CHARLOTTE, N.C. (June 27, 2016) – AAA projects nearly 1,800,000 Carolinians will travel this Independence Day weekend. This represents the highest Fourth of July travel volume on record. The holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, June 30 to Monday, July 4.
“Spurred by the lowest July 4 gas prices since 2005, more people than ever are planning to travel this Independence Day weekend,” said Dave Parsons, AAA Carolinas President and CEO. “Whether they're traveling by car, plane, train, or cruise ship, it will be exciting to see so many Americans celebrating our nation's freedom with their friends and family over the long holiday weekend.”
U.S. drivers have saved about $20 billion on gasoline so far this year compared to the same period in 2015, which has made travel more affordable than in recent years. A more confident consumer and rising economic activity also are offsetting a cooling labor market to help boost holiday travel.
“We are well on our way for 2016 to be a record-breaking year for summertime travel,” continued Parsons. “This trend is welcome news for the travel industry and a sign that Carolinians are taking to our nation's highways and skies like never before.”
Eighty-four percent of holiday travelers will drive to their Independence Day destinations, an increase of 1.2 percent over last year. Air travel is expected to increase 2.2 percent over last year.
Travel by other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses, will increase two percent. Most of those travelers are expected to fill cruise cabins and AAA's holiday cruise bookings are 35 percent higher than last Independence Day.
Low gas prices are motivating millions of Americans to travel this Independence Day. Despite recent seasonal increases, gasoline prices remain well below recent years. The average price for a gallon of gasoline in North Carolina is $2.18 which is 46 cents less than one year ago. The average price of gas in South Carolina is $2.00, which is 43 cents less than one year ago. AAA expects most U.S. drivers will pay the lowest Independence Day gas prices since 2005.
According to AAA's Leisure Travel Index, average airfares for the top 40 domestic flight routes will be nine percent less this Independence Day, with an average roundtrip ticket costing $207. Hotel costs have fallen slightly compared to last Independence Day. AAA Three Diamond Rated hotels will average $185, while anCar AAA Two Diamond Rated hotel will average $144 nightly. Daily car rental rates will average $75, six percent more than last year.
Last Independence Day, there were seven traffic fatalities in South Carolina during the July 4 holiday, three of those deaths were alcohol related. North Carolina saw 16 traffic fatalities, 5 of which were alcohol related. AAA's latest research has shown that using a cell phone while driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving, AAA Carolinas encourages all drivers to put their cell phones away while driving.
“One fatality is too many, we want to remind all drivers to be careful this July 4 and disconnect and drive,” Parsons said.