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

Here are some highlights:

Crude oil inventories decreased by 2.0 million barrels to a total of 373.1 million barrels. At 373.1 million barrels, inventories are 33.6 million barrels above last year (9.9%) and are above the upper limit of the average range.

Gasoline inventories increased by 0.9 million barrels to 199.5 million barrels. At 199.5 million barrels, inventories are down 6.8 million barrels, or 3.3% lower than last year. Here's how individual regions and their gasoline inventory fared last week: East Coast (-0.2mb); Midwest (-0.7mb); Gulf Coast (+1.5mb); Rockies (-0.3); and West Coast (+0.7mb). 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 117.9 million barrels. At 117.9 million barrels, inventories are now 16.9% lower than a year ago. Total distillate inventories stand 24.0 million barrels lower than their year ago level.

Refinery utilization increased to 87.7%, up 0.5% vs. last week's numbers. Gasoline production increased last week averaging 9.2 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: 81.0%, Midwest: 89.3%, Gulf Coast: 91.3%, Rocky Mountain: 85.5%, West Coast: 78.9%. 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 33.5 million barrels (3.1%) over last year and stand at 1.098 billion barrels (excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve).

The U.S. imported 7.9 million barrels of crude oil per day last week, down by 0.9mb vs. the previous week. The U.S. also imported 616,000 barrels per day of gasoline and 85,000bpd of distillate fuels. However, during the same time frame, the U.S. exported 324,000bpd of gasoline and 1.0mbpd of distillates. In total, U.S. refineries exported 2.77 million barrels per day of oil and products.