Gas prices and rising COVID-19 cases won’t deter most travelers this holiday weekend
To drive, or not to drive?
With gas prices and COVID-19 cases surging, that is the question for Southern Californians this Memorial Day weekend.
Beth Probeus and her family of four are taking the plunge, driving south to San Diego. Their adventures, she said, will include lots of fresh air.
“We’re only comfortable with outdoor activities with Covid numbers on the rise,” the Mission Viejo resident and teacher said Thursday.
They’ll be among thousands of local residents heading to attractions such as the San Diego Zoo, Safari Park and the new Sesame Place theme park.
More than two years into the pandemic, pent-up demand for travel is compelling millions of Californians to hit the road, said Ryan Becker, spokesman for Visit California.
“I want to get out, I want to travel,” he said, citing myriad reasons to leave town. “I’ve had to put my anniversary trip on hold, I’ve had to put my 40th birthday trip on hold.”
Anaheim and its main attraction Disneyland, in case you were wondering, is one of the top destinations for out-of-town visitors.
The Automobile Club of Southern California is predicting 3.1 million people in the region will be traveling this weekend, with 2.6 million or so going by car. Another 320,000 are expected to fly, jamming up parking lots around area airports.
Nationwide, AAA estimates 39.2 million people will travel at least 50 miles from home during the course of the holiday weekend.
Those projections —- which include travel by car, plane and other modes of transportation like trains or cruise ships — are up 8.3% from 2021 and would bring Memorial Day travel volumes close to 2017 levels. The estimates are still below pre-pandemic 2019 levels, a peak year for travel.
Gas prices in Southern California flattened this week after climbing to all-time highs. The average price for a gallon of regular gas hovered around $6.09 in Los Angeles County and $6.05 to the south in Orange County. Inland Empire prices were just below $6 at $5.97 per gallon.
At a Chevron station in the Glassell Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, Ricardo Estrada tried to guess how much the $6.49 a gallon price would run him in total for his Nissan work van.
“I’ll go with between 60 and 70 bucks,” the heating and air-conditioning technician speculated, eyeing the display as the price went up and up.
Estrada — just missing his guess when the pump registered $71.61 for 11 gallons of regular grade — has been forced to raise his business fees for customers to overcome the gas prices. He’ll be working over the holiday weekend but has a vacation planned in Arizona next month.
Click here to read the full article in the OC Register
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