The sharp decline in drilling – a 46 percent drop compared with last year – could push up future energy prices.
The rate of increase is expected to slow, with prices peaking well below last summer's highs.
The higher prices, linked to rising oil costs, are still lower compared with last Memorial Day.
With crude oil stocks high and gasoline demand low, US drivers may get a reprieve from the customary spring spike in gasoline prices this year.
Gasoline and some heating costs are expected to be relatively low in 2009.
Prices have dropped by half in a few months, and could go lower still.
Disruptions in supply could push up pump prices, as they did after Katrina.
Uncertainty over oil prices is a factor in Wall Street edginess.
A decline in miles driven is the first since 1980.
The price may hit $3.50 a gallon this spring because of problems obtaining alkylates.