Bay Area

Fourth of July Holiday Travelers Hit the Road Despite Soaring Gas Prices

About 43 million across the U.S. are packing up the car for the holiday weekend

NBC Universal, Inc.

Holiday travelers are hitting the roads in near-record numbers, even as gas prices spike above $4 in several Bay Area places.

For many, Friday marked the official start of the holiday weekend, and tens of millions across the country are packing up their vehicles for holiday road trips.

According to AAA, 47.7 million Americans are traveling for the holiday, and 43 million are expected to be on the road. The worst time to be on the road Friday is between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m., and the best time is before noon, the travel agency says.

Gas prices this weekend are expected to be the most expensive since 2014, AAA says, with the national average at $3.12 and the California average at $4.28.

In the Bay Area, San Francisco's average gas price is $4.28, Oakland's is $4.36 and San Jose's is $4.35.

For some drivers, those spiking gas prices are an added annoyance to traveling on a busy holiday weekend.

"I guess I should invest in that electric car, I don’t know," Jason Thornton said. "But for now, gas prices are too high for us in California, especially here in the Bay Area."

SparkCharge, a company in San Francisco that offers mobile charging for electric vehicles, says more people have told them that they're going electric.

"I think they’re saying it’s just getting too expensive, not only on the gas front, but on the maintenance front," SparkCharge CEO Joshua Aviv said. "When you combine all these things together, it just doesn’t make sense anymore."

A new gas tax increase went into effect Thursday, so California drivers and tourists are now paying more than 51 cents in state gas taxes.

Plenty of people were still filling up Friday. Some said they're used to the high prices. Others said it's really starting to put a dent in their budget, especially those who are once again commuting long distances for work.

One family said it was cheaper to fly to the Bay Area from San Diego than to drive. Another family from Oregon said they will no longer vacation in California because of the state's gas prices.

"It is [worth it] for the weekend for the kids, but will we make another trip down here? Probably not," Sherry Arthur said. "And if we go anywhere else, we will probably avoid going through California to get there...we can’t afford it."

Contact Us