As Americans celebrate Independence Day, the highways are forecast to be a little less crowded than they were a year ago.

AAA Travel projects 40.8 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Independence Day holiday, a 0.8% decrease from the 41.1 million people who traveled last year.  

The anticipated decline in holiday travel is predominantly due to a shorter holiday period. With the Fourth of July landing on a Thursday this year, the holiday period has returned to the standard five-day holiday, compared to the six-day period in 2012 when the holiday fell on a Wednesday.

Decade-high travel volume occurred in 2007 when 42.3 million Americans traveled and the holiday also fell on a Wednesday.  The Independence Day holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, July 3 to Sunday, July 7.

This year 84% of travelers, 34.4 million, are expected to travel by automobile, a decrease of 0.7% from 34.7 million last year while holiday air travel expected to increase slightly to 3.07 million from 3.06 million in 2012.

Independence Day holiday travel volume is expected to remain above the 13-year average of 38.9 million for this holiday

The largest share of travelers, 32%, will depart on Wednesday, July 3, while Sunday, July 7, is the most popular date of return for holiday trips, with 38% planning to return that day