By Yasin Ebrahim
Investing.com — U.S. crude oil inventories unexpectedly rose last week, the API reported Tuesday, but gasoline stocks fell exacerbating concerns about higher gas prices with just days to go until the start of the U.S. driving season when Americans take to the road for vacation.
West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark, traded at $110.52 per barrel following the report after settling down 52 cents at $109.77 per barrel.
U.S. crude inventories rose by 567,000 barrels for the week ended May. 19. That compared with a draw of 2.4 million barrels reported by the API for the previous week. Economists were expecting a decrease of about 690,000 barrels.
The API data also showed that gasoline inventories fell by 4.2 million barrels last week, while distillate stocks declined by about 949,000 barrels.
The decline in gasoline stocks comes just as demand for fuel will likely accelerate in the weeks ahead as the U.S. summer driving season is about to begin soon. It unofficially gets underway on Memorial Day at the end of May. The average price of gasoline at the pump in the U.S. swelled to a new high of $4.59 a gallon last week, AAA data showed.
The official government inventory report due Wednesday is expected to show weekly U.S. crude supplies fell by about 737,000 barrels last week.