RTTNews - Crude oil inventories fell sharply in the recent week, according to Energy Information Administration data released Wednesday morning. Gasoline stockpiles also declined.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories decreased by 4.4 million barrels from the previous week. At 361.6 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories remained above the upper boundary of the average range for this time of year.

The report backed the American Petroleum Institute data revealed Tuesday, showing crude supplies dropped 5.96 million barrels last week. Participation in the API survey is voluntary, so the EIA report is more closely watched.

Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 1.6 million barrels last week, distillate fuel inventories slipped by 300,000 barrels and propane/propylene inventories increased by 1.4 million barrels.

Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline demand has increased by 0.4 percent from the same period last year, distillate fuel demand has declined 8.4 percent from the same period last year and jet fuel demand is 14.3 percent lower.

Crude oil maintained its early gains following the report. Light sweet crude moved to $70.71, up 90 cents for the session. Oil touched as high as $71.79 shortly after the data was announced but quickly cooled off.

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