The industry grew by 2 percent this year and is expected to swell further next year as advances in drilling and completion technologies unlock vast new supplies of hydrocarbons that chemical companies rely on to make products and fuel their plants.
In a dramatic shift from previous forecasts, the Energy Department predicted Wednesday that the average price of gasoline in the U.S. will be $2.94 a gallon in 2015. That is a 44-cent drop from an outlook issued just a month ago.
The bonus at the pumps represents the biggest benefit to consumers to date from a record boom in domestic oil production that has contributed to a global crude glut and helped bring down international prices.
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