Good morning. Today's Smart Brevity count: 1,233 words, < 5 minutes.
🎵 Tomorrow will mark the 1991 release date of R.E.M.'s "Out Of Time," which provides today's intro tune...
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Convulsions in global oil markets are creating new wildcards for efforts to rein in carbon dioxide emissions and boost climate-friendly energy.
Driving the news: Oil prices have collapsed to four-year lows as Saudi Arabia and Russia plan production hikes while the novel coronavirus saps demand.
What they're saying: The oil price collapse “will definitely put downward pressure on the appetite for a cleaner energy transition,” International Energy Agency head Fatih Birol tells the FT.
The big picture: There are lots of ways that oil and gas prices can affect emissions.
But, but, but: There's also reason to think the price crash could be irrelevant or even supportive of clean energy, in part because it's part of a wider economic shock.
The White House is weighing options to provide financial assistance to U.S. oil producers getting hammered by the price collapse, but the picture is murky right now.
Why it matters: It's a sign of the rapidly worsening conditions for the sector and the Trump administration's scramble to respond to the effects of the coronavirus and falling prices.
Driving the news: The internal discussions were first reported by the Washington Post, and subsequently confirmed by Axios.
Where it stands: There's a bunch of ideas flying around. The WashPost reported that low-interest federal loans were the most likely option for the potential aid.
The intrigue: The Washington Examiner reports that there's some pushback from conservatives to the idea of financial aid for producers.
What they're saying: AXPC CEO Anne Bradbury said in a statement Tuesday that the group wants "a solution that ensures American companies can continue to invest in and produce low-cost, reliable energy."
With the coronavirus hitting demand and the Russia-Saudi split set to unleash new supply, here's the latest on the new oil landscape.
Supply: "Saudi Arabia fired another salvo in its oil-market war with Russia on Wednesday, unveiling plans to boost its oil-production capacity to a record 13 million barrels a day." (WSJ)
Shale pain: The huge independent producer Occidental Petroleum is cutting dividends and sharply reducing spending this year due to the oil price collapse.
Shale pain, part 2: Occidental is just one of a bunch of firms cutting back. Marathon Oil, another big U.S. producer, yesterday said it's slashing planned capital spending this year by at least $500 million. It's now eyeing a budget of $1.9 billion or less.
Intrigue: "Saudi Arabia may soon dispatch its former energy minister, Khalid al-Falih, for talks with Russian counterpart Alexander Novak to de-escalate a ratcheting oil price war between the two major producers." (S&P Global Platts)
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said he's "scouting" central U.S. locations for a factory that would build the upcoming Cybertruck, as well as the Model Y crossover, for deliveries on the East Coast, I reported last night along with Axios' Joann Muller.
Why it matters: The announcements via Twitter Tuesday night add some clarity to expansion plans for the Silicon Valley electric automaker, which has recently found itself on better financial ground ahead of key product launches.
What we're hearing: A source familiar with the planning says one of the locations being considered for the new factory is Nashville, Tennessee.
Where it stands: All-wheel-drive versions of the futuristic-looking Cybertruck are slated to begin production in 2021, while the less-expensive rear-wheel-drive model will follow a year later.
Quick take: Tesla has likely learned a lot about manufacturing efficiency as it muscled through problems encountered in getting Model 3 up and running in Fremont. They won't make the same mistakes again.
Now that Joe Biden is firmly in the driver's seat for the Democratic nomination, now's not a bad time to mention that he wants standards "aimed at ensuring 100% of new sales for light- and medium-duty vehicles will be electrified."
Why it matters: There's not a date in his plan, but the chart above, from the DOE's handy transportation "fact of the week" series, shows how much work there is to do around a 100% EV goal.
Where it stands: Sales of fully electric vehicles rose by only about 3,000 units in 2019 after a sharp rise the prior year. And sales of plug-in hybrid vehicles fell.