The American Automobile Association (AAA) predicts that about 47.9 million people will travel 50 or more miles from their homes over the week from June 30 to July 4, according to a news release.
The travel prediction comes despite gas prices continuing to stay at all-time highs, with the national average falling just under $5 as of Tuesday — at $4.968 per gallon.
“The volume of travelers we expect to see over Independence Day is a definite sign that summer travel is kicking into high gear,” Paula Twidale, senior vice president with AAA Travel, said. “Earlier this year we started seeing the demand for travel increase and it’s not tapering off. People are ready for a break and despite things costing more, they are finding ways to still take that much-needed vacation.”
For Ohio, AAA said the state had the 21st highest gas price of all of the states in the country plus Washington, D.C. The site said Ohio’s average price per gallon was $4.965 as of Tuesday. That is a decrease from one week ago when the price per gallon was $5.045, according to AAA. One month ago, the average price was $4.464.
According to the news release, AAA said this travel number is an increase of 3.7 percent from 2021, putting it at just under the 2019 level.
However, it also said that the 42 million people expected to travel by car would set a new record. AAA said some of the reasons for this number might be issues with air travel like possible cancellations or delays, with the number traveling by air at its lowest since 2011.
“Traveling by car does provide a level of comfort and flexibility that people may be looking for given the recent challenges with flying,” Twidale also said. “But not all destinations are within driving distance, which doesn’t mean you have to abandon your vacation plans. The best advice we can give travelers is to consider working with a travel agent who can help plan for the unexpected, like a flight cancellation. They are your best advocate.”
The release also said that drivers should expect long travel delays going into the holiday week. It said special emphasis should be placed on the afternoons of June 30 and July 1 when workers plan to leave work and mix with holiday travelers.
The release also said that drivers in major U.S. metro areas could expect to see double the travel time compared to normal.
“Even with gas hitting record prices, travelers are still eager to hit the road this summer. We expect nationwide travel times to increase about 50 percent compared to normal. Drivers around major metro areas must be prepared for significantly more delays,” Bob Pishue, transportation analyst with INRIX, said. “Knowing when and where congestion will build can help drivers avoid the stress of sitting in traffic. Our advice is to avoid traveling on Thursday and Friday afternoon.”
Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.