AAA says travel volume in Southern California is 4% higher than 2021
Holiday travel is increasing in Southern California as gas prices fall.
That’s the word from the American Automobile Association, which estimates that between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2, approximately 9.2 million holiday travelers will make a trip 50 or more miles away from home.
Of that number, 8.1 million are predicted to be traveling by automobile and approximately 771,000 will travel by plane, according to Doug Shupe, corporate communications manager for AAA.
“The overall travel volume in Southern California is 4% higher than last year and down only 1% from 2019, before the pandemic. People are ready to get out there and connect with friends and family and ring in the new year on a new note with loved ones and lots of plans for the future,” Mr. Shupe told the News-Press Wednesday.
Across the nation, AAA expects 112.7 million holiday travelers, with 101.8 million automobile travelers and 7.2 million traveling by plane, up 3.3% from this time last year and down 6% from 2019, prior to the pandemic.
Falling gas prices are seen as a reason for the increase in this year’s holiday travel. The national average on Wednesday for a gallon of gas was $3.13. The national average a week ago was $3.10, a month ago was $3.54 and a year ago was $3.28. The highest average price recorded was on June 14 at $5.01.
The average on Wednesday for California, which has consistently stayed above the rest of the country, was $4.37. The state average a week ago was $4.34, a month ago was $5.04 and a year ago was $4.65. The highest average price recorded was on June 14 at $6.43.
The average price in Santa Barbara County was $4.51 on Wednesday, down from $4.52 a week ago and $5.11 a month ago.
Elsewhere on Wednesday, the average gas price in Ventura County was $4.50 a gallon, down from $5.16 a month ago; in San Luis Obispo County, $4.86 a gallon, down from $5.42 one month ago; and Los Angeles County, $4.46 a gallon, down from $5.11 a month ago.
“Falling gas prices are one factor impacting holiday travel,” Mr. Shupe said. “Another factor is flight disruptions, which may increase auto travel following this past weekend’s winter storm, which impacted Christmas travel.
“People must not forget about safety. We want people to start the new year on the right foot with fun and family,” he said. “Make sure you are well rested. Don’t make dangerous driving decisions. Buckle up and obey the speed limits.
“Don’t drive intoxicated, and don’t drive intexticated,” Mr. Shupe said, referring to texting on phones.
He also advised that motorists go the distance in preparation.
“Triple AAA anticipates coming to the rescue of over 250, 000 stranded drivers throughout the state of California,” Mr. Shupe said. “The top reasons for calls will include: dead batteries, flat tires, and getting locked out of vehicles. For those taking road trips, inspect your vehicles, including checking belts and hoses. Being stranded is a very vulnerable place to be. A little preventative maintenance will prevent that breakdown.”