People who plan to hit the road to take advantage of the long Fourth of July weekend, should expect a lot of company.
AAA predicts that 41.9 million people in the United States will travel 50 miles or more from home. The itch to get away is fueled in part by lower gasoline prices and a long-overdue bump in consumer confidence.
AAA says the number of people expected on the road this holiday weekend is a 0.7 percent increase from last year but the highest number since 2007, which was just before the country’s economy and a whole lot of people were hurt by the Great Recession.
“AAA has found that travel numbers have continued on a near steady rise since the recession, and this year’s boost maintains the trend,” the automobile club says on its website. “Due to higher earnings, a strong employment market and gas prices at a steady low, Americans have extra disposable income, making them more inclined to take a holiday trip.”
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Gasoline prices this Independence Day are expected to be at their lowest in at least five years, AAA president Marshall L. Doney said. The average price at the pump was $2.74 in 2010, $3.57 in 2011, $3.34 in 2012, $3.48 in 2013 and $3.66 in 2014.
The price at the pump on Friday in the Kansas City area was about $2.58 a gallon for regular.
AAA said holiday travel by air, cruises, trains and buses will increase from previous years but nowhere close to trips by car.