U.S. crude oil inventories rose by 600,000 barrels last week, significantly less than economists expected, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said.
The agency said inventories climbed to 372.2 million barrels. Economists had expected a jump of 2.4 million barrels in the week.
Supplies of crude oil remain "well above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year," the agency said in a report issued late Wednesday.
The EIA said supplies of distillate fuels, which include home heating oil, dropped by 3.7 million barrels to 125.9 million barrels. Inventories of distillate fuels are below the lower limit of the average range for this time of year, the agency said.
Stockpiles of gasoline fell by 800,000 barrels to 233.2 million barrels this week, but remain in the upper limit of the average range for this time of year.
In the week ending Monday, the national average price for a gallon of unleaded gasoline rose for the eighth consecutive week, climbing to $3.611 per gallon, up 7.3 cents from the previous week. The average price is 8.8 cents above the same week a year earlier, the EIA said.
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