoline production increased last week to 9.5 million barrels per day while distillate fuel production averaged 4.6 million barrels per day, an increase over the prior week.

Refineries on the Gulf Coast operated at the highest utilization- some 91.3% of capacity. Refiners in the Midwest came in second at 89.6% while refiners in the Rockies came in third with 82.9%. 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 81.1% of their capacity while East Coast plants ran 77.7% of their available capacity.

Production of fuel ethanol, a key ingredient in gasoline- decreased 45,000bpd to 892,000 barrels per day.

Total oil stocks in the United States are now up 19.7 million barrels (1.9%) over last year and stand at 1.0792 billion barrels (excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve).