GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A strong economy and cheap gas prices are among the reasons the upcoming July Fourth weekend is expected to be the busiest on highways since 2007, AAA spokesman Robert Sinclair said.

“Sixteen and a half million new vehicles sold last year,” Sinclair told WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs. “As when you have a new vehicle and some time off and relatively cheap gasoline, people take full advantage and get out and take that trip.

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“The economy has a lot to do with it,” Sinclair added. “People have more disposable income. Household net worth is up.”

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Nearly 42 million Americans are expected to travel over the long Independence Day weekend.

AAA says about 360,000 of them will need emergency help for issues such as flat tires and dead batteries.

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According to AAA figures, the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas in New York state is $2.96 — down nearly $1 from a year ago.