Drivers benefit from steady prices for record-setting Independence Day

Published 9:20 pm Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Americans are planning, packing and revving their engines for what’s projected to be a record-breaking mass of Fourth of July travelers, AAA Tidewater announced on June 21.

According to the press release, 46.9 million Americans will travel 50 or more miles away from home this Independence Day, an increase of more than 5 percent compared to last year and the highest number since AAA started tracing 18 years ago. The vast majority — 39.7 million — will be driving on the roads, including 1.1 million Virginians.

Part of the increase this year is the scheduling flexibility of July 4 falling on Wednesday, with the Independence Day holiday period lasting from that Tuesday to Sunday, according to the press release. INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts that the peak time for roadway congestion will be late afternoon Tuesday, when commuters leave work early and join the other holiday drivers in gridlock.

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“With a record-level number of travelers hitting the road this holiday, drivers must be prepared for delays around major metros,” Scott Sedlik of INRIX stated in the press release. “Although travel times are expected to nominally increase throughout the week, Tuesday afternoon will hands-down be the worst time to be on the road. Our advice to drivers is to avoid peak commuting hours altogether or consider alternative routes.”

AAA Tidewater announced that the average Virginia gas price on Monday was $2.61 per gallon, a five-cent decline compared to last week and 15 cents compared to last month. That state average was ranked the eighth-cheapest in the country, just behind the Tennessee. South Carolina was ranked the cheapest at $2.50 per gallon on average.

Gas prices have been steadily declining since Memorial Day, the press release stated, and they could drop even further following OPEC’s announcement that the cartel will increase production by 1 million barrels per day in the second half of 2018.

“The OPEC production increase will help to offset concerns of shrinking global supply caused by high global demand this year,” Georjeane Blumling, vice president of public affairs for AAA Tidewater Virginia, stated in the press release. “For drivers in Virginia, pump prices likely will not see an impact immediately. Changes, most likely, are anticipated to hit pump prices late summer or early fall.” on Tuesday recorded regular gas prices at Suffolk pumps that ranged from $2.49 to as high as $2.69 per gallon, a very slight decrease compared to the $2.54 to $2.69 per gallon range recorded on June 19.