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Fewer Californians Will Hit the Road This Labor Day Weekend

Lagging economy and slightly higher travel costs will keep people closer to home this holiday weekend

More Californians are expected to stay close to home this Labor Day weekend.

The California State Automobile Association predicts 3.7 million Californians will travel more than 50 miles during the upcoming holiday weekend.

That's a 2.6 percent decrease from a year ago.

The association expects 3 million of the travelers to go by car, an increase of 0.9 percent from Labor Day weekend 2010.

Another 453,000 Californians will fly. That's a drop of 1.5 percent from a year ago.

Another 230,000 will travel by train, boat or other means of transportation. That's a decline of 33 percent.

Air fares are 13 percent higher than a year ago. Hotel rates are up 6 percent.

Gas prices have also risen the past week.

Nationwide, the average cost for a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline is now $3.61, up a penny from a week ago, according to the CSAA website that tracks gas prices.

In California, the average price is $3.81 for a gallon of regular unleaded. That's up 8 cents from last week.

In the East Bay, a gallon of unleaded regular costs an average of $3.82, up 9 cents from a week ago.

CSAA officials say these increased costs as well as a lagging economy are putting a dent in this year's Labor Day travel.

“California travelers are reacting to the most recent economic downturns and that is having a significant effect on discretionary spending,” said CSAA Northern California spokesperson Cynthia Harris.

CSAA officials say Californians who stay close to home will shop, visit friends, dine out and go on bike rides to enjoy the holiday weekend.

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