Record Number of Travelers Expected Over Fourth of July Weekend: AAA

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More Americans will travel this Fourth of July weekend than any other Independence Day holiday on record, according to predictions from AAA.

Nearly 43 million travelers will journey at least 50 miles from home over the period from Thursday to Monday, July 4, the Auto Club said. That's up 1.3 percent from 2015.

Travel by car is up 1.2 percent, and air travel is up 2.2 percent, in part because airfare is down, AAA said.

Nationwide, about 84.6 percent of vacationers are expected to travel by car.

In Southern California, just over 3 million local residents are expected to travel to vacation this weekend, with 80 percent of them driving. The figures are likely to surpass the 2002 Fourth of July travel record.

As with nationwide predictions, travel in Southern California was expected to increase both on the roads and in the skies.

Los Angeles International Airport was expected see a record number of air travelers, and security was increased, airport police said.

The top destinations for Californians, according to a survey of AAA travel agents, are expected to be:

  1. San Diego
  2. Las Vegas
  3. San Francisco
  4. Santa Barbara
  5. Yosemite National Park

AAA says the expected record travel nationwide is spurred by the lowest gas prices since 2005 — at 46 cents per gallon below last year’s prices as of June 20.

In California, prices at the pump are on the rise, back toward $3 per gallon.

The statewide average was about $2.90 per gallon of regular gas on Thursday, up 2.7 cents from a week earlier, AAA said.

“Although drivers are paying the highest gas prices since early January, the good news is that they are paying almost 60 cents less at the pump than this time last year and $1.20 less than in 2014 at this time,” AAA spokesman Jeffrey Spring said in a statement. “Also, local wholesale fuel prices have dropped back downward and if that trend continues, we should see prices at the pump stabilize or drop soon.”

Tipsy Tow, the Auto Club’s free service offering a tow of up to 7 miles to drinking motorists, is available as a “last resort,” the organization said.

The service is offered in 13 Southern California counties from 6 p.m. Monday, July 4 to 6 a.m. Tuesday.

Those is need of a Tipsy Tow may request one by calling 800-400-4AAA. The service is for drivers only and will only take motorists to their homes.