NEW YORK (AP) -- Highways will be packed once again this July Fourth weekend, with 41 million Americans expected to travel at least 50 miles or more.<br />
That's up about 2 percent from the 40.3 million who traveled during last year's Independence Day weekend, according to auto club AAA.<br />
The calendar is helping to push up the number of vacationers. The holiday falls on a Friday this year, making it an easy three-day weekend for many travelers.<br />
Another factor cited by AAA in the expected uptick in travel is a "steady" improvement in the economy along with increased consumer spending and confidence.<br />
As usual, the vast majority of travelers will be using their cars: 85 percent. Gas currently costs $3.68 a gallon, up nearly 13 cents from the same time last year. That means a family driving 200 miles on highways will pay about 75 cents more in total for their holiday gas this year.<br />
In Georgia, AAA expects 992,621 to hit the road and travel 50+ miles from home over the holiday weekend. Another 85,615 will be traveling by plane and another 66,990 by other means.<br />
(AccessNorthGa.com's Ken Stanford contributed to this story.)
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
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