NEW YORK (AP) — Oil prices are sliding as investors continue to worry about Europe’s debt problems.

Benchmark crude fell $1.23 to $97.76 per barrel in New York on Monday, while Brent crude lost $1.82 at $112.34 per barrel in London.

The European debt crisis has yanked oil prices up and down, as traders assess whether massive debt burdens in Greece and Italy will mean bank failures and perhaps another recession. An economic slowdown across the region would mean weaker demand for oil. Both countries have named economists as prime ministers, hoping they will shepherd them from the brink of default.

In the U.S., retail gasoline prices fell half a cent Monday to a national average of about $3.42 per gallon.