The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in the Inland Empire dropped today for the 17th consecutive day, decreasing a half-cent to $4.01, its lowest amount since March 30.

   The average price in Riverside and San Bernardino counties has decreased 13.7 cents over the past 17 days, including 1.3 cents on Thursday, according to figures from the AAA and Oil Price Information Service.

   The average price is 5.4 cents less than one week ago, 9.2 cents lower than one month ago and 4.6 cents below what it was one year ago.

   The 17-day streak of decreases is the longest since a 24-day run from May 2-25. The current streak was immediately preceded by 11 increases in 14 days which pushed the average price to its highest amount since May 19.

   ``Refineries are running at a higher capacity which has added to the overall supply,'' said Jeffrey Spring of the Automobile Club of Southern California. ``Drivers in most regions should see prices below $4 if they shop  around.''