The average price of a regular gallon of gas has dropped to less than $4 in Santa Rosa, and an analyst expects it’ll continue to inch down for the next few weeks.

According to AAA, the average fell to $3.993 on Sunday, down almost a penny from the day before ($4.004), about 13 cents from a week ago ($4.127) and about 34.5 cents from a month ago ($4.339).  But it’s 4.3 cents more than a year ago ($3.95).

And checking, you can find several stations in Santa Rosa and surrounding cities at $3.85 a gallon or so. But in Healdsburg, there appears to be a gas war of sorts going on with the Rotten Robbie, Healdsburg Gas Mart and Valero stations all at $3.75.

Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst for, attributed the price drop to a Washington state refinery coming back online after being damage by a fire a few weeks ago and to California refineries finishing maintenance work.

As a result, the West Coast’s gas supply is up and that’s generating pressure for lower prices.

For the next month or so, he said he expects prices in California to average $3.75 to $4 a gallon, although in some cities stations may cut their prices to $3.50.

Of course, he noted, that prediction is good only if there are no Mideast, European, refinery and other crises that affect oil and gas prices.

AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge showed that on Sunday the state’s average price was $3.99, with Sacramento’s price the lowest among metro areas surveyed at $3.923 and San Francisco the highest at $4.147.

Among states, South Carolina was the lowest at $3.078 and Hawaii the highest at $4.397.


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