Gas prices down, traveling up this Fourth of July weekend

06/30/2017

It's expected more than 44 million Americans will hit the road this Fourth of July weekend, spurred by falling gas prices and more money in their pocket, according to Aurora-based AAA Chicago Motor Club.

If projections are correct, that would be nearly 1.25 million more travelers than this time a year ago, AAA spokeswoman Beth Mosher said.

"People have more disposable income and are willing to spend it on travel," Mosher said.

And they'll be saving a few bucks along the way given that gas prices are at their lowest since 2005, according to gasbuddy.com, which tracks fuel costs on a town-by-town basis and analyzes market trends.

The average price for a gallon of gas in the U.S. this week was $2.21, nearly a dollar less than the average of $3.14 for the last 10 years, the website said.

"The national average is the lowest it's been all year," Mosher said.

It's even better in the Naperville area, where gas was selling Thursday afternoon for $1.95 a gallon at Costco, located at Route 59 and 75th Street, $2.02 at Sam's Club, 808 S. Route 59, near Ogden Avenue, and $2.19 at Delta Sonic, at the corner of North Aurora Road and Route 59, according to gasbuddy numbers.traveling 

The Illinois State Highway Toll Authority estimates 7.7 million vehicles will be on the toll road beween Friday and Tuesday, the agency said in a news release. The heaviest traffic day will be Friday, with nearly 2.1 million vehicles expected to be traveling. A typical day on the tollway sees 1.6 million vehicles, the release said.

With the increase in traffic volume, coupled with a greater number of people drinking, the Fourth of July is one of the deadliest holidays of the year, according to traficsafetymarketing.gov.

From 2011 to 2015, 39 percent of all fatal car accidents during the July Fourth holiday period involved alcohol-impaired driving, according to information from the Naperville Police Department, which announced it will be increasing patrols over the weekend.

"If you're with someone who has had too much to drink, it is everyone's responsibility to take away the keys," Mosher said. "We encourage everyone to find a safe ride home. Make your plans ahead of time, whether it be a designated driver or an Uber."

The number of people expected to be traveling should help Naperville Ribfest attendance, rather than hurt it, spokeswoman Erin O'Donnell said.

"We are expecting a great turnout and we are excited to see how many people come out and celebrate this incredible four-day fundraiser," O'Donnell said via email. "Every dime in proceeds is donated to prevent child abuse and domestic violence."

Here are more driving statistics provided by AAA:

•44.2 million travelers are expected to travel this Independence Day, a 2.9 percent increase over 2016.

•37.5 million Americans will drive to their destinations, an increase of 2.9 percent over last year.Book Goa to Delhi Flights ticket online with best price in market.

•3.44 million people are flying this Independence Day, increasing air travel by 4.6 percent over the last year.

•3.27 million travelers, an increase of 1.4 percent from 2016, will look to other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses.