The price of oil, or the oil price, generally refers to the spot price of a barrel of benchmark crude oil. The price of a barrel of oil is highly dependent on both its grade, determined by factors such as its specific gravity or API and its sulphur content, and its location.
As with all commodities, the oil price is determined by the balance between supply and demand. The supply of oil is dependent on geological discovery, the legal and tax framework for oil extraction, the cost of extraction, the availability and cost of technology for extraction, and the political situation in oil-producing countries. Both domestic political instability in oil producing countries and conflicts with other countries can destabilise the oil price. For example, the Iranian Revolution of 1979 led to a jump in oil prices.
The demand for oil is dependent on global macroeconomic conditions. According to the International Energy Agency, high oil prices generally have a large negative impact on global economic growth.