41.9 million Americans expected to leave town for Independence Day


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — AAA is projecting 41.9 million Americans will travel 50 or more miles from home for Independence Day weekend. The travel period takes place July 1-July 5.

This is the most travelers since 2007 and a 0.7 percent increase from 2014.

“This Independence Day, more people will get in their cars, board airplanes, and take buses, trains, and cruise ships to celebrate our nations freedom with friends and family,” said Clay Ingram, AAA Alabama spokesperson. “Students all across the nation are also celebrating freedom from pencils and books, making this an ideal time for a family vacation. Independence Day is typically the busiest summer travel holiday for this reason, and more Americans are planning a holiday getaway than any year since 2007.”

A strong employment market and rising income is encouraging more Americans to take a trip this year.

“Although some consumers are using their recent savings on gas to pay down debt and save, overall, Americans are planning to travel in record numbers,” said Ingram. “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 to hit the highways for the holiday.”

Around 85 percent of travelers are expected to drive, and air travel will increase 1.5 percent, with 3.21 million travelling by plane, and other travel methods will increase.5 percent to 3.2 million. Other modes of travel include cruises, trains and buses.

AAA is also gearing up to provide roadside assistance to nearly 360,000 motorists, with the primary causes being dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts. AAA recommends that anyone hitting the road check the condition of their vehicle thoroughly before going out on the road.

Work zones in Birmingham with reduced speed limits will remain in place over the holiday travel period, even though construction activity will not take place over the weekend. Notable routes include the Birmingham interchange with I65, U.S. 331 in Crenshaw County and Ross Clark Road in Dothan.

Gas prices are also expected to remain below levels from a year ago, with drivers likely paying the lowest Independence Day prices for gas in the last five years. The prices for gas are expected to fluctuate 91-93 cents less per gallon than Independence Day of 2014.

Copyright 2015 WIAT 42 News

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