by Victor Lopez
PERMIAN BASIN--Despite paying almost fifty cents more per gallon this year than last year, experts say this dark cloud definitely has a silver lining.
According to Permian Basin Petroleum Association Chairman, Doug Robison, "High gasoline prices to the Permian Basin, is jobs, jobs, jobs."
Robison is a third generation oilman. His experience in this case proves, what's good for the goose is most definitely good for the gander.
"Our economy is a healthy economy when we have high gasoline prices. Everybody in the Permian Basin, whether you work for an oil company or not, you're in the oil and gas business in one shape, form or fashion," Robison explained.
Area drivers are paying almost 50 cents more for a gallon of gas today than they did last year. Even so, Robison says economic conditions are better too, not just here at home, but around the world, "While there has not be a restoration of confidence in the marketplace, I don't think we're seeing the free fall that we had for a while."
High crude prices means high gas prices which means more jobs. It's very similar to the domino effect, only in reverse.
According to Robison, "We have a very strong drilling program in the Permian Basin right now, which translates into a lot of jobs. If that price remains stable, which it looks like it will, I think we're going to have that favorable job environment for a long time."
One woman NewsWest 9 spoke to, seemed to be okay with the price she's paying, as long as the results are proving positive, "Paying for it is bad. But I guess for people who work in the oilfield, like my boyfriend, they get paid better when it goes up."
But for everyone in favor, there's those against.
"It's here to stay, no matter what. We really don't have no choice," one man said.
Robison added, "If you really looked at it and said, would you like to pay one dollar a gallon, folks would say that would be great. Do you realize, at the same time, this economy would be wiped out and people would be losing their jobs?"
Robison says this is, very much, a give and take economy. He compares what's going on in the Basin to a wheat farmer, who doesn't mind paying more for a loaf of bread. To him, that just means his product is worth something.
"When those commodities are worth more than our economy, our job situation is much better. That's why we've survived out here much better than the rest of the state and much better than the rest of the nation," Robison said.
Gas prices are predicted to hit four dollars a gallon this year.