HOUSTON - Gas prices around town are well below the national average right now.

It’s part of the reason college student Leah Catley may spend Spring Break in South Padre. “Just because we’d have to use our cars to go down there,” said Catley. “And if gas prices are really high we probably won’t end up going anywhere.”

But positive news at the gas pump means oil production remains in a slump.

“In fact, I was just told by a friend of mine that like 40 people were laid off in their company this week,” said Ester Tuberville.

This week, the price of U.S. crude oil dipped below $50 per barrel for the first time since December amid on ongoing global glut.

“It keeps you holding onto the idea of maybe it’s not the best industry,” said Michael McGoogan. He’s been looking for another job in the energy industry since getting laid off last August.

“It’s nowhere to hang your hat for a long period of time because you don’t know with the price of gas dropping, or oil dropping,” said McGoogan.

An energy expert with the University of Houston tells us short term volatility is not a big deal. But it would be if prices drop any lower, and for a sustained period of time.

Prices as low as $26 a barrel two years ago sunk some 100,000 jobs in Texas.

“I don’t think we’ll see the 130, 140 dollar barrels, but I think 70 or 80 would be fantastic,” said McGoogan.

That would possibly leave both producers and consumers satisfied.