Holiday Travel Predictions, Gas Prices for Oregon, United States
(Portland, Oregon) – AAA is predicting a smaller amount of travel for the Fourth of July weekend coming up next week compared to last year. The travel experts say some 39 million Americans – about 12.4 percent of the population – will head out 50 miles or more, which will amount to a 2.5 percent decline from the 40 million people who traveled on the holiday last year.
The Independence Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, June 30 to Monday, July 4.
The Oregon office of the AAA said there will be slightly more hitting the highways and airports from the Pacific region, which is comprised of Alaska, California, Hawaii, with 6.19 million people or 12.2 percent of the population taking trips. Oregon and Washington. There will be a decrease in travelers from this area, but less of a decrease: a drop of 2.3 percent.
“The regional economy is showing positive growth in some areas, but a more than 31 percent annual increase in gas prices is expected to reduce the demand for holiday travel,” AAA said in a press release.
Since that press release this week, President Obama released some of the national oil reserves, which some pundits say could create a slightly bigger drop in gas prices before the holiday weekend. This is not certain, however. Gas prices are currently about 90 cents a gallon more than a year ago, and these higher prices will keep some travelers home and cause others to scale back their plans. The impact on disposable income is more pronounced for lower income households.
Travel by automobile is still the primary way of moving around for the holiday, with 84 percent of Fourth of July travelers getting around by car.
Air travel will see some sizable increase, however. AAA said a little more than three million Americans (eight percent of holiday travelers) will fly during the holiday weekend, a nine percent increase from last year.
One of the biggest incentives for traveling by air is higher gas prices, AAA said.
In this decade, the busiest Fourth of July was in 2007, when 42.3 million people traveled, AAA said. The year with the fewest travelers was 2009 with 29.8 million travelers. This year is shaping up to be the seventh busiest of the decade, but it will still have the third-highest travel volume in the past six years.
AAA said there is still growth in the traveler numbers during the summers of this last decade in spite of higher gas prices and a lackluster economy.