(Adds details on gasoline stocks, utilization rates, stocks at Cushing, Oklahoma)
Aug 20 (Reuters) - U.S. crude stocks fell more than expected last week as refineries boosted output and imports dropped, while gasoline stocks increased and distillate inventories fell, data from the Energy Information Administration showed on Wednesday.
Crude inventories fell by 4.5 million barrels in the week to Aug. 15, compared with analysts’ expectations for a decrease of 1.2 million barrels.
Gasoline stocks rose by 585,000 barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 1.6 million barrel drop. Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 1 million barrels, versus expectations for a 550,000 barrel drop, the EIA data showed.
Refinery utilization rose 1.8 percentage points to 93.4 percent of capacity, EIA data showed.
Gulf Coast refinery utilization rose 2.5 percentage points to 96.9 percent, the highest level since the EIA started posting regional refinery rates in June 2010.
“The rise in refinery utilization is supportive, and will likely continue to pressure crude inventories lower over the coming weeks,” said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital LLC in New York.
Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub rose by 1.8 million barrels to 20.2 million barrels, the first time stocks there topped 20 million in a month, according to the EIA data.
U.S. crude imports fell last week by 387,000 barrels per day. (Reporting by Jonathan Leff, Edward McAllister, Robert Gibbons and Catherine Ngai; Editing by Leslie Adler)