WASHINGTON, D.C. --- The Energy Department is forecasting a "probable significant decline" in gasoline retail prices over the next few weeks, assuming no disruptive events like a hurricane have an impact on markets. "Retail gasoline prices invariably reflect changes in spot and futures prices, with a lag of one to several weeks," the department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report released this week. "Those markets saw a summer peak (to date) in early August, and dropped sharply last week, pointing to a probable significant decline in retail prices over the next few weeks, assuming no major events (such as global geopolitical issues, hurricanes, or major refinery problems) occur to alter their path." Because last summer's final three weeks saw retail gasoline prices rise nearly 52 cents, mostly as a result of Hurricane Katrina, this summer's prices are expected to finally dip below year-ago levels by Labor Day. "While this may provide scant comfort to U.S. drivers still paying around $3 per gallon for gasoline, it's a relief to some who feared prices might have gone even higher this summer," the EIA said in its report.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials