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Gasoline prices drop before holiday weekend

May 27, 2010 |  4:09 pm
TrafficThe price of a gallon of gasoline in Southern California took the biggest one-week drop during any May in 10 years, just as vacationers prepare for Memorial Day holiday weekend travel.

Since May 20, the average price of a gallon of regular gas dropped nearly 7 cents in the Los Angeles and Long Beach region and in Orange County, and about 8 cents in the metropolitan areas around San Diego, Santa Barbara, Riverside and San Bernardino, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California.

The average gallon of regular gasoline sells for $3.03 in the Los Angeles and Long Beach region, $3.02 in Orange County, $3.09 in the Santa Barbara area and $3.01 around Riverside and San Bernardino, according to the Auto Club.

The drop is the result of a combination of factors, including the increased strength of the U.S. dollar compared with other currencies and a slight decline in fuel demand, Auto Club spokeswoman Marie Montgomery said.

The decline is good news for vacationers who will hit the road for the three-day weekend that traditionally marks the start of the summer vacation season. Among Southern Californians, about 2.5 million people plan to travel at least 50 miles and spend a night away from home this weekend and 84% of them will get away by car, according to the Auto Club.

According to a poll of Auto Club travel agents, the most popular destinations for Southern California vacationers will be San Diego, Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, San Francisco and the Central California coast.

-- Hugo Martin

Photo: Los Angeles Times