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Originally published Wednesday, July 18, 2012 at 7:53 AM

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US crude oil supplies down by 800,000 barrels

The nation's crude oil supplies dropped last week, the government said Wednesday.

The Associated Press

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The nation's crude oil supplies dropped last week, the government said Wednesday.

Crude supplies shrank by 800,000 barrels, or 0.2 percent, to 377.4 million barrels, which is 7.3 percent above year-ago levels, the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report.

Analysts expected a drop of 1.4 million barrels for the week ended July 13, according to Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

Gasoline supplies declined by 1.8 million barrels, or 0.9 percent, to 205.9 million barrels. That's 3.1 percent below year-ago levels. Analysts expected gasoline supplies to increase by 700,000 barrels.

Demand for gasoline over the four weeks ended July 13 was 3.3 percent less than a year earlier, averaging 8.8 million barrels a day.

U.S. refineries ran at 92 percent of total capacity on average, 0.7 percentage point down from the prior week. Analysts expected capacity to increase to 93.1 percent.

Supplies of distillate fuel, which include diesel and heating oil, grew by 2.6 million barrels to 123.5 million barrels. Analysts expected distillate stocks to grow by 1 million barrels.

In morning trading, benchmark crude futures rose 66 cents to $89.88 a barrel in New York.

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