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Santa's gift to local drivers: lower gas prices

For the last week, Southern California drivers have been paying the lowest gas prices of 2012 after 10 straight weeks of price drops, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California's Weekend Gas Watch.

The state average is $3.531 a gallon for regular Friday – 6.9 cents lower than last week and $1.14 lower than the $4.671 new record price set on Oct. 9. On Jan. 1, 2012, the average California price was $3.625.

The average price of self-serve regular gasoline in San Diego is $3.589, 6.3 cents below last week, 21 cents below last month, and 5 cents higher than last year.

In the Los Angeles-Long Beach area, the price is $3.597 per gallon, which is 6.9 cents less than last week, 23 cents lower than last month, and 4 cents higher than last year. On the Central Coast, the average price is $3.633, down 7.8 cents from last week, 26 cents lower than a month ago, and 5 cents above last year. In the Inland Empire, the average per gallon price is $3.564, down 6.6 cents from last week, 23 cents lower than last month, and 5 cents more than last year.

"Since the Auto Club is projecting that 7.3 million Southern Californians will be traveling for the holidays and 6.5 million will be driving, the lower gas prices are especially welcome news," said Auto Club spokesperson Jeffrey Spring. "We have seen California wholesale gas prices jump up by nearly 20 cents in the last couple of days, but as of today there is still room in the margin between wholesale and retail for further price declines."

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