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Gas prices at a Sunoco station in Hanover, Mass. earlier this month. Photo: David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

In an unprecedented move, U.S. oil prices went negative Monday — meaning, companies paid to sell their oil — but don’t expect to get paid to fill up your tank at the gas station.

How it works: Several other layers of costs, including refinement, transportation and various state taxes suggest negative gasoline prices are extremely unlikely, per Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy.

The big picture: The coronavirus-fueled lockdowns around the world are choking off oil demand, throwing the oil industry — which was already oversupplied before the pandemic — into historic chaos.

  • An equally historic production cut of the world’s biggest producers likely delayed the drop in oil prices we’re seeing today — and made it a tiny bit less worse.
  • Prices are likely to keep dropping, or at the very least remain very low, for at least the next few weeks given there is simply not enough places to store all of the extra oil sloshing around the world as many of us stay at home.

Where it stands: The price of oil makes up more than 50% of the price of a gallon of gasoline, but it takes several days for changes in the global oil market to make it onto gas stations’ billboards.

  • The way the global oil market works and prices oil into the future, this foray into negative territory is very unlikely to have an impact on domestic gas prices, De Haan tells me by email.
  • The prices that went negative were WTI — the U.S.-based benchmark. Brent prices, based in Europe, are still hovering around $30 a barrel, a relative high price.
  • The national average price for gallon of gasoline stands at $1.80, per AAA, but several states have prices significantly lower, GasBuddy writes.
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

The intrigue: Don’t rush to your local gas station today, thinking you’ll get a steal. De Haan says a good time to fill up — if you have anywhere to go as we’re all mostly locked down — would be in a couple of weeks.

What we’re watching: Economists generally say that the lower prices are at one point, the higher they will be at some point in the future. So buckle up. In a few years’ time, we may be in for some very high oil prices — and therefore gasoline prices.

Go deeper: Oil prices plunge into negative territory

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Jul 27, 2020 - Economy & Business

New home sales jump to their highest level in nearly 13 years

Photo: Michele Eve Sandberg/Corbis via Getty Images

Given the latest reports on existing and new home sales and mortgage applications, "housing is the strongest major sector of the economy," says Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

The state of play: Friday's report showed new home sales jumped to the highest level in nearly 13 years.

Chris Cuomo accuser: On-air "hypocrisy" spurred report

Journalist Chris Cuomo. Photo: Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images

A woman who accused fired CNN journalist Chris Cuomo of sexual misconduct said Sunday she decided to come forward after learning of his comments about women who made similar accusations about his brother. He denies her allegations.

Why it matters: Her attorney Debra Katz said in a statement that she heard "the hypocrisy" of his on-air words about his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and was "disgusted by his efforts to try to discredit these women," so "retained counsel to report his serious sexual misconduct against her to CNN."

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director says number of U.S. Omicron cases "likely to rise" — Two years of COVID-19 — Prior coronavirus infections may not protect well against Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Data demonstrates most-vaccinated counties less vulnerable to worst of COVID — Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate.
  4. World: Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles downWHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.