Crude oil prices have soared to record highs in the last 12 months as violence in the Middle East sparked concerns over supply at the petrol pumps.
Oil prices hit $78 a barrel during fighting between Israel and Hezbollah militants in July, leaving many drivers to stomach petrol at £1-a-litre.
Since then prices have eased back as international tensions cool and supermarkets go head-to-head to attract customers with low cost fuel.
Ruth Bridger, from the AA Motoring Trust, said: "We saw a number of flashpoints which caused spikes in fuel prices over the course of the year.
"People started getting jittery following the stand off between Iran and the UN and then the conflict in Lebanon and threats by some countries to cut production.
"But things have calmed down - especially following a quiet hurricane season - and drivers are actually benefiting from a price war at the pumps."
Drivers started feeling the pinch in June when a barrel of oil shot to $73 in New York after Iran's supreme leader warned oil supplies could be jeopardised if the West made the "wrong move" over Iran's nuclear policy.
Iran's threat was enough to wobble the markets. It is the fourth-largest oil exporter and has the second-largest reserves in the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
It seemed Iran could use its oil supplies as a powerful bargaining chip as western governments attempted to disarm its nuclear ambitions.
The rocketing oil price was initially dismissed as a knee-jerk reaction by some analysts, but further tensions were just around the corner to spook the sector.
Missile tests in North Korea and instability in Nigeria heightened nerves as demand for petrol gathered pace ahead of the American holiday season.
A barrel of crude eventually hit the record $78 mark in July with no end in sight to the fighting in Lebanon or a resolution to the Iran row.
But one analyst has suggested the price would not have reacted in such a volatile manner if OPEC improved the supply chain around the world.
Paul Horsnell, head of energy research at Barclays Capital, said: "The key driving force behind higher prices is driving demand outstripping global supply, especially from non OECD countries such as China and India.
"If anything the geo-political situation is even more toxic now than it was at the start of the year, but because there is no slack in the market it tends to affect the supply side even more.
"So, in the past, if supply went off line then you would just look elsewhere to make up for the loss.
"But because OPEC has not managed the situation, there is more concern about how we can make up for that shortfall."
This year a major cooling effect came from a quiet American hurricane season, which last year saw Katrina wreak havoc in the southern states.
The US Energy Department reported American stockpiles of crude oil stood at a healthy 324.8 million barrels, or five per cent more than last year's level, even after the US holiday period.
But, as tensions and worries ebbed away, reports began circulating that OPEC members were getting used to higher oil prices and weren't happy about the cost falling.
It looked as if Nigeria and Venezuela planned to cut back on production by a combined total of 170,000 barrels per day in a bid to keep up prices.
Many smaller nations seemed unwilling to forgo income and - if companies remain able to pay - then oil producing countries will do whatever possible to keep prices at a premium.
In Venezuela, oil revenues underpin President Hugo Chavez's bid to reshape the country, while in Russia the resource is vital to geeing up the economy.
The rise in the cost of fuel seems to have become an accepted burden for the UK motorist, although companies - especially hauliers and airlines - still feel the pinch.
The average petrol price rose to a record high of 98.54p a litre on August 1 this year, but there were no repeats of the fuel protests which bought Britain to a halt in 2000.
Fuel efficient cars and a general acceptance of why higher oil prices hit pump prices seem to have eased the pressure on the hard-pressed motorist.