AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2Friday afternoon, the average price for a gallon of unleaded gasoline in the L.A. area was $3.199 – down 16 cents from a month ago but still up 54 cents from this time last year, according to the Automobile Club. Increased supply and demand depressed by record-high pump prices had reduced fuel prices recently, said Marie Montgomery, an Auto Club spokeswoman. “However, the last couple of days there has been a little bit of a U-turn in Southern and Northern California,” said Montgomery, who on Monday paid $2.99 a gallon for unleaded in Huntington Beach. Many people filling up at an Arco station on Friday said gasoline prices were hindering their Fourth of July plans. Abel Torres, a Chatsworth truck dispatcher, canceled plans for himself, his wife and four kids to visit family in Arizona. Gasoline prices continued their downward slide this week – the sixth in a row – but inched up Friday just in time for Fourth of July travel. Despite prices that remain about 20 percent higher than this time last summer, a record number of Americans and Californians plan to travel by land and air this weekend, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California. Officials expect 2.8 million Southern Californians to hit the highways to, among other places, Las Vegas, Santa Barbara and San Francisco. “Gas prices suck, but I’ve got to get from Point A to Point B,” said Mitch Bush, who expected to spend $160 driving his sport utility vehicle from Reseda to San Luis Obispo to visit family and escape 100-degree heat this weekend. “Gas prices are too high. Gas is too … high to travel, especially when you have a family,” said Torres, who only pumped 2.9 gallons – costing $9 – into his car Friday because that was all he could afford. “I’m waiting for payday,” he said. Montgomery said it is difficult to predict whether gas prices will soon begin to climb again, a trend that typically runs through the start of the school year. But when bleary-eyed travelers refuel for their return home Tuesday, they could find that prices have shot up again over the weekend. If so, the philosophical Bush expects to either suck it up or soak it up in San Luis Obispo. “What are you going to do? Stay up there?” he asked, rhetorically. “I wish.” [email protected] (818) 713-3634160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!