The nation's crude oil supplies shrank last week, the government said Wednesday.
Crude supplies fell by 6.2 million barrels, or 1.8 percent, to 330.8 million barrels, which is 7.8 percent below year-ago levels, the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report.
Analysts expected crude supplies to be unchanged for the week ended Nov. 18, according to Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.
Gasoline supplies rose by 4.5 million barrels, or 2.2 percent, to 209.6 million barrels. That's equal to year-ago levels. Analysts expected gasoline supplies to grow by 1.5 million barrels.
Demand for gasoline over the four weeks ended Nov. 18 was 4 percent lower than a year earlier, averaging 8.6 million barrels a day.
U.S. refineries ran at 85.5 percent of total capacity on average, up 0.7 percentage point from the prior week. Analysts expected capacity to rise to 85.3 percent.
Supplies of distillate fuel, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 800,000 barrels to 133 million barrels. Analysts expected distillate stocks to decline by 1.5 million barrels.
Benchmark crude fell $1.94, or 2 percent, to $96.07 a barrel in morning trading in New York.