Crude Oil Futures Fall, Gasoline Inventories Jump Again


The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its weekly petroleum status report this morning. U.S. commercial crude inventories decreased by 300,000 barrels last week, bringing the total U.S. commercial crude inventory to 394.6 million barrels, still well above the upper limit of the five-year range for this time of the year.

Total gasoline inventories increased by 3 million barrels last week and are now near the upper limit of the five-year average range. Total motor gasoline supplied averaged 8.5 million barrels a day over the past four weeks - a drop of about 3.3% compared with the same period a year ago.

Distillate inventories fell by 1.1 million barrels last week and remain in the lower half of the average range. Distillate product supplied averaged 3.8 million barrels a day over the past four weeks, up about 2.5% when compared with the same period last year. Distillate production totaled 4.8 million barrels a day last week, higher by 200,000 barrels compared with the prior week.

The American Petroleum Institute last night reported an inventory build of 532,000 barrels in crude supplies last week, together with an increase of 3 million barrels in gasoline supplies and a rise of 459,000 barrels in distillate supplies. Platts estimated a decline of 1.2 million barrels in crude inventories, a drop of 200,000 barrels in gasoline inventories, and a rise of 1.1 million barrels in distillate inventories.

Crude prices were down about 0.4% before the EIA report at around $95.80 a barrel and slid to around $95.00, down 1.2%, shortly after the report was released.

For the past week, crude imports averaged more than 8.1 million barrels a day, up about 507,000 barrels a day from the previous week. Refineries were running at 87.3% of capacity, with daily input of 15.2 million barrels a day, about 4,000 barrels a day less than the previous week.

The steep rise in gasoline inventories has not be reflected in pump prices. According to, a gallon of regular gasoline averages about $3.69 today, compared with $3.61 a week ago and $3.50 a month ago. This week marks the second consecutive week for a substantial boost in gasoline inventories, and we would expect the price to drop. Perhaps anticipated demand for the coming holiday weekend is propping up gasoline prices. It is about the only explanation we can imagine.

The United States Oil ETF (NYSEMKT: USO) is down 1.2%, at $33.70 in a 52-week range of $29.02 to $37.17.

The United States Gasoline ETF (NYSEMKT: UGA) is down 1.1%, at $55.82, in a 52-week range of $45.13 to $65.86.

The United States Brent Oil ETF (NYSEMKT: BNO) is down 0.9%, at $78.18 in a 52-week range of $63.00 to $88.71.

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Commodities, Oil & Gas, Research Tagged: BNO, featured, UGA, USO