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US crude oil supplies rise by 3.3 million barrels

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

Crude supplies rose by 3.3 million barrels, or 0.9 percent, to 385.9 million barrels, which is 9.2 percent above year-ago levels, the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report.

Analysts expected an increase of 1.6 million barrels for the week ended March 22, according to Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

Gasoline supplies declined by 1.6 million barrels, or 0.7 percent, to 221.2 million barrels. That's 1 percent below year-ago levels. The decline met the expectations of analysts.

Demand for gasoline over the four weeks ended March 22 was 0.2 percent lower than a year earlier, averaging 8.4 million barrels a day.

U.S. refineries ran at 85.7 percent of total capacity on average, up 2.2 percentage points from the prior week. Analysts expected capacity to rise to 84.1 percent.

Supplies of distillate fuel, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 4.5 million barrels to 115.3 million barrels. Analysts expected distillate stocks to decrease by 700,000 million barrels.

Benchmark crude fell 61 cents to $95.73 a barrel in New York.