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Inflation rate differences in the Permian Basin vs. the rest of the country

Local experts say inflation rates seem higher in an area like Midland because of the boom and bust nature of the oil and gas industry.

MIDLAND, Texas — We've seen the effects of inflation everywhere. We're paying more for just about everything from food to gasoline.

The current inflation rate is sitting at 8.3% nationwide, but could it actually be even higher here at home?

In west Texas, we do tend to pay a little more at the register. That is because experts say that even in times of low inflation, west Texas still sees those higher prices due to the boom and bust nature of the oil industry.

"If you recall, back in 2018, inflation rates in the country were very low, but rents here were skyrocketing," Mickey Cargile, president of Cargile Investment Management said. "So we always have higher inflation here. That’s directly related to the oil boom rather than what’s going on in the country."

Trying to figure out exact rates and just how much you're paying here can be complicated. It is easier to find out the inflation rate in the 20 biggest cities in the country, but for the smaller cities like Midland, experts typically make an estimated guess.

"In terms of accuracy, it is an estimate of an estimate, and those do fluctuate quite a bit," Ray Perryman, president of the Perryman Group said.

While the inflation rate is at a 40-year high, there may be some relief on the horizon. Perryman said that there is reason to believe that the inflation rate has already reached its peak.

"Well the numbers went down slightly between March and April, so we may well have seen the peak already," Perryman said. "I think around the level they are now is about as high as they’re going to get, plus or minus a tenth or two, and we should begin to see them come down as the year progresses."

So what can be done to help lower the inflation rate here in Midland and across the country? It starts with the Federal Reserve.

"The only thing the Fed can do to stop inflation now is to raise interest rates high enough to shut down the economy and put millions of people out of work," Cargile said. "They don’t want to do that. That’s not a good solution, so they’re trying to tap on the brakes and to bring down the rate of inflation."

Cargile and Perryman do believe that we are headed in the right direction at this time and that the Federal Reserve is taking the necessary steps to try and get this under control. However, the belief is that these high inflation rates could still be with us for at least the next few months.

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