The price of crude oil on the New York Mercantile Exchange was approximately $91.50 per barrel in early March 2014, and the price lowered to around $51.60 by early March 2015, a period of one year. The change of $39.90 marked a 43.6 percent drop in price.
In August 2014, the price ranged from $96.08 per barrel to as low as $94.27 per barrel. The price per barrel dropped to between $84.34 and $82.98 by October 2014. Crude oil at the New York Mercantile Exchange bottomed out at close to $45 per barrel towards the end of January 2015.
The reason for the change in price came in November 2014 when Saudi Arabia blocked fellow oil-producing and exporting nations from lowering output of crude oil in order to raise prices. This move sent crude oil futures to four-year lows.
Some analysts, such as those at Bloomberg Business, believe the maneuver was an attempt to try to stifle the American oil boom brought on by shale oil. Between December 2014 and March 2015, as many as 556 oil rigs were taken out of service and thousands of workers were laid off in the United States alone. Large oil companies, such as Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron, announced $50 billion in spending cuts as a result of the price drop.