The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in the Inland Empire dropped 1.4 cents today to $4.23, one day after recording its largest daily decrease since October 3rd, 1.5 cents.

   The average price in Riverside and San Bernardino counties has dropped for eight consecutive days and is 5.8 cents less than a week ago, according to figures from the AAA and Oil Price Information Service. However, it is 13.7 cents more than one month ago and 27.6 cents higher one year ago.

   ``Wholesale prices have now dropped to levels that will allow retail pump prices below $4 a gallon,'' said Jeffrey Spring of the Automobile Club of Southern California.

   ``We encourage drivers to continue to aggressively shop around for the best gas prices because competition should drive prices lower more quickly.''