AAA: Gas prices impacting July 4 travel?

AAA LogoOver 1.1 million Virginians, the vast majority of which will be motorists  (84 percent),  will venture 50 miles or more from their homes to celebrate Independence Day, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic’s holiday travel forecast.

“With close to 970,000 motorists hitting the roadways for the holiday weekend, everyone will have lots of company whenever they travel. The busiest days, however, are expected to be July 3rd and 7th, thus avoiding those, if possible, may help,” said Martha Mitchell Meade, Manager- Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic (AAA).

The 2013 travel forecast is down minimally (1.4%) from 2012, predominantly due to a shorter holiday period.

“While holiday travel numbers have been increasing slowly but steadily overall since 2008, the slight decline for this July 4th is due to the fact that holiday falls on a Thursday, making a five day trip the natural choice as opposed to the six day option from last year,” said Martha Mitchell Meade, Manager, Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. The Independence Day holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, July 3 to Sunday, July 7.

The shorter holiday period, coupled with gas prices  that are, as of today, 21 cents per  gallon higher than they were last year ($3.39 versus $3.18 a gallon), have many Virginia motorists staying close to home.  One third of those traveling will remain within 150 miles radius of their home town.  Gas prices have, however, remained fairly stable recently.

As of today, Virginia gas prices are $3.39 per gallon of self- serve regular, the exact same price they were for the Memorial Day holiday one month ago.  They are, however, expected to rise in July as the busy summer driving season ramps up. Gas prices rose 17 cents per gallon in July 2011 and 16 cents per gallon in 2012.

Prices nationwide, however, are still expected to be lower mid-summer than they were at their peak in February ($3.70) this year, according to AAA.

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