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AAA: 2.6M in Michigan to travel around July 4 holiday

Marnie Muñoz
The Detroit News

More than 2.6 million Michigan residents will be traveling around the week of July 4 as gas prices ebb ahead of the holiday, AAA officials announced Thursday.

Of the 70.9 million people traveling across the country ahead of Independence Day, AAA projects 2.3 million Michiganders will be taking a road trip of more than 50 miles between June 29 and July 7.

Another 94,262 residents might fly to their destination while 155,535 will opt for another mode of travel, AAA said in a travel forecast.

These crowds come as AAA projects consumers will spend 5.5% more money than in 2023, since their confidence has been on the upswing as of last month.

Consumer confidence had taken a hit since January, but a 2.5% GDP growth from last year shows conditions may be changing for the better, AAA reported.

Michiganians hit the roads

The number of Michiganians headed for a road trip increased by more than 117,000 than the same time period in 2023, according to AAA. Drivers may be in luck as gas prices have been dwindling on a downward trend recently.

Michigan residents are still paying more to fill their tanks as of Thursday compared to July 4, 2023, when the state average was $3.52, according to a AAA release.

Whether gas prices shoot back up or stay low could come down to international politics and any extreme weather along the Gulf of Mexico, AAA said.

The worst auto traffic will likely hit on July 3 as area residents are leaving town, according to AAA. Traffic will resurge again on July 7 as travelers return home, Bob Pishue, transportation analyst at INRIX, said in the release.

Drivers on Interstate 94 west from Toronto to Detroit will be stuck in peak traffic congestion on July 8 at 3:30 p.m., according to AAA. Travelers could take up to five hours and 35 minutes to drive between the two cities at that point — a trip that would be 29% longer than usual, according to AAA.

AAA also recommends drivers head out before noon between July 3 and July 7 if they want to beat peak traffic congestion.

"Drivers in large metro areas can expect the worst traffic delays on Wednesday, July 3, as they leave town, and Sunday, July 7th, as they return," Pishue said in the release. “Road trips over the holiday week could take up to 67% longer than normal. Travelers should monitor 511 services, local news stations, and traffic apps for up-to-the-minute road conditions.”

More holiday flights and cruises in store

AAA projects a record-setting 5.74 million people across the country will take domestic flights to their July 4 destinations in a 7% step up from 2023 figures.

Domestic flights are also 2% cheaper around the holiday this year, with the average roundtrip ticket totaling out to $800, according to AAA.

Travelers should get to the airport at least 2 hours early, reserving parking ahead of time and use carry-on luggage to minimize wait times, AAA said

Another 4.6 million people nationwide will likely travel on buses, cruises and trains, marking a 9% rise in non-car, non-air travel compared to 2023, according to the group's release.

The recent shift in the travel category still falls short of pre-COVID-19 pandemic numbers, when 4.79 million people chose alternative transportation around July 4, according to AAA.