Two gas stations on Long Beach Road in Long Beach...

Two gas stations on Long Beach Road in Long Beach are selling gasoline for less than $4 a gallon on Saturday. Credit: Debbie Egan-Chin

The average price of gasoline at a pump on Long Island has dipped below $4 a gallon for the first time since March, according to a tracker by AAA.

The average is $3.999 for regular in Nassau and Suffolk counties, AAA reported on its website Saturday morning.

It was $4.019 a day earlier, $4.113 a week ago, $4.502 a month ago — and $3.212 a year ago. It hit a high of $5.046 on June 11 and June 15, according to a tally kept by Newsday.

The last time gas cost less than $4 a gallon was March 3, when it was $3.910.

In March, AAA published a survey of drivers, asking them to name their "pain point" — the gas price at which they'd need to curtail spending elsewhere. About 60% put that number at $4 a gallon, said Robert Sinclair, spokesman for AAA Northeast.

Primarily, the drivers said, they'll drive less.

"They'll have to make changes in lifestyle to be able to afford higher gas prices: they're going to drive less, they're going to not eat out as much, if at all, they're going to put off making a major purchase like an appliance, save less money, things like that," he said Saturday morning.

Earlier this month, U.S. crude futures fell below $90 a barrel, to $89.80 a barrel, for the first time since February, the month that Russia invaded Ukraine.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 54% of the cost of regular gasoline is attributed to crude oil prices, with 18% refining costs, 17% distribution and marketing and 11% taxes.

Dan Dicker, a longtime energy trader and expert on oil prices, said oil refineries had finally upped their supply and staffing — to meet pent-up post-pandemic demand — coupled a bit, paradoxically, with a decline in how much people are driving due to higher gas prices.

"The refineries are catching up with the demand that came out of the pandemic," he said.

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