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This Fourth will have most motorists in eight years

 

Infographic courtesy of AAA

HITTING THE ROAD: If you're driving this Fourth of July, you'll have a lot of company. Be prepared, says AAA.

There will be 41.9 million Americans journeying 50 miles or more from home this Independence Day, the most since 2007 and a 0.7 percent increase from the 41.6 million people who traveled last year, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA). The Independence Day holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, July 1, to Sunday, July 5.

"Rising income, driven by a strong employment Market, is prompting more Americans to travel this holiday weekend," said Jennifer Cook, AAA Washington Spokesperson. "Independence Day gas prices are expected to be the lowest in at least five years, a welcome sign for the 35.5 million people planning a holiday road trip."

Nearly 85 percent of travelers (35.5 million) will drive to their holiday destinations, also an increase of 0.7 percent. Holiday air travel is expected to increase 1.5 percent to 3.21 million leisure travelers and travel by other modes of transportation including cruises, trains and buses, will increase 0.5 percent this Independence Day, to 3.2 million.

Locally, AAA Washington expects to rescue nearly 10,000 members at the roadside this holiday weekend, with the primary request being for towing, then assistance with a dead battery or a tire. Many of these roadside problems can be avoided with some pre-road-trip maintenance, such as a check of the coolant system, battery health, tread condition and depth, and an oil change. Nationwide, AAA expects to rescue nearly 360,000 motorists at the roadside this Independence Day weekend.

The association also offers an app for roadside assistance, available for smart phones, on its web site: AAA.com/mobile.

This holiday weekend, Washington drivers will pay the cheapest amount for gas since 2010 when it was $3.01 per gallon. The average price of regular unleaded gasoline in Washington is $3.19 per gallon, 81 cents lower than a year ago, but 14 cents higher than a month ago. In Idaho, the average price of regular unleaded gasoline is up 10 cents in the past month to $2.97 per gallon, 83 cents less than last year. And, nationally, the average price is $2.78 per gallon.

Travelers will encounter moderately higher lodging rates and airfares this Independence Day.  The average nightly stay in Average airfares for the top 40 domestic flight routes are six percent higher this Independence Day, climbing to $227.

AAA's projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. The Colorado-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades.

 

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