As Americans suffer at the pump, energy industry basks in luxury.

Soaring oil and gas prices may be a fiscal drag for much of the nation, but in Houston, they are feeling an economic surge. “Few places have flourished like Houston, home to hundreds of oil exploration, engineering and oil service firms, including such giants as Baker Hughes and Halliburton.” The Chicago Tribune reports:

maserati.gifHere in Houston, Maserati sales are up 86 percent so far this year, according to the TexAuto Facts Report.

Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent are expanding their luxury stores at the Galleria shopping mall. New construction permits in the city have jumped by almost 30 percent. The region added more than 100,000 jobs last year. And the mayor just proposed a dream budget for next year featuring more cops and lower property taxes.

“We know that everybody is talking about a recession in the U.S., but we’re not experiencing that here,” said Tracye McDaniel, executive vice president of the Greater Houston Partnership, a business development group. “We exist in this bubble, if you will.”