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Fourth of July travel weekend | Californians to face heavy traffic, high gas prices

The Fourth of July marks the first major travel weekend since California reopened in June, but high gas prices and heavy traffic present significant roadblocks.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — While Californians are expected to face high gas prices and heavy congestion over the Fourth of July travel weekend, families are already hitting the road for their summer road trips in hopes of beating the traffic.

"Beating it? You're not beating it. it's out there. It's consistent," said Robert Steele, from northern Washington state, who was heading home from a 4,000 mile family road trip to San Diego. 

Steele said he filled up his gas tank seven times so far on his trip, spending about $800. 

According to a summer driving survey by GasBuddy, 57% of Americans will hit the road this summer, compared with just 31% last year in the middle of the pandemic. 

RELATED: Gas prices rise again, no sign of letting up this summer

"I don’t really expect many Americans are going to stay off the roads after losing last summer to COVID," said Patrick De Haan, Gasbuddy's Head of Petroleum Analysis. "Many Americans, 53% of them, still say gas price is irrelevant. They’re going to hit the road no matter what this summer." 

Drivers like Steve Bagnara, on a family road trip from Los Angeles to Mt. Shasta, say the high prices aren't impacting their summer plans. 

"I’m sure it’s going to jump. It always does," Bagnara said. "There’s so many people traveling right now and finally people getting out of quarantine and on the road." 

Gas in California averages $4.30 per gallon, according to Gasbuddy data, compared with $3.13 nationally. In Robert Steele's home state of Washington, gas averages $3.71 per gallon. 

"I don’t know how you guys can make it with gas going up so much. Prices are going up. It’s going to hit all the low and middle class people here," Steele said. 

RELATED: 'I'm going to try and not go anywhere': California's gas tax increases again today


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