The department's Energy Information Administration said that the average price is up a half a penny to $1.709.
Prices had been spiking rapidly because of a general labor strike in Venezuela and the threat of a U.S. war against Iraq. They were expected to jump further because of last week's fires at oil refineries in Whiting, IN, and Staten Island, NY, and because of winter weather conditions in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states.
The average price was $1.478 on January 13, just six weeks ago.
New England drivers are paying the highest at $1.888 a gallon. The lowest average is in the Rocky Mountains, where drivers are paying $1.668.