American motorists should expect gasoline prices to slide another 10 cents at the pumps in the next couple of weeks, tracking a steep decline in the price of crude oil, the AAA motorist group said Tuesday.

"We think gasoline prices will continue to fall, with an average of $2.50 a gallon or lower very possible within a couple of weeks," said AAA spokesman Geoff Sundstrom.

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Retail gasoline prices averaged $2.61 a gallon Tuesday, down about 40 cents in a month, according to the AAA's daily survey of more than 80,000 gas stations.

The slide comes amid a nearly 20 percent slump in crude oil prices since early August, triggered by rising U.S. stockpiles and an end to peak summer gasoline demand.

"Motorists should certainly be please that prices are coming down," said Sundstrom. "But Americans shouldn't assume we're returning to an age of cheap gasoline, as many of the reasons we've had high prices are still with us."

Energy prices have been climbing for several years on rising global energy demand, war in the Middle East and damage from hurricanes to oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.

Gasoline prices hit an all-time record $3.057 a gallon in September 2005 after Hurricane Katrina.

While U.S. gasoline prices are coming down from their peaks, they remain sharply below prices in Europe and Canada, where taxes are higher.

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