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Crude Oil Price Hits 12-year Low


FILE - A car passes behind a board posting oil prices at a service station in Tokyo, Japan, Dec. 16, 2015.

Abundant crude oil and weakening energy demand from China's huge economy helped push global crude oil prices down Tuesday to the lowest level in 12 years.

Prices briefly fell below $30 a barrel, a drastic fall from costs that exceeded $100 a barrel at the peak in June 2014.

A U.S. oil industry trade group has said low oil prices are already cutting investment in production facilities, and that will eventually crimp output.

In a report published Tuesday, government experts said U.S. crude oil production will fall almost 700,000 barrels per day this year, the first annual decline since 2008.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration says U.S. motorists will probably pay a bit less than 53 cents a liter (around $2 per U.S. gallon) for gasoline this year. They also predict low oil and natural gas prices and mild winter weather will bring lower heating bills for many Americans this winter.

Low prices are expected to slow growth in natural gas production during the next two years, while U.S. gas exports are set to rise.

The energy experts also say low natural gas prices are facilitating a shift away from coal in electricity generation, prompting a decline in U.S. coal production. Meanwhile, the use of renewable energy sources for electric generation is predicted to grow about 10 percent this year.