AAA Mid-Atlantic says if you are traveling, you can expect a lot of company on the roads.
Nationwide, more Americans than ever recorded by AAA, nearly 49 million, are making plans to honor the red, white and blue with an Independence Day getaway this year, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic.
That is more than 2 million more than last year.
AAA Mid-Atlantic projects more than 133,000 Delaware residents plan to travel 50 miles or more to mark the second summer holiday weekend. The number represents a nearly 4 percent increase over last year’s forecast.
The Independence Day holiday period is defined as today, July 3 to Sunday, July 7.
Most of those traveling, AAA says, will be going by auto. More than 117,000 Delawareans will take to the roads. That’s a 3.8 percent increase over last year. Additionally, air travel will increase significantly too. AAA says more than 10,000 people will fly to their destinations, a 5.1 percent increase over last year.
For the 41.4 million Americans traveling by automobile this Independence Day, the global transportation analytics company INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts drivers will experience the greatest amount of congestion on today, July 3, as commuters mix with holiday travelers. In major metros, drivers could face delays as much as four times a normal commute. Drivers should avoid peak commuting hours altogether or consider alternative routes.
Lower gas prices compared with last summer, along with broader economic fundamentals remaining strong are contributing to the increase in travelers, AAA says. Low unemployment, robust consumer spending and rising disposable incomes are all encouraging more consumers to invest their hard-earned money in travel this summer. The expected increase in travelers this year is also helped by Independence Day falling on a Thursday, giving travelers more flexibility to schedule a trip the weekend after the holiday.
“Independence Day is a time for the much loved family road trip and this year will be one for the record books, with more Americans than ever planning vacations,” said Ken Grant, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “This holiday builds on the strong travel demand seen for Memorial Day, and with schools now out of session, families are eager to travel.”
The national average of $2.68, gas prices recorded last week are 21 cents less year-over-year and are expected to drop even lower into the summer. This is motivating record numbers of travelers to take road trips for the holiday weekend.
Locally, gas prices remain at $2.48 - 22 cents below this time last year and relatively steady less than one week after the refinery fire at Philadelphia Energy Solutions, the largest refinery on the East Coast.
“Gas prices are, on average, 16-cents cheaper than Memorial Day weekend, which is welcome news for motorists hitting the road to celebrate the July Fourth holiday,” said Grant. “More so, summer gas prices are poised to continue dropping even lower in coming weeks.”