Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted November 15, 2018
Earlier this year we pointed out that a roller coaster of emerging economic factors could affect oil markets and, ultimately, consumers – and we were correct.
Rising interest rates, trade and tariff disputes, near decade-high U.S. dollar appreciation and potential financial market uncertainties have become pronounced over the past few months, affecting global crude oil markets and producing the strongest correlation between financial markets and oil prices in years.
Posted May 22, 2018
Washington is known for partisan political skirmishing, so it’s not surprising that a group of Senate Democrats is trying to score political points against this year’s tax reform legislation by suggesting that lowering the corporate income tax rate has been linked to the recent rise in gasoline prices.
Let’s straighten them out on a couple of important things about gasoline prices, which have nothing to do with tax reform.
First, per-barrel costs for crude oil – the No. 1 factor in the cost of producing gasoline and diesel – have risen due to a tighter global oil supply/demand balance and lower inventories compared to last year. Second, with a strong economy, U.S. petroleum demand has run at its highest levels since 2007 and was up by more than 750,000 barrels per day in April, compared with one year ago. Next, as they do every year around Memorial Day, the start of the summer driving season, Americans are traveling more, which could raise demand further. Finally, although gasoline prices have increased recently, they’re still lower than where they were four years ago, largely because of increased domestic oil production.
Posted May 10, 2018
The facts that crude oil prices are up 9 percent since the end of March and that crude oil currently accounts for 57 percent of the consumer’s price for gasolinemean that consumers have felt the impact at the pump of relatively large and sudden changes. As domestic crude oil prices recently increased above $70 per barrel for the first time since November 2014, let’s revisit current oil market fundamentals and other factors that have elevated prices.
By understanding the drivers of prices, American consumers may be more aware of how U.S. policy outcomes – such as more domestic natural gas and oil production, a strong U.S. dollar, low price inflation, avoidance of tariffs, quotas and other protectionist measures that undermine free trade, and peaceful international relations – could help put downward pressure on crude prices that ultimately benefits consumers.
Posted April 2, 2018
The summer driving season is arriving, so it’s a good time to take stock of recent market dynamics that have raised per-barrel costs for crude oil and consequently gasoline and diesel fuel.Nationwide, the American Automobile Association (AAA) reports that average prices currently are $2.64 per gallon for gasoline (up from $2.54 a month ago) and $2.95 per gallon for diesel fuel (unchanged from last month). While there is nothing particularly special about these figures from an economic perspective, consumers take notice when fuel prices are on the rise. Let’s look at the factors that have affected pump prices in recent years.
Posted July 26, 2017
Nationally, the average price of a gallon of gasoline the third week of July was $2.392 – about 42 percent lower than the national average price at the same time in 2008, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Retail gasoline prices haven’t been “sticky,” as Sen. Charles Schumer said on ABC’s “This Week,” suggesting that some sort of anti-Adam Smith force has kept them from decreasing. Yet, as we can see, they have decreased significantly over a time period that coincides with accelerated U.S. crude oil production (thanks, fracking).
Posted October 8, 2014
New York Times: HOUSTON — The Singapore-flagged tanker BW Zambesi set sail with little fanfare from the port of Galveston, Tex., on July 30, loaded with crude oil destined for South Korea. But though it left inauspiciously, the ship’s launch was another critical turning point in what has been a half-decade of tectonic change for the American oil industry.
The 400,000 barrels the tanker carried represented the first unrestricted export of American oil to a country outside of North America in nearly four decades. The Obama administration insisted there was no change in energy trade policy, perhaps concerned about the reaction from environmentalists and liberal members of Congress with midterm elections coming. But many energy experts viewed the launch as the curtain raiser for the United States’ inevitable emergence as a major world oil exporter, an improbable return to a status that helped make the country a great power in the first half of the 20th century.
“The export shipment symbolizes a new era in U.S. energy and U.S. energy relations with the rest of the world,” said Daniel Yergin, the energy historian. “Economically, it means that money that was flowing out of the United States into sovereign wealth funds and treasuries around the world will now stay in the U.S. and be invested in the U.S., creating jobs. It doesn’t change everything, but it certainly provides a new dimension to U.S. influence in the world.”
Posted July 18, 2013
The history of modern crude oil prices includes a number of instances where historical events have accompanied dramatic price shifts. Simply: Events that impact or could impact supply affect the global crude oil market. And, because the cost of crude is the main driver of gasoline prices – currently about 66 percent
Posted April 5, 2012
Posted May 27, 2011
Jane Van Ryan
Posted March 17, 2011