Gasoline Futures Slide to Six-Week Low as Stockpiles Increase

Gasoline sank to the lowest level since February and crack spreads narrowed as refineries returned from maintenance, boosting inventories.

Prices fell a day after the Energy Information Administration said gasoline supplies and refinery inputs rose last week. Motiva Enterprises LLC is starting a crude unit at Port Arthur, Texas. Chevron Corp. has state approval to start a crude unit at the Richmond, California, plant that’s been shut since August.

“There’s going to be continued pressure on products as refiners return from maintenance,” said Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates LLC in Houston. “I expect the Chevron Richmond crude unit to come back online soon.”

Gasoline for May delivery fell 1.96 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $2.8455 a gallon at 10:15 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Trading volume was more than double the 100-day. Prices touched $2.8321, the lowest intraday level since Feb. 28.

The May crack spread versus WTI narrowed 52 cents to $25.17 a barrel. The spread against Brent oil on ICE Futures Europe Exchange fell 28 cents to $14.26.

Inventories along the East Coast rose for the first time in five weeks last week as imports jumped 64 percent, according to Energy Information Administration data. U.S. refiners processed the most oil in three months.

Total U.S. gasoline inventories rose for the first time in nine weeks, gaining 1.7 million barrels to 222.4 million, according to EIA data. Imports to the East Coast jumped to 804,000 barrels a day, the highest level since August.

Gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, fell 0.8 cent to $3.564 a gallon, AAA said today on its website. Prices have fallen 22.2 cents from the year-to-date high of $3.786 on Feb. 26 and are 35.1 cents below a year ago.

Ultra-low-sulfur diesel for May delivery fell 1.87 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $2.9292 a gallon on volume that was 5.9 percent below the 100-day average.

To contact the reporter on this story: Barbara Powell in Dallas at bpowell4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net

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