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AAA projects 18.4 percent increase in July 4 travel

AAA Mid-Atlantic predicts that Marylanders' enthusiasm for July 4 weekend travel will rebound robustly after last year's recession doldrums -- forecasting a whopping increase of 18.4 percent.

About 658,700 Marylanders are expected to take a trip more than 50 miles from home over the weekend, with 92 percent of them expected to travel by car, AAA said.

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The more ambitious travel plans are a reflection of an improved economy , favorable  gas prices and the fact the holiday falls on a Sunday, creating a three-day weekend, AAA said. The group estimated the avverage gas price at about $2.70 a gallon.

"What a difference a year makes," said AAA spokeswoman Ragina Averella.  "Last year at this time Marylanders, and Americans across the country, were faced with a deteriorating economy, growing joblessness, and sagging personal incomes.  This year, while the economic picture is far from perfect, there is certainly an overall improvement in economic conditions compared to last year, which appears to be the primary motivating factor for the tremendous rebound in July 4th holiday travel."

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In addition to an expected 18.9 percent increase in auto travel, AAA projects that 27,000 Marylanders will fly this  weekend, a 9 percent jump over last year's holiday. 

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