Crude Oil Futures

What are crude oil futures?

Crude oil futures can provide individual investors with a way to participate in one of the world's most important commodity markets. Crude oil futures are considered a key benchmark for the entire energy industry and can be used for both hedging and speculating. One of the most widely used commodities, it's used for gasoline, diesel fuel, heating oil, and jet fuel. Crude oil futures can fluctuate based on the geopolitical environment. In recent years, CME Group has introduced the mini crude oil futures contract and the micro crude oil futures contract. The micro crude oil futures contract is 1/10th of the size of the standard crude oil futures contract.

How to trade crude oil futures

Crude oil futures, E-mini crude oil futures and Micro WTI crude oil futures can be traded nearly 24 hours a day on the thinkorswim® trading platforms. 

Crude oil futures contract specifications

Considering trading crude oil futures? Here are the crude oil futures contract specifications.

Crude oil futures contract specifications
Exchange, Symbol New York Mercantile Exchange, /CL
Multiplier 1,000 Barrels
Minimum Tick Size and Value 0.01 = $10.00
Settlement Physical1
Trading Hours From 6 pm ET Sunday to 5 pm ET Friday

At Schwab, you get access to specialized trading tools and resources, such as real-time crude oil futures quotes, timely research and education, and other helpful insights.

Why trade crude oil futures?

Investors can use crude oil futures to hedge against investments in their portfolio that may be sensitive to crude oil price changes.

Investors and traders can use crude oil futures to speculate on the future price of crude oil and might be used as an alternative to oil and gas stocks. Crude oil prices can change due to a number of factors but primarily from the perceived changes in supply and demand that comes from both overall output worldwide and the economic health of the industry's major consuming countries. Options on crude oil and micro WTI crude oil  futures are also available.

It is important to understand the benefits and risks involved with crude oil futures before placing a futures trade. With crude oil futures you can trade nearly 24 hours a day during the trading week and take advantage of potential trading opportunities regardless of market direction. Crude oil futures also provide the ability to trade with greater leverage and can allow a more efficient use of trading capital. However, trading leveraged products like crude oil futures is not suitable for all investors. It involves risks that greater losses can occur with smaller market movements, and more than your initial investment can be lost.

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