Gerald Herbert / AP

U.S. crude oil exports have exceeded 1.2 million barrels a day, per the Financial Times. That follows the lifting of a 40-year-old ban on crude oil exports in 2015, and far exceeds baseline projections. As the FT points out, the strong exports are a result of:

  • The oil glut in the world market has made U.S. oil a relative bargain compared with other grades.
  • A rebound in oil prices last year has encouraged U.S. companies to increase drilling. The EIA estimates domestic production is above 9 million barrels a day for the first time in 10 months.
  • U.S. refineries, unlike OPEC, haven't done much to "mop up" the glut.
  • Rates for leasing supertankers have declined, making its cheaper to transfer oil to foreign countries.

Why this matters: The situation poses a threat to Saudi Arabia and other key OPEC members, which have historically had control over the oil industry and the power to gauge pricing. But following the group's November agreement to curtail oil output, concerns about tighter oil supplies have led foreign countries to look elsewhere — such as to the U.S. — for their supply.

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

More young people are being infected with the coronavirus, and even though they're less likely to die from it, experts warn the virus' spread among young adults may further fuel outbreaks across the United States.

Why it matters: Some people in their 20s and 30s face serious health complications from COVID-19, and a surge in cases among young people gives the virus a bigger foothold, increasing the risk of infection for more vulnerable people.

Joint Chiefs chairman condemns Confederate symbols

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley criticized Confederate symbols before the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday, and called the Civil War an "act of treason."

Why it matters: Milley said that minority service members — which he noted make up 43% of the U.S. military — may feel uncomfortable that Army bases are named for Confederate generals who "fought for an institution of slavery that may have enslaved one of their ancestors."