I am currently 21 years old, and I believe that the last time I remember seeing gas prices for $1.85 per gallon was in 2009, when I was 16 years old. Since I’ve been driving in New Jersey since the age of 17, with an average gas price above $2.50 and peaking at $3.84, the class of 2011 and I have been paying almost double the current price for our entire driving careers. When you really stop to think about it, that’s bizarre!
With prices continuing to fall, I’ve been finding about an extra $30 in my weekly budget. It is very possible that many other New Jersey drivers are finding similar treasures. Therefore, I project the following New Jersey industries to experience economic booms as prices continue to fall:
- The Food Industry- No matter what type of supermarket or restaurant you can think of, I foresee a boom. The price to transport products to stores is falling, and eventually it will correlate to lower food prices. Also, right now it is winter time, and Jersey families are typically around their neighborhoods more often during the cold seasons rather than in the summer when they can spend time at the shore. Plus, the colder temperatures in general seem to make humans feel hungrier, and with some extra cash laying around, “Let’s go out tonight!”. With the average Jersey family saving an extra, say, $25-$30 per fueled car, waiters and waitress may expect to see more generous gratuities, and restaurants should expect more tables to be served.
The more generous gratuities, by the way, are likely to reenter the NJ economy very quickly. Can you say the Craft House? Or maybe Miller’s? Wait, wait, to the Victor! And depending on how much extra dough is flowing, the young wait-staff of New Jersey may be able to afford a taxi and hit-up all three.
- Cinema- Movie tickets are still considerably high compared to what they use to be. The average ticket is in the $11 range, plus who knows how much for the obligatory bucket of soda and popcorn? Now, a trip to the movies could be more affordable with lower fuel prices. Also, considering several blockbuster films scheduled to be released, such as Mortdecai, The Spongebob Movie, Kingsman: The Secret Service, and Avengers: Age of Ultron, I foresee more Jersey families actually going to theaters this year and quite possibly grabbing a bite afterwards. The money is suddenly available, so why not?!
- Craft Brews- Even though craft beer technically falls under the food industry, I feel like it is important to separate this industry from the rest. Craft breweries have already been booming in New Jersey due to the allocation of state funding and tax incentives. Now, though, it may be the new selection of choice at the bar. Don’t get me wrong, $2 Miller’s are always great. But, with a possible $30 extra a week in saved fuel expenses, more Jersey consumers may be opting for their favorite Flying Fish brew on tap, or their favorite brand of whiskey brewed in Camden.
- The Jersey Shore- Even though gas prices suspiciously rise during the summer, I foresee a boom at the Jersey Shore. Since it is now January and prices are continuing to fall, we can only imagine what they will be in May and June. As a regular visitor to Wildwood, I can tell you that for me, the largest impediment to going, is the going. It would cost me ~$60 just to get there, considering what fuel costs were plus tolls, and then another ~$60 to go home. Last year, weekend escapes were just out of the question all together. It did not make sense to spend $120 in travel expenses for 2 days worth of the beach. If gas prices are still below $2.25 come summertime, the Jersey Shore will be a happening place this summer.
- Concert Venues- More and more young people in the Tri-State area are learning about the great times that await at the Susquehanna Bank Center. It’s very close to two separate rail stations, and there is a ton of parking. Plus, this year the SBC has a killer line-up developing, with artists such as the Foo Fighters, Dave Matthews Band (for two days!), Vans Warped Tour, Lady Antebellum with Hunter hayes and Sam Hunt, and for the younger crowd, the Australian sensation 5 Seconds of Summer. In general for venues all across the Garden state, I expect to see attendance boom this summer while residents have an extra $25-$30 a week compared to what they were paying for gas last year.
What other industries do you expect to boom this year because of low gas prices? Add your comments below!