Motorists in Santa Rosa got a break at the gasoline pump with prices for a gallon of regular averaging $4.44, down 15 cents from a week ago, AAA reported Monday.

Local prices were down more than 20 cents from the record high of $4.65 posted on Oct. 9.

The price spike was widely attributed to problems at California refineries, including a power failure at an Exxon Mobil refinery in Torrance.

Wholesale gas prices started coming down Oct. 5, the day Exxon Mobil announced it was resuming full operation, said Alison apRoberts of the California Energy Commission.

But it takes time for the decrease to work its way to the consumer, she said, repeating the conventional wisdom that prices "go up like a rocket; down like a feather."

Santa Rosa's average price was still up 58 cents from a year ago at $3.86, according to the AAA, which uses prices for the previous three days to compute the daily average.