There are more than 100 recreation technology related companies spread across Idaho, employing more than 3,500 people. A rec tech business, as it is called, makes products used for recreation. The data presented does not include service-based recreation industries.
Some examples of rec tech companies include:
Buck Knives in Post Falls
Aire Inc., an inflatable boat manufacturer, in Meridian
National River Supply, or NRS, in Moscow
Boise-based Lucky Bums
SCOTT Sport manufacturing in Sun Valley
ATK CCI/Speer in Lewiston, produces aircraft, missile products and ammunition
Quest Aircraft in Sandpoint
Milt Sparks Leather Holsters is in Idaho City near Boise
Herrett Gun Stocks in Twin Falls
KK Air in Rathdrum makes Cabela’s “Bullet Proof” series gun cases
Other recreational technologies include companies that make bow hunting and fishing equipment
Southwestern Idaho has 57 small rec tech businesses with 1,100 workers. North central Idaho has only 15 but employs 1,250. There are 16 rec tech businesses in northern Idaho, which employ approximately 580 people.
Over the past decade, jobs in Idaho’s rec tech industry grew 25.6 percent. The number of employers rose as much from 104 in 2000 to 127 by 2010. Southwestern Idaho added 14 new employers, but the size of the industry’s workforce downsized.
With the help of Quest Aircraft and the relocation of Buck Knives to Idaho, northern Idaho accelerated in employment over the last decade, adding nearly 500 jobs. The north central region was not far behind with an additional 430 jobs, mostly in small arms ammunition manufacturing. According to the Idaho Department of Commerce, the state’s firearms and ammunition manufacturing industry is worth $2 billion a year.
As the impacts of the housing bubble loomed over Idaho, the rec tech industry limped along.
Statewide, the industry experienced a net loss of nearly 700 jobs during the recession. Most of the loss was in southern Idaho’s travel trailer and camper manufacturing industry. Northern and north central Idaho saved the remainder of the industry from being hit harder, adding a total of 270 jobs from 2007 to 2010. Aircraft and small arms ammunition manufacturing were the two components that attributed most to the growth.
Because the rec tech industry is a combination of manufacturing subsectors, it is heavily export-oriented so a high percentage of its gross revenue comes from outside the region, giving it much more economic impact than many other sectors. The rec tech industry has a multiplier of 2.6 in Idaho. That means for every 10 jobs it creates, another 16 are created in other areas of the economy.
According to Economic Modeling Specialists Inc., the industry is projected to grow six percent annually over the next 10 years, compared to a projected 0.3 percent decline nationwide. The annual growth is driven by expected aircraft manufacturing in northern Idaho, where it is projected to grow 18 percent on annual basis through 2020.
Idaho has continued to be a recreation destination for locals and visitors alike, producing about $2.2 billion a year in retail sales and services. The diverse landscape is a prime research ground for companies like Buck Knives and Aire, who can test their products in the environments where they will be used.
Summer has finally arrived, well according the calendar anyway. The visitor centers are full with people from around the country, coming to North Idaho for a variety of experiences.
The great thing about living in North Idaho is you can take advantage of events, attractions and experiences year round. I encourage you to visit our website for a complete list of things to see and do in our community. www.visitpostfalls.org or www.postfallschamber.com
While we are on the subject of “the information highway,” in addition to our website, you can tune into KVNI on Tuesday mornings at 7 a.m. for the latest and greatest news from Post Falls. VP Jame Davis and I will be bringing you fun facts and rave reviews about our business community. Tune in on July 5 and 19.
Special thanks to our platinum sponsors and volunteers for assisting with the 19th Annual Golf Tournament held at the Highlands Golf Course on June 17. Advanced Benefit, Dickinson Insurance, Ground Force, Knudtsen and Custom Tiles by Xthings.
Congratulations to our 2011 River City Leadership Academy Graduates
Nellie Armstrong, Anne Hagman, Lori Morland, Suzanna Spenser, Pat Knight, Mike Mires, Jame Davis, Shelly Enderud, Tami Martinez, Cindy Jordan, Jeanine Huntington, John Chambers, Ron Lahr, Tavis Throm, Michelle Lemilin, Scott Crawford, Chris Fletcher, Sherry Wallis and Terry Werner.
River City Leadership Academy is a program that offers classroom training as well as the exploration of Post Falls, Kootenai County and Idaho treasures. Participants learn about current issues, hot topics and opportunities that affect us as citizens and business leaders. Our goal is for participants to gain leadership skills while creating effective changes in the future of our community.
Last but not least, please join us for breakfast on Tuesday, July 19 at Red Lion Templin’s. We will be sponsoring a “best in business” breakfast. This will be an opportunity for YOU to bring a guest and “brag” about their customer service, extraordinary employees or business model. We know we have incredible business leaders in our community, help us recognize them with a “rave review.” Registration is required.
Summer in Coeur d’Alene is heating up (hopefully this isn’t just figuratively speaking!). We are all ready to enjoy bountiful outdoor recreation and activities in our spectacular community!
Thousands of us together with visitors enjoyed Car d’Lane and Ironman recently and these are the kick off to summer. They are followed by a fully booked summer of activities for the community and visitors to enjoy. These include the 4th of July parade, festival and ever popular fireworks over the lake.
We then enjoy music and art through events like the Tuesday night music at Sherman Park (visit w
ww.CdADownTown.com ) and ArtWalk on the second Fridays (visit www.ArtsinCdA.org). The 12th annual Osprey Cruise is on July 9 and is a great way to visit our local eco-system up close and learn of the important role that the osprey play in Coeur d’Alene (visit www.CdAChamber.com).
The summer really heats up with Street Fair on August 5-7, followed by the Coeur d’Alene Triathlon (www.CdATriathlon.com), and summer is rounded out with the ever popular and 26th annu
al Coeur d’Alene Wooden Boat Show.
Street Fair boasts more than 250 vendors with daily entertainment, food and crafts. The triathlon is the USA Triathlon’s 2011 Pacific Northwest Regional Championship Race, and the Boat Show welcomes six Antique and Classic Boat Society (ACBS) chapters for the first ever ACBS Regional Chapters Classic. The Boat Show shares the weekend with the Diamond Cup Re
gatta hosted by the Hydromanicas. Your summer calendar is full of summer fun!
It is often shared that when our friends and family visit us living in Coeur d’Alene all they need to bring is their suitcase and swimsuit (actually they don’t need either if they want to shop first). To have a world-class adventure you have everything you need available from many great companies prepared to serve and entertain. We have a long list of world famous and renowned businesses ready to make sure you and your guest are catered to whether it is to relax in a spa, to a thrilling ride on a raft, parasail, or ATV.
To make plans for your adventure there is no better resource than the Convention & Visitor Bureau’s (CVB) website at www.CoeurdAlene.org. Here you have all the necessary information to fully discover the greater Coeur d’Alene area.
Recreation, tourism and business travel are all key components of our area’s economy, and the Coeur d’Alene Chamber of Commerce & CVB is pleased to work to promote our area and strengthen our local economy. If you have taken our spectacular community for granted, we encourage you to rediscover all that is available in our great community.
Smartphones, laptops and tablets allow professionals to work pretty much anywhere in North Idaho. But with so many recreational activities to fit in before the end of summer, who really wants to bring work with them?
There are those who need to get away completely, those who can’t function without some connection to the outside world, and, of course, the rare individual that can perfectly balance both.
“For those living out of their RVs, they pretty much function through their laptops and phones,” said David White, North Idaho region manager for the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation. “We’ve all gotten so used to electronic gadgets.”
Chip Dalvini, owner of Kayak Coeur d’Alene, believes the entire point of recreating in North Idaho is to unplug from the modern world.
“Kayaking is a sport where normally you stick your phone in a dry bag and go,” Dalvini said. “I always suggest people bring their phone, turn it off and get away from everything. Our lives are too technologically inhibited.”
Mike Alexander, new media director for The Coeur d’Alene believes it is essential for working professionals and local businesses to be utilizing mobile technology.
“It’s not going away,” Alexander said. “The consumers are always reaching out for the latest technologies, and businesses have to address it.”
Alexander said his smartphone ultimately allows more time for recreational activities.
“Excess of anything is problematic, but I like the fact that my mobile device is a tool for me anytime,” he said. “If I take my family hiking on Tubbs, and I need to resolve an issue on one of the websites, I don’t have to pack them up and take them home so I can work on my computer at the office.”
Avoiding (or finding) the dead spots
For most locals and tourists, mobile devices bring additional safety to outdoor excursions. White said the Parks Department has worked hard to boost cell phone reception in all the area parks.
“We don’t have a lot of control on that in some respects, but usually the parks employees know where you can get the best cell phone coverage,” White said.
Some dead spots in coverage include portions of the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes, Farragut State Park and Priest Lake.
“Out at Priest Lake, on the beach there’s cell reception, in the woods, no.” he said.
Aaron Thykeson, accessories and IT manager at Mark’s Marine, warns users of dead spots on Lake Pend Oreille, and all local waterways surrounded by signal-blocking mountains.
“On Pend Oreille, the weather can change so quickly, so users should still be falling back on VHF radios,” Thykeson said.
Mobile devices are great for safety, but the trick is balancing essential communication with enjoying the outdoors for what they are.
“Most of our state parks are getting that reception,” White said. “All you’ve got to do is turn your cell phone off.”
Tech versus discovery
Though the purists may disagree, technology has made North Idaho’s outdoor spaces more accessible. New this year, the Idaho Parks Department has introduced an online statewide system of trail maps. The interactive maps on http://Trails.Idaho.gov provide a complete breakdown of motorized trails, and hiking and bike trails are being added all the time as staff continue to digitize trails.
“When you click on the trail itself, you can get more information and pictures of the area,” White said.
White also recommends utilizing the online campground reservation system to book sites in the area.
“At Priest Lake, people are reserving space nine months out,” he said.
People can utilize the registration system at http://ParksandRecreation.Idaho.gov where users can also register their boats and recreational vehicles. Reservations can also still be made by calling the toll free number, 888-922-6743.
For other outdoor sports, there is a balance to be made between utilizing the latest applications and seeking traditional, local advice. Mike Beard, co-owner of Orvis Northwest Outfitters, said there are all kinds of mobile applications, videos and online tools for the beginner fisherman.
“There’s immense information out there on blogs and YouTube, but you’ve got to be careful,” Beard said. “You don’t want a scenario where ‘I was going to go fishing today but the app is telling me not to.’ The app really doesn’t know what’s going on.”
“There are tools to use but I still don’t think you can beat local knowledge,” he said.
In the world of kayaking, Dalvini still doesn’t see technology taking over the most enduring aspects of his industry.
- Press/Shawn Gust
“We’re the recreational activity to get you away from your computer and your phone and everything else that’s bothersome in your world,” Dalvini said.
COEUR d’ALENE – Gone are the days when radio personalities like “North Idaho Joe” Paisley could stroll into the booth to deliver three hours of news and entertainment, made possible by an entourage of technicians and an assistant to make the coffee and the phone calls.
In the 21st century, radio just doesn’t work the way it’s depicted on reruns of “Frasier.”
Paisley’s work day begins early at the KXLY Broadcast Group’s station in Coeur d’Alene. He arrives by 5:15 a.m. to begin show prep, look over current events and local sports, address programming issues and get the news ready for the important 6-9 a.m. morning drive-time slot.
As on-air talent and producer for both Rock 94.5 and KVNI every weekday, Paisley is required to be something of a Renaissance man, with understanding of – and insights into – news, music trends, sports, current events and their contexts.
He must be able to schedule and prep music for diverse audiences, have enough charm to convince guests to talk with him live, and possess the solid time-management skills required to book and conduct four to five interviews each day. He also must complement these talents with the technical abilities to make it all happen and the big-picture understanding of how to fill every minute of air time with compelling radio.
“You’re not only expected to know what’s happening in the news, but to be able to talk about all the events leading up to a particular event,” says Paisley. “Then you have to understand your audience. There is a disadvantage for me, being 25, given my audience on KVNI, the oldies station, is 55-plus. So things that matter to me, my audience couldn’t care less about sometimes. I have to be careful with that.”
He goes off air at nine, takes an hour break, then DJs for four hours on Rock 94.5 – the modern rock station down the hall – switching gears to address a very different demographic. The rock station reaches more than 500,000 listeners.
“It never stops,” says Paisley. “The days of strolling into a station and being nothing but on-air talent are over. You have to be a five-trick pony.”
Paisley was able to establish himself with the diverse resume he built in the University of Idaho Journalism and Mass Media broadcast program. His road to on-air fame began with a percussion scholarship to the Lionel Hampton School of Music.
Paisley served as president of the student body at Wood River High School in Hailey, played drums in the high school pep band, marching band and several garage bands, and ultimately earned both academic and percussion scholarships to the University of Idaho.
He visited the university when his brother, Max Paisley (’05) attended.
“I absolutely loved it. I knew from my first trip to campus that I was going there,” he says.
He was just a few semesters in when he realized he was not drawn to music education, but was interested in performance and theory. He investigated School of Journalism and Mass Media offerings and ultimately graduated with a major in broadcasting and a minor in music.
Paisley’s interdisciplinary education offered the perfect combination of training for his diverse and demanding job. Talented, charming and driven, his radio gig seems pretty secure. But just in case he needs them, his drums are still in his basement.
Donna Emert is with the University of Idaho communications department.
POST FALLS – The Post Falls City Council tonight will consider extending the life of the East Post Falls Urban Renewal District to the full 24-year term to 2026.
The special meeting and public hearing starts at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 408 N. Spokane St.
The Legislature passed a law effective Friday that sets a 20-year limit on districts.
The Urban Renewal Agency on June 10 decided to ask the council to consider extending the district’s life to generate more tax increment funds to fund an Interstate 90 overpass or interchange at Greensferry Road and complete commercial pads in the Tullamore project west of Highway 41.
The district, formed in 2002, is currently set to expire in 2015. In 2005 it was expanded three years from its original 10-year timeline.
The Environmental Impact Statement and Interchange Justification Report on the Greensferry project – both required for construction – aren’t expected to be completed until late July at the earliest. The project has been in the works for nearly a decade.
An interchange would cost an estimated $31 million; an overpass $20 million.
An interchange is preferred by local officials, but if the Federal Highway Administration says it isn’t justified, agencies would have to settle on an overpass.
“The goals outlined for this improvement in the first place were to enhance economic development, provide for better vehicular and pedestrian mobility and improve public safety response,” city administrator Eric Keck said. “With either of the two options – interchange or overpass – these goals would be met.”
The City Council would be able to close the district earlier than 2026 for whatever reason should that option arise. Also, if the Greensferry project hits a roadblock, closure of the south and central sub-districts can be done.
Post Falls prided itself on becoming the first agency in the state to close a district when West Seltice in the area of Kimball Office was closed several years ago.
Closing districts early is preferred for taxpayers because that frees up money that would have earlier gone to taxing districts.
“However, if the improvements can be made in the East Post Falls district as proposed, then the revenue diet will have been worth it for the community,” Keck said.
But Len Crosby, former URA chairman and a tax watchdog, questions the proposal to extend the district.
He believes the decision needs to be made based on current economic conditions and the recession shouldn’t be the time to rush decisions on public funds through.
“Extending the life of this urban renewal district, which collects approximately $2 million in tax increment per year, and then telling the citizens of Post Falls that the city needs to increase real estate taxes to give public employees a raise seems a bit convoluted,” Crosby said.
During a recent budget workshop, the council gave staff permission to craft a proposed budget based on a 2 or 3 percent tax hike to pay for raises, maintain service levels and other reasons.
The council will hold a public hearing on the budget on Aug. 16 at 6 p.m. and make a final decision on a tax hike afterward.
Other projects in the East Post Falls URD include extending Spencer Street from Second to Seltice Way and creating a pedestrian/bike trail along Highway 41 from the Ross Point interchange to Sonic.
Both projects will be covered by tax increment under the district’s existing life.
Meanwhile, Vision First, the developer of Tullamore, is no longer involved in the project due to financial problems, officials say. The development has gone back to Panhandle State Bank, which is seeking a developer to take it over.
“It would certainly be a benefit to the community to have a different party with greater financial strength move the project forward,” said Tom Lien, the URA’s executive director.
Vision First’s phone number in Eagle, Idaho, is no longer in service.
It isn’t all about iPhone apps.
Like any industry, outdoor recreation is fueled by the latest and greatest technology. Many advances, however, don’t require a strong phone signal.
Kayak Coeur d’Alene owner Chip Dalvini is excited about the new building materials used to make kayaks lighter and more portable.
“We now have boats that are 10 to 12 feet long in the low 30 pounds,” Dalvini said. That’s extremely light and they’re not expensive.”
Aaron Thykeson, accessories manager at Mark’s Marine, said new fish-finding products are always the most in-demand technology with boaters. The latest is establishing a network of fish-finding devices on a single vessel that can map the lake bottom for prime fishing conditions.
And no, Thykeson said there still isn’t a good app for that.
“It is an emerging technology, and marine electronics tend to lag behind consumer electronics,” he said.
For those who must have something in the palm of their hands, Orvis Northwest Outfitters co-owner Mike Beard recommends the Orvis fishing conditions application. The $15 smartphone program provides guides and river reports for areas all across the world.
Still, Beard says a good, affordable fishing pole generates more excitement than any phone application. Their technological advances generally aim toward affordability, with Orvis now offering higher-performance “beginner” rods that come with 25 year warranties at a fraction of the price of models from year’s past.
“A guy who has never fished before will love it, but in 10 years he won’t be too good for it either,” Beard said.
Whether it’s design improvements or elaborate digital advances, the heart of the outdoor industry will continue to be about making it easy and affordable to access North Idaho recreation.
“If gas prices go up, people are always going to look for affordable ways to recreate,” Dalvini said.
When crisis strikes the office, your smartphone might be the best tool to preserve that long-deserved weekend on the lake.
Businesses big and small are incorporating the latest mobile applications into their day-to-day business strategies. More than ever, essential work communication and decision-making can be done outside the traditional office setting.
As reported by Business News Daily, the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council found that nearly half of small businesses now incorporate smartphones into their daily work practices. Their survey estimated the use of mobile apps by small businesses results in more than 700 million hours saved annually.
“All the evidence suggests that mobile will continue to increase dramatically,” said Mike Alexander, new media director for The Coeur d’Alene Press. “The connections and applications are getting better all the time.”
There are countless applications across the iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Google formats, including many geared to working professionals who want to spend time away from the office during North Idaho’s busiest recreational season.
Alexander cites the mobile versions of Skype and Facebook as some of the best mobile applications on the market.
Here’s a sampling of some other well-rated business-centric mobile applications:
Secret Server Password Manager (free, iPhone)
Can’t keep your passwords for Facebook, Twitter, email, etc. straight? Keep private information and passwords from multiple accounts in one secure location. Passwords are stored on a secure server, not your phone, and a personal pin code adds an extra layer of security.
Dragon Dictation (free, Apple & Blackberry products)
Takes voice notes which can be converted into text and send as email or into another application. You can also use it to dictate Facebook and Twitter posts.
Key Ring (free, most major platforms)
Synchs all of your loyalty, club, reward and membership cards onto your phone. Scan the card from your phone and de-clutter your wallet or purse.
Mobile Receipt (free, iPhone)
Take a picture of a receipt, enter the details and immediately generate an expense report. Eliminates the worry of losing important receipts.
Local information – CdaMagazines.com
Alexander also pointed to the newly launched interactive version of the 2011 Answer Book, which allows users to browse essential local information and events. The online version is supplemented with video, links and other exclusive features that were created and tested with mobile users in mind.
PITTSBURGH – Need help defusing a bomb, mowing a lawn or scraping old paint?
President Barack Obama saw robots that can do those tasks on Friday when he visited the National Robotics Engineering Center at Carnegie Mellon University. It’s one of eight research centers at the school’s Robotics Institute.
The institute has been a global force in robotics development over the last 30 years. Its scientists have created robot vehicles to scout out war zones, medical robots, entertainment robots and even the SnackBot, which ferries snacks to people so scientists can study how humans respond to machines.
After touring the facility Friday, Obama joked that “one of my responsibilities as commander-in-chief is to keep an eye on robots.”
But Obama’s main theme was that advanced manufacturing has the potential to fuel job growth. He called for a joint effort by industry, universities and the federal government to help reposition the United States as a leader in cutting-edge manufacturing.
With growing interest from the military, businesses and consumers, the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute has more than 500 technical experts and a $65 million annual budget. And its scientists aren’t just asking questions – they’re building robots that ask questions, too.
Institute director Matthew Mason told The Associated Press that in the early days of robotics research the vision was for machines to do the dull, dirty or dangerous jobs that humans shun.
“But now we think not so much of a robot instead of a person, but of robotic technology working with people,” Mason said. That could mean helping the elderly or sick cope with basic household tasks, or helping a doctor perform surgery.
For Manuela Veloso, a scientist at the institute, a key step was building robots that are aware they don’t have all the answers.
“They know the bounds of their ability. If they are not confident, they stop,” and then ask a human a question, she said.
Her robots also learn that some people in the office don’t have the time or inclination to answer questions from a machine.
“The robot plans not only with a model of the environment, but a plan of the people in the environment,” she said.
Veloso now has two of the new designs – called co-bots for collaboration – and like humans who gossip about the best path to success at work, the co-bots compare notes.
“The two robots exchange information when they learn about the humans, and they negotiate who should go where among the two of them,” said Veloso, who is also president-elect of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence.
She now sees robots – and artificial intelligence – in a completely new way.
“Forget about these robots knowing it all,” she said. “I suddenly realized that intelligence was not about what you know. It was actually about knowing what you don’t know.”
Her next project is training the robots to go to the Internet for answers when humans can’t provide them.
“I have a big vision of where we are going,” Veloso said of her robots. “They know what they can do and what they cannot do. That’s very beautiful.”
Now the question may be how humans react to such new robots.
Mason, director of the institute, says that there’s always been the issue of human trust in technology.
“For many years a lot of us were reluctant to get into medical robotics,” he said, because of a fear that a robot mistake might cause harm to a patient, and thus tarnish the whole field.
But Mason thinks that the success of robots that identify and dispose of bombs in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars has helped change views.
“You can’t look at the wreckage without feeling grateful” that no human life was lost, he said.
Large agricultural companies also are considering robotic harvesting because of potential migrant labor shortages, he said.
Obama will stress the theme of growing American jobs through high-tech manufacturing with the visit to Carnegie Mellon.
Some companies already have such job openings, and they struggle to find enough people with the right skills.
Roderick Herrick is vice president and site manager for Bayer Corp.’s industrial park in Baytown, Texas. It’s a manufacturing plant that uses advanced techniques. Jobs there can pay well – around $60,000 a year – and have the opportunity for advancement.
“The challenge is really whether we can find the talent,” Herrick said. “Manufacturing has kind of gotten a black eye over the years.”
NEW YORK – A summer road trip may not be such a bad idea after all.
Gasoline prices are falling fast. In the past 7 weeks, the average U.S. retail prices has dropped 38 cents to $3.60 per gallon. Another 25-cent drop is expected by mid-July.
When prices approached $4 in early May, drivers were worried that $5 gasoline was a possibility this summer. But since then, oil prices have collapsed, the result of slowing economic growth in developed countries, weaker demand for oil and gas and this week’s decision by the U.S. and other countries to release 60 million barrels of oil from strategic reserves. Economists say falling prices will benefit consumers by leaving money in their wallets, and making them feel freer to spend on travel, shopping and dining.
Ron Meyers, 51, a handyman from Little Rock, Ark., was doubtful that he could afford the drive to visit family in Pennsylvania. Now, thanks to cheaper gas, the trip is on. And he plans on seeing a few more summer movies, too.
“You can go out and have a good time, and have a little money left in your pocket,” he said.
Economists say that while, for instance, a 25-cent-per-gallon drop only saves the typical driver $12.50 per month, it has a huge effect both on the economy as a whole and on the psychology of consumers.
Naveen Agarwal, who helps small businesses and car companies manage fuel costs as CEO of Pricelock, in Redwood City, Calif, said he expects drivers will travel farther distances this summer than originally planned. And they’ll spend as they go.
“They’ll be a little bit more liberal about their consumption instead of just having a barbeque in their back yard,” Agarwal said.
Instead of thinking of ways to cut back, the Dykstra family of Orange City, Iowa, will now be able to spend a little more on meals and souvenirs when it visits Chicago.
“We actually budgeted for $5 a gallon,” Mark Dykstra, 46, a supermarket assistant manager who will be travelling with his three teenage children, said earlier this week.
For the first five months of the year, gasoline prices went in one direction: up. Growing economies, especially in Asia, burned more gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. Turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa prevented oil from reaching the market and scared oil traders into bidding prices higher.
Oil peaked at $114 per barrel in April. It’s now at $91 per barrel after a 2 percent drop this week.
Energy economists and Wall Street investment bankers caution that oil is likely to rise above $100 again next year, particularly if oil producers struggle to meet rising global demand. Hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico or further unrest in the Middle East could also boost prices.
Agarwal expects gasoline prices will return to a range of $3.50 to $3.75 per gallon by the end of the year. Goldman Sachs and other investment banks predict oil will rebound next year to levels that would push gasoline above $4 for the first time since 2008.
“If you’re asking whether gasoline could be $3.50 or higher forever, the answer is yes,” said oil analyst Andrew Lipow. “People will have to make some adjustments.”
Adzi Vokhiwa, 22, of Acworth, Ga., is relieved by the price drop, but skeptical. “It almost doesn’t matter because I know (prices) are going to go back up again,” she said.
She commutes 60 miles a day from her home in Acworth to her job in downtown Atlanta. Twice a week she puts $40 worth of gasoline into her Kia Soul, and has asked her boss to change her schedule so she can carpool a couple of days a week.
High gasoline prices have made it tougher for Vokhiwa to save for graduate school. But for now, at least, she says she’ll have a little more money to put toward that goal.
Randy Herring, 46, of Montpelier, Vt., had been borrowing his wife’s Subaru Legacy instead of driving his Chevy Tahoe SUV and he had even contemplated pulling out his bicycle. Now he’s employing a strategy to capitalize on the falling prices. He’s started to give the Tahoe the equivalent of a sip of gasoline every so often so he doesn’t miss out on the coming savings.
“Whatever I need for the week, and that’s it,” Herring said.