Americans are gearing up to get away this weekend, despite high fuel prices.
AAA predicts 47.9 million people will travel 50 miles or more from home over the holiday weekend, which began Thursday and continues through Monday. This is an increase of 3.7% over 2021, bringing travel volumes just shy of those seen in 2019.
The biggest surprise — car travel — is expected to set a new record despite historically high gas prices with 42 million people hitting the road. With crowded roads and busy airports, AAA said travelers should prepare so they can have a stress-free Fourth of July celebration.
“AAA Travel Advisors continue to see a high demand for travel during the Independence Day holiday,” Bevi Powell, senior vice president, AAA East Central, said in a statement. “The summer travel season is kicking into high gear and, despite higher gas prices, Americans are ready for a break and that much-needed vacation.”
Car travel volume, even with national gas prices averaging around $5 per gallon, will break previous records as 42 million plan to drive this Independence Day.
The average price for regular unleaded across western Pennsylvania is $4.98 per gallon compared to $3.24 per gallon at this time last year.
In the Mid-Atlantic Region, which includes Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York, 5.2 million people are expected to travel by automobile, which is actually a 0.1% decrease from last year but a total of 6.2 million are expected to travel, an increase of 4%, according to AAA.
Independence Day will be the second busiest since 2000, as travel volumes continue to trend upward with no sign of slowing down, according to AAA.
Meanwhile, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission projects more than 5.8 million motorists will be traveling the Turnpike over the Independence Day holiday through next week. This is almost 100,000 more than last year’s traffic tally of 5.7 million during the same 10-day holiday period.
“Summer travel is kicking into high gear and more than 5.8 million customers will be traveling the PA Turnpike from Friday, July 1 through Sunday, July 10,” said Turnpike CEO Mark Compton in a statement.
“The summer and early fall are typically dangerous times of year on the nation’s roads, with Independence Day being among the most dangerous due to heavy traffic and distracted and impaired driving,” said Sgt. Zachary Ryland of State Police Troop T in a statement. “Obeying the posted speed limits, allowing sufficient distance between other vehicles, and a general respect for other motorists will ensure everyone reaches their destination safely.”