Slightly higher numbers of local travelers are expected to hit the road during this Independence Day holiday compared to last year, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California’s holiday forecast. About 2.88 million Southland residents will travel over the holiday – a 1.5 percent increase from last year.
Despite what are expected to be the highest gas prices for this holiday since 2008, the increased number in local travelers is all coming from road trips. Seventy-nine percent of Southern California travelers, or 2.29 million, are expected to drive to their holiday destinations – an increase of 2 percent from last year’s 2.24 million car travelers. Another 338,000 are expected to go by air – a decrease of two-tenths of one percent from 2013’s air travel number of 339,000.
Statewide, 4.64 million are expected to travel over the Independence Day holiday, a 1.5 percent increase from last year, with 3.69 million going by car and 545,000 going by air. In 2013, a total of 4.57 million Californians traveled during Fourth of July, with 3.62 million driving to their destinations and 547,000 flying.
Nationally, Fourth of July travel is expected to increase by 1.9 percent to 41 million from last year’s 40 million.
“We’re seeing a greater willingness from travelers to use credit to pay for vacations, which indicates they feel more confident about their finances,” said Filomena Andre, the Auto Club’s vice president for travel products and services. “With the holiday on Friday, travelers also have a greater number of options this year to take either a short three-day getaway or a longer trip.”
According to a survey of AAA Travel agents, the top five destinations for Southern Californians this holiday are:
1) San Diego
2) Las Vegas
3) Grand Canyon
4) San Francisco
5) Central Coast (Santa Barbara to Monterey)
For travelers going by car, the Auto Club recommends filling up sooner rather than later, since gas prices are on the rise due to a couple of local refinery equipment issues that are tightening Southern California fuel supplies. At nearly $4.20 a gallon on average in the Los Angeles/Long Beach area, gas prices this Independence Day are likely to be higher than for any other July Fourth holiday since 2008, when the Los Angeles/Long Beach average price per gallon was $4.60.
The July Fourth holiday forecast was conducted by IHS Global Insight on behalf of AAA. Historical travel data is provided by DK Shifflet, the world’s most comprehensive consumer travel measurement provider.