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AAA: July 4th travel could be highest on record

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Posted at 12:45 PM, Jun 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-27 14:45:38-04

AAA: July 4th gas prices down

The American Automobile Association projects more than 44.2 million Americans will travel as part of their Independence Day plans. With an additional 1.25 million travelers -– a 2.9 percent increase –- ready to take to the road, sea, and sky, this year’s Fourth of July travel volume is expected to be the highest on record.

“An improving job market, high consumer confidence and relatively affordable gas prices will motivate many Americans to visit loved ones for food, fireworks, and fun this year,” said Matthew Conde, Public Affairs Manager for AAA Idaho.  

More than 221,000 Idahoans are expected to travel over the holiday weekend; this year, defined as the five-day period from Friday, June 30 to Tuesday, July 4. 

About 188,000 will drive, and almost 18,000 will fly, Conde stated.

All major travel modes are on the rise.

The AAA says 37.5 million Americans will drive to their destinations, an increase of about three percent over last year. 

Another 3.44 million will board a plane, and air travel will rise by 4.6 percent. 

The other modes of transportation will also climb, with travel by cruise, bus and train increasing 1.4 percent to 3.27 million travelers. 

In the last four years, overall travel has grown by ten percent, and by 50 percent since the 2009 recession.

“The momentum has carried over from Memorial Day,” Conde said.  “It’s going to be an exciting and busy start to the summer.”

“Americans don’t seem to need any more encouragement to travel right now, but AAA’s Leisure Travel Index offers some great news – hotel nights, air fares and car rentals are all expected to be more affordable than last year’s Independence Day prices,” Conde said.  

Experts say gas prices won’t impact travel plans.

“Holiday travelers will pay substantially less for fuel than in most recent years,” Conde pointed out. “We expect prices to climb with increased demand, but that won’t interfere with anyone’s party plans.”

While pump prices in Idaho and the Rocky Mountain region have recently ticked higher in response to early seasonal demand, supplies are abundant across the U.S. In many parts of the country, high inventory has overwhelmed demand to put downward pressure on gas prices, but that could change as summer travel picks up the pace, the AAA said.