Gas Prices Causing Locals to Rethink Travel for Memorial Day
Photo: Video by kmir6.com
RANCHO MIRAGE - The Memorial Day weekend is officially here and for many, that means gassing up the car and heading out for a weekend adventure but not everyone can getaway, thanks to gas prices. While desert gas prices have dropped by a half a cent, some say that isn’t enough for them to spend the money on a road trip. "Gas prices affect my decisions every day on everything so it’s a bit difficult. I'm getting used to it but it does cut into other things like fun and stuff like that,” says Coachella resident Betty Lopez.
The average price of a gallon of gasoline in the desert is $4.03. For the entire state, it's $4.05. This time last year, gas was 28 cents cheaper, so folks are being smart about where they fill up. "I'm only going to put a little bit in here and then make it to Arizona and then fill up,” says traveler Diana Forest. While out on the road, I spoke with a lot of travelers coming to or from Arizona; a place where they say, if you want to fill up, Arizona is the place to do it. "It's a bit more expensive here but I’m coming from Arizona. They're about 20 cents cheaper,” says traveler Dana Burger.
According to AAA, roughly 2.53 million southern Californians will take a holiday trip compared to 2.59 million last year. That’s a 2% decrease. Statewide, 3.5 million travelers will go by car. 349,000 travelers by plane and 399,000 will travel using other modes of transportation. But whether your going by plain, train or automobile, folks traveling can’t wait to relax and enjoy the sun. "Sit on the beach and drink a glass of wine and visit my friend. Haven’t been out to the beach in five years,” says Burger. "Lay out by the pool, catch a movie, enjoy the heat because we don’t get it on the central coast,” says traveler Monica Gill.
From AAA: “Despite the drop in air travel, airports still will be very crowded this holiday weekend and planes will be full as airlines continue to consolidate flights to reduce their costs,” said Filomena Andre, the Auto Club’s vice president for travel. “We advise passengers to plan an extra hour into their travel time to get to the airport and through longer security lines due to the holiday.”
Nationally, travel is also expected to dip slightly compared to last year’s Memorial Day holiday, with 34.8 million travelers expected compared to 35.1 million in 2012. Car travel is expected to rise very slightly to 31.1 million from 31.08 million last year, while air travel is expected to drop to 2.3 million from 2.5 million in 2012, and “other” travel will drop to 1.3 million from 1.5 million last year. While gas prices rose during the past couple of weeks, they are still about 30 cents lower than they were at this time last year in Southern California.
The top Memorial Day destinations for Southern California travelers, according to a survey of AAA Travel agents, are:
1) San Diego
2) Las Vegas
3) San Francisco
4) Central Coast
5) Grand Canyon