CHICAGO (CBS) — As millions of travelers hit the roads for the long Independence Day weekend, drivers will be paying a lot less at the pump than usual in recent years.
According to Gasbuddy.com, the average price of a gallon of gas is lower than any July 4th weekend since 2005. As of Friday, the national average was $2.21 per gallon, down from the 10-year average of $3.14 per gallon.
One woman making a pitstop at the Hinsdale Oasis on the Tri-State Tollway said she and her family would be making the trip from Madison, Wisconsin, to Lansing, Michigan, regardless of the prices at the pump.
“I don’t even pay attention to the prices to be honest,” she said.
So, for her family, it was just a bonus that gas prices are lower this year.
“Right, it’s a treat. We get to stop for Starbucks,” she said.
Jim, of Inverness, was headed to Memphis, Tennessee, to stay at The Guest House at Graceland, an Elvis-centric hotel; until he heard there was an outbreak of Legionnaire’s Disease at the hotel. Now he’s headed to Nashville, instead.
“Just enjoy some country music and southern charm, I guess. We’re going to golf on the way up and the way down,” he said.
AAA estimated a record-breaking 44.2 million Americans will be traveling at least 50 miles for the holiday weekend, an increase of 1.25 million travelers over last year.
“Combined, strong employment, rising incomes and higher consumer confidence bode well for the travel industry, in particular this Independence Day weekend,” said Bill Sutherland, AAA senior vice president, Travel and Publishing. “A historic 44.2 million Americans will travel to celebrate our nation’s freedom this year, adding to an already bustling summer travel season.”
Raul Peralta was among those staying home for the holday.
“My son’s leaving to Mexico, so we’re going to stay home, and kind of support his trip from home,” he said.
Travelers can expect lower prices not only at the pump, but for airfares and car rentals for the holiday weekend. AAA said average airfares for the top 40 domestic flight routes are down 10 percent this year, with an average round-trip ticket costing $186. Daily car rental rates were averaging $65, or 14 percent less than last year.
Hotels should cost about the same as last year, at $185 per night for the average AAA Three-Diamond rated hotel.