Holiday Weekend Gas Prices, Beach Travel Preview
Travelers leaving for the Independence Day holiday will face high traffic flow but lower gas prices Friday.
Holiday travelers have a reason to rejoice over the Fourth of July holiday weekend: lower gas prices.
AAA defines the Independence Holiday as being from July 2 to July 8, but many travelers are planning to leave Friday. While holiday weekends typically bring higher gas prices, this year gas prices will fall.
“Industry analysts believe prices at the pump will fall another 5 to 20 cents before the Independence holiday – which is good news for the 35.5 million Americans AAA projects plan to travel by car,” said Martha M. Mead, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic.
Gas Prices Down in Northern Virginia, Beach Areas
The current northern Virginia area average is $3.45 for a gallon of regular unleaded, down from an average of $3.80 at this time last year.
Travelers headed to popular area destinations may find gas prices lower than that. The area average in Rehoboth Beach is $3.35 and in Virginia Beach a low $3.27. People headed to the Outer Banks will find a slightly higher average at $3.41 a gallon.
AAA projects 25 percent of travelers will leave Friday for the holiday, making it the largest travel day up until July 4 itself. About 84 percent of all people traveling will go by car. VDOT has prepared for the major flow of traffic, particularly between July 3 and July 5, by lifting lane closures (including those along I-95) to help ease the traffic burden.
“AAA’s projection for a decade-high number of Independence Day travelers is being fed by American’s appetite for travel, a mid-week holiday and lower gas prices,” AAA Travel Services President Bill Sutherland said.
Travelers with a smart phone can download the ‘VDOT 511’ app which offers a variety of services. It includes real time traffic maps and a ‘Reach the Beach’ feature, which offers time estimates to different routes to popular beach destinations.
Although gas prices are falling, travelers should be aware of other hazards of summer travel. The coming weekend has projected highs of 100 degrees. AAA released a variety of tips to help avoid car failure in the sweltering heat. Among those tips, it is advised drivers do not run a car’s AC continuously in stop-and-go-traffic. It should be given period breaks and space should be left between a driver and the car in front to ensure engines aren’t absorbing hot exhaust.