AAA predicts some 47.9 million people will travel more than 80 miles from home between Thursday and Monday – and a record 42 million of those people are expected to travel by car, despite petrol prices remaining high.
The prediction suggests that even with the national average price of a gallon of gas above the $5 mark, about 88% of everyone traveling this weekend will be driving. Around 7% of holidaymakers are expected to fly and 5% by other means, such as buses, trains or cruise ships.
The preference for hitting the road is likely due to recent air travel issues and lingering worries about cancellations, according to AAA.
Last year, 41.8 million people traveled by car, compared to 41.5 million in 2019.
A total of 49 million people traveled in 2019. In 2021, 46.2 million people traveled for the July 4 holiday.
“The volume of travelers we expect to see on Independence Day is a sure sign that summer travel is kicking into high gear,” Paula Twidale, senior vice president, AAA Travel, said. “Earlier this year we started to see travel demand increase and it is not decreasing. People are ready for a break and despite things costing more, they are finding ways to keep taking that much-needed vacation.
With an abundance of road trips, AAA expects to respond to some 446,000 roadside assistance calls this weekend.
AAA recommends carrying out a complete vehicle inspection before any long trip, and especially to ensure that the vehicle’s battery and engine are in good condition. It’s also never a bad idea to keep a well-stocked emergency kit in the car, just in case.
To avoid crowds, travel during off-peak hours or stay closer to home. AAA expects Thursday and Friday afternoons to have the most vehicle traffic. According to AAA’s airline booking data, Friday is likely to be the busiest day for air travel.
The top 10 travel destinations in the United States this holiday weekend will be Orlando, Florida; Seattle; New York City; Anaheim, California; Anchorage, Alaska; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Vegas; Honolulu Hawaii; Denver and Chicago.
According to AAA, the main international travel destinations are Vancouver, Paris, London, Rome and Amsterdam.
Anyone hitting the road this weekend and departing from the Mahoning Valley can expect to fill up for less than the national and state average, but people will still feel a little pain at the pump.
The national average for a gallon of regular gasoline on Tuesday was $4,881, AAA reports. The Ohio average was $4,846. In Mahoning County the average cost was $4,814 and in Trumbull County it was $4,789. The average cost of Columbiana was $4,832.
Sheetz, a convenient Mid-Atlantic chain with local gas stations, said Monday it will cut the price of a gallon of gas for the holiday weekend to $3.99 for unleaded. 88 – approved for 2001 or newer model years, light trucks, SUVs and Flex Fuel vehicles – and $3.49 for E85, which contains more ethanol and is specifically for ‘flex fuel vehicles’, according to Sheetz.
The highest average price ever for a gallon of regular gasoline in Ohio, $5,065, was recorded on June 9, according to AAA.