MODESTO -- Gas prices continue their steady drop in the Northern San Joaquin Valley.
Several stations in Ripon and one each in Modesto and Ceres are selling regular unleaded gasoline for $4.13 a gallon, down about 15 cents from two weeks ago.
If you feel like driving about 100 miles, Jiffy Food Stop and Shop N Quick in the Fresno County city of Easton were selling gas for $3.99, The Fresno Bee reported. Store owners said they were losing money on gas sales in order to draw customers who might purchase other items.
Statewide, the price of gas continues to inch down after soaring to $4.67.
We are seeing prices come down about 2 cents a day, said Cynthia Harris, spokeswoman for AAA Northern California.
On Thursday, the average price statewide for regular unleaded was $4.54 a gallon, down 3 cents from the day before and down 12 cents from a week ago, according to AAA.
Statewide, prices soared by about 50 cents a gallon in one week when an unplanned outage at the Exxon-Mobil refinery in Torrance on Oct. 1 spooked wholesale buyers.
The refinery announced five days later that it was resuming normal operations, prompting a quick decline in wholesale prices, but a slower one at the pump.
It goes up like a rocket and comes down like a feather, said Alison apRoberts, spokeswoman for the California Energy Commission. Price decreases are expected to continue unless theres another refinery crisis, she said.
The Chevron refinery in Richmond, hit by fire in August, still is producing gasoline, although at a slower rate, she said.
The early release of cheaper winter-blend gasoline into the market is helping push down prices, analysts said.
Reacting to the high gasoline prices, Gov. Jerry Brown pushed the California Air Resources Board to allow refineries to move winter blend to market earlier than the usual Nov. 1 switch. The board last week allowed that.
Prices normally fall more quickly when refinery problems are solved, but the slow decline means there's still room to go down, said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy, a Web site that tracks prices.
He expects a further fall of 10 cents a gallon over the next week or so, and maybe as much as 25 cents, although "that may be a bit optimistic."
Bee Breaking News Editor Patty Guerra contributed to this report.