SACRAMENTO, Calif. — With Memorial Day quickly approaching, AAA projects approximately 5,000,000 Californians will travel over the weekend with 90% driving to their destinations despite record-high inflation and gas prices.
"So it's getting pretty close to what we saw before the pandemic. We're pretty much in line with the travel volumes that we were seeing," said AAA Northern California spokesperson Aldo Vazquez.
The average price of gas currently sits at $6.07 per gallon. Southern California resident Ruben Llamas felt the pain at the pump when he filled up his Jeep Gladiator at Neighbors Market and Spirits 76 gas station in Galt on his way to Lake Tahoe.
"It just sucks because we have to spend money on the Airbnb, food and now we have to consider travel. Right now it's over $100 to fill up the tank," said Llamas. "Obviously, it's in the back of our head how much we're gonna spend but we gotta enjoy life and be able to travel and not let things like that stop us."
Kishore Avula — the general manager of Neighbors Market and Spirits says business has been slow lately and blames the soaring gas prices for the lack of customers.
"On day to day basis, whenever we get a new truck, we have to raise prices, decrease prices based on what amount I'm getting," said Avula.
AAA recommends always planning ahead before hitting the road and making sure your car is in proper working order — ensuring fluids are topped off and tires are inflated which will help with fuel economy.
"If you are driving to your destination, look around your route and see what are the gas stations on your route that have the cheaper gasoline," said Vazquez. "Making sure that your vehicle is working to its full capacity is actually going to help improve your fuel economy because your vehicle won't have to work so hard to get it running."
According to AAA, peak travel times are from 1 p.m. until 8 p.m. on Friday. Monday will be the day with the heaviest return traffic as people are heading back home. AAA also projects that 524,000 residents will fly across the state — a 26% increase compared to 2021.