NEW YORK — A record number of Americans will hit the road for the July 4 holiday despite high gasoline prices and the fact it lands in the middle of the week, automobile and travel group AAA said.
Based on a national telephone survey, AAA estimated that about 41.1 million Americans will travel during the Fourth of July holiday week, up 0.8 percent from last year.
With Independence Day on a Wednesday this year, many travelers will take week-long holidays, according the AAA survey. Many travelers plan to begin their vacations as early as Friday, June 29.
"Americans aren't willing to give up their traditional Fourth of July celebrations," AAA spokeswoman Betsy Sell said in the release. "And many are choosing to take a few more days off of work to do so."
Among holiday travelers this year, 84 percent, or 34.7 million, planned to reach their destinations by car, up 0.7 percent from last year. AAA said respondents did not appear to be deterred by near $3-per-gallon gasoline.
Eleven percent, or 4.7 million travelers, are forecast to travel by plane, while the remainder will take trains and buses, AAA said.
"Although prices for gasoline are higher this holiday than last year, Americans have felt a bit of relief in fuel prices over the last few weeks, which may influence their decision to travel," said said AAA spokeswoman Betsy Sell.
Gasoline prices, now at a national average of $2.98 a gallon, are about 14 cents higher than they were at this time last year, AAA said. Gasoline prices have eased in the last few weeks after soaring to an all-time high of $3.23 a gallon last month.
Southeasterners are expected to make up the largest portion of those traveling by car with 8.9 million people.
Although the cost of traveling by car has inched up, airfares have plunged 12 percent since last year. Most air travelers will be from the West, with 1.8 million traveling by air for Fourth of July, AAA said.
Independence Day is typically the busiest travel period of the summer.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.
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