Due to Covid-19 restrictions, this July 4th holiday was anticipated to be, in relative terms, one of the weakest Independence Day travel periods in the last 50 years. But while overall travel was down, the percentage of Americans traveling by car was projected to be higher than usual, a prediction that appears to be supported by fuel sales data.
Comparing 2020 and 2019 data is more difficult than usual; this year the 4th fell on Saturday but the holiday was observed on Friday. Last year, it fell and was observed on Thursday. The charts below show the gas sales (measured in gallons) over the holiday period and in the weeks running up to the holiday.
On each chart the solid lines are the sales on that day, the dotted lines are the same day the previous week as a comparison. We can see some key similarities and differences in the data between the 2 years:
In both years we see a run up in sales above the previous week, beginning a few days before the holiday (excluding the Tuesday in 2019) as people fuel up their cars in advance of planned trips. This indicates that holiday celebrations still involved travel in 2020. […]