Gas Prices Drop to Record Thanksgiving Low, Impact Felt Across Basin

Gas Prices Drop to Record Thanksgiving Low, Impact Felt Across Basin

MIDLAND-ODESSA, TX (KWES) - The average retail price of unleaded gasoline dipped Monday to $2.14 a gallon, analysts said, and is expected to fall below $2 by Thursday.

The last time gas was that cheap on Thanksgiving was 2004, according to Oil Price Information Service.

Prices throughout Midland and Odessa have already plunged as low as $1.75, but drivers NewsWest 9 spoke with said savings at the pump are "insignificant" in the face of dwindling oil field activity

"I'd rather pay more out here [at the gas station] and see crude prices go back up," said Corey Matthews, a water transfer worker in the oil and gas industry. "This is good for people who don't work in the oil field... but my work has lost about 40 people just this year."

He added he felt "lucky" to still have a job and said he remained confident oil prices would recover in the coming months.

"It's always up and down like this," Matthews told NewsWest 9.

Experts, however, said Monday they expect the excess of global crude - blamed for dragging prices down after earlier gains - to persist "through at least the first half of 2016."

Midland driver Don Beaver reported hearing "lots of different predictions" for the future of the fluctuating energy market.

"What I know for sure is it affects all of us [in West Texas]," he said. "Certainly here in the Permian Basin, we'd like to see oil prices go back up. I know that's counterproductive to what a lot of other people [want], but for us and our local economy, we certainly could use it."

Numerous West Texas industries far beyond and seemingly unconnected to oil have been impacted by plunging crude prices, residents noted.

"It seems like out here, even McDonald's factors [in] oil prices," Katrina Smith said. "It's hard to say what business wouldn't be impacted."

She and her family run Lightning Oilfield Services, a rig moving company based in Midland. Their business unexpectedly boomed during the latest downturn, Smith said.

"We are probably the busiest we have ever been, even despite all the prices dropping... because [smaller competitors] have closed," she explained. "But it's really sad to see some of the people you know [and have] been friends with to go out of business."