The Energy Information Administration released its weekly report on the condition of petroleum inventories in the United States today.

Here are some highlights:

Crude oil inventories increased by 4.2 million barrels to a total of 338.9 million barrels. At 338.9 million barrels, inventories are 4.2 million barrels below last year (-1.2%) and are in the upper limit of the average range.

Gasoline inventories increased by 3.0 million barrels to 230.1 million barrels. At 230.1 million barrels, inventories are 6.1 million barrels, or 2.6% lower than last year. Here's how individual regions and their gasoline inventory fared last week: East Coast (+2.7mb); Midwest (+1.2mb); Gulf Coast (-0.7mb); Rockies (+0.3mb); and West Coast (-0.6mb). It is important to note which regions saw increases/decreases as this information likely drives prices up (in the case of falling inventories), or down (in the case of rising inventories).

DISTILLATE (diesel, heating oil) INVENTORIES:
Distillate inventories decreased by 0.1 million barrels to a total of 145.4 million barrels. At 145.4 million barrels, inventories are now 11.4% lower than a year ago. Total distillate inventories stand 18.7 million barrels lower than their year ago level.

Refinery utilization fell to 81.8%, a drop of 0.4% vs. last week's numbers. Gasoline production decreased slightly last week averaging 8.5 million barrels per day while distillate fuel production increased, averaging 4.5 million barrels per day.

Utilization rates for the last week were as follows: East Coast: 52.8%, Midwest: 93.2%, Gulf Coast: 82.9%, Rocky Mountain: 94.2%, West Coast: 77.6%. These percentages show how much of a region's overall capacity were used to refine oil. It is important to note these percentages, because the lower the utilization percent, the lower output, which has a direct impact on local gasoline prices. If refiners in your region have low output, your more likely to see prices rise.

Total oil stocks in the United States are down 19.1 million barrels (-1.8%) over last year and stand at 1.0558 billion barrels (excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve).

The U.S. imported 722,000 barrels per day of gasoline and 146,000bpd of distillate fuels. However, during the same time frame, the U.S. exported 626,000bpd of gasoline and 996,000bpd (million barrels per day) of distillates. In total, U.S. refineries exported 2.92 million barrels per DAY of oil and products! (These are last week's numbers as new numbers become available on Thursday)

Looking good! A massive build in gasoline inventories in the Northeast even in light of a drop in refinery utilization- wow! However, the market seems poised to rise this morning. We'll see if this positive report can help put downward pressure on wholesale prices today.