A million say they’ll flee D.C. region for Independence Day weekend, AAA says

A million people say they plan to head for the hills or beaches over the July 4 weekend, fleeing the Washington region’s often sweltering Independence Day heat.

Forsaking the lure of fireworks on the Mall, 868,700 people are forecast by AAA to drive more than 50 miles from their homes during the weekend. The rest will fly or use other means of travel.

Nationally, the annual auto club survey concluded that 41 million people will stray from home during the weekend, with 85 percent driving, 7.6 percent flying, and 7.6 percent traveling by train, bus or cruise.

Those who drive can expect the highest holiday weekend gas prices since Independence Day 2008, AAA said. Nationwide, the average price of gas is about 20 cents a gallon higher than the average last year, when it was $3.48 a gallon.

“For the first time since at least 2001, over 1 million Washington-area residents are forecast to pack up their vacation wear and head out of town,” said John B. Townsend II of AAA. “Last year, political gridlock in Washington, D.C., had area residents second-guessing themselves on whether to take a summer trip for the Independence Day holiday, but this year is a different story.”

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Ashley Halsey reports on national and local transportation.

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