AAA projects record-breaking holiday travel, gas prices in the Philadelphia region

Traffic volume is expected to be back at pre-pandemic levels, and this may be the most expensive 4th of July ever at the gas pump.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022
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4th of July weekend travel is going to cost you. Annie McCormick reports for Action News on June 27, 2022.

SOUTH PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- AAA is projecting a record-breaking holiday weekend for multiple reasons that will be frustrating for drivers.

Not only is traffic volume expected to be back at pre-pandemic levels, this may also be the most expensive 4th of July ever at the gas pump.

"I was so excited to get a Jeep and now I'm kind of regretting it," said Gianna Rio, who shells out nearly $80 every time she fills her tank.

The price is making far rides not worth it for her.

"It's definitely making me second guess where I'm driving - if it's necessary, if it's not necessary. But I do work a lot so I don't have an option but to drive," she said.

She'll be staying close to home over Independence Day weekend while Qua Wimes will be looking for a new job. The delivery driver is bleeding cash on the road.

"I pretty much got to fill up my tank twice a day just so I can make some money. I pretty much put in $60 a day to make $125," said Wimes.

AAA says gas prices are averaging $4.96 per gallon in Philadelphia and its surrounding counties, $4.84 in South Jersey, and $4.83 in Delaware.

"We're experiencing the highest gas prices for the Independence Day holiday weekend ever on record. We're just about $5 a gallon in the Philadelphia five-county area," said Jana Tidwell, spokesperson for AAA.

Expect the holds on your credit or debit cards to be higher. Holds are placed to ensure a customer can afford a full payment. Some have increased from $125 to $175.

"If you're using your debit card and your checking account balance is really really tight, this could trigger an overdraft if you're not aware of this ahead of time. There's also a convenience side of this too -- the higher the hold keeps you from having from swiping your card multiple times," said Greg McBride, the senior vice president and chief financial analyst for Bankrate.com

Still, AAA is projecting packed roads for the holiday, with traffic at near pre-pandemic level. More than 566,000 people in the Philadelphia area are expected to travel, most by car.

"Despite the high gas prices, they'll adjust their spending for either summer travel - or even their day-to-day lives - just to make sure they can take that summer road trip," said Tidwell.

For those flying to their holiday destination, Philadelphia International Airport is suggesting travelers sign up for updates from their airlines.

FlightAware says nearly 800 flights were canceled nationwide Monday with 19 cancellations in Philadelphia.

"Flights were delayed, lots of people, and very, very little help in customer service," said Monique Dollone, who was flying out of PHL Monday.

If you are driving to your 4th of July destination, AAA suggests avoiding rush hour times Thursday and Friday. That's when your trip could double in time and you'll burn gas while sitting in traffic.