RIVERSIDE, Calif. -

The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular  gasoline in the Inland Empire fell 5.5 cents Thursday to $4.315, the largest drop  in 17 consecutive days of declines.
      The average price in Riverside and San Bernardino counties has declined  37.3 cents over the past 17 days, including 4.9 cents on Wednesday, after  rising 52.4 cents over the previous six days to a record high of $4.688,  according to figures from the AAA and Oil Price Information Service.
      The average price is 25.7 cents less than one week ago but 19.8 cents  more than one month ago and 46.8 cents higher than one year ago.
       The dropping prices are the result of the end of "the supply crisis  that originally caused the panic in early October," Marie Montgomery Nordhues  of the Automobile Club of Southern California told City News Service, referring  to a gasoline shortfall resulting from problems at California refineries.