RIVERSIDE, Calif. -

The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular  gasoline in the Inland Empire dropped Friday to its lowest amount since May 4, decreasing 1 cent to $3.882.

   The average price in Riverside and San Bernardino counties has fallen  for 17 consecutive days and 23 of the past 24, according to figures from the AAA and Oil Price Information Service. It is 6.3 cents less than one week ago,  16.8 cents lower than one month ago and 20.8 cents below what it was one year  ago.

   The average price has fallen 18.7 cents over the past 24 days, including 1.5 cents on Thursday.

   ``For the first time all summer, drivers are paying less now at the pump than they were at the same time last year,'' said Jeffrey Spring of the  Automobile Club of Southern California.

   ``Because of supply issues in other parts of the country, right now, California drivers are paying about the same amount for gas as those in Connecticut, Idaho, New York and Washington, D.C.''