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US crude oil supplies down by 1.3 million barrels

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March 20, 2013 10:52 AM EST | AP


NEW YORK — The nation's crude oil supplies fell last week, the government said Wednesday.

Crude supplies declined by 1.3 million barrels, or 0.3 percent, to 382.7 million barrels, which is 10.5 percent above year-ago levels, the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report.

Analysts expected an increase of 2 million barrels for the week ended March 15, according to Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

Gasoline supplies declined by 1.5 million barrels, or 0.7 percent, to 222.8 million barrels. That's 1.8 percent below year-ago levels. Analysts expected gasoline supplies to shrink by 2.5 million barrels.

Demand for gasoline over the four weeks ended March 15 was 1.5 percent higher than a year earlier, averaging 8.5 million barrels a day.

U.S. refineries ran at 83.5 percent of total capacity on average, up 2.5 percentage points from the prior week. Analysts expected capacity to rise to 81.5 percent.

Supplies of distillate fuel, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 700,000 barrels to 119.8 million barrels. Analysts expected distillate stocks to decrease by 1.5 million barrels.

Benchmark crude rose 34 cents to $92.86 a barrel in New York.