The Energy Department reported this afternoon that the average price of a gallon of gasoline retreated 8 cents last week, to $2.92 a gallon.
The price of the average gallon dropped in most parts of the country, and the West Coast and Rocky Mountain regions saw prices drop about a penny just two weeks after a small spike due to the partial shutdown of BP's Prudhoe Bay oil field.
The national average price is still 31 cents above the year-ago price of $2.61, an increase of about 12 percent.
Some of the relief at the pump resulted from a drop in oil prices last week after the cease-fire in Lebanon, now in its seventh day, eased investor fears, and BP PLC restored half of the production at Prudhoe Bay. Gas and oil prices skyrocketed last month, with oil hitting a record high of $78.40 on July 14, due larely to unrest in the Middle East and fighting in Lebanon.
We're starting to see oil prices heading higher again thanks to a rumors about Iran's nuclear ambitions and the potential for a breakdown of the cease-fire. Today's final settle price for a barrel of light, sweet crude was $72.45, up $1.31.