Oil prices drop 6% for the week

Oil prices have dropped 6% this week, erasing the increases of recent months and easing fears about $US5 per barrel by midday on Friday - is easing fears that high energy prices would cripple a US economy that is struggling to overcome high unemployment, stagnant wages and weak growth.

Nationally, gasoline averages $3.80 a gallon — about 12 cents below this year's peak and nearly 20 cents below 2011's $3.99 a gallon.

Gasoline prices have now fallen 18 straight days and 25 of the past 28.

Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for the Oil Price Information Service, said the pre-summer run-up in oil and gas prices happened earlier than usual this year, and demand petered out.

“The bottom line is that the [oil and gasoline] market gets sloppy drunk every spring,” he said.