Stockpiles of crude oil fell slightly last week after a huge decline the previous week, renewing hope that the energy industry is working through surplus supplies amid growing U.S. demand.
Commercial crude inventories slipped by 600,000 barrels, after a 14.5 million plunge the previous week, the Energy Department reported Wednesday. Gasoline inventories rose slightly, also by 600,000 barrels, after falling 4.2 million barrels the week before. Stockpiles of both remain at historically high levels.
Oil erased earlier losses in trading in New York after the report’s release and again moved above $45 a barrel. Crude was up 16 cents, to $45.06 at about 9:45 a.m Central.
Demand for petroleum products increased significantly last week. U.S. motorists consumed 9.5 million barrels of gasoline, up more than 4 percent from the same week a year ago. Consumption of all petroleum products jumped nearly 6 percent from a year ago.