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Gas prices fall. Good news for Labor Day travel?

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Rick Bowmer/AP/File

(Read caption) Gasoline drips from a nozzle at gas station in Lake Oswego, Ore. Gas prices are down slightly from a week ago, according to AAA.

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The outlook at the pump is getting brighter for Labor Day motorists.

Gas prices dropped by roughly a penny from a week ago, according to AAA. It's a slight decline, but it follows a general slide in gas prices over recent months, and some hope the downward trend will continue through Labor Day's travel weekend. But a hurricane, or heightened unrest in the Middle East, could change that.

"If there’s any sort of disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico, it obviously could have a significant impact on gas prices," Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy.com, said in a telephone interview. 

 

In 2005, hurricane Katrina made landfall in the last week of August, upending gas prices that were approaching $3.00 in many parts of the country. The devastation wreaked on the Gulf region – which accounts for about 23 percent of the nation's oil output – sent gas prices higher by as much as 50 cents. 

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