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Record-high number of Michiganders to travel by car over July 4 holiday as gas hits 7-year high

Posted at 7:07 AM, Jun 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-30 07:12:45-04

(WSYM) — Many of us will be hitting the road again this summer, in some cases for the first time in more than a year and a half.

AAA is expecting road trips will be the hottest way to travel for the upcoming holiday weekend, with an estimated 1.4 million Michiganders jumping behind the wheel, a 20% jump from this time last year.

As travel continues to bounce back, Michiganders are entering road trip season amid a record-high number of expected travelers and record-high gas prices.

AAA said we're seeing 7-year highs at the pump, and numbers are only expected to go up.

"There's been a lot of pent-up demand for travel and certainly with more and more vaccinations more people are ready to get out," Adrienne Woodland, a spokesperson for AAA Michigan, said.

AAA expects 1.5 million Michiganders to travel in some form for the July 4th holiday, the third-most on record. The vast majority – 1.4 million – will be in a car.

"That's a record number of folks who will be taking a road trip since AAA began tracking these numbers in 2000," Woodland said.

She tells us given crude oil prices, hikes at the pump were expected and will likely continue to go up as demand increases.

As of Tuesday, the average price for gas in Michigan is $3.17 per gallon, while in metro Detroit, it's $3.23 per gallon.

"Prices in the metro Detroit area have certainly been some of the highest we've seen around the state," Woodland said.

While fewer Michiganders are expected to take to the skies overall, that number is up significantly from last year with 127% more Michiganders traveling by plane.

Earlier this week, TSA reminded local travelers that masks are still required on planes and to arrive at least two hours before their flight.

Airfares for holiday travel have dropped by 2% compared to last year, but airlines are facing a shortage of staff and planes.

This week, United announced its largest aircraft order ever – 270 jets – worth an estimated $30 billion.

American Airlines is still canceling dozens of flights per day because of a major pilot shortage and Southwest has canceled hundreds in the last week, citing weather and IT issues.

Some states are still. battling fuel shortages, but not in Michigan. South Central Ohio is one of those areas.

AAA said the busiest time will be Friday afternoon where metro Detroit roads are expected to be 50% more congested.