HOUSTON, April 3 (Xinhua) -- U.S. crude oil refinery inputs increased during the week ending March 29, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said Wednesday.
According to EIA's data, U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 15.8 million barrels per day last week, 18,000 barrels per day more than the previous week's average. U.S. refineries operated at 86.4 percent of their operable capacity.
The EIA also reported an increase in gasoline production, averaging 9.8 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production decreased last week, averaging 4.9 million barrels per day.
Total products supplied over the past four-week period averaged 20.6 million barrels per day, down by 1.6 percent from the same period last year.
Over the past four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied averaged 9.2 million barrels per day, down by 1.5 percent from the same period last year.
Distillate fuel product supplied averaged 4.3 million barrels per day over the past four weeks, up by 6.4 percent from the same period last year. Jet fuel product supplied was up 3.7 percent compared with the same four-week period last year.
U.S. refinery inputs averaged 17.3 million barrels per day in 2018, also the fifth consecutive year of refinery runs, mainly driven by refinery operations in the Gulf Coast and Midwest regions.
In the Gulf Coast, which is home to more than half of all U.S. refinery capacity, refinery inputs averaged over 9.2 million barrels per day in 2018, or 8 percent higher than the previous five-year average for that region and the first time the annual average surpassed 9.0 million barrels per day.
The Midwest regions have the second-highest refinery capacity, and refinery inputs averaged 3.8 million barrels per day in 2018, or 6 percent higher than the previous five-year average.
As a percentage of operable capacity, refinery utilization averaged 93.2 percent in 2018, an increase of about 2.1 percent from 2017, but still not surpassing the record of 95.6 percent set in 1998.
In the March update of its Short-Term Energy Outlook, EIA expected U.S. refinery inputs in 2019 to be relatively flat compared with the record-high 2018 levels, partially as a result of expected high levels of refinery maintenance in 2019. Refinery inputs in 2020 are expected to increase and reach a new record of 17.8 million barrels per day.