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US crude oil supplies grew by 1.1 million barrels

NEW YORK (AP) -- The nation's crude oil supplies rose last week, the government said Wednesday.

Crude inventories increased by 1.1 million barrels, or 0.3 percent, to 377.5 million barrels, which is 9.5 percent above year-ago levels, the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report.

Analysts expected an increase of 2.6 million barrels for the week ended Feb. 22, according to Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

Gasoline supplies declined by 1.9 million barrels, or 0.8 percent, to 228.5 million barrels. That's 0.6 percent below year-ago levels. Analysts expected gasoline supplies to shrink by 1.5 million barrels.

Demand for gasoline over the four weeks ended Feb. 22 was 2 percent higher than a year earlier, averaging 8.5 million barrels a day.

U.S. refineries ran at 85.1 percent of total capacity on average, up 2.2 percentage points from the prior week. Analysts expected capacity to increase to 83.3 percent.

Supplies of distillate fuel, which include diesel and heating oil, grew by 600,000 barrels to 124.2 million barrels. Analysts expected distillate stocks to decline by 1.7 million barrels.

Benchmark crude futures rose 18 cents to $92.81 a barrel in New York.

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