Rivals to XLE include the Fidelity MSCI Energy Index ETF (NYSEArca: FENY) and the Vanguard Energy ETF (NYSEArca: VDE), which are two of the least expensive energy sector ETFs.

Domestic politics could prove to be a catalyst for the energy patch as well.

Larry McDonald, of ACG analytics, told CNBC “that many energy companies pay high tax rates, which means that ‘as the perception of tax reform comes back in the next couple of months, we could see a lot of upside in the XLE.’”

The challenge for energy equities is that some oil market observers see more declines coming for crude. Oil traders are concerned over how fast U.S. shale oil producers will increase production to capture the rising prices.

For more information on the oil market, visit our oil category.