Tens of millions of Americans plan to travel this Fourth of July, but it may cost them a bit more than last year to get where they're going.
Auto club AAA predicted Thursday that 40.8 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from home over July 4, traditionally the most traveled holiday of the summer. That's a 0.8% dip from last year but still higher than the 13-year average of 38.9 million Americans who celebrate Independence Day by getting out of town.
Since the holiday falls on a Thursday, travel is likely to be down slightly compared with 2012 because of a shorter travel window, AAA says. The continuing fallout from budget cuts by the federal government may also keep more Americans at home.
"This projection is due to the calendar effect of one fewer day in the holiday period," AAA President and CEO Robert Darbelnet said in a statement, "and economic growth that is not robust enough to offset the impact of the sequester and . . .the end of the payroll tax cut on American families."
Still, since schools are out across the USA, the Fourth of July is traditionally the most popular travel holiday of the summer. Most Americans will make their getaway by car: Roughly 34.4 million will take to the road, a 0.7% decrease from 2012. An additional 3.07 million travelers are likely to fly, a slight increase over the number who jetted to their destination last year.
Motorists may find their drive costs a bit more. Gas prices in mid-June were up 2% on average compared with that time last year. Renting a car over the holiday weekend will cost 29% more than in 2012 at an average daily rate of $58, according to AAA.
Flying will also be more expensive. The cheapest round trip ticket on the 40 most popular domestic routes averages $228, 6% more than last year, AAA says.
Charisse Jones, USA TODAY