Tire Prices Rise in the Basin

By Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

Record oil prices are making tires more expensive to manufacture, and that expense is passed on to the consumer.  

Now, normal inflation isn't that big a deal usually just 2 to 3 percent a year. 

But when that number jumps to more than 30 percent, it drains the city's budget fast.

"Any product that is involved with a petroleum base is extremely up in price," Jerry Lawrence, Manager of Vehicle Services in Midland, said.

Lawrence says the overall city fleet operation budget has gone up $100,000,because of the rising cost of tires.

"It makes a big impact on our budget," he said.

Other businesses might be able to cut back, but the city can't slow down.

"The work actually does not quit, no matter what happens on this," Lawrence said. "The trash has to be picked up, the police department is still out, the fire department is still out, the fires still have to be fought."

Garbage trucks have the most expensive tires. Last year, those large-sized tires were $198 and this year, they are $240. In 2007, police car tires were $42 each, this year, they are $67.

"We're probably one of the biggest users of tires in this area," Lawrence said. "It's a tremendous amount of tires that we use."

Even wind shield wiper fluid has gone up.

"Every product that we use certainly in the chemical products has pretty well doubled in price, which I'm assuming it's petroleum based, some of it I don't know if it's petroleum based, but simple products have doubled in price," he said.

Lawrence says, this is the biggest price hike West Texas has ever seen.

"The people who have lived through the booms and busts of the Permian Basin have gone through these things before," Lawrence said. "This one is a little more outlandish than we have had in the past. We seem to survive and seem to get used to it, but I think the prices we're talking about is a price we're simply going to have to learn to live with."

The overall Midland city fleet operation budget will be affected by about $1 million next year. 

Several local tire companies say because the tire manufacturing cost has risen, many West Texans are buying more used tires. 

The cost of a new car tire has now gone up about five percent.