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Labor Day travelers facing higher gas prices

September 2, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Southlanders planning to get away this Labor Day weekend are facing higher price tags at the gas pump.

The Auto Club of Southern California reports that this is the most expensive Labor Day weekend on record for gas prices in Southern California at an average of $3.90 per gallon.

The long weekend marks the last hurrah for many families before kids head back to school. Around 2.3 million Californians are expected to hit the roads and head to the airports to squeeze in one last vacation before fall.

This amounts to a 3-percent drop from the number of travelers from this time last year. Nearly 80 percent of holiday travelers are expected to drive rather than fly, but drivers are experiencing sticker shock at the pump.

"Gas prices right now are just killer. You know, I don't think I can make it out of town with these kinds of prices," said Mission Hills resident Geo Ketchedjian. "It's not in the cards. Just forget about it. Just stay home and save a lot of money."

Los Angeles-Long Beach saw $3.90 per gallon of gas, Orange County saw $3.89 per gallon, the Inland Empire saw $3.88 per gallon and Ventura County saw $3.89 per gallon. All of these prices reflect a 16-cent average jump from last week's prices.

Mission Hills resident Patricia Gonzales said she is heading to Las Vegas for the long weekend but said the trip almost didn't happen because of soaring gas prices.

"I just can't believe how high they've been. They're going up and up, and I don't know if they're going to ever go down," said Gonzales.

Even with higher gas prices, driving to your vacation spot is still more economical than flying.

Facing the down economy, the number of vacationers traveling by plane this holiday weekend is expected to go down by 280,000 people, which amounts to a 1.6-percent decrease.

According to the Auto Club, San Diego ranked No. 1 in Labor Day getaway destinations. Las Vegas, California's central coast, San Francisco and the Grand Canyon rounded out the top five on the list.

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