Energy Economy

Crude Oil, Gasoline Stockpiles Slide as Summer Driving Season Winds Down

Source: Thinkstock
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its weekly petroleum status report this morning. U.S. commercial crude inventories decreased by 2.8 million barrels last week, maintaining a total U.S. commercial crude inventory to 360.5 million barrels, and remain near the upper limit of the five-year range for this time of the year.

Total gasoline inventories decreased by 1.2 million barrels last week and are near the upper limit of the five-year average range. Total motor gasoline supplied (the EIA’s measure of consumption) averaged more than 9.1 million barrels a day over the past four weeks — up by 2.6% from the same period a year ago.

Distillate inventories rose by 2 million barrels last week, and remain near the lower limit of the average range. Distillate product supplied averaged more than 3.9 million barrels a day over the past four weeks, up about 8.1% when compared with the same period last year. Distillate production totaled about 4.9 million barrels a day last week.

The American Petroleum Institute last night reported that crude inventories fell by 999,000 barrels last week, together with a rise of 1.7 million barrels in gasoline supplies and a rise of 1.1 barrels in distillate supplies. Platts estimated a drop of 1.5 million barrels in crude inventories, a decline of 2 million barrels in gasoline inventories and an increase of 1 million barrels in distillate inventories.

Crude prices were down slightly before the EIA report at around $106.37 a barrel and rose to around $106.66 shortly after the report was released.

For the past week, crude imports averaged more than 7.9 million barrels a day, up about 3,000 barrels a day from the previous week. Refineries were running at 89.4% of capacity, with daily input of 15.6 million barrels a day, about 300,000 barrels a day less than the previous week.

This marks the seventh straight week of declines in crude stockpiles, yet inventories remain quite high and gasoline supply continues to be plentiful. Refinery throughput is down by about 300,000 barrels a day over the past two weeks as well. Gasoline prices continue to decline nationally. According to the AAA Fuel Gauge report, a gallon of regular gasoline costs about $3.54 today, compared with about $3.60 a week ago. Last month the price was $3.61 a gallon, and one year ago the price of a gallon of regular gasoline was $3.70.

The United States Oil ETF (NYSEMKT: USO) is up 0.3%, at $38.01 in a 52-week range of $30.79 to $38.62.

The United States Gasoline ETF (NYSEMKT: UGA) is up about 0.4%, at $60.51, in a 52-week range of $53.35 to $65.86.

The United States Brent Oil ETF (NYSEMKT: BNO) is up 0.2%, at $83.54 in a 52-week range of $73.76 to $88.71.

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