Aug. 28--GasBuddy.com is predicting that it will be the cheapest Labor Day travel season since 2010, according to a report the website released Wednesday.
Cheaper global and domestic crude prices have pushed costs at North American refineries lower despite unrest in the Middle East and uncertainty in Russian energy supplies. U.S. crude oil futures are down nearly $9 per barrel from Memorial Day weekend, and the price of international North Sea crude has also declined by $7 per barrel. The crude price drops along with record refinery runs over the summer have led to a 26 cent drop average nationwide at the pump.
"We expect to see stable prices through mid-September," said GasBuddy chief oil analyst Tom Kloza. "Some more significant declines could come after Sept. 15 when the prices will again change in most states."
GasBuddy predicted the prices will continue to trend down. By Veterans Day, the website anticipated that average prices could be under $3.25 per gallon, with thousands of stations under $3.
Most area counties were under the state average as of 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Mercer and Auglaize counties were averaging $3.34, $3.35 in Allen and Putnam, $3.31 in Hardin and $3.36 in Hancock. Van Wert County was averaging $3.45, slightly over the state's $3.38 average.
GasBuddy said the lower prices would lead to more discretionary income over the holiday weekend.
If the lower gas prices lead to more travelers, they will have to be aware of stepped up efforts to prevent impaired driving.
The Lima Allen County Safe Community Coalition announced that local law enforcement , along with state and national partners, will be out in full force over the holiday weekend to enforce impaired driving laws.
Over Labor Day weekend in 2012, 147 people died nationally in accidents involving impaired driving. In that same year, three people in Allen County died in accidents involving a driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher.
Law enforcement asked that people choose a designated driver or use other methods of transportation if using alcohol. Residents are asked to report impaired drivers.
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