Next weekend will be the busiest Independence Day weekend for travel in history, according to predictions.
At the start of the year, AAA-Iowa spokeswoman Gail Weinholzer says they made a projection about gasoline prices that didn’t end up coming true, to the benefit of consumers.
Weinholzer says, “We were projecting that gas prices could peak out around $2.70 during the heart of the summer because that’s when demand is at its highest as everybody’s taking their road trips.” Gas prices nationwide and in Iowa are much lower.
In Iowa, the average price is $2.19 a gallon, which is down six-cents from a year ago and it’s the cheapest price for this date since 2005. OPEC announced in January plans to reel in oil production by three-to-four percent and also convinced 11 other nations to cut supplies. Given that, Weinholzer says our current situation with low prices beat all the odds.
“We’ve seen American oil rigs in fracking fields more than make up the difference,” Weinholzer says. “We’ve got far more supply than we actually have demand and this is the high-demand season of the year for summer road trips.” Factors like low gas prices, strong employment, rising incomes and higher consumer confidence all come into play, but she says gas prices are often one of the biggest deciding factors.
“Not only are gas prices down but airfares are down as well,” Weinholzer says. “We’re going to see more people driving, about a 3% increase, we’re going to see more people flying, nearly a 5% increase, and more folks using other modes of transportation, buses, trains and boats.”
Nationwide, AAA predicts a record-breaking 44.2 million Americans will take to the roads, skies, rails and waterways over the four-day weekend, that’s an increase of 1.3 million from last year’s holiday.