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US crude oil supplies rise by 200,000 barrels

NEW YORK (AP) -- The nation's crude oil supplies increased last week, the government said Wednesday.

Crude supplies grew by 200,000 barrels, or 0.1 percent, to 395.5 million barrels, which is 4.2 percent above year-ago levels, the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report.

Analysts expected a rise of 1.9 million barrels for the week ended May 3, according to Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

Gasoline supplies shrank by 900,000 barrels, or 0.4 percent, to 215.1 million barrels. That's 3.8 percent more than year-ago levels. Analysts expected gasoline supplies to decline by 750,000 barrels.

Demand for gasoline over the four weeks ended May 3 was down 2.4 percent from a year ago, averaging 8.5 million barrels a day.

U.S. refineries ran at 87 percent of total capacity on average, up 2.6 percentage points from the prior week. Analysts expected capacity to increase to 85 percent.

Supplies of distillate fuel, which include diesel and heating oil, rose by 1.8 million barrels to 117.6 million barrels. Analysts expected distillate stocks to grow by 1 million barrels.

Benchmark crude rose 55 cents to $96.17 a barrel in New York.