If you're wincing at the cost of gasoline as get ready for your Memorial Day driving trip, take heart: You're not paying as much as you did last year.
Gas prices have shot up like a rocket in the last month. Californians are paying an average $3.79 a gallon for regular gas, according to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report.
In the Los Angeles/Long Beach area, we're paying about 18 cents a gallon more than the state average, which puts us at the top of the charts. Even usually expensive San Francisco is paying less than we are, at $3.80 a gallon.
But gas prices are particularly painful now because holiday weekend travel (50 miles or more constitutes a trip, AAA says) is mostly by car: Of the 37.2 million people expected to get out of town, 33 million are expected to be driving, AAA says.
Here's the good (OK, maybe not so bad) news: You'll pay less for a gallon of regular gas than last year, when it was $4.14 statewide and 3 cents more than that for L.A./Long Beach residents.
The chart above shows what you would pay for trips of 100, 500 and 1,000 miles. If you're driving a sedan that gets 34 mpg, you'll save $1.01, $5.11 and $10.21, respectively, on those trips.
Enough, at least in the latter two instances, to buy yourself a cup of coffee, which you may need to stay awake in traffic. Yes, that. Expect highways crammed with cars on Friday and Monday (surprise). To avoid them: Be counterintuitive. Leave early or late, unlike the rest of the world.