Early gift for motorists: gas prices at 7-year low

American motorists will spend less traveling to their Thanksgiving dinners, with prices at the pump at a seven-year low.

Regular-grade gasoline prices continue to decline, and averaged $2.09 a gallon as of Monday, 73 cents less than this time last year. That is the lowest price heading into a Thanksgiving holiday weekend since 2008, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. More than half of U.S. stations are selling gas for less than $2 a gallon, according to AAA.

"Back in 2008, we had low oil prices at the same time as an economic recession," T. Mason Hamilton, a petroleum analyst at the EIA, said.

U.S. Energy Information Administration

The price of U.S. crude oil fell 47 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $42.40 a barrel in New York on Wednesday. Brent crude fell 42 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $45.70 a barrel in London. Inventories this week are at roughly 488 million barrels, their highest level at this time of year in at least 80 years, according the government.

The EIA's latest short-term energy outlook projects a bottoming of gas prices to an average $2.06 a gallon in December and January of 2016, before increasing again to $2.09 in February.

Hamilton forecast that regular-grade gasoline next year will average $2.33 a gallon.