Motorists leave the Harper Road Go-Mart after filling up with fuel Monday. Local gasoline prices as low as $2.68 per gallon have begun to ease the strain on drivers’ wallets.

Nobody is complaining, but some are wondering what the heck is going on with gasoline prices?

“I don’t understand the large drop in gasoline prices, but I really like it,” said Robert Davis of Beckley. “I might be able to dine out this week.”

Davis and other Beckley drivers continued to find relief at the pump as the price for gasoline declined for the second week in a row, dropping to $2.719 at most stations on Monday.

Just a few weeks ago the price was over $3 a gallon for regular brand in Beckley.

“When it goes over $3 a gallon I cut way back on driving and eating out,” Davis said. “I just hope the prices remain under the $3 mark.”

U.S. retail gas prices dropped 15 cents a gallon in the past two weeks, the sharpest decline in nearly a year, according to the Lundberg Survey released Sunday.

The national average for self-serve regular stood at $2.87, down from just under $3.03, according to the survey of 7,000 gas stations across the country. That was about 25 cents higher than prices at the same time in 2005.

Mid-grade prices averaged $2.98 a gallon, while premium cost $3.09, the survey reported.

The lowest price was $2.60 a gallon in Des Moines, Iowa, and the highest was in Honolulu at $3.32, according to the Lundberg Survey.

The American Automobile Association’s (AAA) weekly Fuel Gauge Report shows West Virginia’s average price on Monday for regular was $2.797; mid-grade was $2.924; premium was $3.071; and it was $3.085 for diesel.

According to westvirginiagasprices. com, the lowest price in the state on Monday was found at a Sam’s Club station on Grand Central Avenue in Vienna at $2.559 a gallon for regular brand with a discount card. The highest price was found at a BP station on University Avenue in Morgantown at $2.899 a gallon for regular.

Average gasoline prices for regular grade are still up 31 cents from a year ago, according to the federal Energy Information Administration’s weekly survey of service stations.

The drop at the pump reflects the recent decline in crude oil prices, which accounts for about half of the cost of making gasoline, the government survey reported.

The Energy Department’s analytical arm says gasoline costs should keep falling over the next few weeks as the U.S. summer vacation season ends and fuel demand falls off.

Light sweet crude for September delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose $1.31 Monday to settle at $72.45 a barrel.

The Associated Press

contributed to this story.

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