AAA Says Fewer Texans Will Drive, But More Will Fly, For July 4th Weekend

AAA Texas is predicting fewer Texans will travel far from home for the Fourth of July weekend. As David Pitman reports, this year's slight decrease in traffic comes after last year's big jump.

Last year's Independence Day holiday saw the biggest one-year increase in travelers in the last decade.  AAA Texas says there was a 33 percent jump in the number of people who either drove or flew to a 4th of July getaway.  This year, there's a small dip — just under 2 percent — in the expected number of travelers. Sarah Schimmer is with AAA Texas.

"We're projecting about 2.68 million Texans are going to travel about 50 miles or more away from home.  Eighty-three percent of Texans, or 2.2 million, will choose to drive."

Schimmer says the higher price of gasoline this 4th of July is keeping some cars off the roads.  But, at the same time, AAA is seeing a 10 percent increase in the number of people who plan to fly.  Schimmer says travelers see time saved by flying as money well spent.

"Let's say you've got some kids in tow, you're looking at an eight-hour drive and a short, four-day weekend.  You can trade that eight-hour drive for about an hour flight.  So people are really choosing to spend that money on that airline travel to maximize the time at their destination."

The 4th of July falls on a Monday.  AAA says heavy outbound traffic will begin to take hold as early as Wednesday. 

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David Pitman

Local Host, Morning Edition

The one question David hears most often isn't "What is it like to work for an NPR member station?" or "Have you ever met Terry Gross?" (he has)...