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I’m in Alberta, the province that produces most of Canada’s oil, and there’s only one question on everybody’s lips. How long will the oil price stay down? It has fallen by more than half in the past nine months — West Texas Intermediate was $48 per barrel this week — and further falls are predicted for the coming weeks.

This hits jobs and government revenues hard in big oil-producing centers like Alberta, Texas and the British North Sea, but its effects reach farther. “Clean” energy producers are seeing demand for their solar panels and windmills drop as oil gets more competitive. Electric cars, which were expected to make a major market breakthrough this year, are losing out to traditional gas-guzzlers that are now cheap to run again.

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