Travelers express how the lower gas prices are affecting their travel including this Fourth of July holiday weekend. (Karl Merton Ferron, Baltimore Sun video)
Nearly 1 million Marylanders are expected to travel for the Fourth of July next week, up nearly 6 percent from last year.
The 993,000 people going to the beach and other start-of-summer vacation spots represents the biggest year-over-year jump since 2010, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic. The increase despite high gas prices and the holiday travel period — Tuesday to Sunday — being a day shorter than last year’s.
It’s the third consecutive Independence Day that the auto club has projected travel volumes of more than 900,000 in Maryland.
“Since the 2017 year-end holidays, we have seen a trend in record-breaking holiday travel volume by Marylanders, despite gas prices higher than the previous year’s holiday,” said Ragina Cooper Averella, a AAA Mid-Atlantic spokeswoman.
Drivers in the Baltimore region spend an average of just over 30 minutes commuting each way — the eighth-longest in the country, according to 2017 U.S. Census data. The average commute time is longer than in notoriously traffic-heavy Los Angeles and only a few minutes shorter than in New York.
A record 862,900 of those leaving town — 87 percent — are expected to drive to their destinations.Gas prices in Maryland have been trending down since Memorial Day weekend, but they remain a whopping 20 percent to 28 percent higher than last Fourth of July.
It should be a good beach week, weather-wise. Early National Weather Service forecasts call for sun and temperatures in the 80s for the beginning of the week, and mostly sunny with a chance of thunderstorms on the Fourth.