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Christmas and New Year’s travel numbers expected to grow slightly

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With gasoline prices dropping, the Automobile Club of Southern California predicts that the number of Southern Californians traveling for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays will increase slightly over last year.

For the end-of-the-year holidays, the Auto Club says 7.13 million Southland residents will travel at least 50 miles, a 1.4% increase over last year.

Of those holiday travelers who will take trips between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2, 90%, or 6.3 million, will travel by car. That’s a 2.5% increase over last year.

Gasoline prices have been dropping in recent weeks. But the price of a gallon of regular gas, ranging from about $3.50 to $3.65 a gallon in Southern California, is still 30 cents higher than at this time last year, according to the Auto Club.

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Nationally, 91.9 million Americans are expected to take end-of-the-year getaways, also a 1.4% increase over last year.

“In a positive sign for the economy, the number of travelers for this holiday period is expected to increase despite higher costs for gas and airfares,” said Filomena Andre, the Auto Club’s vice president for travel products and services.

The most popular destinations for Southern Californians over the Christmas and New Year holidays, according to Auto Club travel agents, are:

1) Las Vegas

2) San Diego

3) San Francisco

4) Grand Canyon

5) Anaheim (Disneyland)

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-- Hugo Martin


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