PROVIDENCE — AAA Southern New England projects that 40.8 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home during the Fourth of July holiday weekend, a 0.8 percent decrease from 41.1 million last year.
AAA attributed the expected decline in travel to a shorter holiday travel period, the trade group said in a press release.
In 2012, the holiday fell on a Wednesday, resulting in a six-day travel period, but this year – with Independence Day taking place on a Thursday – the travel period will return to the usual five days. The holiday travel period will begin on Wednesday, July 3 and end on Sunday, July 7.
Fewer Americans will to travel for this during the upcoming holiday because the country’s economic growth that is still “not robust enough to offset the impact of the sequester” and the sunsetting of the payroll tax cut, Lloyd P. Albert, AAA Southern New England senior vice president of public and government affairs, said in a statement.
Nonetheless, the expected travel volume for this year’s Independence Day travel period remains above the 13-year average of 38.9 million people, said AAA.
Wednesday, July 3 and Sunday, July 7 are expected to be the busiest travel days, being the most popular departure and return dates respectively.
“Independence Day is typically the busiest holiday of the summer travel season with 6 million more Americans traveling than Memorial Day just two months ago,” Albert said in prepared remarks. He added that Independence Day holiday travel volume “benefits from the fact that all schools across the nation are out of session, making it truly a time for family fun.”
AAA recorded a decade-high travel volume for the Independence Day travel period in 2007’s five-day-long period — when July 4 fell on a Wednesday — with a total of 42.3 million people traveling.
The trade group’s forecast notes that automobile travel will decrease by 0.9 percent from 2012, while air travel will not see significant changes. AAA also predicts that 14.1 percent of New England residents will elect to travel this July Fourth travel period, greater than the national frequency of 12.9 percent.
AAA’s travel projections are based on economic forecasting and research by Boston-based economic research and consulting firm IHS Global Insight.