The nation's crude oil supplies rose last week, the government said Wednesday.
Crude supplies grew by 4.2 million barrels, or 1.2 percent, to 344.9 million barrels, which is 0.4 percent below year-ago levels, the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report.
Analysts expected an increase of 1 million barrels for the week ended Feb. 24, according to Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.
Gasoline supplies shrank by 1.6 million barrels, or 0.7 percent, to 229.9 million barrels. That's 2 percent less than year-ago levels. Analysts expected gasoline supplies to decrease by 180,000 barrels.
Demand for gasoline over the four weeks ended Feb. 24 was 6.7 percent lower than a year earlier, averaging 8.3 million barrels a day.
U.S. refineries ran at 83.6 percent of total capacity on average, down 1.9 percentage points from the prior week. Analysts expected capacity to be unchanged at 85.5 percent.
Supplies of distillate fuel, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 2.1 million barrels to 141.4 million barrels. Analysts expected distillate stocks to decline by 1.3 million barrels.
Benchmark crude fell 60 cents to $105.94 a barrel in New York.