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A CNN article Monday notes that the decline is attributed to the end of hurricane season -- storms that roar through the Gulf of Mexico can disrupt oil production there -- and predictions that world economic troubles will reduce demand.
The decline comes as oil prices have "plummeted nearly 40 percent in just three months, from about $147 a barrel in July to below $83 on Friday," according to TIME Magazine. The TIME article notes that the abrupt slide in oil prices has flummoxed market analysts, some of whom had predicted continued price increases, possibly topping $200 per barrel.
TIME also notes that environmentalists see a downside to diving oil and gas prices if the decline slows momentum of renewable energy projects that were boosted by the summer price spike.