Gasoline prices slipped a bit more last week, to less than $3 a gallon at some stations, as crude oil fell out of favor with investors, a result of Europe's credit crisis.

Regular averaged $3.112 a gallon on Long Island Wednesday, the AAA said, down 2.1 cents from a week earlier.

The new Long Island average is 61.4 cents higher than a year earlier.

Experts say crude prices are slipping mostly because Greece's debt crisis and its impact on the rest of the European Union has depressed the value of the euro against the dollar. Since crude oil is priced worldwide in dollars, a stronger dollar makes oil less attractive to investors.

The crisis also could lead to lower fuel demand in Europe.

Crude oil has dropped sharply since hitting $87.15 a barrel on May 3. In trading Wednesday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, futures rose by 46 cents to settle at $69.87 a barrel.

At least one analyst thinks American drivers have seen the peak in gasoline pump prices for this spring and summer driving season - unless supplies are seriously interrupted by hurricanes hitting the Gulf of Mexico region. Andy Lipow, president of Houston consulting company Lipow Oil Associates Llc, thinks prices will fall further.

"For the consumer," he said, "it's good news; gasoline prices are probably going to continue to decline another 15 or 20 cents a gallon."

Prices usually crest for the season later in spring or early summer. Last season's peak on Long Island, $2.90 a gallon for regular, was on June 23, according to the AAA.

Gasoline supplies, meanwhile, are ample. The U.S. Department of Energy said the nation's stocks fell slightly last week from the week before but still were 17.8 million barrels above a year earlier, at 221.8 million barrels. Meanwhile, demand fell last week from the week before and was 140,000 barrels a day lower than a year earlier, at 9.1 million barrels a day.

"It appears that the optimistic projections earlier this year of demand growth are not materializing," Lipow said.

Yesterday, longislandgas, which compiles motorist reports, listed prices as high as $3.29 a gallon for regular at eight Long Island stations, and as low as $2.89 at stations in Medford and Farmingdale.


Yesterday - $3.112

Month ago - $3.003

Year Month - $2.498


May 10 - $3.117

Month ago - $3.153

Year ago - $2.565

Sources: AAA, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority

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