In Texas — the largest oil and natural gas producing state in the country — the energy sector is a crucial part of the “engine of the economy,” said Darren Whitehurst, president of the Texas Automobile Dealers Association.
“If the price of oil stays at $30 or below, it will have a dramatic impact on the state of Texas,” he said.
West Texas Intermediate, a grade of crude oil used as a benchmark in pricing, was trading around $30 last week. Its 52-week high is nearly $67.
Whitehurst said that every time there has been an oil bust, it has rippled through the Texas economy. While some consumers may delay vehicle purchases, he has not heard from dealers that there has been a significant change in vehicle sales yet, he said.
At McRee Ford in Dickinson, a suburb of Houston, dealer Mitchell Dale said if oil prices stay low, it will impact the economy and jobs in Texas, specifically in the Houston area, which could also lead to a slowdown in sales of high-margin pickups.
McRee Ford sells…