Crude oil has plunged to its cheapest price since 2003, as shown in this infographic produced for HuffPost UK by Statista
The current situation has been brought about by a crisis of over supply and stagnant demand, according the Chief Markets Commentator at investment firm Charles Stanley. "There's too much oil gushing into global markets," Garry White told The Huffington Post UK.
"Alongside this there's the situation with Iran. Tension between Tehran and Riyadh has heightened since the Iranian nuclear deal, and Saudi Arabia is keen to protect its position as the world's biggest oil producer.
"For oil importers this means cheaper prices at the pump causing the level of confidence among consumers that a substantial tax cut would inspire."
Yet increased confidence isn't the only outcome of crude's fall. Here are some rather unanticipated consequences of plummeting oil prices...
More people are dying on the roads
BRIAN HARRIS / ALAMY
More people are dying in road accidents, as falling oil costs translate into cheaper prices at the pump - increasing the number of journeys.
Research has yet to reveal a link between these in the UK.
Pirates are finding new bounty
Pirates are unlikely victims of the global reduction in oil prices.
Piracy in West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea is now at its lowest level since 2002.
Speaking to Bloomberg, Florentina Adenike Ukonga, executive secretary of the Gulf of Guinea Commission, said: “With oil at a low bottom price of below $30 per barrel, piracy is no longer such a profitable business as it was when prices hit $106 a barrel a few years ago.”
Attacks on oil transported declined by around a third last year, according to a report.
The plunging oil price has added to turmoil on stock markets the world over, affecting many of the world's biggest pension funds.
According to Reuters, shares fell sharply this week as oil prices dropped after Saudi Arabia effectively ruled out reducing the output of oil by its producers.
Oil prices, lowered by increased production, are one of a number of factors worrying investors.
The FTSE 100 index of Britain's biggest traded companies was down 15.38% on a year ago as of Wednesday. The index holds millions of Brit's pension pots.
"The markets are really worried that we are missing something here, that the global slowdown may be more significant than we are recognizing and that slowdown could be causing oil prices to drop, and commodities prices in general," Tracie McMillion of Wells Fargo Private Bank told Reuters.
Demand hasn't actually increased that much
TOBIAS SCHWARZ VIA GETTY IMAGES
Perhaps the most surprising effect of diving oil prices has been that demand hasn't risen significantly.
Despite costs plunging, European economies remain weak, China is decelerating and growing energy efficiencies mean vehicles need less fuel.