Oil inventory levels fall, while the fuels glut grows

The nation’s crude oil storage levels fell by 2.4 million barrels last week — helping to alleviate a global glut — but that positive industry news was more than offset by a 3.4 million barrels build in gasoline stocks.

The news shows U.S. refiners are going back to the trend earlier this year of turning oversupplies of crude into too much fuel sitting in storage.

The benchmark for U.S. oil prices hovered below $50.50 a barrel Wednesday morning, about a 50-cent dip for the day.

Distillate fuel levels grew as well, increasing by 2.5 million barrels, for the fuel that’s used to create diesel and heating oils, according to weekly data from the U.S. Energy Department.

Despite the oil inventories dip, storage levels are at upper limit of the average range seasonally, the Energy Department said. However, gasoline storage levels “are well above the upper limit of the average range.”