In addition to celebrating American independence this holiday weekend, consumers can also cheer gas prices, which will be at their lowest levels on July Fourth since 2005.
At a national average of just $2.31 per gallon, gas prices this week are 47 cents less than last year, according to a new report by AAA, even after recent seasonal increases.
Collectively, American drivers have saved about $20 billion on gas this year compared to last year. Those savings are prompting more Americans than ever to hit the roads this Independence Day. AAA projects that nearly 43 million Americans will travel for the holiday weekend this year.
If travel continues at the current pace, 2016 will break the record for summer travel. “This trend is welcome news for the travel industry and a sign that Americans are taking to our nation’s highways and skies like never before,” AAA President and EO Marshall Dooney said in a statement.
Low gas prices aren’t the only savings in store for travelers this year. Average airfares for the top domestic flights are 9 percent lower this Independence Day, and the cost of three-star hotels has fallen slightly, according to AAA. Rental car rates are up 6 percent.
South Carolina has the cheapest gas in the country ($2 per gallon), followed by Mississippi ($2.06), and Arkansas ($2.07).
Holidays aside, Americans are driving more in general. They drove 3.7 percent more miles in the first four months of 2016 than they did in 2015, according to the Office of Highway Policy Information.