Record num­ber of Mary­lan­ders ex­pected to travel for July 4

Record Observer - - News -

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.”

PHOTO BY AN­GELA PRICE

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.

PHOTO BY AN­GELA PRICE

Cus­tomers paid $2.059 per gal­lon of un­leaded gaso­line at the pumps at Safe­way in Chester on Wed­nes­day, June 28.

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