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Southern Californians to travel in bigger numbers on Labor Day

August 27, 2012|By Hugo Martin
  • Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times
Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times (jjy9banc20080909122217/600 )

Despite record-high gasoline prices for the holiday, Southern Californians will travel in higher numbers this Labor Day weekend.

That was the forecast Monday by the Auto Club of Southern California, which predicted that 2.35 million Southland residents will travel over the long weekend, a 3.4% increase over the same holiday period last year.

Gasoline prices are expected to be higher this weekend than during any other Labor Day, with the average price for a gallon of regular gasoline above $4. The previous record average price during Labor Day weekend was in 2008, when motorists paid between $3.80 and $3.90, according to the Auto Club.

Still, gas prices should be lower than the average of $4.25 per gallon that drivers paid during the Memorial Day weekend this year.

More than 1.85 million Southern Californians are expected to drive, an increase of 3.6% over last year. About 306,000 Southern Californians will travel by plane over the weekend, a 4.1% increase over last year, according to the Auto Club.

"Although gas prices are expected to be higher this holiday weekend than during other Labor Day weekends, we anticipate this to have very little impact on holiday travel, because most people have planned their trips and made reservations before the dramatic rise in gas prices," said Filomena Andre, the Auto Club's vice president for travel products and services. "And fuel costs typically represent a fairly small percentage of the overall trip budget."

The most popular destinations for Southern Californians, according to the Auto Club, will be San Diego, Las Vegas, the Central Coast, San Francisco and the Grand Canyon.

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