Plan Ahead to Keep the Fourth Fun

AAA offers tips to make the most of the holiday

BOISE – (June 29, 2018) – According to AAA’s latest projections, a record 47 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more for Independence Day, and more than 247,000 Idahoans will take part. With any holiday travel plans, AAA encourages a balance between fun and safety.

“Nationwide, AAA expects to rescue 362,000 motorists over the long weekend,” says AAA Idaho spokesman Matthew Conde. “While we’re always happy to help if needed, there are many simple steps that travelers can take to prevent issues at the roadside.”

Before you head out, complete some preventive vehicle maintenance. Make sure fluid levels and tire pressure are at recommended levels.  Check for leaks under the vehicle and for any signs of corrosion on battery terminals.  Headlights are sometimes neglected due to the longer, lighter days of summer, but after viewing fireworks in the late evening, it’s important to see and be seen.

Take along some essential supplies – jumper cables, a first-aid kit, some basic tools, flares or reflectors, mobile power to recharge a cell phone, and extra food.

“One of the best safety tips is to bring an extra gallon or two of water on the trip,” Conde said. “You can help people and pets stay hydrated, quickly douse a campfire that may be getting a little out of control, put out a fire caused by an errant firework, or temporarily top off a radiator if the coolant is running low.  When it comes to road trips, water is one of the most versatile and overlooked tools in your kit.”

With an additional 2.4 million people hitting the road and taking to the sky this year, Conde advises building in extra time to reach crowded points of interest.   “Too many people get into a ‘hurry up and have fun’ mode that stresses everybody out,” he said.  “By having a plan and setting realistic expectations for what you can accomplish, you’ll be able to relax even if others are feeling frantic.”

AAA reminds travelers to celebrate the holiday responsibly. Vacationers should get enough rest to drive without feeling drowsy.  Also, alcohol never mixes well with fireworks, boating, or driving.

“People deserve to take a break from their busy lives, but that’s never an excuse to engage in behavior that puts others’ safety at risk,” Conde said.

 

Gas prices won’t slow anyone down

The national average gas price has dropped a dime since June 1, while the Idaho average has held steady near $3.18 for most of the month. With high consumer confidence as a continuing theme of recent holiday travel, few motorists will hesitate to gas up and go this summer.

OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) recently announced plans to reduce production cuts leading up to the end of an agreement that is set to expire later this year. Although the long-term effect should increase crude oil inventories around the world, the process of ramping up production is not expected to have an immediate impact on gas prices.  Demand remains fairly strong, which could apply upward pressure on pump prices in the short run.

Domestic crude oil production is robust, but inventories continue to drop due to strong seasonal demand. In the latest update by the Energy Information Administration, inventories now sit at 416.6 million barrels, about 93 million barrels below this time last year.  Continued market volatility has forced oil prices about 8 dollars per barrel higher over the last 10 days or so.

The West Texas Intermediate benchmark for crude oil is near $74 a barrel today, an increase of seven dollars over last month and a whopping 30 dollars more than last year.

Today, the U.S. average gas price is $2.85, which is 11 cents less than a month ago and 61 cents more than a year ago. In Idaho, the current price is $3.18, same as a month ago and 59 cents more than a year ago.

Here’s a look at gas prices across the Gem State: American Falls, $3.19; Ammon, $3.16; Blackfoot, $3.17; Bliss, $3.19; Boise, $3.20; Bonners Ferry, $3.24; Cascade, $3.42; Chubbuck, $3.17; Coeur d’Alene, $3.12; Council, $3.23; Dalton Gardens, $3.11; Donnelly, $3.30; Eden, $3.29; Filer, $3.05; Franklin, $3.19; Fruitland, $3.19; Glenns Ferry, $3.12; Hagerman, $3.20; Hayden, $3.10; Horseshoe Bend, $3.22; Idaho Falls, $3.16; Kellogg, $3.26; Ketchum, $3.33; Lewiston, $3.27; Melba, $3.40; Moscow, $3.29; Mountain Home, $3.11; New Meadows, $3.27; Orofino, $3.22; Parma, $3.20; Pocatello, $3.18;  Ponderay, $3.18; Rexburg, $3.20; Saint Maries, $3.20; Soda Springs, $3.20; Stanley, $3.57; Sugar City, $3.20; Twin Falls, $3.12; Wallace, $3.25.