The weekly EIA report was released this morning:
U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 15.0 million barrels per day during the week ending November 17, up 60,000 barrels per day from the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 87.1 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production inched slightly higher last week compared to the previous week, averaging 8.7 million barrels per day, while distillate fuel production increased as well, averaging nearly 4.1 million barrels per day.
U.S. crude oil imports averaged 10.5 million barrels per day last week, up over 1.0 million barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged nearly 10.0 million barrels per day. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 1.2 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 205,000 barrels per day last week.
U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) jumped by 5.1 million barrels compared to the previous week. At 341.1 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories remain well above the upper end of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories increased by 1.4 million barrels last week, but remain in the lower half of the average range. Distillate fuel inventories fell by 1.2 million barrels, but remain in the upper half of the average range for this time of year. A decline in ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel inventories more than compensated for a slight increase in low-sulfur diesel fuel (15 ppm to 500 ppm sulfur), while high-sulfur distillate fuel (heating oil) inventories inched slightly lower. Total commercial petroleum inventories rose by 3.8 million barrels last week, and remain above the upper end of the average range for this time of year.
So, oil imports and gasoline imports are up, refineries are coming out of their turnarounds, and gasoline inventories climbed a bit, but still remain low. This should take some pressure off of prices, which should stabilize or drop some if these trends continue.
One thing that amazed me was how much higher gasoline demand is over last year:
As you recall, Hurricane Katrina drove prices much higher at this time last year, which in turn reduced demand. You can see that there is quite a bit of elasticity in our gasoline demand even with moderate price swings.