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Gas prices down from last year as summer driving season begins

When drivers headed to the Cape last Labor Day, gas averaged $3.76 per gallon.
When drivers headed to the Cape last Labor Day, gas averaged $3.76 per gallon. (Bill Greene/Globe staff/File 2012)Bill Greene/Globe staff/File 2012

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Gasoline prices heading into Memorial Day — the kickoff of the busy summer driving season — are well below their levels of a year ago, and analysts say they’re unlikely to rise much in coming months.

The main reason is the boom in US production of crude oil, which accounts for about two-thirds of the price of gas. As a result of the controversial drilling process known as “fracking” that frees oil from shale formations, US crude is flooding global markets and holding down prices. Crude has fallen about $2 a barrel since last week, closing Friday at $94.15

In a recent report, the International Energy Agency said increased US production is creating a supply-side shock that is putting downward pressure on prices.

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