More than half a million Oklahomans are expected to travel 50 miles or more this upcoming holiday weekend, AAA Oklahoma said.
The auto club is projecting that more than 510,000 Oklahomans will travel over the Independence Day holiday period, which it considers to be Thursday through Monday this year.
“As usual, the large majority will be driving to their destinations. However, air travel and other modes of travel transportation (trains, cruises and buses) are up significantly compared to last year,” AAA said in a news release.
More than 80% of travelers — more than 410,000 Oklahomans — are expected to hit the roads for the holiday, despite record-high gas prices, AAA said.
Air travel is expected to see a 2.5% increase over last year, with nearly 68,000 Oklahomans taking to the skies this Independence Day weekend, AAA said.
“The volume of travelers we expect to see over Independence Day is likely to be the highest for summer holidays since 2019,” said Leslie Gamble, AAA Oklahoma spokeswoman.
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“Earlier this year, we started seeing the demand for travel increase, and it’s not tapering off. People have made their plans, and despite it costing more, they are finding ways to still take that much-needed vacation.”
While gasoline prices have ticked down slightly in the past two weeks, they will still be the highest on record for a Fourth of July holiday period, said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, a fuel price-tracking service.
The national average shot above $5 per gallon for regular unleaded in mid-June but has since come down about 13 cents below that mark, according to GasBuddy.
But prices are still well above $4 per gallon in Oklahoma and surrounding states.
AAA also outlined price estimates in other areas for the holiday period this year:
Air: The average lowest airfare is 14% higher than last year, coming in at $201 per ticket.
Hotels: Mid-range hotel rates have increased about 23%, with the average lowest nightly rates coming in at $244 per night for AAA-approved hotels.
Car rentals: Since last year, the average daily rate for car rentals has continued to increase. With more people traveling, these prices remain on the rise due to continued supply chain issues coupled with growing demand. While daily car rental rates have decreased 34% compared to last year, with the average lowest rate coming in at $110 per day, rates are $40 more per day on average than in 2019.
Best and worst travel times
AAA said that according to INRIX, a traffic and travel analytics company, the best and worst travel times this holiday period are:
Best times: Before 7 a.m. and after 8 p.m. Thursday; before 10 a.m. and after 9 p.m. Friday; before noon and after 7 p.m. Saturday; and all of Sunday and Monday.