Explaining how oil prices work, after the cost of a barrel dropped below zero

Apr 21, 2020
At this point, oil is like that broken-down car you pay to have towed off to the junkyard.
The agreement to cut production from OPEC, Russia and the U.S. clearly hasn't worked.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

What's going on with oil prices?

Apr 21, 2020
If you're a consumer stuck in lockdown, you may not benefit from lower prices.
Oil prices have turned negative amid this historic rout. Does that have implications for consumers?
Mauro Pimentel/AFP via Getty Images

U.S. oil prices fall below zero for the first time

Apr 20, 2020
Oil producers would have to pay someone to take oil off their hands.
A view of pipeline construction, taking place outside Cotulla, Texas back in 2019, for the future transport of crude oil.
LOREN ELLIOTT/AFP via Getty Images

What's behind the price of gasoline?

Oct 18, 2019
From taxes, to marketing, to refining, a lot into the price of a gallon of gasoline.
A motorist fills his car with gas at a gas station near an oil field pumping rig in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
J Pat Carter/Getty Images

Will spiking oil prices tip us into a global recession?

Sep 16, 2019
Probably not, says Roberto Perli of the economic policy research firm Cornerstone Macro.
An attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities caused crude oil prices to spike.
J.D. Pooley/Getty Images

How rising oil price ripples through economy

Apr 25, 2019
Many products and services tend to cost more.
David McNew/Getty Images

Oil prices slip, and their future is cloudy

Nov 20, 2018
As stock prices fell today, so did the price of oil. The price of crude has dropped 30 percent since last month amid signs the world economy and oil demand are slowing down. And there’s plenty of oil about. Even so, you might want to fill up your tank now and be worried. Influential voices […]

You’ve got questions. We help you answer them.

Support nonprofit, independent journalism that makes you smarter.

U.S. crude oil exports to China drop to nearly zero amid trade war

Oct 15, 2018
In the first half of 2018, China was the biggest buyer of U.S. crude oil. In August and September, they barely bought any. Energy reporter Rebecca Elliott wrote about the sudden drop-off in the Wall Street Journal, and we talked to her about why this happened amid the ongoing trade war.  Click the audio player above […]

U.S. crude oil exports to China drop to nearly zero amid trade war

Oct 15, 2018
In the first half of 2018, China was the biggest buyer of U.S. crude oil. In August and September, they barely bought any. Energy reporter Rebecca Elliott wrote about the sudden drop-off in the Wall Street Journal, and we talked to her about why this happened amid the ongoing trade war.  Click the audio player above […]

Rising crude prices are kick-starting the Kansas oil industry back to life

Oct 8, 2018
Low oil prices hit the state's mostly small producers hard. As a barrel of oil goes up, the industry is hopeful profits will start flowing again.
Tom Casey, a supervisor at Express Oil Service, checks in with his workers.
Brian Grimmett/Kansas News Service