AAA is predicting more holiday travelers covering more miles over the July 4 holiday this year, with a jump big enough to tie the past decade's high mark, set in 2007 prior to the recession. “We view the projected increase in travel as a positive signal, even though it's surrounded by a mixed bag of economic drivers,” said Dave Carlson, AAA Idaho public affairs director. Factors pushing toward more travelers include the holiday falling in the middle of the week, which likely will prompt more travelers to make longer trips and extend their holidays. A survey by AAA found that 54 percent of those planning to travel for the holiday will begin their trip prior to the start of the work week that includes the Wednesday holiday.
The motorists' group also cited stable airfares and declining gas prices nationwide, though Idaho's average gas price is now six cents a gallon higher than it was a year ago; the U.S. average gas price is 15 cents per gallon lower than it was a year ago. Idaho now has the sixth highest average gas price of any U.S. state. Though more travelers are expected to travel farther this year, they're also expected to spend less each; median spending is expected to be down 7 percent from last year.