WASHINGTON — A drop in global oil prices, driven in part by a boom in U.S. shale oil production, is threatening to hit the economies of energy-exporting Russia and Iran harder than Western economic sanctions have done.

Prices have fallen about 20 percent on world markets since June because of an increase in oil production and an economic slowdown in Asia and Europe. If that continues, as many analysts expect, gasoline may sell below $3 a gallon at the pump in much of the United States.


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