A record number of families are expected to hit the road this holiday weekend, according to AAA.
More than 5.1 million Californians are projected to travel over the Fourth of July holiday, representing an increase of 2.8 percent from last year, according to the travel source. AAA projects a record-breaking 44.2 million Americans will travel nationwide.
“Fourth of July is typically the busiest summer travel holiday, with 225,000 more Californians traveling compared to Memorial Day weekend,” said Mike Blasky, spokesperson for AAA Northern California.
The Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as June 30 to July 4.
While gas prices remain slightly above year-ago levels in California, prices remain historically low for the summer travel season.
GasBuddy is reporting that this year motorists will see the lowest Independence Day gas prices since 2005, paying a national average of $2.21 per gallon, well under the 10-year average of $3.14 per gallon.
“It’s thrilling to see gas prices falling just in time for the most-traveled summer holiday. Perhaps we can finally get rid of the myth that gas prices go up for the holiday,” said Patrick DeHaan, GasBuddy senior petroleum analyst. “Most importantly, motorists are getting a well-deserved break at the pump after years of high summer gas prices. This is like Christmas in July, instead of seeing fireworks at the pumps like we saw just a few short years ago.”
Although average gas prices are at historic lows, the variance in gas prices in any given city on July 4 will be at historic highs, according to GasBuddy.
On Tuesday, the lowest price for a gallon of gas in Turlock was $2.55 and could be found at the ARCO stations on Lander Avenue. The highest price on Tuesday was $3.19 a gallon at the Chevron on Geer Road.
More than 4 million Californians – almost 80 percent of overall travelers – will drive to their Fourth of July destinations, an increase of 2.7 percent over last year.
Travel costs including airfare, car rentals and hotel are trending lower this year, which is contributing to the lift in air travel. More than 642,000 Californians will take to the skies this Independence Day, a 5.6 percent jump over last year.
“The current economy's strong employment, rising incomes and consumer confidence is helping to boost the number of planned getaways over the first official three-day weekend of the summer,” Blasky said. “This is great news for an already bustling summer travel season, as we also had record numbers for Memorial Day.”
AAA expects to rescue more than 338,000 motorists across the country over Independence Day weekend, with the primary reasons being lockouts, flat tires and battery-related issues. Before heading out of town, AAA recommends drivers take their vehicle to a trusted repair facility for a thorough inspection and perform needed maintenance.
AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Markit. The London-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.