|Crude oil inventories (weekly change)||-5.2M barrels||4.9M barrels|
|Gasoline (weekly change)||2.5M barrels||-1.9M barrels|
|Distillates (weekly change)||-1.2M barrels||-3.7M barrels|
Crude oil inventories fell 5.2 million barrels in the October 14 week to to 468.7 million, reducing the year-on-year gain to 2.1 percent. Product inventories were mixed, with motor gasoline up 2.5 million barrels from the prior week to 228.0 million barrels, a 3.7 percent gain from last year at this time, while distillate fuels were down 1.2 million barrels to 155.7 million, a 7.4 percent year-on-year increase.
Refineries operated at 85.0 percent of their operable capacity, which is 0.5 percentage points less than last week, as gasoline production decreased to an average of 9.5 million barrels per day while distillate fuel production increased to an average of 4.6 million barrels per day.
On the demand side, total petroleum products supplied over the last four weeks slightly increased to an average of 20.1 million barrels per day, of which motor gasoline was 9.1 million, up 0.2 percent from a year ago, and distillate fuel was 4.0 million, up 3.3 percent from the same period last year.
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) provides weekly information on petroleum inventories in the U.S., whether produced here or abroad. The level of inventories helps determine prices for petroleum products.
Petroleum product prices are determined by supply and demand - just like any other good and service. During periods of strong economic growth, one would expect demand to be robust. If inventories are low, this will lead to increases in crude oil prices - or price increases for a wide variety of petroleum products such as gasoline or heating oil. If inventories are high and rising in a period of strong demand, prices may not need to increase at all, or as much. During a period of sluggish economic activity, demand for crude oil may not be as strong. If inventories are rising, this may push down oil prices.
Crude oil is an important commodity in the global market. Prices fluctuate depending on supply and demand conditions in the world. Since oil is such an important part of the economy, it can also help determine the direction of inflation. In the U.S., consumer prices have moderated whenever oil prices have fallen, but have accelerated when oil prices have risen.
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