Crude oil inventories for the latest week were released by the Department of Energy earlier today and showed a larger than expected build in stockpiles. While traders were expecting an increase of 1.325 million barrels, actual inventories increased by more than twice that level (3.256 million barrels). With that increase, crude oil inventories continue to widen relative to their historical averages for this time of year.
While crude oil inventories remain at or near record highs, gasoline inventories are another story. In this week's report, traders were looking for inventories to drop by 1 million barrels, while the actual decline came in more than 50% higher at 1.596 million barrels. Gasoline stockpiles are still above their historical average going back to 1990, but after seven straight weeks of declines, there is much less of a cushion in gasoline than there is in crude oil.