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Record July 4th Travel Could Boost Oil Demand and Prices

A record number of Americans plan to travel over the holiday period around Independence Day, in what could be a boon to so-far-lackluster U.S. gasoline demand this summer.  

AAA expects 70.9 million travelers will head 50 miles or more from home over the Independence Day holiday travel period between Saturday, June 29, and Sunday, July 7, the association said in a new forecast on Thursday.

For the first time, AAA looked at the entire July 4th week, plus the Saturday before and the Sunday after the holiday. The projected number of travelers for that time period is a 5% increase compared to 2023 and an 8% increase over 2019, with record-high numbers of both travelers by car and air travelers, according to AAA.

AAA sees a record 60.6 million people traveling by car over Independence Day week, up by 2.8 million travelers compared to last year. The expected number of people who will travel by car also vastly exceeds the pre-pandemic year 2019 when 55.3 million people traveled by car over the July 4th week.

U.S. gasoline prices are lower than last year when the national average was $3.53 per gallon, and pump prices will likely continue going down leading up to Independence Day, AAA said. 

“At that point, they will likely level off and remain relatively stable until after Labor Day, similar to last year,” said the association but noted that “An important caveat is hurricane season – underway now – which could affect gas prices should a storm negatively impact Gulf Coast oil production and refining centers.”

AAA expects the number of air travelers to set a new record this July 4th period, too, with 5.74 million people planning to fly to their destinations. That’s up by nearly 7% compared to 2023 and up by 12% compared to 2019.

Record-high numbers of U.S. travelers for the Independence Day holiday period could boost gasoline demand in America this summer, after a slower-than-expected start to the summer driving season. 

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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