AAA projects 44.2 million Americans (13.7 percent of the population) will travel 50 or more miles away from home this Independence Day weekend. This is the highest travel volume for the holiday on record. It adds up to 1.25 million more travelers than last year and an increase of 2.9 percent over 2016. The Independence Day holiday travel period is defined as Friday, June 30 to Wednesday, July 5.
In the Pacific Region, (AK, CA, HI, OR, WA), 6.8 million are expected to travel, up 2.9 percent compared to last year. In Oregon, roughly 520,000 people are expected to take a 4th of July getaway.
“The 4th of July is traditionally the busiest travel holiday of the summer. This is the fourth year in a row we’re seeing an increase in the number of travelers for the holiday,” says AAA Oregon/Idaho Public Affairs Director Marie Dodds. “High consumer confidence, gains in personal income and relatively cheap gas prices are encouraging millions of Americans to travel to enjoy fireworks, food and fun!”
Car travel is most popular
Nationally, 85 percent of holiday travelers (37.5 million) will drive to their holiday destinations, one million more automobile travelers and an increase of 2.9 percent compared to 2016.
In the Pacific Region, 79 percent of travelers (5.4 million) plan to travel by car, an increase of 2.7 percent.
Gas prices similar to last year
The national average is a little less than last year while the Oregon average is a bit more than Independence Day 2016. With plentiful supplies, gas prices are expected to remain fairly low for the summer travel season, although consumers may see prices increase a few cents approaching the holiday weekend, similar to the Memorial Day gas price trends.
The current national average for regular unleaded is $2.28, and Oregon’s average is $2.68.
Best, worst times to drive
The best times to leave are the early mornings. The busiest times on the roadways will be Friday, June 30 from early afternoon through evening, and Tuesday, July 4 from late afternoon through the evening. Try to avoid traveling through cities during peak travel times such as the morning and afternoon rush hours. With 37.5 million people traveling by car over Independence Day weekend, the roadways will be crowded. “Plan for lots of company and pack your patience!” says Dodds. “Allow plenty of extra time to get to your destination safely and be sure to have an emergency kit in your car, just in case.”