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 0.9 million barrels to a total of 358.6 million barrels. At 358.6 million barrels, inventories are 0.4 million barrels below last year (-0.1%) but remain above average. Supply at NYMEX delivery point, Cushing, Oklahoma fell 0.5 million barrels to 37.0 million barrels this week.

Gasoline inventories decreased 0.6 million barrels to 212.5 million barrels. At 212.5 million barrels, inventories are now 6.9 million barrels, or 3.1% lower than last year (last week that number was 2.3% lower). Regions posting gains in inventories last week were the East Coast (+0.0mb), Gulf Coast (+0.5mb) and the Rockies (+0.0mb). Decreases were seen in the Midwest (-0.9mb) and the West Coast (-0.3mb).

Distillate inventories decreased by 0.2 million barrels to a total of 142.1 million barrels. At 142.1 million barrels, inventories are now 11% lower than a year ago. Supply of distillate fuel (diesel, industrial fuels) is down an average of 5.4% over the last four weeks (last week the number was 4.7% lower than last year). Distillate inventories are now 17.6 million barrels lower than their year ago level.

Refinery utilization rose to 88.4%, a rise 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 4.4 million barrels per day, a slight increase over the prior week.

Refineries in the Rockies PADD operated at the highest utilization- some 93.8% of capacity. Refiners in the Gulf Coast PADD came in second at 92.8% while refiners in the Midwest PADD came in third with 87.9%. East Coast refiners took the position of utilizing the lowest percentage of their plants last week, edging out the West Coast. West Coast plants ran at 81.7% of their capacity while East Coast plants ran 75.8% of their available capacity.

Production of fuel ethanol, a key ingredient in gasoline- increased 11,000bpd to 904,000 barrels per day.

Total oil stocks in the United States are down 35.9 million barrels (3.3%) over last year and stand at 1.0656 billion barrels (excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve).