US crude oil supplies grow by 2.9 million barrels

NEW YORK -- The nation's crude oil and gasoline supplies increased last week, the government said Wednesday.

Crude inventories grew by 2.9 million barrels, or 0.8 percent, to 369.2 million barrels, which is 10.9 percent above year-ago levels, the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report.

Analysts expected an increase of 1.5 million barrels for the week ended Oct. 12, according to Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

Gasoline supplies rose by 1.7 million barrels, or 0.9 percent, to 197.1 million barrels. That's 4.4 percent below year-ago levels. Analysts expected gasoline supplies to decline by 400,000 barrels.

Demand for gasoline over the four weeks ended Oct. 12 was 2.3 percent lower than a year earlier, averaging 8.7 million barrels a day.

U.S. refineries ran at 87.4 percent of total capacity on average, up 0.7 percentage point from the prior week. Analysts expected capacity to fall to 86.4 percent.

Supplies of distillate fuel, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 2.2 million barrels to 118.7 million barrels. Analysts expected distillate stocks to decline by 1.5 million barrels.

Benchmark crude futures fell 7 cents to $92.02 a barrel in New York.