NEW YORK (AP) -- Crude inventories rose last week while gasoline supplies dropped, the government said Wednesday.
Crude inventories increased by 900,000 barrels, or 0.2 percent, to 382.5 million barrels, which is 3.1 percent above year-ago levels, the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report.
Analysts had expected a build of 750,000 barrels for the week ended May 18, according to a survey by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.
Gasoline inventories fell by 3.3 million barrels, or 1.6 percent, to 201 million barrels. That was much higher than analyst expectations of a 200,000 barrel draw, and it put gasoline supplies at 4.2 percent below year-ago levels.
Demand for gasoline over the four weeks ended May 18 was 1.9 percent lower than a year earlier, averaging about 8.8 million barrels a day.
At the same time, U.S. refineries ran at 88.1 percent of total capacity on average, a drop of 0.2 percentage point from the prior week. Analysts expected capacity to slip to 87.48 percent.
Inventories of distillate fuel, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 300,000 barrels to 119.5 million barrels for the week ended May 18. Analysts expected distillate stocks to drop by 350,000 barrels.
Crude prices fell by $1.17 to $90.68 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.