Uncle Sam Says: Outsmart Traffic This 4th of July

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG)  |  By AAA
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Nearly 47 million Americans will travel this Independence Day, an all-time record

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - AAA projects a record-breaking 46.9 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles to celebrate Independence Day this summer, the highest total since AAA began tracking holiday travel 18 years ago. That’s 5 percent more than the 44 million Americans who traveled for the patriotic celebration in 2017, which was the previous national record.

More than 5.43 million Californians are projected to travel over the Fourth of July holiday, representing an increase of 5.3 percent from last year, according to the travel source. That’s also a new state record, breaking California’s previous high of 5.16 million travelers set in 2017.

“Fourth of July is typically the busiest summer travel holiday, but this year is an all-time whopper,” said Michael Blasky, spokesperson for AAA Northern California. “Despite the highest gas prices in four years, more Californians will be taking to the road and the skies next month to celebrate America’s birthday than ever.”

The Independence Day holiday period is defined as Tuesday, July 3, to Sunday, July 8.

By the Numbers: Independence Day California Travel Forecast

  • 5,434,994 Californians are expected to travel over the upcoming holiday weekend, almost 300,000 more than in 2017, which was the previous all-time high for the Golden State.

  • Higher fuel prices aren’t slowing Californians down. The average cost of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is nearly 70 cents higher than in 2017, but 4.2 million Californians will drive to their destination -- nearly 80 percent of the state’s total travelers.

  • Travelers will pay less for airfare in 2018, but more for car rentals and hotels. According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, travelers taking to the skies will pay an average $171 for a round-trip flight along the top 40 domestic routes. That is the lowest Independence Day airfare in five years, and 9 percent less than last year. 

“The current economic landscape including strong employment, rising incomes and consumer confidence is helping to boost the number of planned getaways over the second three-day weekend of the summer,” Blasky said. 

AAA expects to rescue more than 362,000 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 offers a variety of mobile travel resources including AAA Mobile, a free app for Smartphone users. The app uses GPS navigation to help travelers map a route, locate nearby discounts, summon roadside assistance, find current gas prices and more. Travelers can learn more about this resource at AAA.com/mobile.

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.

AAA Northern California is the best roadside assistance solution, offering the fastest response times and highest satisfaction rates in the industry. The club also provides discounts, financial services, driver training resources and is a leading advocate for the motoring and traveling public. Visit www.AAA.com.