More Southern Californians will be driving for the holidays

Despite rising gasoline prices, Southern Californians are planning to travel in greater numbers for the Christmas and New Year holidays compared with last year, the Automobile Club of Southern California predicted Friday.

About 7.2 million Southern California residents are expected to travel more than 50 miles during the end-of-the-year holidays, a 3% increase over the same period last year, according to the auto club’s annual forecast.

Of Southern Californians who plan to travel for the holidays, 91%, or 6.6 million people, will travel by car, also a 3% increase over last year’s projected numbers.

National travel is also expected to increase 3% over last year, with 93% of travelers driving to their destinations, according to the auto club.


The projected increase comes despite gas prices that have been climbing for the last few weeks. The average price for self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles area is $3.26, 2.3 cents more than the price last week and 11 cents more than the price in November.

This week’s average gas price is also 33 cents higher than it was last year at this time.

During the holidays, the most popular destinations for Southern Californians are Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Disneyland, San Diego and San Francisco, the auto club said.