Nearly one month ago, U.S. oil futures hit a historic moment, dropping below zero for the first time. At that time traders were scrambling to pay buyers to take off crude futures, while month end rolls were looming. This morning, U.S. oil futures climbed roughly 9% to $32 a barrel, a price that would allow some of the lowest cost oil wells in the United States to break even. Oil prices are roughly half of what they were to start the year, but the slight uptick in driving across America, has helped rally the oil prices. Currently, 87E10 gasoline pump prices are at an average of $1.88 a gallon in the U.S., about $0.98 less than last year.
Uncertainty remains as experts warn that oil prices could drop again depending on the status of the coronavirus. The government has lifted several state lockdowns including, Georgia, South Carolina, and Montana. as of May 15. Other states including Texas, Maine, and Illinois have partially reopened. The International Energy Agency (IEA) expects gasoline demand to be down 25% from last May. However, this would be an improvement from the 40% decline in April. Globally, several countries including Italy, Iran, Spain, Israel, and Germany that previously enforced strict lockdowns on their populations are in the process of easing them. As countries emerge from various states of lockdown, their governments are closely monitoring the outbreak and case numbers of Coronavirus so that shut downs do not re-occur.