AAA predicts record traffic during holiday

Published 10:05 am Friday, June 30, 2017

Traffic along the highways and interstates will increase significantly as millions of Americans take advantage of a four-day Fourth of July holiday weekend.

According to a release from AAA, a record-breaking 44.2 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles during their holiday travels.

The vast majority of travelers — 37.5 million Americans — will drive to their holiday destinations, an increase of 2.9 percent over last year. Air travel is expected to increase 4.6 percent over last year, with 3.44 million Americans taking to the skies this Independence Day.

Travel by other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses, will increase 1.4 percent, to 3.27 million travelers.

Travelers can expect lower prices for airfares, car rentals and hotels and, in some cases, will see fuel costs below $2 per gallon.

The national average fuel costs remains well over $2, but in Warren County, most gas stations are offering regular unleaded gasoline for an average of $1.93 per gallon.

According to a report on marketwatch.com, fuel costs traditionally spike ahead of the Fourth of July holiday, but not this year.

“Perhaps we can finally get rid of the myth that gas prices go up for the holiday,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy. “This is like Christmas in July, instead of seeing fireworks at the pumps like we saw just a few short years ago.”

Gasbuddy expects the national average price to be lower by nearly 12 cents a gallon on Fourth of July than it was on New Year’s Day. Marketwatch’s report said that would be the first price decline between the two holidays, based on records going back to the year 2000.

The Independence Day holiday travel period is defined as Friday, June 30 to Tuesday, July 4.

AAA says the increase in those traveling is tied to strong employment, rising incomes and higher consumer confidence.