OMAHA, Nebraska -- Nationwide travel during the upcoming Independence Day weekend is expected to be the busiest in more than 20 years.
"Of the expected 47-million travelers this upcoming Independence Day weekend, about 42-mllion--or 89-percent of those--are going to be in the car going 50 miles or more," says Brian Ortner with the AAA (Triple A) Auto Club Group's office in Omaha, Nebraska.
He says all those people will be driving during the long holiday weekend with record high gas prices up more than 60 percent from a year ago.
"Just last year we were at $2.95 a gallon on the 4th of July. In 2020 we were at $2.10, and in 2019 we were at $2.59. You don't want to say double the amount, but we're pretty darn close," Ortner says.
As for other travel costs, Ortner says mid-range hotel room rates are about 23-percent more than last year, while the average lowest airfare is 14-percent more than in 2021.
Ortner says drivers seem to be balancing higher gas prices with the convenience it offers, especially with challenges being faced by air travelers dealing with canceled flights and lost luggage.
"The comfort and flexibility with driving is one of the factors that plays into people wanting to do that," Ortner says.
Ortner says AAA expects the afternoons of Thursday, June 30th and Friday, July 1st to be the busiest driving times of the Independence Day weekend.