Despite gas prices nudging up after the state’s additional 19-cent gas tax that went into effect July 1, it looks like more Kane County residents than ever will be heading to the roads this Fourth of July weekend.
It’s certainly true nationwide.
According to a news release from AAA, more Americans than ever recorded by AAA, nearly 49 million, are making plans to honor the red, white and blue with an Independence Day getaway this year. AAA began tracking holiday travel in 2000.
Overall travel volume for the holiday is expected to rise 4.1% over last year, with an additional 1.9 million people planning road trips and other vacations to celebrate America’s birthday.
For the record-high 41.4 million Americans who will travel by automobile this Independence Day, INRIX, a global mobility analytics company, predicts drivers could face delays as much as four times a normal commute, with Wednesday, July 3 the worst day on the roads.
Somewhat surprisingly, the worst time to be on the road in the Chicago area isn’t July 3 this year.
According to AAA, the “worst travel day” in Chicago is July 5 and the “worst travel time” is 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
In addition to lower gas prices compared with last summer, broader economic fundamentals remain strong. Low unemployment, robust consumer spending, and rising disposable incomes are all encouraging more consumers to invest their hard-earned money in travel this summer.
“As Independence Day approaches, it’s time for the much loved family road trip and this year will be one for the record books, with more Americans than ever planning vacations,” said Paula Twidale, vice president, AAA Travel. “This holiday builds on the strong travel demand seen for Memorial Day, and with schools now out of session across the country, families coast to coast are eager to travel.”
Independence Day Holiday Travel, By Mode
- Automobiles: The vast majority of travelers – 41.4 million – will hit the road, the most on record for the holiday and 4.3% more than last year.
- Planes: 3.96 million people will take to the skies, the highest number on record and 5.3% more than last year.
- Trains, Buses and Cruise Ships: Travel across these sectors will increase by 0.6% to 3.55 million passengers.
Record-Level Driving Delays
For the 41.4 million Americans traveling by automobile this Independence Day, INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts drivers will experience the greatest amount of congestion on Wednesday, July 3, as commuters mix with holiday travelers.
In major metros, drivers could face delays as much as four times a normal commute. Nationwide, delays are expected to increase by approximately 9%.
“With record-level travelers hitting the road this holiday, drivers must be prepared for delays around our major metros,” said Trevor Reed, transportation analyst at INRIX. “Although travel times are expected to nominally increase throughout the week, hands down, Wednesday afternoon will be the worst time to be on the road.”
|Region||Worst Day for Travel||Worst Time for Travel||Delay Multiplier|
|Atlanta||Friday, July 5||5:00 – 7:00 PM||2.5x|
|Boston||Friday, July 5||10:00 AM – 12:00 PM||3.4x|
|Chicago||Friday, July 5||1:00 – 3:00 PM||2x|
|Detroit||Wednesday, July 3||2:00 – 4:00 PM||2x|
|Houston||Thursday, July 4||1:00 – 3:00 PM||3x|
|Los Angeles||Wednesday, July 3||11:30 AM – 1:30 PM||2.7x|
|New York||Wednesday, July 3||1:45 – 3:45 PM||3.8x|
|San Francisco||Wednesday, July 3||1:30 – 2:30 PM||2.5x|
|Seattle||Thursday, July 4||12:00 – 2:00 PM||3x|
|Washington, DC||Sunday, July 7||10:30 AM – 12:30 PM||2.4x|
Lower Gas Prices Nationwide
Ironically, the amount of Illinois gas tax increase is right in sync with the year-over-year price decrease nationally, creating a sorts of “wash.”
With today’s national average of $2.66, gas prices are 19 cents less year-over-year and expected to drop even lower into the summer. This is motivating record numbers of travelers to take road trips for the holiday weekend.
“Gas prices are, on average, 17 cents cheaper than Memorial Day weekend, which is welcome news for motorists hitting the road to celebrate the July Fourth holiday,” said AAA gas price expert Jeanette Casselano. “More so, summer gas prices are poised to continue dropping even lower in coming weeks.”
Top Independence Day Destinations
Fun-in-the-sun locales like Orlando and Honolulu lead the top 10 the list of popular destinations for American travelers this Independence Day, based on advance AAA Travel bookings:
- Orlando, Florida
- Honolulu, Hawaii
- Seattle, Washington
- Las Vegas, Nevada
- Anaheim, California
- New York, New York
- Boston, Massachusetts
- Maui, Hawaii
- Anchorage, Alaska
- Chicago, Illinois
For those travelers planning an international vacation, Europe is the destination of choice. Rome, London, Dublin and Paris are the most popular spots for international vacations this Independence Day, with Vancouver, Canada — a top departure port for Alaskan cruises — rounding out the top five.
According to Hertz, a 40-year AAA partner, the busiest airport pick-up locations for travelers renting a car this Independence Day are expected to be Orlando (MCO), Los Angeles (LAX), Denver (DEN), Las Vegas (LAS) and San Francisco (SFO). The busiest day for rental pick-ups is expected to be Wednesday, July 3.
AAA to The Rescue
AAA expects to rescue nearly 367,000 motorists at the roadside this Independence Day holiday. Dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts will be the leading reasons AAA members will experience car trouble.
Before hitting the road, AAA suggests motorists prepare for emergencies by taking along a mobile phone and car charger, a flashlight with extra batteries, a first-aid kit, a basic toolkit, and drinking water and snacks for all passengers.
SOURCE: AAA news release