Crude Oil --
April 13 WTI Crude futures fell $2.73 to $93.13 during the report week. Since then, April crude spiked to $94.50 Monday before diving for fresh support at $92.00 later that day -- moving sideways in a range from $92.20 to $93.30 since then. Currently down $0.20 on the day to $92.56 (11:00CT).
U.S. crude stocks remain strong and well above the five-year average -- adding 1.1 million barrels to 377.5 in storage, an increase of 32.7 million barrels above last year.
The U.S. average retail price of regular gasoline increased four cents to $3.78 per gallon, up six cents from last year at this time. The national average diesel fuel price increased less than a penny to remain at $4.16 per gallon, 11 cents higher than last year at this time.
Propane prices increased $0.004 during the report week to end at $2.493 -- $0.374 below the same time last year.
According to EIA, "Total U.S. propane stocks fell 3.2 million barrels to end at 47.9 million barrels last week, yet are 4.0 million barrels (9.0 percent) higher than the same period a year ago. On a regional basis, Gulf Coast inventories dropped by 1.6 million barrels, Midwest regional inventories declined by 0.9 million barrels, East Coast stocks dipped by 0.6 million barrels, and stocks in the Rocky Mountain/West Coast region fell by 0.1 million barrels. Propylene non-fuel-use inventories represented 6.2 percent of total propane inventories."
Distillate supply gained 0.6 million barrels to 124.2 million barrels in storage -- 17.3 million barrels below year-ago levels. Demand for on-highway distillate fuels remained steady throughout 2012, but domestic consumption fell 4.0% compared with 2011 reflecting lower demand for heating oil and a decrease in rail traffic.
The decrease in rail traffic is thought to be the result of decreased consumption of coal. According to EIA, "A decline in railroad consumption of diesel contributed to lower overall distillate demand in 2012. According to the Association of American Railroads, the railroad sector saw a 3.1 percent decrease in carloads during 2012, due mostly to lower coal traffic. The rail sector accounted for about 5 percent of total distillate consumption in 2011, and a 3.1 percent drop could equate to more than a 6,000-bbl/d decrease."