More people hit the road over holiday weekend despite high gas prices

Despite high gas prices, Fourth of July travel will skyrocket this year, especially in New England, where the region will experience a 2.5% increase in travelers — most likely the highest number of travelers on record since 2001, according to AAA Southern New England.

In New England, 2.1 million New Englanders will hit the road and fly in the skies this year so look for crowded roadways and active airports.

On the national scene, numbers are just as impressive. AAA is projecting 41 million folks – a 1.9% increase -- will usher in the four-day holiday from July 2 to 6 by traveling.

Gas nears $4 per gallon in CT

The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline on June 30 was $3.68 per gallon, which is 19 cents higher per gallon than last year.

In Connecticut, average prices are $3.89, which is 20 cents higher than in 2013.

Despite the increasing gas prices, Americans are compensating for those higher costs by cutting back in other areas so they can still travel.

Most people travel by car

Of the overall 41 million travelers:

— 84.9%, or 34.8 million people, will travel by automobile — the highest number since 2007.

— 7.6%, or 3.1 million people, will fly — a slight decrease from last year.

— 7.6%, or 3.1 million people, will take some other mode of transportation (primarily bus and rail).

Economy is factor in people’s plans

This year’s travel increase may be attributed to an improved economy. Consumer spending is on the uptick and is driving more Americans to take a road trip this year, according to the AAA.

Also, the AAA survey found, this year air fares are cheaper, car rental costs are flat, and hotel rates are higher.

AAA Southern New England has 50 offices in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island. It provides travel, insurance, finance, and auto-related services to more than 3.5 million members.

In CT, AAA Southern New England covers Fairfield, Litchfield and New Haven counties.