Fourth of July weekend travel is expected to reach pre-recession levels for the first time, even though gas prices are the highest they’ve been since 2008.
AAA is predicting that 41 million Americans will travel at least fifty miles this weekend, a 1.9 percent increase over last year, with 80 percent traveling by car.
In the Mid-Atlantic region, which includes Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey, the number of people traveling to celebrate the holiday is expected increase by 1.3 percent.
As of Monday, the average cost for a gallon of gas nationwide was $3.68, a full $0.20 above last year’s July 4th prices.
Teresa Thomas, Director of Public Affairs for AAA East Central, said many people have been asking her if higher gas prices might prevent some people from taking a road trip this weekend. She said that’s unlikely.
“We believe that most people have set their travel plans and they’re unlikely to cancel them, but they may look at other ways to save money while they’re traveling this Fourth of July weekend,” Thomas said.
One of the ways motorists can save money is by being strategic about where and when they refuel.
“AAA.com offers a mobile app for both the iPhone and Android platforms that allow motorists to search for the best gas prices before leave from home, and once they reach their destination,” Thomas said.
With high temperatures expected to range from the upper 70s to the lower 90s in Pennsylvania and neighboring states, Thomas recommended keeping a summer emergency kit in the car.
“(It should contain) water, flashlights with extra batteries, cell phones, cell phone chargers, warning devices and first aid kits,” Thomas said. “It’s better to be safe.”
Additionally, motorists should double check their oil and brakes. Last but not least, said Thomas, “you also want to make sure your air conditioner is working correctly.”