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After record high gas prices last month, Santa Rosa-area drivers are finding their costs continue to drop with the average price now less than $4 a gallon.

AAA reported Monday that the average was $3.973 for regular, and that’s getting closer to the average $3.855 a year ago. Last week, it was $4.16 and the record was Oct. 9 at $4.65.

Customer reports to gasbuddy.com showed that a few stations in Petaluma were selling gas for $3.77 —  20 cents cheaper than the local average —  and several in Santa Rosa at $3.79.

Analysts expect prices to continue to inch down for probably the rest of the year, barring some refinery breakdown or Mideast trouble. How much more is too difficult to predict, says Gregg Laskoski, senior petroleum analyst for gasbuddy.com. He says the national average will drop 20 more cents by year’s end, but it’s too hard to say for California.

The state’s average was $3.979, with Modesto the lowest metro area at $3.791 but San Luis Obispo the highest at $4.186. AAA found Hawaii, as usual, was the highest at $4.281, while Missouri was the cheapest at $3.135.

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