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Gas prices sliding upward for holiday weekend

Gasoline will be more expensive this weekend than it was a year ago but not as costly as some forecasters had expected by the official start of the summer driving season.

Regular averaged about 44 cents a gallon higher on Long Island Tuesday than a year earlier, according to the AAA - $3.053 a gallon. The average has been above $3 since late last month and some experts had forecast prices would peak about 20 cents higher than they are now by early summer.

Now, some experts believe drivers have seen the peak for this summer: supplies are ample and crude oil prices have been falling since hitting $87.15 a barrel on May 3. Crude futures settled yesterday at $68.75 in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

That's good for a destination like Long Island that vacationers reach by car, says R. Moke McGowan, president of the Long Island Convention and Visitor's Bureau and Sports Commission. "Those kinds of things are a boost to consumer confidence and that goes a long way toward the making of a vacation travel decision," he said.

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