The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in San Diego County recorded its largest decrease since Dec. 8 today, dropping 3.5 cents to $6.195.

The average price has dropped four consecutive days, decreasing 5.4 cents, including four-tenths of a cent Monday, according to figures from the AAA and Oil Price Information Service.

The average price is 12.8 cents more than one week ago and 81.1 cents higher than one month ago but 20.3 cents less than one year ago when the average price was approaching a record. It has dropped 24 cents since rising to a record $6.435 on Oct. 5.

The decreasing prices stem from Gov. Gavin Newsom sending a letter to the California Air Resources Board late Thursday directing it to allow refineries to begin making and distributing winter-blend gasoline, which is cheaper to produce.

Stations normally cannot start selling winter blend gas until Nov. 1.

“You could say Christmas is coming early,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, which provides real-time gas price information from more than 150,000 stations. “California should quickly see prices fall back below $6, and once all refinery snags are addressed and maintenance complete, I would not be surprised to see prices even fall below $5 later this year.”

The decreasing prices follow a run of 23 increases in 25 days totaling 86.7 cents that boosted the average price to its highest amount since Oct. 12.

The national average price dropped for the 13th time in 15 days, decreasing 1.6 cents to $3.798. It has dropped 8.3 cents over the past 15 days, including one-tenth of a cent Monday.

The national average price is 4 cents less than one week ago, 1.4 cents lower than one month ago and one-tenth of a cent below what it was one year ago. It has dropped $1.218 since rising to a record $5.016 on June 14,2022.

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