June 20 Fewer drivers will take to the road
during the U.S. Independence Day holiday in part due to a
sluggish economy, but also because people will take less time
off, travel group AAA said on Thursday.
The group expects 40.8 million people to travel 50 miles or
more from home during the July 4 break and 34.4 million of them
will drive, a drop of about 0.7 percent from the estimated 34.7
million who drove last year.
"This projection is due to the calendar effect of one fewer
day in the holiday period and economic growth that is not robust
enough to offset the impact of the sequester, and the effect of
the end of the payroll tax cut on American families," AAA
President and Chief Executive Officer Robert L. Darbelnet said.
Darbelnet was referring to government spending cuts known as
the sequester that were triggered on March 1 after lawmakers
failed to agree on a deficit reduction package, as well as the
expiry of a Social Security tax cut this year.
July 4 fell on a Wednesday last year, which led people to
take a longer vacation, the AAA said.
The average gasoline price is 10 cents a gallon higher than
a year ago at $3.60, but the AAA does not think it will impact
driving over the holiday and notes it is lower than earlier this
The busiest period on the roads will be July 3 and July 7
when travelers will leave and come back.
Based on a survey of 50,000 people, the AAA says 3.07
million people will fly for the holiday, up from 3.06 million a
year ago. It also said the average distance traveled is likely
to fall by 110 miles to 613 miles.
Travelers will spend $747 on average during the holiday, of
which just under 30 percent will be for transportation.
(Reporting by Sabina Zawadzki. Editing by Andre Grenon)