The national average price for gasoline dropped 7 cents in the last three weeks, according to a nationwide survey released Sunday that marked the first decline since January.
The U.S. average for self-serve, regular-grade gasoline was $3.11 per gallon as of Wednesday, down from $3.18 in the last national survey May 18, oil industry analyst Trilby Lundberg said.
The modest relief came thanks to a boost in imports of gasoline from foreign producers lured by record-high prices, she said.
U.S. refineries, set back by weather-related mechanical failures and scheduled upgrades, have been unable to produce gasoline fast enough for domestic consumers, causing prices until now to steadily rise.
Lundberg, however, said the latest numbers don't portend any dramatic price drops. Despite the recent sag, prices still are up 93 cents since the start of 2007.
Chicago had the nation's highest gasoline prices, at $3.61 per gallon of regular. Jackson, Miss., with regular gasoline selling for an average of $2.87 a gallon, had the nation's lowest average.
The national average price of mid-grade was $3.22 and premium was $3.33, according to the Lundberg Survey of 7,000 stations nationwide.