Reporter’s Notebook: A long road back for oil and gas

Houston’s oil and gas industry is facing a long recovery from the coronavirus pandemic if my family’s travel spending — or lack thereof — is any indication.

Since the pandemic began to close the U.S. economy in March, my family has spent just $386 to gas up our two cars, about a quarter of the $1,412 we spent over the same six-month period last year. Our family of four spent nothing on flights so far this year, down from $1,220 by this time last year.

Although my wife returned to work last month at a local school district, I’m still working from home like most of my colleagues at the Houston Chronicle. My usual 57-mile, round trip commute from Cypress to our Southwest Freeway office has been replaced by a short walk from my bedroom to the study. I’ll get to enjoy my shorter commute for several more months, as Chronicle editors say my coworkers and I won’t return to the newsroom for the remainder of the year.

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