. — U.S. crude stockpiles unexpectedly increased last week, the API reported Tuesday, denting hopes of increased demand as the summer driving season looms. 
, the U.S. benchmark, traded at $78.23 a barrel following the report after settling down 0.7% at $79.26 a barrel.
rose by about 2.5 million barrels for the week ended May. 17, compared with a draw of 3.1M barrels reported by the API for the previous week. Economists were expecting a decrease of 3.1M barrels. 
The API data also showed that gasoline stockpiles increased by 2.1M barrels, while distillate inventories fell by 320,000 barrels. 
The rise in gasoline stockpiles comes just as the Biden administration is set to sell 1 million barrels of gasoline from strategic reserves held in the Northeast to lower gas prices ahead of the summer driving season. 
The report is due Wednesday.