Near record travel expected for July 4th weekend in California | SierraSun.com

Near record travel expected for July 4th weekend in California

Adam Jensen
ajensen@tahoedailytrbune.com

LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Fourth of July weekend is expected to be the busiest for travel in more than a decade in California.

More than 4.9 million residents of the state are expected to travel at least 50 miles for the holiday weekend, the most since 2002, according to the latest American Automobile Association travel survey.

The number of travelers in the state represents a 1.3 percent increase compared to 2015, according to the automobile advocacy organization.

Rich Bodine, director of sales/revenue for Inn by the Lake and president of the South Lake Tahoe Lodging Association, said Fourth of July falling on a Monday isn’t ideal for a boost to Lake Tahoe travel, but hot weather in surrounding areas is helping drive visitor numbers at the South Shore.

“Rates all over town seem to be a bit higher this year and the dry, hot weather definitely helps as it will be 90-100 degrees everywhere outside the basin,” Bodine said in an email. “Inn by the Lake is in a great position to sell out (July 2-4). And the rest of the month is shaping up to be one of our best ever.”

Economic growth, increased disposable income and lower gas prices are all contributors to the increase in travel this Independence Day weekend, according to AAA. The bump in California could continue through the rest of the season.

“We are well on our way for 2016 to be a record-breaking year for summertime travel,” said Cynthia Harris, AAA Northern California spokesperson, in a statement.

Gas prices are at their lowest levels for this time of year since 2005. While gas prices on the West Coast remain among the highest in the country, area motorists are also seeing the largest savings compared to last year.

Drivers in every state located in the West Coast region are saving at least 50 cents per gallon this year, with Nevada experiencing some of the most significant savings, with gas prices 65 cents lower than they were in 2015, according to AAA.

As of Thursday, June 30, the average gallon of regular gas costs $2.90 in California and $2.56 in Nevada. Nationally, the average gallon of regular gas costs $2.28.