Jun 21, 2022 - Economy

Record number of Americans to hit the road for July 4 weekend

Cars hit the road on a California highway.

Cars hit the road on a California highway. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A record 42 million Americans are expected to hit the road during the upcoming July 4 weekend despite historically high gas prices and inflation costs, AAA said Tuesday.

Why it matters: Gas prices have surged to record levels in recent weeks, causing pain at the pump. But those surging costs aren't stopping millions of Americans from traveling by car for Independence Day.

Details: Including air travel, 47.9 million people are expected to travel 50 miles or more from home during the holiday period, the AAA said.

  • This is a 3.7% increase compared to 2021 and close to 2019 levels, AAA said.

What they're saying: “The volume of travelers we expect to see over Independence Day is a definite sign that summer travel is kicking into high gear,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel, in a statement.

  • “Earlier this year, we started seeing the demand for travel increase and it’s not tapering off," she said. "People are ready for a break and despite things costing more, they are finding ways to still take that much-needed vacation.”

Context: The high amount of travel comes amid historic gas prices, which hit more than $5 about two weeks ago, Axios' Ivana Saric writes.

  • Gas prices slightly dipped over the Juneteeth weekend, hitting $4.983 on Sunday and then $4.981 per gallon on Monday.
  • Patrick De Haan, a GasBuddy analyst, predicted gas prices may fall to $4.75 or $4.85 per gallon by July 4. However, gas prices are often unpredictable throughout the summer since the demand for travel is so high, CNN reports.
  • President Biden said Monday that he is looking into a possible gas tax holiday to lower the prices at the pump for July 4 weekend, CNBC reports.

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