AAA: Fewer Road Trips This Fourth of July

Despite lower gas prices, the number of Americans celebrating Fourth of July by traveling will take a dip this year, according to a survey released yesterday by the American Auto Association.


The survey suggests that 37.1 million people plan to travel 50 miles or more from home this year, a decrease of 1.9 percent from 2008. The decrease of 2008 was even more dismal, down 10.5 percent from 2007.

But while fewer people will be taking road trips— 32.6 million people, down by 2.6 percent over last year— AAA is predicting a smaller uptick in the number of people traveling by plane this holiday, thanks to discounted airfare caused by the recession. That increase in air travel is also probably contributing to the the decline in car travel, according to AAA.

The main reason for the overall travel decline, as cited by the survey, is a concern for the health of the economy, including issues such as unemployment rates and decreased salaries. Perhaps because of the lower gas prices (over last year, anyway; gas prices have actually increased since May of this year), the average travel distance for road trips this Fourth of July has increased to 614 miles.

AAA partnered with IHS Global Insight, an economic research and consulting firm, to conduct the survey.


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