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Summer gas price record not likely

Toby Talbot/Associated Press/File

A $100 sale registered on a pump in April. The government cut its forecast to $3.79 per gallon for the summer.

NEW YORK - Gasoline prices probably will not set any records this summer, thanks to a recent drop in the price of oil.

The government on Tuesday slashed its forecast for average gas prices to $3.79 per gallon for the summer driving season, down from an initial estimate of $3.95 and below 2008’s record average of $3.80.

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The Energy Information Administration’s revised forecast is encouraging news for the economy. Some economists blame high pump prices for so-so consumer spending this year. They were also seen as a factor in the loss of 35,000 retail jobs in February and March.

Gasoline prices soared 20 percent from January to early April.

A few analysts warned drivers they could pay as much as $5 this summer, eclipsing the 2008 record of $4.11 per gallon.

Not anymore. The price of benchmark crude has dropped about $8 per barrel since early April. Retail gas prices have followed, falling 17 cents since reaching $3.936 on April 5.

“It’s almost like a tax cut,’’ said Jared Bernstein, a senior fellow Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. EIA’s prediction means that motorists will spend about $10.7 billion less on gasoline than previously anticipated.

Last year, drivers paid an average of $3.71 per gallon from April to September, considered the peak driving season.

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