Loris: What do collapsing oil prices mean for America?

Photo by Gregory Bull of The Associated Press / In this Aug. 31, 2017, file photo, a flame burns at the Shell Deer Park oil refinery in Deer Park, Texas. Oil prices are plunging amid worries that an OPEC dispute will lead a coronavirus-weakened economy to be awash in an oversupply of crude.

Warmer weather usually means more people getting out and driving - to stores, restaurants, baseball games or sometimes, just to drive. Projections that gas prices could soon fall below $2 per gallon would usually be cause for celebration. But these aren't usual times, are they?

The reality is the implications for the U.S. economy are unclear. They depend on a range of unpredictable events in the months ahead.

But first, here's what we do know. Coronavirus has dampened demand. Curtailed production in Chinese factories, cancelled conferences and less travel have decreased consumption. The International Energy Agency recently reported that oil consumption for the first quarter of 2020 is 2.5 million barrels per day fewer today than it was a year ago. The agency projects global oil demand will fall for the first time since 2009.

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