SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — In all-time record numbers, Californians were taking to the roadways to celebrate a July 4th holiday weekend free of COVID-19 restrictions for the first time since 2019.
Filomena Andre, the vice president of travel for Automobile Club of Southern California, said travelers need to prepare for jam-packed freeways.READ MORE: VIDEO: Wind-Whipped Dixie Fire Ignites Homes In Greenville; Fire Crews 'Going Into Life Threat Mode'
“We expect car travel to be the highest on record and air travel to be the third highest amount since AAA started tracking data in 2001,” Andre said of the travel crunch.
Statewide, the Auto Club predicted 5.36 million people will travel for the holiday; 4.6 million will go by car and 669,314 via plane.
The holiday revelers will be sharing the roadways with California Highway Patrol officers who will be monitoring traffic as part of a holiday maximum enforcement effort.
“Even though people are eager to travel and get together with family and friends, the California Highway Patrol is urging motorists to slow down and drive sober this holiday,” the agency posted on its Facebook page. “During the 2020 Independence Day Holiday Weekend, at least 36 people were killed in crashes on California roadways. The CHP also made 738 arrests for DUI of alcohol and/or drugs.”
Travelers also should be prepared for a little sticker shock at the gas pump.
The San Francisco Bay Area has the highest gas prices at $4.51 per gallon of regular, inching ever closer to the all-time high of $4.74 a gallon in 2012.READ MORE: PG&E Stock Dip Impacting Fortunes of Past Wildfire Victims
Those are just the averages. According to the Auto Club, the average price in both Oakland and San Jose is $4.33 a gallon.
If Wine Country is your choice for a July 4th destination, plan on paying $4.46 a gallon or more to fill up the tank. In Tahoe, the prices ranged from $4.50 to nearly $5 a gallon on Sunday.
There are deals to be had. Check the cheapest gas prices in your town from gasbuddy.com
If you are planning to travel to Southern California, gas prices will also be steep.
According to the Auto Club, the average price of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area is $4.30 per gallon, which is three cents higher than last week, 12 cents higher than last month, and $1.23 higher than last year.
In San Diego, the average price is $4.27, three cents higher than last week, eight cents more than last month, and $1.17 higher than last year.
On the Central Coast, the average price is $4.26, which is one cent higher than last week, seven cents higher than last month, and $1.15 higher than last year.MORE NEWS: COVID: Case Surge From Delta Variant Leading to Health Care Worker Fatigue
“July 4th travelers will be paying the highest state average price for regular since the 2014 holiday weekend,” said Auto Club spokesman Jeffrey Spring. “Very strong demand and higher oil prices internationally continue to be the key drivers of higher prices.”