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 6.2 million barrels to a total of 330.8 million barrels. At 330.8 million barrels, inventories are 27.8 million barrels below last year (-7.8%) and are in the upper limit of the average range.

Gasoline inventories increased by 4.5 million barrels to 209.6 million barrels. At 209.6 million barrels inventories are even with last year at this time. Here's how individual regions and their gasoline inventory fared last week: East Coast (+2.9mb); Midwest (+0.8mb); Gulf Coast (+1.2mb); Rockies (+0.1mb); 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 0.8 million barrels to a total of 133.0 million barrels. At 133.0 million barrels, inventories are now 16.0% lower than a year ago. Distillate inventories are 25.3 million barrels lower than their year ago level.

Refinery utilization climbed to 85.5%, an increase of 0.7% vs. last week's numbers. Gasoline production increased last week averaging 9.5 million barrels per day while distillate fuel production also increased slightly, averaging just under 4.8 million barrels per day.

Utilization rates for the last week were as follows: East Coast: 67.9%%, Midwest: 91.8%, Gulf Coast: 88.5%, Rocky Mountain: 93.3%, West Coast: 77.5%. 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 69.3 million barrels (-6.3%) over last year and stand at 1.036 billion barrels (excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve).

The U.S. imported 956,000 barrels per day of gasoline and 135,000bpd of distillate fuels. However, during the same time frame, the U.S. exported 529,000bpd of gasoline and 948,000bpd of distillates. In total, U.S. refineries exported nearly 2.9 million barrels per DAY of oil and products! (These numbers are last weeks numbers. New numbers become available Thursdays)


The good news here is that refinery output and gasoline production for the majority of the country has increased even as distillate fuel (heating oil) production increased at the same time. Total gasoline inventories increased and remain in the average range suggesting little change in consumer demand. Consumers should expect to see retail gasoline prices edge lower.