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Gas prices drop in Sonoma County

Motorists are getting a break on gasoline costs as the summer driving season begins, two pump price reports said Tuesday.

The average price for a gallon of regular gas in Santa Rosa dipped to $3.97, down nine cents from last month, according to AAA Northern California's monthly survey.

A year ago, local drivers were paying $4.13 a gallon, the AAA said.

All 25 areas in the survey saw prices fall at least two cents to 16 cents in the past month, and the statewide average price drop was six cents — with a $3.96 statewide price on Tuesday.

"Statewide lower prices are expected to continue through June, barring any unforeseen event," said Cynthia Harris, AAA Northern California spokeswoman.

Increased refinery production, steady crude oil prices and lower consumer demand are driving the trend, she said.

Regular gas was as low as $3.83 a gallon in Santa Rosa on Tuesday, the website GasBuddy.com said.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said regular gas would average $3.53 a gallon nationwide over the summer driving season from April through September.

The annual average price in 2013 is expected to be $3.49, down from $3.63 last year, the agency's Short-Term Energy Outlook said.

It forecast a nationwide average price of $3.37 a gallon in 2014, attributing the decline to lower crude oil prices.


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