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 1.0 million barrels to a total of 355.0 million barrels. At 355.0 million barrels, inventories are 3.0 million barrels below last year (-0.8%) and are well above average. Supply at NYMEX delivery point, Cushing, Oklahoma fell 1.1 million barrels to 36.0 million barrels this week.

Gasoline inventories increased by 1.7 million barrels to 215.2 million barrels. At 215.2 million barrels, inventories are now 7.8 million barrels, or 3.5% lower than last year (last week that number was 3.9% lower). Regions posting gains in inventories last week were the Gulf Coast (+2.1mb) and the West Coast (+0.6mb). Decreases were seen on the East Coast (-0.5mb), the Midwest (-0.3mb), and the Rockies (-0.2mb).

Distillate inventories increased by 0.4 million barrels to a total of 152.3 million barrels. At 152.3 million barrels, inventories are now 10.3% lower than a year ago. Supply of distillate fuel (diesel, industrial fuels) is up an average of 1.7% over the last four weeks (last week the number was 3.5% lower than last year). Distillate inventories are 17.4 million barrels lower than their year ago level.

Refinery utilization hit 89.3%, a rise of 1.0% vs. last week's numbers. Gasoline production decreased last week to 9.1 million barrels per day while distillate fuel production averaged 4.6 million barrels per day, a slight increase over the prior week.

Refineries in the Midwest PADD operated at the highest utilization- some 96.9% of capacity. Refiners in the Gulf Coast PADD came in second at 88.5% while refiners in the Rockies PADD came in third with 87.8%. 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 87.3% of their capacity while East Coast plants ran 80.2% of their available capacity.

Production of fuel ethanol, a key ingredient in gasoline- increased 4,000bpd to 878,000 barrels per day.

Total oil stocks in the United States are down 37.3 million barrels (3.3%) over last year and stand at 1.0851 billion barrels (excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve).

It is notable that the Strategic Petroleum Reserve continues to drop, declining 4.5 million barrels to 719.8 million barrels from its peak at 726.5 million barrels.