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Gasoline Slides to Three-Month Low as East Coast Supplies Climb

Gasoline futures slid to a three-month low, deepening losses after the Energy Information Administration reported that inventories along the U.S. East Coast rose last week.

Futures fell 1.9 percent as the EIA reported that PADD 1 gasoline supplies rose 674,000 barrels to 60 million, a six-week high. On the Gulf Coast, Motiva Enterprises LLC’s Port Arthur, Texas, refinery is starting units after an April 14 area power loss. The fuel’s crack spread versus May West Texas Intermediate narrowed 18 cents to $27.94 a barrel, and the June spread versus Brent fell 3 cents to $16.57.

“The idea that the Port Arthur refineries are coming back suggests it was a very temporary blip,” said Gene McGillian, an analyst and broker at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut. “It looks like yesterday’s firmness was a bit of short-covering.”

Gasoline for May delivery fell 5.28 cents to $2.729 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest settlement since Jan. 16, on trading volume that was 28 percent above the 100-day average. Prices are down 12 percent this month.

Total gasoline inventories fell 633,000 barrels to 221.7 million in the week ended April 12. Analysts in a survey by Bloomberg estimated a decline of 800,000 barrels.

Inventories of distillates, including heating oil and diesel, increased 2.36 million barrels to 115.2 million. Analysts in the survey estimated a decline of 350,000 barrels.

Port Arthur

The power loss in Port Arthur affected three refineries, including two owned by Total Petrochemicals USA Inc. and Valero Energy Corp., that have a combined oil processing capacity of 1.08 million barrels a day. Total has declined to comment on its plant’s status, while Valero said yesterday all units are operating.

Ultra-low-sulfur diesel for May delivery declined 7.19 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $2.7346 a gallon, the lowest settlement since July 10. Trading volume was 22 percent above the 100-day average at 3:38 p.m. Prices have fallen 7.7 percent in six consecutive days of losses.

Gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, fell 0.3 cent to $3.519 a gallon, AAA said today on its website. Prices have fallen 26.7 cents from the year-to-date high of $3.786 on Feb. 26 and are 38.5 cents below a year ago.

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