AAA: 41 million travelers expected for July 4th holiday

Photo courtesy WLFI

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — AAA projects 41 million Americans will journey on Fourth of July weekend, which is a 1.9 percent increase from last year.

AAA said most Americans who travel this Independence Day weekend will journey 50 miles or more from home with the majority of those travelers taking a road trip. According to AAA data, more than eight out of 10 people will travel by automobile which is the highest rate since 2007.

Gas prices on those road trips may not be too friendly. Purdue Economist Wally Tyner said gas prices are expected to be the highest Fourth of July weekend prices in six years.

Tyner said the tension in Iraq is keeping prices up at the pump.

“Problems in Iraq caused the price of crude oil to go up about $10 a barrel,” said Tyner, ”And that $10 a barrel gets translated directly to the price at the pump.”

Tyner said the national average is projected to be around $3.70 for the holiday weekend.

Here are some other facts compiled by AAA about gas prices over the Independence Day holiday:

  • The national monthly average price of gas in June was $3.67 per gallon, which was the most expensive for that month since 2011. It was also the highest average for any month since March 2013. Last year gas prices averaged $3.60 per gallon in June.
  • Gas prices often decline in June as refineries complete maintenance and increase gasoline production in anticipation of the summer driving season. During the previous three years, the national average price of gas declined in June by an average of 21 cents per gallon.
  • On June 10, insurgents known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), captured Mosul, which is Iraq’s second largest city. Following this attack, there were concerns in the petroleum market that the rebels would take Baghdad or disrupt the southern oil producing regions of the country. These concerns helped drive up global oil prices, which made it more expensive to produce gasoline. Iraq is the second largest oil producer in OPEC, and any decline in exports could impact global oil supplies.
  • Gas prices have increased by an average of 16 cents per gallon in July during the previous three years as strong summer demand pushed up prices. July is typically the second busiest month of the year on the roads behind August. Last year Americans drove a total of 263.2 billion miles in July.
  • From Memorial Day through Labor Day in 2013, gas prices nationally averaged $3.58 per gallon. The most expensive summer driving period was in 2008 when prices averaged $3.95 per gallon. Gas prices have averaged $3.67 per gallon so far this summer.

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