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Gasoline Gains as Supplies Tighten Amid Production Drop

Gasoline futures gained, rebounding from an earlier decline, after a government report showed nationwide inventories slipped last week on lower production.

Futures climbed 1.4 percent after the U.S. Energy Information Administration said inventories of motor gasoline fell to the lowest level since July 5 and refinery processing of crude and other feedstocks retreated for a fourth consecutive week. The crack spread versus West Texas Intermediate widened for a second day, after touching the lowest level since January 2012 on Aug. 12.

“Production dropped domestically this week and with margins fairly low, it’s going to take a little bit more for production to pick up and get that supply back,” said Carl Larry, president of Oil Outlooks & Opinions LLC in Houston.

Gasoline for September delivery rose 4.05 cents to settle at $2.983 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after touching $2.9889 a gallon. Trading volume was 15 percent higher than the 100-day average at 3:23 p.m.

The motor fuel’s crack spread versus West Texas Intermediate crude widened $1.68 to $18.44 a barrel. The spread narrowed to $15.86 on Aug. 12. Gasoline’s premium over Brent gained $1.32 to $15.09.

U.S. stockpiles of motor gasoline slipped 1.17 million barrels to 222.4 million barrels in the week ended Aug. 9, the EIA reported today. Refineries processed 15.9 million barrels a day during the same time period, 273,000 barrels fewer than a week earlier, the data showed.

Refinery Work

Inputs may have fallen last week after Citgo Petroleum Corp. shut a reformer at its Lake Charles, Louisiana, refinery and Phillips 66 carried out planned work in Borger, Texas. The sites can process a combined 586,000 barrels a day, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Ultra-low-sulfur diesel for September delivery rose 0.07 cent to $3.0478 a gallon on trading volume that was 35 percent below the 100-day average.

ULSD’s crack spread versus West Texas Intermediate crude widened 1 cent to $21.16 a barrel. The premium over Brent slipped 35 cents to $17.81 a barrel.

Pump prices, averaged nationwide, fell 0.3 cent to $3.539 a gallon, Heathrow, Florida-based AAA said today on its website. Prices have fallen every day this month and are the lowest since July 10. The average is 16.3 cents below a year earlier.

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