WASHINGTON, July 18 (UPI) -- U.S. crude oil inventories fell sharply for the third consecutive week, falling by 6.9 million barrels, the Energy Information Administration said.
In the week, crude oil stockpiles have fallen recently from a perch described as "above" the upper half of the average range on a seasonal basis to merely "in" the upper half.
Supplies reached 367 million barrels in the week.
The agency said supplies of motor grade gasoline rose by 3.1 million barrels in the week to 224.1 million barrels.
Supplies of distillate fuels, which include home heating oil, rose by 3.9 million barrels to 127.7 million barrels. Inventories of distillate fuels are in the lower half 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 rose during the week, climbing by 14.7 cents per gallon to reach $3.639 per gallon, putting the price of gasoline 21.2 cents above the same week of 2012.
The sharp price gain came after four consecutive weeks of falling gasoline prices, the EIA said.