Good morning, readers.
Auto Club AAA predicts we’ll travel 2.5 percent less this Fourth
of July, thanks to still-high fuel prices. Here’s a statement from
the AAA received this morning. What are you doing for the Fourth?
Bellevue, Wash. (June 22, 2011) – AAA forecasts 39 million
Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home during the
Independence Day holiday weekend, a 2.5 percent decline from the 40
million people who traveled a year ago. The Independence Day
holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, June 30 to Monday,
AAA projects a slight decline in the number of Independence Day
travelers mainly due to fuel prices. Travel by automobile is down
slightly, but air travel is up. The rising cost of gasoline is a
contributing factor to the increase in air travel, as the
increasing cost of travel by car is making air travel a more
attractive option for some travelers despite recent increases in
Automobile travel down, impact of gasoline prices on travel
Approximately 32.8 million people plan to travel by automobile
and that’s a decline of three percent, or almost a million auto
travelers, from the 33.7 million who drove last year. Automobile
travel remains the dominant mode of transportation (84 percent of
holiday travelers) and this year’s high gasoline prices, about 90
cents higher than a year ago nationally, are the main reason for
Currently, the average price of self-serve regular unleaded
gasoline in Washington state is $3.87 per gallon, up 89 cents
compared to last year, but down 11 cents from a month ago. Gas
prices are up 78 cents in Idaho from a year ago, but down 7 cents
since one month ago, to $3.68 per gallon. Nationally, the average
price is $3.63 per gallon, up 90 cents compared to last year, down
21 cents in the past month.
A survey of Americans who intended to travel found that 56
percent said rising gasoline prices would not impact their travel
plans. For the remaining 44 percent who said rising gas prices
would impact their travel plans, seven out of 10 will economize in
other areas and three out of 10 are planning to take a shorter trip
or travel by a different mode of transportation. Travelers
concerned about how fuel prices will impact their travel budget can
use AAA’s free, GPS-based TripTik® Mobile application to compare
prices for all grades of gasoline at nearby stations.
Number of air travelers expected to increase by nine percent
Approximately 3.02 million leisure travelers (eight percent of
holiday travelers) will fly during the holiday weekend, a nine
percent increase from last year’s 2.75 million air travelers. This
increase continues a rebound in air travel that began in 2010
following the lowest years for air travel (2009 and 2008) in the
past decade. The remaining eight percent of holiday travelers are
expected to travel by other modes, including rail, bus and
Travelers to experience increases in airfares, hotel rates and
car rental rates
According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, Independence Day
holiday airfares are expected to be 11 percent higher than last
year, with an average lowest round-trip rate of $213 for the top 40
U.S. air routes. Hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are
expected to increase three percent from a year ago with travelers
spending an average of $147 per night compared to $143 last year.
Travelers planning to stay at AAA Two Diamond hotels can expect to
pay eight percent more at an average cost of $110 per night.
Weekend daily car rental rates will average $56, a three percent
increase over a year ago.
Average travel distance down seven percent; median spending up
25 percent from last year
According to a survey of traveler intentions, the average
distance traveled by Americans during the Independence Day holiday
weekend is expected to be 573 miles, which is seven percent less
than last year’s average travel distance of 617 miles. Median
spending is expected to be $807, an increase of 25 percent from
$644 last year.
AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by
IHS Global Insight. The Boston-based economic research and
consulting firm teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel
trends during the major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday
travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA / IHS
Global Insight 2011 Independence Day Holiday Travel Forecast can be
found at AAA.com/news.