More Crowded Roads Expected for July 4 Weekend

(Los Angeles Times/MCT) -

Expect more traffic on the road this Fourth of July weekend, as 41 million Americans travel for the Independence Day legal holiday, a 1.9 percent increase compared to last year.

The forecast by AAA attributes the increase to a rise in consumer confidence, a greater willingness to take on credit-card debt and an improved employment picture.

Road trips will continue to be the most popular vacation option, with nearly 85 percent of Americans planning to drive for the legal holiday, according to AAA. This will come despite gasoline prices that will be the highest since 2008.

The national average price of a gallon of gas is about 20 cents higher than it was on July 4, 2013, according to the auto club. Hotel rates are also up between 9 percent and 15 percent, depending on the type of hotel, AAA said.

Auto-rental rates will be about the same as last year, while the average airfares to the most popular destinations will be down 5 percent.

The outlook is based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. The holiday weekend was defined in the forecast as July 2 to July 6.