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 decreased by 3.4 million barrels to a total of 331.2 million barrels. At 331.2 million barrels, inventories are 4.5 million barrels below last year (-1.3%) and are in the upper limit of the average range.

Gasoline inventories increased by 3.7 million barrels to 227.5 million barrels. At 227.5 million barrels, inventories are 0.2 million barrels, or 0.1% lower than last year. Here's how individual regions and their gasoline inventory fared last week: East Coast (+1.1mb); Midwest (+1.2mb); Gulf Coast (+0.1mb); Rockies (0.0mb); and West Coast (+1.3mb). 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 increased by 0.4 million barrels to a total of 148.0 million barrels. At 148.0 million barrels, inventories are now 10.7% lower than a year ago. Total distillate inventories stand 17.8 million barrels lower than their year ago level.

Refinery utilization fell to 83.7%, a drop of 1.9% vs. last week's numbers. Gasoline production increased last week averaging 8.8 million barrels per day while distillate fuel production decreased, averaging just under 4.5 million barrels per day.

Utilization rates for the last week were as follows: East Coast: 55.6%, Midwest: 92.6%, Gulf Coast: 84.9%, Rocky Mountain: 92.5%, West Coast: 82.3%. 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 15.3 million barrels (-1.4%) over last year and stand at 1.0517 billion barrels (excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve).

The U.S. imported 444,000 barrels per day of gasoline and 163,000bpd of distillate fuels. However, during the same time frame, the U.S. exported 523,000bpd of gasoline and 1.1mbpd (million barrels per day) of distillates. In total, U.S. refineries exported nearly 2.9 million barrels per DAY of oil and products! (These are last week's numbers as new numbers become available on Thursday)

Just an "OK" report. While crude fell a sizable amount, gasoline inventories posted gains. And while its nice to see gasoline inventories grow, keep in mind that as we approach the end of winter, the increases won't do us any good. That's because we switch over to cleaner burning summer gasoline. Keep that in mind.