People in the Permian Basin tend to have mixed feelings any time crude oil prices shoot upward. On one hand, it's great for the area because oilfield activity generates lots of prosperity. But still, as consumers, West Texans also have to deal with the resulting inflation.

And when the price of a barrel of crude approaches $100, you have to wonder when the complications will outweigh the benefits.

When fuel costs follow the trend of crude, the price of most everything is driven up. Higher gasoline prices mean it costs more to transport goods, which translates to a basket of groceries costing more. Airline fares rise with the price of fuel, so leisure activities take more out of our pockets.

So, sure, the Odessa area is booming. But the cost of housing has risen significantly because of the demand created by all those who have come to take advantage of jobs and a prosperous economy. While West Texans who have lived through low times in the petroleum economy love to see the explosion of home building and new retail construction, they can't help but remember that other booms came and went. Leaving devastation behind. Oil industry officials have long said that a stable price for crude would be preferable to the roller coaster effect that has come with the events that changed the price of crude from under $10 to tickling the $100 mark. Something in the $50 range has been suggested by some as the ideal mark.

But that's not how the industry works. Seems like the price of crude is either too low to generate enough activity to keep the area humming or so high that all the associated problems of inflation are complicating the overall financial picture. But given the choice, most people in these parts would prefer too high over too low. And that's what we've got right now, so we might as well make the best of the situation.URL: http://www.oaoa.com

—The Odessa American: