Entries in Fuel (22)


National Gas Average Falls to $3.43

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Gas prices are continuing on downward trends heading into the Thanksgiving holiday.

It's not a huge decline, but gas prices are down two cents more in the past week. The average price of regular unleaded gas is now $3.43 a gallon, according to the Energy Department. That's six cents higher than a year ago at this time.

Patrick DeHaan of GasBuddy says, aside from tensions in the Middle East, there are no supply problems in the immediate future.

"The Northeast is still obviously battling from remnants of Sandy and supply pressures there, which have meant higher prices," he says. "But throughout the rest of the country refineries aren't really at the forefront.  Things are just humming along, refineries coming out of maintenance and that's keeping pressure to the downward side of prices."

DeHaan says he expects prices will continue in this range in the coming winter months.

"We would expect that prices will remain very close to where they are today, that is the national average will probably hover in the mid-$3 range," he says.

California still has the most expensive gas in the country, but it's coming down.  The Energy Department says gas is down eight cents more in the past week to $3.78 a gallon.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Gas Prices Fall Again

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Gas prices are working their way down again.

The weekly average price of a gallon of regular gas is $3.82, down three cents compared to a week ago, according to the Department of Energy.  This price is still up 34 cents from this time a year ago.

The West Coast is working through supply issues, so prices there are also down nearly two cents compared to a week ago.  The West Coast has the most expensive gas in the country, with an average price of $4.39 a gallon.

The Gulf Coast has the least expensive gas in the country at $3.54 a gallon.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


11 Items That Will Cost More This Year

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The new year can bring a fresh start for many people and, unfortunately, higher prices on a number of consumer goods.

Commodity prices increased around the world in 2011, leading to hikes in everything from food to gold. Natural disasters, shrinking supplies of various materials, and other events lead to higher prices for many products.

In 2012, some increases could be expected, like ever-rising gas prices, while others, like a potential 25 percent hike on tap water, are more surprising, according to Dealnews.

1. Domestic and International Airfare:
Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst with The NPD Group, said he has already experienced higher airfares in bookings for 2012. That's coupled with a slew of flights being dropped, he said. "Many smaller markets are now having three daily flights cut to two or even one," Cohen said. "That will drive fares up to those locations."

Travel to and within Europe will be hit especially hard.  The European Union implemented a "green tax" to reduce emissions, levying a fee of about $15 per passenger, each way, for flights to the U.S.  Fees on shorter flights within the European Union will be taxed slightly less, Dealnews reports.

2. New Digital Camera Models: Digital cameras with new technology, such as high-end digital SLRs, will have higher prices. But on existing models, the prices will decrease according to the natural maturation of electronics, Cohen said.

3. Hard Drives: Tragic flooding in Thailand in 2011, which has killed 780 people, has also led to a shortage of some electronics products, like hard drives.  Dealnews expects continued shortages throughout the first quarter of 2012, when experts predict that production will begin to catch up with demand.

4. Desktop Computers: The consolidation of desktop features into monitor-integrated units, many with touchscreens, will drive desktop prices higher next year, according to Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at The NPD Group.  Dealnews said it expects average selling prices to increase roughly 30 percent on new desktops.

5. Food for Home Preparation: Food prices will jump in 2012 as the costs to harvest, transport, and store food will increase, and those hikes will be passed to consumers, said Cohen. Food costs rose 6 percent last year and will likely rise at least 2 percent more in 2012, Dealnews reported.

6. Mobile Device Data Plans: As carriers expand 4G services and move away from unlimited plans, data is set to become more expensive in 2012, according to Ross Rubin, executive director of Connected Intelligence at The NPD Group.

7. City-Enforced Fees: Dealnews said fees for everything from dog licenses to vehicle registration may increase as municipalities continue to try to plug holes in their budgets. Parking rates and infraction-related fines are also subject to increase.

8. Water: Water is one of the most basic commodities in the world but it is becoming more precious, said Cohen. Inclement weather around the world is creating greater shortages. Moving water to places that are lacking it will also drive this basic element to become more costly, he said.

9. Gas: Gas was already set to rise, but geopolitical issues in the Middle East, and a limited amount of domestic oil exploration due to Obama administration policies and environmental regulations are already set to exacerbate increasing gas prices. Last week, Iran's First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, a vital oil waterway that borders Iran, if other countries sanction his country's crude exports because of its nuclear ambitions.  That could disrupt roughly a third of the world's tanker traffic and send oil prices skyrocketing, analysts say.

10. Gold: Gold is set to achieve its 11th consecutive year of growth, according to Dealnews.  Analysts expect the precious metal to rise about 12 percent next year.

11. Shipping: As the U.S. Postal Service may increase rates and eliminate one-day delivery to fill a budget deficit, FedEx and UPS are also expected to increase small package rates by 4.9 percent.  The loss of revenue for shipping companies and the increased cost of shipping creates a recipe for higher shipping costs all along the route, Cohen said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Gas Prices Drop For Third Week

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Energy Department reported the national average price of gas fell for the third consecutive week, though only fractionally. Gas fell $0.017 to $3.29 a gallon for regular, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported Monday.

Gas prices are still 73 cents higher than a year ago.

Oil prices slipped from two-week highs earlier Monday on reports that the ratings agency Standard & Poor’s may downgrade credit ratings for the wealthiest nations in Europe.

But earlier in the day, oil prices passed $102 a barrel for the first time since mid-November. Hope that European leaders have gotten closer to saving the eurozone from its debt issues, including Italy’s new austerity measures, boosted oil prices.

U.S. companies are scrambling to limit their exposure to European currency. The heavy-metal band, Metallica, even moved their European tour earlier in case the euro collapses, the Wall Street Journal reported.

National gas prices fell nine cents in the past two weeks according to the Lundberg Survey of fuel prices, released on Sunday.

Albuquerque, N.M., has the nation’s lowest average price at $2.84, according to the Lundberg survey, while San Francisco has the highest at $3.67. Midgrade gas cost an average of $3.46 a gallon, while premium cost $3.57. The price of diesel decreased a nickel to $3.96 a gallon.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama to Announce Goal for Cars to Up Fuel Efficiency by 2025

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Over the objections of the automotive industry, President Obama will announce the government's goal Friday for all cars and light-duty trucks to offer an estimated 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

This improved fuel efficiency would affect models built from 2017 through 2025, greatly boosting the initial target of 35.5 mpg by 2016.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Wednesday that this program will mean "significant cost savings for consumers at the pump, dramatically reduce oil consumption, cut pollution and create jobs."

The administration also hopes more fuel efficient vehicles will greatly reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil sources.

Detroit automakers have complained that such a goal is not feasible since it would drive up the costs of making cars and light-duty trucks, with the added expenses having to be passed along to consumers.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Score Travel Deals in the Summer or Fall

John Foxx/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Major airlines have raised their fares at least six times this year.  But with the price of fuel falling, travelers may begin to see new discounts in time for the fall.

If you can, delay your travel plans until after Labor Day to save on airfare.  For those that can't, summer discounts on hotel rooms can still be found in some popular places.

"We're still seeing really great deals...average hotel rates in the low 100s for travelers at three and four star hotels," says Jenine Tornatore of Orbitz.

Look out for special fares and other deals that may pop up on social networking sites.

"Nearly every major travel player has a Twitter and a Facebook account and often times they'll promote limited time deals and even give away free trips for their friends and followers," Tornatore says.

Another tip: shop for airfares four to six weeks in advance, and keep an eye out on Tuesdays and Wednesdays when new deals are announced.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Gas Prices Drop Seven Cents

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- In the past week the national average price of gasoline has dropped seven cents to $3.71, according to the Energy Department.
This marks the fifth week in a row in which retail gas prices have dropped -- a total of $0.25 in that period. On May 9 drivers were paying $3.97 with fears that $4+ prices were in store for the summer driving season.
A recent run of bad economic news in the U.S. and overseas has been enough to tip the scales away from fear of a supply disruption in the oil-rich Middle East to worries that demand will drop precipitously as economic growth slows around the world.
While the recent drop in prices is likely going to show through in consumer sentiment (lower prices mean people will likely feel better about their personal finances) don’t get too excited. Prices are still 37 percent (or $1.01) higher than the average price in the second week of June 2010. Back then we were paying $2.70 on average.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio Web Service


Flaming Gel Pots Faulted in Burn Injuries; Retailer to Suspend Sales

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The Reyer family of Long Island, New York was preparing to celebrate life.  Now they're trying to ward off death.

Nancy Reyer's 14-year-old son, Michael Hubbard, was helping set up for his aunt's wedding celebration in Riverhead on May 28 when the family says a ceramic fire pot blew up, splattering him with flaming gel fuel.

"Now my son's with third-degree burns on his face and he might not live," Nancy Reyer said, sobbing.  "We're all laughing and having a good time, it was really nice and then…my nephew didn't know that the candle was lit and he poured some of the liquid and it just exploded, and all I saw was a flash and my son went up in flames."

Michael's condition is now grave, his organs threatening to shut down as he struggles for his life at Stony Brook University Medical Center on Long Island.

In Michael's case -- and others -- the victims say the fire seemed to be out, so they added more fuel.  That caused an explosion of flaming gel that they say stuck to their bodies like napalm and was incredibly hard to put out.

Fire departments around the country say it's a hazardous new product category.

The product that caused Michael's accident and two others in the past few weeks is the FireBurners ceramic pot with fire gel fuel, sold by Napa Home and Garden.  The company told The New York Times it asked its retailer, Bed Bath & Beyond, to stop selling the product on Friday.

But at a store in Maryland, ABC News easily found several fire pots and fuel bottles right on the shelves.  The most vivid warning about the danger of adding more fuel is printed on a piece of packaging that you throw away.

Napa said in a published interview that it's only heard a handful of complaints out of tens of thousands of products sold and that it now plans to put bigger, better warnings on its products.

Meanwhile, Bed Bath & Beyond sent ABC News a statement saying, "The safety of our customers and our associates is of paramount importance to us.  So in an abundance of caution and pending our investigation, Bed Bath & Beyond has instructed its stores nationwide to suspend selling this product."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


What’s In Your Gas? Energy Officials Conduct Surprise Inspections

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(BALTIMORE) -- The average price of a gallon of gasoline now stands at $3.96 a gallon, according to the latest Department of Energy numbers, so imagine not getting what you pay for. ABC News went along with Maryland inspectors as they conducted surprise inspections at the pump.

First and foremost, the Maryland comptroller's office tests to see if the gasoline is the correct octane level. Inspectors also look for contaminants, like diesel, sediment and water in the gas. Much of the fuel these days is a blend of gasoline and ethanol and if even a few drops of water get into it, it will separate. If you put that in your car, it will stall and could even ruin the engine.

The first station the inspector visits passes on all accounts. The second is a different story. The premium sample from the pump isn't 93 octane like it should be. So the inspector draws a sample straight from the underground tank. It fails, too.

Maryland's state of the art fuel testing laboratory provides the official verdict.  "It is a fail," Mark Brandenburg of the Maryland Comptroller's Office said. The pricey premium gas that's supposed to be 93 octane is actually only 90.5 octane.

"When the economy is as bad as it is, see the gas prices rising, the food prices rising, everyone is very sensitive to whether they are getting a short end of the stick," Peter Franchot, comptroller of Maryland, told ABC News.

In this particular case, the inspector returned to the station and ordered it to stop selling premium. The station blamed the supplier.

The Maryland Comptroller's Office has one of the most aggressive fuel-testing programs in the country.

Only 40 of the 50 states perform surprise inspections. Here are the 10 states that do not yet have a program in place to test the octane level and purity of gasoline:

  • Hawaii
  • Alaska
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Kentucky
  • New Jersey
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • West Virginia

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Oil: Avalanche of Selling Pushes Prices Below $100

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- For the first time since March 16, the price of a barrel of oil settled below $100 a barrel with a massive sell-off sparked by lower consumer demand for gasoline, an improvement in the value of the U.S. dollar and concerns about slowing global growth.

Preliminary data shows a settle price of $99.80 – down $9.44 or 8.6 percent for the day, the biggest one-day move down in percentage terms since April 20, 2009, and the biggest in nominal dollar terms since September 29, 2008.

As Americans are paying near-record prices at the pump, this giant one-day drop justifiably has people asking, “What the hell is happening here?” Some factors at play:

Phil Flynn, energy analyst for PFGBest, believes we’ve seen the market top for oil – at least until the middle of the summer driving season.

“Our long national nightmare might be over,” Flynn told ABC News.

If Friday’s April jobs report disappoints – economists expect to hear that approximately 185,000 new jobs were created – then the big selloff will almost certainly continue in a big way.

But prices at the pump are not likely to come down as quickly as the futures prices for oil. Economists say that historically, retail prices go up quickly as retailers let their small margins get squeezed and pass along wholesale prices right away. When those wholesale prices drop, retailers let their margins expand to make up for the squeeze they saw with the price increases and then drop prices slowly as the wholesale price goes down.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio