Southland residents are expected to travel in large numbers over the upcoming Fourth of July holiday weekend, with the vast majority of them driving despite soaring gas prices, according to estimates released Tuesday by the Automobile Club of Southern California.

According to the Auto Club, roughly 3.3 million Southern California residents are expected to travel over the holiday, topping the volume seen on Memorial Day weekend. The estimate is up roughly 46% from last year’s pandemic-impacted Independence Day weekend and just 5.6% below the pre-pandemic holiday in 2019.

Of those who are traveling, 2.8 million, or roughly 86%, are expected to travel by car, with 13% flying and the rest relying on some other means of transportation.

“Car and air travel each are showing growing strength this Fourth of July holiday weekend because many states have reduced or eliminated COVID-19 restrictions,” said Filomena Andre, the Auto Club’s vice president for travel. “We expect car travel to be the highest on record and air travel to be the third highest amount since AAA started tracking data in 2001.”

The large numbers of people driving to their destinations comes despite soaring gas prices that are reaching levels not seen at least six years. The average price of a gallon of gas in Southern California already tops $4 a gallon.

The top five destinations for Southern California travelers over the holiday weekend are expected to be Las Vegas, San Diego, Zion/Bryce Canyon National Parks, Grand Canyon National Park and Yosemite National Park.

Statewide, the Auto Club predicts 5.36 million people will travel for the holiday, with 4.6 million going by car and 669,314 flying.

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