Crude Oil --
April 13 WTI Crude futures opened today at $90.42 and quickly added $1.09 to $91.53 to challenge last Friday's high of $91.58 in response to an EIA report that shows U.S. liquid fuels consumption in decline. According to EIA, "U.S. liquid fuels consumption in 2012 fell to 18.6 million bbl/d, its lowest level since 1996, 2.2 million bbl/d below the peak level of 20.8 million bbl/d reached in 2005. The recent trend of declining use is due to higher petroleum prices, economic challenges, changing consumer preferences, and increases in fuel efficiency standards for vehicles. Higher petroleum prices have encouraged more efficient use of petroleum products as well as substitution of more economic fuels, such as natural gas, for petroleum-derived fuels for home heating and electricity generation."
April 13 WTI crude currently at $91.52 and trailing, but a move above Friday's high of $91.58 could signal more upside room for WTI crude -- pricing remains $16.00 below the same time last year. Brent futures currently at $111.07, up $0.01 on the day after falling to $110.50 in early trade this morning.
U.S. crude stocks remain strong and well above the five-year average -- adding 3.8 million barrels to 381.4 in storage, an increase of 35.7 million barrels above last year.
The U.S. average retail price of regular gasoline decreased three cents to $3.76 per gallon, down three cents from last year at this time. The national average diesel fuel price decreased three cents as well to $4.13 per gallon, four cents higher than last year at this time.
Propane prices decreased $0.001 to $2.492 -- $0.375 below the same time last year.
According to EIA, "U.S. propane stocks fell 2.2 million barrels to end at 45.7 million barrels last week, yet are 2.2 million barrels (5.0 percent) higher than the same period a year ago. Midwest inventories dropped by 1.7 million barrels, and Gulf Coast regional inventories declined by 0.4 million barrels. East Coast stocks dropped by 0.1 million barrels, and stocks in the Rocky Mountain/West Coast region also declined by 0.1 million barrels. Propylene non-fuel-use inventories represented 6.5 percent of total propane inventories."
Distillate supply fell 3.8 million barrels to 120.47 million barrels in storage -- 19.1 million barrels below the same time last year. While still within the five-year average, the distillate supply is at the low end of the five-year range. Late season winter weather continues to encourage withdrawals for home heat and electricity generation.