Weekly crude oil inventories from the Department of Energy showed an unexpected increase this week. While traders were expecting a drop of 1.8 million barrels, inventories actually rose by 3.778 million barrels. This rise helped to keep current levels at their highest for this time of year since 1990.
While the country seems to be awash in crude oil stocks, after this week's drop, gasoline inventories are actually slightly lower than average for this time of year. Over the last week, gasoline stockpiles dropped by 1.509 million barrels, which was roughly inline with forecasts. Gasoline inventories started off the year much higher than average and then fell well below average heading into the summer. Since then, gasoline inventories have mostly remained below average, although not to the same degree that we saw several weeks ago.