Despite lower gas prices, AAA projects flat Independence holiday travel
DENVER, June 25, 2015 – AAA Colorado projects 650,000 Coloradans will journey 50 miles or more from home this Independence Day holiday. This number of Colorado travelers equals 2014 figures for the Independence Day holiday and is three percent higher than the number of travelers over Memorial Day 2015. Traditionally, Independence Day has the highest travel numbers of the three summer holiday weekends with Memorial Day second and Labor Day third. Nationally, AAA projects 41.9 million travelers over the Independence Day holiday, an increase of less than one percent. The holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, July 1 to Sunday, July 5.
Impact of gasoline prices on forecast
After four years of gas prices near $3.60 per gallon for the July 4th weekend, the price for a gallon of gas in Colorado is 96 cents lower this year, at $2.66. However, the price is more than 60 cents higher than the lows seen in January of this year. So while it’s likely that summer gas prices will be their lowest in Colorado since 2010, some of the excitement around the fall in prices seen earlier this year may have worn off.
Just over 80 percent of Colorado travelers (522,000) will drive to their holiday destinations. This percentage equals the number of car travelers for Independence Day 2014 despite lower gas prices this year. According to AAA Colorado Travel Counselors, Fourth of July celebrations across the state such as the Cowboys’ Roundup Days in Steamboat Springs, Rollin’ on the Riverwalk in Pueblo and fireworks over Aspen Mountain will attract visitors. Popular road trip destinations outside Colorado are southern California, Yellowstone National Park and Mount Rushmore National Memorial and Santa Fe/Taos, New Mexico.
Air travel up slightly despite higher fares
Eleven percent of travel will be by air with 71,600 Colorado travelers, a two percent increase over last year. Airfares are six percent higher this year for the top 40 domestic flight routes, climbing to $227. According to the AAA Leisure Travel Index, lodging and car rental rates are also higher than last year. Three Diamond rated hotel rates will cost nine percent more nationwide, averaging $195. The average daily car rental rate for the Independence Day holiday is $13 higher than last year.
AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. AAA Colorado has more than 600,000 members and is an advocate for safety and security for all travelers.