A record number of travelers are expected to hit America’s highways, byways and skies this weekend to celebrate the Fourth of July, despite higher fuel prices.
According to an analysis by AAA, 47.7 million of us will leave our homes for at least part of the three-day weekend, including nearly 44 million who will do so by driving.
The average price of gas in the country was $3.12 per gallon Thursday. A year ago, when the COVID-19 pandemic was keeping people at home and producing severe economic impacts, the price of gasoline dropped to $2.17 per gallon. But the rise in prices is doing little to stifle travel.
“Travel is in full swing this summer, as Americans eagerly pursue the trips they’ve deferred for the last year-and-a-half,” said Kelly Just, public relations manager at AAA Washington. “We saw strong demand for travel around Memorial Day and the kickoff of summer, and all indications now point to a busy Independence Day to follow.”
Washington residents will pay more at the pump than the national average but far less than drivers in some states. The average price per gallon in the Evergreen State is $3.76. Last year at this time, Washington residents were paying $2.72 per gallon.
California has the highest average price per gallon at $4.28. The cheapest fuel can be found in Mississippi, where drivers are paying $2.74 per gallon.
Car rental and hotel prices are also up from a year ago, reflecting the much higher demand following the sunsetting of COVID-19 restrictions.