SoCal expected to stay home for the holiday

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(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

L.A.'s Morning News: Phil Hulett and Penny Griego
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LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Slightly fewer Southern California residents of are expected to travel over the Fourth of July weekend because the holiday falls on a Thursday this year, as opposed to 2012, when it fell on a Wednesday, the Automobile Club of Southern California said today.

The auto club expects about 2.32 million Southern Californians to drive to holiday destinations, a decrease of half of one percentage point, according to an auto club statement.

“About 2.92 million Southland residents will travel over the holiday — a 0.7 percent decrease from last year,” according to the auto club.

A total of 343,000 Southern Californians are expected to fly to their destinations, a small increase over the previous figure of 341,500.

Statewide, 4.7 million people are expected to take holiday trips over the Independence Day weekend — 3.73 million in automobiles and another 551,000 on planes, according to the auto club.

“In 2012, a total of 4.74 million Californians traveled during the Fourth of July, with 3.75 million driving to their destinations and 549,000 flying,” the club statement read.

“Nationally, Fourth of July travel is expected to decline by 0.8 percent to 40.79 million from last year’s 41.1 million.”

Auto Club of Southern California Vice President for travel products and services Filomena Andre said that last year, travelers could choose between the weekend before or the one after July 4 in making their holiday travel plans, but this year, travelers are likely to take off on a four-day weekend from Thursday through Sunday.

“Considering that the holiday travel period contains one fewer weekend than last year, Independence Day travel is looking fairly strong for 2013,” Andre said.

The top five driving destinations for Southern Californians traveling over the holiday weekend, according to a survey of AAA travel agents, are:
1. San Diego;
2. San Francisco;
3. Las Vegas;
4. the Grand Canyon; and
5. the Central Coast.

The top air destination is Hawaii, according to the AAA.

Another factor that could hold down Southlanders’ holiday auto travel is the cost of gasoline, which is 20-30 cents per gallon higher than in 2012, with average prices topping $4 per gallon as a result of a recent price spike, according to the auto club. But prices have been dipping in recent days.

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