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    California Gas Prices Fall

    Fuel Gauge Report reveals a 20-month low.

    LOS ANGELES

    The average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in Southern California has fallen to a level that consumers haven't seen in 20 months, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California monthly Fuel Gauge Report.

    The Southern California average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $1.54, down 13 cents since the September average of $1.67 and down 43 cents since June. Statewide, the average gas price dropped 13 cents to $1.60. The state average is higher due to average higher gas prices in northern California, where regular gas is averaging $1.70. Motorists in the Bay Area are paying an average of $1.79.

    Nationally, the average price for regular gasoline has dropped about 20 cents to $1.35.

    "The steep decline in gasoline prices is due to softer demand for petroleum products overall in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks against the United States, as well as continuing economic difficulties," said Jeffrey Spring, Auto Club spokesman.

    Because crude oil prices have stabilized near $22 per gallon since Sept. 11, it is unlikely gasoline prices will move significantly lower in the short term, unless a new terror event causes consumers to stay even closer to home than they are now.

    "While it is still too early to know the full extent to which discretionary driving -- including auto vacationing -- has been affected by recent events, markedly lower fuel prices may make autumn trips more attractive to consumers," Spring said.

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