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

Crude supplies grew by 2.6 million barrels, or 0.7 percent, to 371.7 million barrels, which is 9.6 percent above year-ago levels, the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report.

Analysts expected an increase of 3 million barrels for the week ended Feb. 1, according to Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill (NYSE:SPGI).

Gasoline supplies rose by 1.7 million barrels, or 0.7 percent, to 234 million barrels. That's 1 percent above year-ago levels. Analysts expected gasoline supplies to increase by 1.75 million barrels.

Demand for gasoline over the four weeks ended Feb. 1 was 4.7 percent higher than a year earlier, averaging 8.4 million barrels a day.

U.S. refineries ran at 84.2 percent of total capacity on average, 0.8 percentage point lower than the prior week. Analysts expected capacity to decline to 84.25 percent.

Supplies of distillate fuel, which include diesel and heating oil, decreased by 1 million barrels to 129.6 million barrels. Analysts expected distillate stocks to decline by 750,000 barrels.

Benchmark crude futures fell by 64 cents to $96 a barrel in New York.

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