. — U.S. crude stockpiles increased last week, the API reported Tuesday, pointing to signs of ongoing weakness in demand even as the U.S. summer driving season looms. , the U.S. benchmark, traded at $78.29 a barrel following the report after settling down at $78.38 a barrel. rose by about 509,000 barrels for the week ended May. 3, compared with an build of 4.9M barrels reported by the API for the previous week. Economists were expecting a decrease of 1.4M barrels. The API data also showed that gasoline stockpiles rose by 1.46M barrels, while distillate inventories increased by 1.7M barrels. The build in products come even as the summer driving season – a gasoline hungry period during which Americans hit the road around the Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day — is fast approaching. The report is due Wednesday. “We are forecasting US crude inventories up 1.2 million barrels for the week ending May 3,” Macquarie said in a note,