WASHINGTON, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- U.S. crude oil inventories dropped sharply in the week that ended Friday, the Energy Information Administration said.
After a prolonged period of high inventories, crude oil supplies, down by 4.4 million barrels in the week to 355.6 million, have slid from the upper limits of the seasonal range to near the average range. That is the first time in 2013 inventories have slipped under the upper limits into the average range, the EIA said in a report issued late Wednesday.
The agency said supplies of motor grade gasoline fell by 1.7 million barrels to 216 million barrels and are in the upper half of the average range for this time of year.
Supplies of distillate fuels, which include home heating oil, fell by 1.1 million barrels to 131.1 million and remain near the lower limit of the average range for this time of year.
The national average retail price of regular unleaded gasoline fell in the week, dropping 4 cents to $3.547 per gallon. The price is 33.1 cents per gallon below the price in the same week of 2012, the EIA said.