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 7.4 million barrels to a total of 357.1 million barrels. At 357.1 million barrels, inventories are 4.0 million barrels above last year (1.1%) and are near the upper limit of the average range.

Gasoline inventories decreased by 2.3 million barrels to 198.9 million barrels. At 198.9 million barrels, inventories are down 9.9 million barrels, or 4.8% lower than last year. Here's how individual regions and their gasoline inventory fared last week: East Coast (+0.3mb); Midwest (+0.6mb); Gulf Coast (-2.4mb); Rockies (-0.4mb); 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 increased by 1.0 million barrels to a total of 127.1 million barrels. At 127.1 million barrels, inventories are now 18.9% lower than a year ago. Total distillate inventories stand 29.7 million barrels lower than their year ago level.

Refinery utilization stood at 86.1%, a drop of 5.1% vs. last week's numbers, likely Hurricane Isaac related. Gasoline production increased last week averaging 9.3 million barrels per day while distillate fuel production decreased, averaging 4.3 million barrels per day.

Utilization rates for the last week were as follows: East Coast: 83.7%, Midwest: 94.7%, Gulf Coast: 82.2%, Rocky Mountain: 92.2%, West Coast: 86.4%. 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 up 3.8 million barrels (0.4%) over last year and stand at 1.0918 billion barrels (excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve).

The U.S. imported 8 million barrels of crude oil per day last week, falling 1.5mb vs. the previous week. The U.S. also imported 690,000 barrels per day of gasoline and 134,000bpd of distillate fuels. However, during the same time frame, the U.S. exported 329,000bpd of gasoline and 1.113mbpd of distillates. In total, U.S. refineries exported 2.87 million barrels per day of oil and products.