Iowans who are planning to celebrate Independence Day by hitting the open road will find plenty of company on the interstates and gasoline prices a little higher as they leave the state. Gail Weinholzer, spokeswoman for AAA-Iowa, says the travel forecast for the 4th of July weekend calls for a boost in vacationers.
“AAA Travel is predicting 41-million Americans will journey at least 50 miles or more sometime between Wednesday, July 2nd and Sunday, July 6th,” Weinholzer says. “That’s about a 2% increase over last year and it’s about 14% more than travel for Memorial Day.” That’s five-million more travelers on this holiday than the last one.
The motor club says most travelers, about 85-percent of them, will be heading to their destinations in motor vehicles, so gasoline prices will be one deciding factor in how far they go. She says prices are down slightly in Iowa, compared to the rest of the U.S. Weinholzer says, “Gas prices are below the national average by anywhere from a nickel to a dime but above last year’s totals that people were experiencing at the pump last year.”
Davenport has the cheapest gas in the state, averaging $3.45 a gallon while it’s most expensive in Waterloo at $3.59. The 4th of July holiday falls on a Friday this year, making for a natural 3-day weekend for most Iowans. She says Independence Day is usually the busiest of the summer holidays, for good reason. “We’ve got some states that don’t let their schools out prior to Memorial Day and others that go in prior to Labor Day but obviously everybody is off around the 4th of July,” Weinholzer says. “School schedules typically keep Memorial Day and Labor Day lower than the 4th of July travel.”
The current statewide average price in Iowa is $3.55 a gallon, compared to the national average of $3.68. The highest-ever statewide price for gasoline in Iowa was hit in July of 2008 at $4.02 a gallon.