Thanksgiving week travelers will find the lowest gasoline prices in at least four years.
Regular gasoline averaged $3.215 a gallon in Nassau and Suffolk Wednesday morning, said the AAA, a motorists' group. That price was the lowest on the Island since Dec. 2, 2010.
It's likely that prices on Thanksgiving Day will be the lowest since that day in 2010, when the average was $3.195, experts said. If prices drop further, as the AAA expects, this Thanksgiving's average could be the lowest since the holiday in 2009, when regular averaged $2.869, a AAA spokesman said.
The Long Island average a year ago Wednesday was $3.555.
The website Gasbuddy.com, which is based on unconfirmed motorist reports, Wednesday listed prices as low as $2.87 a gallon on Long Island at a Citgo station on Sunrise Highway in Seaford.
Prices on Long Island and elsewhere in the nation have been falling since July, largely due to an oversupply of crude oil. U.S. production has increased, and slowing economies in Europe, China and Japan have reduced demand. Wednesday's Long Island average for regular gas is 82 cents lower than the recent high of $4.036 a gallon on July 2.
The benchmark grade of U.S. crude oil has retreated from a recent high of $107.95 a barrel June 20 to a settlement of $74.58 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange Wednesday.
Ministers of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries plan to meet Thanksgiving Day in Vienna to decide whether to cut production of crude oil to halt the slide in prices. Andy Lipow, president of Houston consulting company Lipow Oil Associates LLC, said he thinks OPEC will cut about 500,000 barrels a day from its 30-million-barrel-a-day production of crude oil. "I think the market is forcing it," he said.
If OPEC does cut production, oil would likely climb back to $80 and gasoline prices would stop falling, or even increase a few cents, Lipow said.