Record number of Marylanders expected to travel for July 4
TOWSON — It’s a trend AAA Mid-Atlantic has seen following the end of the Great Recession in 2009 – more and more Marylanders are traveling for holiday weekends each subsequent year. This past Memorial Day holiday weekend experienced the strongest travel growth for the holiday since the industry’s downturn during the recession. Now the second major holiday weekend of 2017 – Independence Day – is expected to not only experience the strongest growth since the recession, but the highest forecasted travel volume on record for the holiday.
AAA Mid-Atlantic projects a historic 927,000 Marylanders will travel this Independence Day holiday weekend, a 2.9 percent increase compared to 2016, and a 61 percent rise from the holiday’s post-recession low seen in 2009. The holiday travel period is defined as Friday, June 30 to Tuesday, July 4. This is the fifth consecutive year that the travel time frame is five days.
“The Fourth of July is typically the most traveled holiday of the summer, and this year will be no different. What’s different this year, however, is that it will be the busiest on record, thanks to stronger overall economic growth, employment, and stronger consumer sentiment, as well as rising incomes, compared to last year’s holiday,” said Ragina Cooper Averella, Public and Government Affairs Manager for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “The holiday falling on a Tuesday for the first time in 11 years, could be a contributing factor to this year’s record growth, as well.”
AAA anticipates many private companies will be closed the day before the holiday, and for those businesses scheduled to be open on July 3, many employees may view that date as an opportunity to take a vacation day. The last time the holiday fell on a Tuesday was 2006.
Nearly 809,000 Marylanders intend to drive to their destination, a 3 percent increase over last year’s holiday. Marylanders driving to their holiday destination represent the largest share (87 percent) of overall travelers.
“This is the first year that the number of state residents expected to take to the roads has crossed the 800,000 mark, reflecting a record high number of road travelers for the Fourth of July holiday,” said Averella.
Unlike the Memorial Day weekend when drivers paid higher gas prices than the previous year’s holiday, residents hitting the road for the Fourth of July will likely find prices at the pump that are lower than the 2016 holiday. As of Wednesday, Maryland’s average price at the pump is $2.22, reflecting a seven cents decrease compared to last year on this date. Wednesday on Kent Island, gas prices ranged from a low of $2.03 per gallon to $2.39. The state average is four cents less than a week ago and 17 cents lower than last month’s price. For the 2016 Fourth of July holiday, Maryland drivers filled up paying an average price of $2.27 per gallon.
“Gas prices had been on the rise leading up to the Memorial Day holiday weekend; however, after the holiday, prices at the pump have trended downward throughout June,” commented Ragina Cooper Averella. “Strong crude oil production and weak gasoline demand are the key factors pushing down the price at the pumps.”
Lower prices at the pump may be contributing to a record high number of Marylanders expected to hit the road for the Fourth of July holiday.
Customers paid $2.059 per gallon of unleaded gasoline at the pumps at Safeway in Chester on Wednesday, June 28.