AAA estimates 47.7 million Americans will travel for the 4th of July weekend, a 40 percent increase from last year. AAA analyst Don Redman said in our region we’re expecting 4.5 million travelers, proof that folks are finally ready to get out and hit the road after being cooped up for over a year.

“When we look at the people who are traveling for the 4th of July weekend we’re talking about the second-highest volume of travelers that AAA has ever recorded,” said Redman.

The travel record was set in 2019, and this year’s numbers are expected to only be 2.5% lower than that all-time-high. Air travel is also up 164% compared to last year but the overall share of air travelers compared to automobile travelers is still below average.

91% of those travelers will go by automobile and Redman says that demand is driving gas prices through the roof. Across the Gulf south prices are averaging a few cents under $2.80 a gallon outside of Florida where gas is generally about 20 cents higher due to the state’s gas tax.

“You would have to go back to 2014 to see gas prices similar to what we are seeing now and unfortunately our forecast is that those prices are going to continue to climb into August,” said Redman.

Nationally a gallon of gas will run you $3.12 a gallon.

If you’re planning on renting a car be warned prices are up 86 percent from this time last year. Redman says local prices are as much as twice as high as last year, and even worse many areas have sold out of rentals for the weekend.

“It’s really a big case of a lot of the rental companies got rid of their fleet during the pandemic trying to stay alive,” said Redman.

AAA also found mid-range hotel prices are up as much as 35 percent from last Independence Day.

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