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U.S. inventories of crude oil and the most used refined oil products have now fallen to below the 2018 levels, energy research service HFI Research has pointed out.
U.S. stockpiles of the so-called big 4—crude oil, gasoline, distillate, and jet fuel—are combined, below 2018 levels now, according to data compiled by HFI Research.
Low stocks of crude and fuels are a key reason why gasoline prices are not falling after the busiest driving season ended.
Source: HFI Research
In the latest weekly inventory report, the EIA estimated on Wednesday a 6.4-million-barrel draw in crude oil inventories and another draw in fuel inventories. For the week to September 10, the EIA reported another draw in gasoline inventories, at 1.9 million. Middle distillate inventories shed 1.7 million barrels in the week to September 10, which compared with a draw of 3.1 million barrels for the previous week.
“At 417.4 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are about 7% below the five year average for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 1.9 million barrels last week and are about 4% below the five year average for this time of year,” the EIA said.
Since Monday, the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline has increased by two cents to $3.19, tying early August peaks and matching a 7-year-high, AAA said on Thursday. A large part of the rise was because of the impacts of Hurricanes Ida and Nicholas on crude oil and refinery production.
Prices have increased despite the fact that estimates show that U.S. gasoline demand is weakening.
Between Sunday and Wednesday, U.S. gasoline demand was at its lowest since the week of June 6, Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, tweeted on Thursday.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.