Even though they have dropped in recent days, average gas prices topping $4 a gallon continue to play a big role in the budgets of Southern California residents, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California’s fourth annual Spring Break Travel Poll.
Sixty-nine percent of polled Auto Club members indicated they had made at least one significant concession in their budget because of high gas prices, compared to 66 percent in 2012 and 61 percent in 2011.
And 47 percent of those polled said they plan at least one leisure trip this spring break season, compared to 57 percent in 2012 and 55 percent in 2011.
Among Southland residents who are traveling this spring, more are planning multiple trips than in 2012. Last year, 35 percent of those traveling planned to take two or more spring break trips, while this year, 38 percent are taking multiple March and April trips, with 12 percent planning to take three or more trips.
“Nearly half of Southern Californians continue to make travel a budget priority for them despite high gas prices,” said Filomena Andre, the Auto Club’s vice president for travel. “Gas prices have made some travel options more expensive, but there are some great last-minute values available with cruises and tours. Celebrity Cruises, for example, has some April availability on ships sailing out of San Diego.”
The most common ways that Auto Club members are dealing with high gas prices include:
- Cutting back on unnecessary driving (65 percent)
- Spending less money eating out at restaurants (44 percent)
- Spending less money on entertainment (37 percent)
- Putting less money into savings (35 percent)
- Looking for discounts and specials on entertainment and travel (26 percent)
- Spending less money on spring leisure trips (23 percent)
- Not taking a spring break trip (21 percent)
- Using a member discount program (19 percent)
- Buying a more fuel-efficient vehicle in the last three years (12 percent)
Andre advised those who will be traveling over spring break to budget for gasoline by using AAA’s Fuel Cost Calculator at FuelCostCalculator.AAA.com. The calculator will estimate fuel costs based on the traveler’s make and model of vehicle and the route they are traveling. Travelers can also shop online for the lowest gas prices in any area of the U.S. using the free AAA TripTik Mobile app for Android and iPhone, as well as the online version at AAA.com/TripTik.
The 2013 Auto Club Spring Break poll was conducted from Feb. 25 to Feb. 28 and surveyed 485 Auto Club members. It has a margin of error of +/- 4.4 percent.