U.S. Crude Oil Inventories Hit Record Highs. Again.
U.S. crude oil supplies bumped up 200,000 barrels to hit record highs for the second straight week, according to an Energy Information Administration report (link opens in PDF) released today.
Crude oil inventories reached 395.5 million barrels for the week ending May 3, pushed by both a 560,000-barrel-per-day (bpd) decrease in imports and a 470,000-bpd increase in refinery inputs.
Compared to the previous week's 6.7 million-barrel spike in crude oil inventories, this week's rise is relatively reasonable. However, the report notes that inventories continue to remain "well above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year."
Total motor gasoline inventories fell 0.9 million barrels and, unlike oil, remain "in the middle of the average range." Although demand for gasoline remains relatively weak, pump prices inched higher after nine consecutive weeks of decreases. The national average gasoline price inched up $0.018 to reach $3.538 per gallon. Compared to the same week last year, gas prices are $0.252 cheaper per gallon.
Distillates proved to be the major inventory mover this week, increasing 1.8 million barrels. Supply has been on the rise since mid-April, coinciding with overall weak demand for distillate products. But despite a 5.1% year-over-year drop in distillate product supplied, inventories remain in the lower half of the average range for this time of year.
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