AAA predicts that 42 million Americans will hit the road by July 4th. Meanwhile, President Biden is considering a gas tax exemption to ease the pain at the pump.
CHARLOTTE, North Carolina — Tens of millions of Americans are expected to drive for the July 4 holiday this year despite record high gasoline prices across the country, according to AAA forecasts.
With the national average gasoline price just below $5 a gallon, 47.9 million people are expected to travel 50 miles or more over the holiday weekend (June 30 – July 4), according to AAA. That’s just below the numbers seen in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, and the vast majority of those people, around 42 million, will be driving.
“Earlier this year, we started to see demand for travel go up and it’s not going down,” said AAA Senior Vice President Paula Twindale. “People are ready for a break and despite things costing more, they are finding ways to keep taking that much-needed vacation.”
The startling prediction among drivers comes as President Joe Biden considers a federal gas tax exemption. If Biden suspended the federal gasoline tax, it could save U.S. drivers up to 18.4 cents a gallon.
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“Yeah, I’m thinking about it,” Biden told reporters after strolling along the beach near his vacation home in Delaware. “I hope to have a decision based on the data – I’m looking by the end of the week.”
Biden said his administration would meet with CEOs of major oil companies to discuss the price hike. Biden has publicly spoken out against corporations, saying they are making excessive profits as Americans feel the tightening of inflation.
Earlier this year, the Biden administration released oil from the US strategic reserve and increased the ethanol blend for the summer. Oil refiners say their ability to produce additional gas and diesel is limited, meaning prices could stay high unless demand starts to decline.
The American Petroleum Institute and U.S. fuel and petrochemical makers sent a joint letter to Biden on Wednesday saying refineries are already operating near maximum capacity and nearly half of the capacity pulled from the line was due to the conversion of facilities to the production of renewable fuel.