This week the U.S. was not only faced with a polar vortex but the price of oil is on track for short-term gains with a possible spike in prices we saw last November. There are a few contributing factors to the recent boost that are highlighted below.
Winter is upon us and if you haven’t noticed yet, you certainly will today. Wind chill in the northern plains of the country, near Minneapolis and North Dakota, is reportedly being recorded at around -61°. This Polar Vortex is being categorized as dangerous and life threatening and will also carry heavy snow with cities like Chicago experiencing high temperatures of -12°. That would be 4° colder than Mount Everest which is forecasted at a high of -8°.
So what is the polar vortex exactly? Essentially, there are two polar vortices in the Arctic which are described as a jet stream. This jet stream is present all year round, with the polar vortex appearing during the winter months. What causes the vortex is the temperature differences between the mid latitudes in Northern America, where the United States is and the cold air from high latitudes, the Arctic. These temperature differences cause the jet stream to flow from high-pressure environment in the mid latitudes to the lower pressure areas of the Arctic. The spinning of the Earth on its axis and wind patterns pushing the circling vortex cause parts of the vortex to break off and invade areas like the United States while warmer air is circulated towards the Arctic. Some see this as continuing evidence that global warming does in fact exist as the polar vortex jet stream weakens resulting in uncontained colder temperatures drifting south while, once frigid arctic climates, are becoming noticeably warmer.
Some 800,000 federal workers are back to work today after a 35-day shutdown, as lawmakers are pressured to come to an agreement on funding.
Everyone involved in the world of commercial trucking is familiar with the term IFTA (International Fuel Tax Agreement), but not everyone knows why IFTA exists and what its intended functions are. IFTA is an agreement between the majority of U.S. states and the majority of Canadian provinces designed to simplify the way that commercial truck or bus drivers who travel through multiple tax jurisdictions report the taxes on the fuel they purchase.
With the partial government shutdown milling around out there, oil has found a way to stay the course. Seeing that energy production has become essential for the U.S. Economy, the Bureau of Land Management as issued exemptions for the energy fields. The Bureau of Land management is the governing body that oversees oil and gas activities on federal land. The employees working are being paid by way of unspent funds from previous years currently. Little speculation has been made as to how long those funds will actually last.