High gas prices help create more jobs in Houston

Ed Hirs, UH Energy Fellow and lecturer says the city of Houston stands to gain from higher gas prices. That usually translates into additional jobs and greater investments in oil and gas industries.

HOUSTON — There are great views of downtown Houston from Ed Hirs’s 11th floor uptown office.

The UH Energy Fellow and lecturer says the entire area stands to gain from higher gas prices.

“Gasoline prices have risen because the price of oil has bumped up over the last six months and really over the past year,” said Hirs.

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Crude climbed nearly 3% on Tuesday alone.

And the price of oil makes up about 70% of what you pay at the pump.

“For people at the pump, it means they’re going to have to pay more for gasoline,” said Hirs. “And to be fair, since December 2014, we went through about three years of not paying more.”

Hirs said pain at the pump is Houston’s gain because oil and gas companies increase revenue.

That usually translates into additional jobs and greater investments in affiliated industries.

On the other hand, consumers pay more and may cut down on road trips.

They may also have less discretionary money since the average family will pay about $200 more for gas this summer compared to last year.

“Right now, I’m looking to get a new car, so it impacts what kind of car I’m going to get,” said one driver.

“You know, you pay attention to it, but you pay it if you want to go anywhere in your vehicle,” said another driver.

Hirs said a couple of oil companies are already kicking off large expensive off-shore projects fueled, in part, by what people put in their tanks.

“Having higher oil and gas prices will more than benefit the city and consumers will pay some of that with higher gasoline prices,” said Hirs.

The price of gas here in Houston is still lower than the national average for a gallon of regular gas.

That’s $2.80.

Some experts say it could top $3.00 dollars in some places this summer.