US crude oil supplies grow by 6.7 million barrels

NEW YORK (AP) -- The nation's crude oil supplies increased last week, the government said Wednesday.

Crude supplies grew by 6.7 million barrels, or 1.7 percent, to 395.3 million barrels, which is 5.2 percent above year-ago levels, the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report.

Analysts expected an increase of 1.4 million barrels for the week ended April 26, according to Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

Gasoline supplies fell by 1.8 million barrels, or 0.8 percent, to 216 million barrels. That's 3 percent above year-ago levels. Analysts expected gasoline supplies to shrink by 900,000 barrels.

Demand for gasoline over the four weeks ended April 26 was down 1.8 percent from a year earlier, averaging 8.5 million barrels a day.

U.S. refineries ran at 84.4 percent of total capacity on average, up 0.9 percentage point from the prior week. Analysts expected capacity to increase to 84.5 percent.

Supplies of distillate fuel, which include diesel and heating oil, rose by 500,000 barrels to 115.8 million barrels. Analysts expected distillate stocks to be unchanged.

Benchmark crude futures were down by $2.89, or 3.1 percent, to $90.57 a barrel in New York.