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Oil prices down sharply for a 2nd day

NEW YORK — Oil prices plunged for a second day Thursday, raising hopes a rise in gasoline prices may slow or reverse, at least temporarily.

US benchmark crude fell $2.38, or 2.5 percent, to finish at $92.84 per barrel, the second drop of 2 percent in two days. Brent crude, used to price oil used to make gasoline in many US refineries, fell $2.07 to end at $113.53.

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Crude oil’s recent slide is a result of ample supplies and speculation that the Federal Reserve may soon allow interest rates to rise, which would reduce the supply of easy cash investors have been using to buy commodities like oil.

The drop in crude has not translated into lower pump prices yet. The average US retail gasoline price rose a penny to $3.78 per gallon Thursday, according to AAA and others. Gasoline has risen for 34 days.

In coming weeks, gas prices are apt to drift higher as refiners close for maintenance and switch to costlier summer blends.

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