World oil prices eased downward Friday but U.S. retail gasoline prices hit fresh record highs, which cut travel on the Independence Day holiday.
A barrel of oil for future delivery cost $144 in electronic trading in New York, a decline of about $2 from Thursday's record high price.
A majority of analysts interviewed by the Bloomberg financial news service say oil prices are likely to rise next week because of concerns that Mideast tensions will continue and the dollar might weaken. Oil is priced in dollars, so a lower value tends to raise the price of oil.
Soaring oil prices have pushed U.S. retail gasoline prices to a series of record highs. The latest survey puts the average price at nearly $1.08 a liter ($4.10 a gallon). That is an increase of 30 cents a liter in the past year.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP, Bloomberg and Reuters.