NEW YORK — The nation's crude oil supplies shrank last week, the government said Wednesday.
Crude supplies declined by 2.8 million barrels, or 0.8 percent, to 364.2 million barrels, which is 4.2 percent below year-ago levels, the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report.
Analysts expected a decrease of 2.6 million barrels for the week ended July 19, according to Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.
Gasoline supplies dropped by 1.4 million barrels, or 0.6 percent, to 222.7 million barrels. That's 6 percent above year-ago levels. Analysts expected gasoline supplies to rise by 800,000 barrels.
Demand for gasoline over the four weeks ended July 19 was 3.1 percent higher than a year earlier, averaging 9.1 million barrels a day.
U.S. refineries ran at 92.3 percent of total capacity on average, up 0.1 percentage point from the prior week. Analysts expected capacity to fall to 91.9 percent.
Supplies of distillate fuel, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 1.2 million barrels to 126.5 million barrels. Analysts expected distillate stocks to increase by 1.9 million barrels.
Benchmark crude futures fell by 42 cents to $106.81 a barrel in New York.