Crude oil inventories extended the streak of weekly builds to 9 weeks in a row, rising 8.2 million barrels in the March 3 week to 528.4 million, up 7.7 percent from last year at this time. But product inventories declined again and this time substantially, with motor gasoline down 6.6 million barrels to 249.3 million, down 0.5 percent from the year ago level, while distillates fell 2.7 million barrels to 161.5 million, down 0.6 percent year-on-year.
Crude oil imports averaged 8.2 million barrels per day, up by 561,000 barrels per day from the previous week. But Imports over the last 4 weeks averaged only 7.9 million barrels per day, 1.7 percent less than in the same period a year ago.
Refineries operated at 85.9 percent of their operable capacity, down slightly by 0.1 percentage point from the prior week. Production nevertheless increased, averaging 9.8 million barrels per day for gasoline and 4.8 million barrels for distillates.
On the demand side, total products supplied over the last 4 weeks averaged 19.6 million barrels per day, down 1.3 percent from the same period last year. Of this amount, supplied motor gasoline averaged 8.8 million barrels per day, down 6.1 percent from the year ago level, but distillate product supplied averaged 4.0 million barrels, up a sharp 12.6 percent year-on-year.