Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Ships in the Strait of Hormuz. Photo: Marwan Naamani/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump has claimed that turmoil in the Strait of Hormuz matters less than in decades past, now that U.S. oil production continues to grow while imports fall — a view that does not reflect the global nature of today’s oil market.

The big picture: Middle East tensions have heightened following multiple attacks against oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz, a 2-mile shipping channel exiting the Persian Gulf through which about one-fifth of the world’s oil passes each day. Even though the majority of those shipments are bound for Asia, the interconnectedness of the global oil market means demand surges or supply disruptions in any region affect oil prices worldwide.

Context: U.S. imports from the Gulf fell to 1.5 million barrels per day last year, down from a high of 2.7 million bpd in 2001. Celebrations of U.S. energy “independence” or “dominance” aside, the U.S. is still vulnerable to swings in the global oil market.

  • The risk isn’t directly to physical supply, but rather to price movements that affect business and consumers alike.
  • Past oil price spikes have coincided with numerous conflicts in the Middle East where physical supplies to the U.S. were not threatened. And current instability in Libya, which produces far less oil than the Gulf countries, could spark an increase in global prices.
  • While record levels of domestic production mean that U.S. producers would benefit more than in the past from high prices, the average American could still face sticker shock at the pump.

What to watch: The standoff between the U.S. and Iran escalated Wednesday when Iran shot down an American surveillance drone.

  • In response, prices of Brent crude, the global benchmark, climbed more than 5% Thursday morning. Further conflict could drive prices higher still.

The bottom line: The only way to be “independent” of the oil market is to not use oil. Until then, a supply disruption anywhere is a disruption to prices everywhere.

Richard Newell is president and CEO of Resources for the Future and a former administrator of the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Daniel Raimi is a senior research associate in RFF’s Energy and Climate Program.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations before leaving office

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump plans to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations on his final full day in office Tuesday, sources familiar with the matter told Axios.

Why it matters: This is a continuation of the president's controversial December spree that saw full pardons granted to more than two dozen people — including former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, longtime associate Roger Stone and Charles Kushner, the father of Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

  • The pardons set to be issued before Trump exits the White House will be a mix of criminal justice ones and pardons for people connected to the president, the sources said.
  • CNN first reported this news.

Go deeper: Convicts turn to D.C. fixers for Trump pardons

Schumer's m(aj)ority checklist

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Capitalizing on the Georgia runoffs, achieving a 50-50 Senate and launching an impeachment trial are weighty to-dos for getting Joe Biden's administration up and running on Day One.

What to watch: A blend of ceremonies, hearings and legal timelines will come into play on Tuesday and Wednesday so Chuck Schumer can actually claim the Senate majority and propel the new president's agenda.

The dark new reality in Congress

National Guard troops keep watch at security fencing. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

This is how bad things are for elected officials and others working in a post-insurrection Congress:

  • Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) said she had a panic attack while grocery shopping back home.
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said police may also have to be at his constituent meetings.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told a podcaster he brought a gun to his office on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 because he anticipated trouble with the proceedings that day.