WASHINGTON, July 10 (UPI) -- U.S. crude oil inventories fell sharply in the week, dropping by 9.9 million barrels, the Energy Information Administration said Wednesday.
Crude oil stockpiles have fallen sharply for two consecutive weeks, declining by 20.8 million barrels in the two-week stretch.
Supplies have been at historically high levels for months, however, such that even with the two-week decline, crude oil inventories, at 373.9 million barrels, remain near the upper limit of the average range for this time of year, the EIA said.
The agency said supplies of motor grade gasoline fell by 2.6 million barrels in the week to 221 million barrels.
Supplies of distillate fuels, which include home heating oil, rose by 3 million barrels to 123.8 million barrels. Inventories of distillate fuels are near the lower limit of the average range for this time of year.
Supplies of gasoline are "well above the upper limit of the average range," the agency said.
The national average price of unleaded gasoline fell during the week, dropping 0.4 cents per gallon to reach $3.492 per gallon, putting the price of gasoline 8.1 cents above the same week of 2012.
Although the decline was marginal, it was the fourth consecutive week gasoline prices have dropped.