AAA: July 4 traffic expected to be highest in more than a decade

GREENVILLE, S.C. – Higher gas prices won't stop nearly half a million South Carolinians from hitting the road for the Independence Day holiday, the highest number in more than 13 years, according to AAA Carolinas.

The five-day holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, July 2 through Sunday, July 6.

AAA said the top regional drive destinations are Charlotte, Myrtle Beach, Wilmington, Charleston, Nashville, Greenville, Orlando, Gatlinburg, Washington and Greensboro.

South Carolina's gas prices are 21 cents higher than last year – the highest since 2008 but the lowest in the nation, according to AAA. The state's current average gasoline price is $3.338. The highest price is in Myrtle Beach at $3.409, and the cheapest is in Spartanburg at $3.064.

Traveling south, motorists will find the gas prices averaging $3.589 in Georgia and $3.617 in Florida. Going north, Virginia's average is $3.481. Traveling west, Tennessee's average price is $3.462, with Kentucky the highest priced neighbor with an average price of $3.726.

With Friday and Saturday fireworks scheduled throughout the state and no work the next day, law enforcement and traffic experts are worried about an increase in drunken drivers.

"Don't turn a good time into a tragedy," said Parsons. "Don't drink and drive and be especially vigilant behind-the-wheel. You may be sober. The other driver may not be."

S.C. Highway Patrol will begin its "Operation Life" campaign July 1. The campaign targets drunk drivers and will continue the through July 31.

The state's Department of Transportation began prohibiting lane closures on interstate highways and high volume multi-lane primary routes last Friday, and that will continue through 10 p.m. Sunday, July 13.

For updated information, visit or call 511 within the state.

To estimate fuel costs, travelers can go to to input starting city, destination, and the make and model of their car.

AAA Travel Tip: Check windshield wipers to combat sudden thunderstorms. Wipers often freeze and harden during winter, reducing their effectiveness.