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Gas prices drop in time for trips

Economy: Auto Club estimates 2.5M SoCal travelers will hit the road; average price per gallon $3.03

Posted: May 29, 2010 12:39 a.m.
Updated: May 29, 2010 4:30 a.m.
 

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Gas prices have dropped in time for Memorial Day weekend, but prices per gallon aren’t as low as they were at the same time last year.

Local gas prices experienced their biggest one-week drop during any week in May in the past 10 years, tumbling by a penny or more a day in most areas and bringing prices below $3 a gallon at many area gas stations, the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Weekend Gas Watch reported Thursday.

The average price of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles and Long Beach area is $3.03 per gallon. That’s 6.8 cents lower than last week, 6.4 cents lower than last month, and 38 cents higher than last year.

The Auto Club predicts about 2.5 million Southern Californians will make getaways this weekend. Most of them — 84 percent, or 2.1 million travelers — are expected to drive.

“Local gas prices are more quickly responding to market signals that have pulled crude oil and wholesale gasoline prices sharply lower this month,” Auto Club spokesman Jeffrey Spring said. “Although price averages are still about 35 cents higher than this time last year, Memorial Day travelers are getting a huge break at the pump compared to two years ago, when prices were soaring over $4 a gallon.”

Spring also said hotel and car rental rates are lower on average than last year’s holiday weekend.

Buckle up
California Highway Patrol has dubbed the weekend as a maximum-enforcement period from 6 p.m. Friday to 11:59 p.m. Monday.

CHP made nearly 1,500 DUI arrests last year during the enforcement period, and 45 people were killed on California’s roadways, according to a CHP news release. Nearly half of those people were not wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash, CHP reported.

“Insist everyone is properly restrained with a seat belt or child safety seat before starting your engine,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow in a written statement. “Those two seconds could save your life or the life of someone you love.”

CHP has encouraged motorists to report drunk drivers by calling 9-1-1.

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