An Odd Week for a Futurist
I wrote the last post, “Remember When Gas Was Cheap?” a week ago. I based my predictions on both looking ahead and on research regarding the history of gasoline prices in the United States. In that post I predicted that gas would be $7.33 in April of 2009 and that oil would be at $137 a barrel. More immediately I predicted that when the July 4th weekend came around, the traditional start to summer driving vacation season in this automobile centric country, that the average price of gas would be $3.60.
As almost any futurist will tell you, making specific predictions that are far in the future is much more tenuous than predicting trends, as there are just too many variables that come into play at the micro level. I based the $7.33/gallon on some arithmetic projections made from gasoline price history. The same methodology was used for the July 4th $3.60 price prediction.
When the post was published last week, the first wave of response was that I was nuts to think that gas would be $3.60 in two and a half months. Others stated that they hoped I was wrong. Then all the ‘pain at the pump’ stories crowded the airwaves. By the end of the weekend it felt as though the Future had raced into the Present. Gas had gone up close to 10% nationwide since I had written “Remember”. So, a prediction that days ago startled people was now fast becoming a reality. A futurist struggling to stay ahead of the news cycle? Odd indeed.
As a professional futurist I advise companies, and give speeches on what is ahead, usually in the time frame of years or decades. I usually have to wait long periods of time before there is validation of my predictions. To be just weeks and days ahead is a truly odd sensation. A kind of ‘instant prediction gratification’ if you will. In the very short life of this blog, there has now been two posts that were validated in weeks or days.
Well, let’s see what the price of gasoline actually is on July 4th. More interestingly, let’s see if my prediction of the price of gasoline and its effect on the November 2006 elections proves to be accurate. That would be much more significant than correctly estimating the price of our addiction a few weeks out.