Red, White, Blue — and Green. Here’s How Much Americans Spend on July 4

fireworks over a beach
Spectators watch fireworks at North Redington Beach, Fl. Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder

Break out the sparklers and fire up the grill; the Fourth of July is right around the corner.

Similar to May the 4th (Be With You), how can you not love a holiday with a name that reminds you exactly where to find it on the calendar?

Independence Day is a perfect time for cookouts, parties and family get-togethers, and Americans spend a lot of money to celebrate it.

We won’t know how much party animals will spend in 2018, so let’s take a look at data from previous years to see where our cash goes.


In 2017, WalletHub predicted Americans would spend $7.15 billion on food for July Fourth festivities.

It doesn’t seem all that surprising when you consider we spent $25 million just for mustard in 2016.

WalletHub also predicted we would spend $1.6 billion on wine and beer in 2017. There’s no judgment here. After all, George Washington issued double rations of rum to his troops in honor of Independence Day in 1778.


Condiments have to land somewhere, and hot dogs are always a good bet. The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (yes, it’s a thing) says we eat about 150 million hot dogs on the Fourth of July.

Los Angeles ate the most hot dogs in 2016 — more than 36 million pounds — in case you need a fun bit of trivia to pull out around the grill.


In 2017, AAA predicted 44.2 million Americans would travel for the Independence Day holiday.

It’s too soon to forecast Fourth of July travel data for 2018, but AAA expects it will be a busy summer travel season once again, said Julie Hall, a spokeswoman for the auto club.

Gas prices are a big concern since many people will travel to their destination by car. During last year’s holiday, the nationwide average price for regular gas was $2.23 per gallon.

Hall says gas this summer could cost as much as $3.00 per gallon. At that price, you’ll want to travel as efficiently as possible to save a few bucks.

“Try to avoid traveling through major cities during peak travel times,” Hall recommends. “The best times to leave are typically early morning or after the morning commute because the roads should be less crowded and you will have more time to get to your destination safely.”

Hall notes that travel on the day of the holiday often means less traffic. That means less wasted gas – and money – sitting in gridlock.

Make sure your car is in good shape to avoid having to deal with costly repairs on the road, and pack an extra set of car keys before setting out. “Dead batteries, lockouts and flat tires are the leading reasons AAA members experience car trouble,” says Hall.


WalletHub estimated Americans would spend over $800 million on fireworks in 2017. If you plan to host your own fireworks show this year, these statistics might change your mind.

  • The National Fire Protection Association says more fires are reported on July Fourth than any other day of the year. Fireworks are responsible for two out of every five of these fires and cause an average of $43 million in property damage per year.
  • The National Safety Council reports that in 2016, four people died and about 11,000 people were injured in fireworks-related accidents.

Why not attend a professional fireworks show near you instead? They’re almost always free and the wow factor can’t be beat.  


In 2016, the National Retail Federation found 25% of Americans planned to purchase patriotic apparel and decorations. By 2017, that figure had jumped to 28%.

That’s a lot of flag-shaped cake pans.

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.