The United Statesâ€™ crude oil supplies increased last week, the government said Wednesday.
According to the Energy Departmentâ€™s Energy Information Administration, crude supplies rose by 2.6 million barrels, or 0.7 percent, to 384 million barrels, which was 10.5 percent above year-ago levels. Analysts surveyed by McGraw-Hillâ€™s Platts said they expected an increase of 2.3 million barrels for the week ended March 8.
The administrationâ€™s weekly report showed that gasoline supplies shrank by 3.6 million barrels, or 1.6 percent, to 224.3 million barrels, down 1.7 percent from one year ago. The analysts had expected gasoline supplies to drop by 1.5 million barrels. Demand for gasoline over the four weeks ended March 8 was 1.1 percent higher than a year earlier, averaging about 8.5 million barrels a day.
On average, U.S. refineries ran at 81 percent of total capacity, down 1.2 percentage points from the prior week, the report said. Analysts expected capacity to be unchanged, Platts said.
Supplies of distillate fuel, which include diesel and heating oil, grew by 100,000 barrels to 120.4 million barrels, while analysts expected the stocks to decline by 2 million barrels.
Benchmark crude rose 48 cents to $93.02 a barrel in New York in midday trading.