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Gasoline Rises After U.S. Fuel Inventories Decline

Gasoline futures in New York rose after U.S. fuel inventories declined on falling production and higher demand.

Futures surged after gasoline supplies sank 2.17 million barrels to 207.9 million in the week ended July 27, the largest drop since May 18, Energy Department data showed. Analysts forecast an 800,000-barrel gain, the median of 12 estimates in a Bloomberg survey. Refiners cut operating rates by 0.8 percentage point to 92.2 percent.

“The DOE number looked pretty bullish,” said Andrew Lebow, a senior vice president at Jefferies Bache LLC in New York. With “an increase in demand and decrease in production you are going to get a draw.”

Gasoline for September delivery rose 5.99 cents, or 2.2 percent, to settle at $2.8342 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract is for reformulated gasoline, or RBOB.

Futures gained as RBOB inventories fell to a 15-month low in the PADD 1 region, which includes New York Harbor, the delivery point for Nymex gasoline contracts. Gasoline imports to the U.S. East Coast slipped to 577,000 barrels a day, the lowest level since the week ended May 18.

U.S. gasoline production sank 3.1 percent to 8.98 million barrels a day after outages at refineries including BP Plc’s Whiting, Indiana, and Valero Energy Corp.’s Meraux, Louisiana, plants. Demand for the motor fuel was up 1.9 percent from a week earlier, department data showed.

Distillate stockpiles, including diesel and heating oil, declined 974,000 barrels to 124.3 million last week.

Heating oil for September delivery added 1.08 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $2.8588 a gallon.

Regular gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, rose 2.1 cents to $3.521 a gallon, AAA said today on its website. That’s the highest price since June 14. Prices have fallen 11 percent from a 2012 high of $3.936 on April 4, according to AAA, the nation’s largest motoring organization.

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