Oil prices fell below $127 a barrel today, extending a decline of more than $3 in the previous session on a growing sense that record-high costs have cut demand for gasoline and other fuel.

The summer driving season in the United States began with the just-ended Memorial Day weekend, and some analysts are predicting data will show a lackluster start.

U.S. Energy Department data covering the weekend won’t be released until next week.

But even ahead of those figures, other statistics indicated Americans are driving less because of bloated prices at the pump.

The Schork Report, edited by Stephen Schork, cited the latest statistics from the Federal Highway Administration, noting that “estimated vehicle miles traveled ... on all U.S. public roads for March 2008 fell 4.3 percent, or 11 billion miles, compared with March 2007.

“In fact, this is the first time estimated March travel fell since 1979 and the largest year-on-year drop in the history of the report, which dates back to 1942,” the newsletter stated.

Sweet crude for July delivery was down $2.45 at $126.40 a barrel in electronic trade on the New York Mercantile Exchange by afternoon in Europe. The contract fell $3.34 to settle at $128.85 a barrel Tuesday, the first day of trade after the Memorial Day holiday.