Oil boom fuels auto loan debt surge in Midland and Odessa

MIDLAND-ODESSA, Tx. (KOSA) -- The consumer effects of the oil boom go beyond skyrocketing rental rates and high gas prices.

Midland and Odessa have taken on the highest average amount of auto loan debt in the country for the past two years according to a report from Experian.

Recent data from the consumer reporting agency shows that oil field workers and companies are quick to purchase new trucks during the boom. They're all taking out loans to make these purchases.

The average amount of auto loan debt in both cities in the past year totaled up to about $32,000.

An oil and gas industry worker we spoke to says companies have to buy large fleets of trucks in order to operate, resulting in a larger than usual number of loans.

"They're essential...You couldn't really do the work with anything other than a truck. You have to," said Jonathan Hiatt.

Hiatt says he bought his personal vehicle without taking out any loans. He believes that his division within the company he works with has a fleet of between 50 to 100 trucks.

The data reflects that many West Texas drivers could fall behind on their auto loans if the oil and gas market was to collapse.