Storage tanks at a refinery along the waterway are shown Thursday, July 26, 2018, in Port Arthur, Texas. The oil industry wants the government to help protect some of its facilities on the Texas Gulf Coast against the effects of global warming. One proposal involves building a nearly 60-mile “spine” of flood barriers to shield refineries and chemical plants. Many Republicans argue that such projects should be a national priority. But others question whether taxpayers should have to protect refineries in a state where top politicians still dispute whether climate change is real. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) Photo: David J. Phillip, STF / Associated Press / Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

By Jordan Blum

The U.S. stockpile of commercial crude oil continued to rise with the country’s record oil production estimated at 11.6 million barrels a day, and domestic oil prices are now down to their lowest levels since March.

The U.S. Energy Department said commercial crude inventories rose by 5.8 million barrels last week and gasoline stocks jumped by 1.9 million barrels. Total petroleum inventories increased by 4.8 million barrels, offset partially by a dip in distillate fuel oil, which is used to make diesel fuel and heating oils.

Another rise in total stockpiles coincides with the recent free fall in U.S. oil prices from more than $76 a barrel in early October to below $62 a barrel Wednesday morning. The last time the U.S. oil benchmark settled below $62 per barrel was March 15.

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The rise in crude outputs from the world’s top three producers — the United States, Russia and Saudi Arabia — has pushed oil prices lower, and the decline was compounded by the Trump administration’s recent decision to soften sanctions on Iran by allowing waivers for several of the top buyers of Iranian oil, including China.