Falling oil prices affect E. Texas families

Falling oil prices affect E. Texas families

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - At just above $50 per barrel, crude oil is trading at it's lowest price since April of 2009. Gas prices are down, too, with a gallon in East Texas selling for as low as $1.81.

This drop in prices is affecting people in East Texas that rely on the industry to feed their families. Zach Gugliuzzi was laid off last week. The father of two says it was a tough reality to accept.

"I took pride in her being able to stay at the house," said Gugliuzzi. "I like being able to support everything and doing my fatherly and husband duties, but now that plug got pulled and I'm just like, I almost feel helpless, you know?"

Gugliuzzi recalls the feelings after being told he no longer had a job.

"I called my wife said 'I got laid off, I'm coming home' and she said 'well, we'll figure it out'. She went and got a job and we're making do for now."

The family know it's only a matter of time until the oil industry swings the other way.

"It's like gravity you know, it goes up and comes down sometimes," Gugliuzzi said. "But it's gotta go back up."

In the meantime, however, financial demands do not go away

"That's the bad part, you know, the bills don't wait."

Bob Garrett, President of Fair Oil Company in Tyler, has seen his share of booms and busts. He remembers growing up in an oil family.

"I can recall even back in the 50's and 60s them being concerned about the price of oil and them laying off," Garret said.

Garrett says East Texas will not be as hard hit as some other areas of our country, because of generally lower production costs. But, Garrett says, that does not mean we will be spared altogether.

"You're already seeing a very dramatic impact on the deployment of services in the oil field and that's going to translate to lost jobs."

For a new generation of oil field workers, who have not yet been through big busts, like in the 1980s, there are valuable lessons to be learned.

"If you've lived through that and lost your job it's probably changed your outlook moving forward and probably results in a more conservative view," Garrett explains.

I'm definitely going to do some things different. Penny pinching and save every little bit I can," Gugliuzzi says.

Garrett predicts this decrease in prices will not be a long lasting as previous busts, like in the 1980s

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