If AAA’s holiday travel forecast turns out to be accurate, this year’s Independence Day will break records for travel volume.
According to the projection, 42.27 million travelers will go more than 50 miles from home. That number just surpasses the record 42.26 million in 2007.
AAA attributes the expected boost to several factors, including the day on which the Fourth of July falls. Because the holiday is Wednesday, travel estimates track both the weekend before and the weekend after Independence Day, which allows more opportunity for travel than a typical Thursday-Monday holiday schedule.
In Augusta, the average price of a gallon of regular fuel dropped 25 cents in the past month, and though many have felt some relief at the pump, the report said the price drop isn’t a major factor in this year’s travel volume.
“The recent decline in fuel prices is unlikely to be a major driver of travel decisions for the holiday ... as the price of gasoline remains at near historical highs,” the report said. “A combination of the economy and a longer holiday travel period supports an increase in regional holiday travel this Independence Day.”
The National Weather Service is calling for a hot holiday week in the area, with daily highs just shy of 100 degrees and slight chances of rain until Sunday.
The Georgia State Patrol will increase its patrols during the holiday, but Cpl. Chris Wright, of Post 25 in Grovetown, said the force doesn’t expect major problems except for those caused by the heat.
“I think we might actually see less issues this year,” Wright said. “The holiday is on a Wednesday, and most folks will be expected to be back to work the next day. That may curtail some of the partying.”
Mostly, the patrol will look for issues with motorists who break down. The heat, Wright said, demands cars be at their top condition, and the corporal said he expects to see a number of poorly maintained cars on the side of the road.