The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular  gasoline in the Inland Empire dropped Friday for the 17th consecutive day, falling a half-cent to $3.60, its lowest amount since Dec. 8.

   The average price in Riverside and San Bernardino counties has dropped  7.6 cents over the past 17 days, including a half-cent on Thursday, according to figures from the AAA and Oil Price Information Service.   

   The average price is 3 cents less than one week ago, 1.2 cents lower than one month ago and 9.4 cents below what it was one year ago.

   ``We are continuing to see the results of reduced Los Angeles wholesale  prices, but at the same time the price of crude oil has increased during the  past week, so that may be tempering the rate of decline in retail prices,''  said Jeffrey Spring of the Automobile Club of Southern California.