Oil gave up short-lived gains following mixed U.S. government data that showed a bigger-than-expected build in crude stockpiles, rising gasoline demand, and falling oil production.
Brent crude was down 61 cents at $44.08 a barrel , having briefly risen to a new 2016 high of $44.94 following the release of the EIA figures. U.S. crude was settled down 41 cents, or 0.97 percent, at $41.76, after also rising to a 2016 high of $42.42.
The Energy Information Administration reported U.S. crude inventories increased by 6.6 million barrels, bringing the total in storage to 536.5 million barrels in the previous week.
But a larger than expected draw in gasoline inventories softened the blow of soaring crude stocks. Gasoline fell by 4.2 million barrels to 239.76 million, compared with an analyst forecast of a 1.4 million barrel draw.
"There's this gasoline demand and it's otherworldly. I can't begin to describe it any other way," said Carl Larry, director of business development for oil and gas at Frost & Sullivan.
"Without a doubt, we're going to see record gas demand in the U.S. this year and that might even hit 10M b/d."