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 2.2 million barrels to a total of 329.7 million barrels. At 329.7 million barrels, inventories are 5.6 million barrels below last year (-1.7%) and are in the upper limit of the average range.

Gasoline inventories increased by 2.2 million barrels to 220.2 million barrels. At 220.2 million barrels, inventories are 2.0 million barrels, or 0.9% higher than last year. Here's how individual regions and their gasoline inventory fared last week: East Coast (-1.1mb); Midwest (+1.5mb); Gulf Coast (+1.3mb); Rockies (+0.2mb); and West Coast (+0.4mb). 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 3.2 million barrels to a total of 143.6 million barrels. At 143.6 million barrels, inventories are now 11.4% lower than a year ago. Total distillate inventories stand 18.5 million barrels lower than their year ago level.

Refinery utilization rose to 85.0%, a rise of 0.8% vs. last week's numbers. Gasoline production decreased last week averaging 8.9 million barrels per day while distillate fuel production decreased, averaging just under 4.8 million barrels per day.

Utilization rates for the last week were as follows: East Coast: 55.6%, Midwest: 95.1%, Gulf Coast: 86.0%, Rocky Mountain: 92.3%, West Coast: 84.2%. 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 19.3 million barrels (-1.8%) over last year and stand at 1.044 billion barrels (excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve).

The U.S. imported 525,000 barrels per day of gasoline and 166,000bpd 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!

This was a decent report. Thankfully, in light of a continued rise in distillate exports, distillate inventories continue to slowly see increases. Gasoline inventories are also doing well, but unfortunately stocks aren't high enough to warrant big discounts at the pump. Refinery margins are healthier than they were in early-to-mid December, thanks to the threat of Iran.