Good morning. Today's Smart Brevity count: 1,306 words, a 5-minute read.
Situational awareness: The Restaurant Workers' Community Foundation is raising money to help workers facing dire economic distress.
Pain in the U.S. oil patch from COVID-19 is no longer on the horizon. It's here, and several new reports and data points show how quickly it's happening.
Driving the news: The Energy Information Administration yesterday released a sharp downward revision to its U.S. crude oil production forecast.
The big picture: EIA's closely watched outlook was not the only sign yesterday of how the twin effects of collapsing demand and low prices are taking hold, prompting layoffs and pushing some firms closer to bankruptcy.
What they're saying: A new report from the Kansas City Fed, which surveyed energy companies, finds that activity "decreased at a steep pace in the first quarter of 2020."
Meanwhile, the law firm Haynes and Boone, which carefully tracks industry finances, yesterday issued its latest report on bankruptcies and what's ahead.
Here are a few more top-line findings from the latest EIA report, which show the effects of the U.S. lockdowns and vastly reduced economic activity stemming from the pandemic.
By the numbers: EIA sees a 9% annual decline in gasoline consumption this year compared to 2019 (and the current decline is far steeper).
But, but, but: There are all kinds of known unknowns, which EIA acknowledges in the latest 2020–2021 outlook.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
Global sales of electric vehicles are projected to drop by 43% this year as the technology faces a series of overlapping problems, the consultancy Wood Mackenzie finds in a new analysis.
Driving the news: "The coronavirus outbreak, potential delays to fleet purchasing due to lower oil price and a wait-and-see approach to buying new models have all contributed to this decrease in projected sales," they write.
Why it matters: EVs remain a niche market, and the Wood Mackenzie report shows why COVID-19 means even more speed bumps on the path to the technology becoming mainstream — and for multiple reasons.
But, but, but: Chandrasekaran also says that pent-up demand is expected to help a bounce back in sales later in the year, and the long-term trend is slated to remain upward.
Russia is balking at the idea that market-driven declines in U.S. oil output could represent a significant contribution to a new global production-cutting deal, Bloomberg and Reuters reported this morning.
Why it matters: The Russian posture comes ahead of OPEC+ talks tomorrow and a meeting of G20 energy ministers Friday.
What they're saying: Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters that U.S. cuts occurring over time in response to low prices should not be viewed the same way as top-down restrictions.
The other side: The Trump administration has not offered mandatory curbs — which would be highly unusual — unlike major players including Russia and Saudi Arabia.
What we don't know: How Russia's posture will affect the outcome of the OPEC+ talks. "Peskov declined to say what Russia’s position would be in the upcoming meeting," Reuters notes.
Coronavirus patients in the more polluted parts of the U.S. are more likely to die from the illness than those in cleaner areas, according to a new Harvard University analysis of 3,080 counties across the country, Axios' Fadel Allassan writes.
Why it matters: The study indicates a correlation between long-term exposure to air pollution and heightened death rates associated with the virus.
The big picture: The new analysis demonstrated that even slight increases in the level of fine particulate pollution — much of which comes from fuel combustion, as well as indoor sources — had negative impacts associated with COVID-19.
What they found: