Refineries operated at 84.3 percent of capacity, down 1.8 percentage points from the week before. It was the biggest one- week drop since September, when hurricanes Gustav and Ike struck the Gulf Coast. A 0.4 percentage-point increase was forecast. The report showed that total fuel use was down from a year earlier.
Crude oil for January delivery fell 12 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $46.84 a barrel at the 2:30 p.m. close of floor trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Futures touched $46.26, the lowest since May 20, 2005. Oil prices have tumbled 68 percent since reaching a record $147.27 on July 11.
Consumption averaged 19.6 million barrels a day last week, up 0.6 percent from the week before and down 5.7 percent from a year earlier, according to the report. Gasoline demand rose as consumption of distillate fuel, a category including diesel and heating oil, dropped, the report showed. The department released its weekly report today at 10:35 a.m. in Washington.
Brent crude oil for January settlement fell 10 cents to $45.34 a barrel on London’s ICE Futures Europe exchange. Futures touched $44.87, the lowest since Feb. 14, 2005.