Thanks to modern man's dependence on oil, even a small change in price can have a significant impact on everything from transportation to manufacturing to peace and stability. Test your knowledge of oil prices past and present with our quiz.
Oil hit an all-time high in July 2008 as the price per barrel soared over $140 for the first time in history.
Oil prices dropped from around $100 per barrel to roughly $30 per barrel in the 18-month period from mid-2014 to the start of 2016 — a difference of approximately 70 percent.
The increase in production from the U.S. and other countries combined with a decrease in demand from China led to a massive decline in world oil prices from 2014 to 2016.
The first oil drilled from the earth came from a 69-foot (21-meter) well in Pennsylvania in 1859, unleashing one of the world's most valuable and highly coveted commodities.
When oil was first pulled from the ground, it cost as much as $2 per gallon. That's like paying $1,900 per barrel in today's dollars.
In a single year production quadrupled from half a million to two million barrels, causing the price per barrel to sink from $2 to just 10 cents.
An OPEC embargo in 1973 caused the price per barrel to rise from $16.81 in January to $33 in December of that year. By the following June oil prices had nearly doubled to $62.71 per barrel.
The Iranian Revolution caused oil prices to rise from $88.35 per barrel in January 1980 to $102.37 by the end of the year.
The price of oil dropped from $32.74 per barrel when the allies launched their first strikes in January 1991 to $32.01 per barrel when the U.S. held its victory parade in Washington in June 1991.
The terrorist attacks of 9/11 caused only a minor increase in oil prices, raising the price per barrel from $104.19 in August to $107.34 in October.
After prices rose above $140 per barrel in the summer, they sank below $40 by the end of 2008 thanks to the global economic crash.
Despite the rising interest in the automobile, oil prices declined 40 percent from 1920 to 1926 thanks to significant production increases in Texas, California and Oklahoma.
Decreased demand as the Depression took hold combined with new sources of production in Texas caused oil prices to plummet another 66 percent from 1926 to 1931.
The Texas Railroad Commission controlled oil prices using production limits and conservation restrictions. The group finally lifted these restrictions in the 1970s.
OPEC formed in 1960 and has had a significant influence over global oil prices since then.
OPEC consisted of five countries when it formed in 1960: Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.
Despite complaints at the gas pump, the average price per barrel of oil over the last 150 years in the U.S. has hovered around $23.67. Worldwide that figure is slightly higher at $24.58.
Just 1 percent of U.S. oil imports come from Libya, but the February 2011 Libyan uprising still caused gas prices in the U.S. to rise by 54 cents that month.
From 1945 to 1947 car registrations in the U.S. increased by 22 percent thanks to postwar prosperity. This increase in auto use was partially responsible for the 80 percent increase in crude oil prices during the same two-year period.
Tensions centered around the Suez Canal resulted in a 10 percent decrease in world oil production from 1956 to 1957, which led to an increase in global oil prices.
Russia is such a major oil producer that even small price drops can vastly affect export earnings.
Producers who extract oil from shale via fracking can break even at prices as low as $30 per barrel. That means that as prices rise above that point, there is greater incentive for fracking and shale production.
As world oil prices soared to historic levels, U.S. drivers paid an average of $3.70 per gallon in mid-2008.
In the U.S. demand for gas is fairly inelastic. In fact, it takes a 25 to 50 percent change in gas prices for drivers to change the number of miles they travel by even 1 percent.
The average American household spent just $1,817 on gas in 2015 — the lowest annual gas expenditures in a decade.
Norwegian gas drivers pay an average of $9.26 per gallon at the pump. Fortunately, the country also has some of the highest average incomes in the world to help pay for all that gas.
The quadrupling of oil prices from 2002 to 2012 helped make more expensive means of obtaining oil — like fracking — more viable for oil companies.
Oil companies extracted more than 1.2 million barrels a day in 2014 from the Bakken formation in North Dakota. This rich supply of oil has helped keep U.S. production high and prices low.
The tremendous increase in shale production resulted in the fastest oil-production growth in history in 2013 and 2014. Increasing supplies can serve as protection against price increases.
Like all commodities, the price of oil and gas is ruled by supply and demand. It is worth only as much as people are willing to pay, and a change in available supplies can dramatically affect price.