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U.S. natural-gas production has increased more than 50% since 1997, and prices have dropped to levels not seen since then.

Expand chart
Note: Henry Hub natural gas spot price is shown in 2017 dollars; Data: Energy Information Administration; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

Why it matters: Natural gas prices are more opaque than gasoline prices you see driving down the street, but the fuel is actually more diverse and used in everything from home heating to electricity to industrial manufacturing.

  • Unlike domestic gasoline prices that are driven mostly by a complex global oil market, natural gas isn’t (yet) priced on a global market. That means America’s increased production has resulted in lower prices, providing economic benefits across the board.

One level deeper: America is ramping up its exports of natural gas in a liquified form (known as LNG), in response to the gas boom over the last decade.

"U.S. [natural] gas prices are something of an island in the world, and remain so despite large-volume LNG exports ramping up.”
— Kevin Book, managing director, ClearView Energy Partners

What's next: As of 2017, U.S. had 4% share of global LNG exports. The International Energy Agency says in a new report that's poised to grow to 20% by 2023. That’s a “very very big jump in such a short period of time,” Fatih Birol, the executive director of the agency, told Axios Monday.

Birol predicts natural gas could likely to be priced on a global level like oil within the next decade. That could make America’s natural gas prices beholden to global markets much like gasoline prices are today.

Go deeper

Updated 12 hours ago - Technology

From Malcolm X to "Free Britney," new media shapes the justice system

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

True crime documentaries, podcasts and social media campaigns are bringing new attention to real-world legal proceedings — and are often affecting the outcome.

Why it matters: New media platforms can instantly put a national spotlight on cases that have long been forgotten or buried under red tape.

Updated 15 hours ago - Health

The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

The world still needs more coronavirus vaccines, but an additional bottleneck has emerged in many low-income countries: They need help getting shots in arms.

Why it matters: Increasing vaccination rates across the world is both a humanitarian necessity and the best way to prevent dangerous new variants from emerging, but it increasingly requires complex problem-solving.

Updated 15 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 Omicron variant cases identified in Europe, U.K.

People wearing masks walk in London on Nov. 25. Photo: Li Ying/Xinhua via Getty Images

Health officials in the United Kingdom, Italy and Germany announced on Saturday that they've detected the first known cases of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Why it matters: The discoveries come as the world scrambles to respond to concerns over the new variant, discovered in South Africa earlier this week.

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