Entries in Gasoline (34)


Obama: Congress Can Learn from the Auto Industry

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama announced a new compromise with the auto industry Friday to increase fuel economy standards, saying the agreement “ought to serve as a valuable lesson for leaders in Washington” who are mired in high-stakes negotiations over the debt ceiling.

“You are all demonstrating what can happen when people put aside differences.  These folks are competitors.  You've got labor and business.  But they decided we're going to work together to
achieve something important and lasting for the country,” the president said in a speech at the D.C. Convention Center.

“So when it comes to tackling the deficit or it comes to growing the economy...the American people are demanding the same kind of resolve, the same kind of spirit of compromise, the same kind of problem solving that all these folks on stage have shown,” Obama said. “They're demanding that people come together and find common ground...That's what I'm fighting for.  That's what this debate is all about.  That's what the American people want.”

The White House on Friday announced new standards to increase fuel economy for cars and light-duty trucks to 54.5 miles-per-gallon by Model Year 2025. The president was joined in the agreement by 13 major automakers, which together account for over 90 percent of all vehicles sold in the U.S., as well as the United Auto Workers and the State of California.

“This agreement on fuel standards represents the single most important step we've ever taken as a nation to reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” Obama said, noting the agreement means “filling up your car every two weeks instead of filling it up every week.”

“It will save a typical family more than $8,000 in fuel costs over time.  And consumers in this country as a whole will save almost $2 trillion in fuel costs.  That's trillion with a T,” he added.

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


Obama Admin. to Release Oil from Strategic Petroleum Reserve

File photo. (Comstock/Thinkstock)(WASHINGTON) -- The Obama administration said Thursday it will release 30 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve "to offset the disruption in the oil supply caused by unrest in the Middle East."

The U.S. Department of Energy said, "The situation in Libya has caused a loss of roughly 1.5 million barrels of oil per day -- particularly of light, sweet crude -- from global markets. As the United States enters the months of July and August, when demand is typically highest, prices remain significantly higher than they were prior to the start of the unrest in Libya."

The department said the U.S. and its partners in the International Energy Agency will release a total of 60 million barrels of oil over the next 30 days.

"We are taking this action in response to the ongoing loss of crude oil due to supply disruptions in Libya and other countries and their impact on the global economic recovery," said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. "As we move forward, we will continue to monitor the situation and stand ready to take additional steps if necessary."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Driving This Weekend? Three Keys to Finding Cheap Gas

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- At least 35 million people are expected to hit the road this Memorial Day Weekend, choosing cheaper hotels and restaurants because of high gas prices. If gas prices will determine if you're going to get behind the wheel, here are some tips on how to find the cheapest way to fill up your car's tank.

Fill Up On Fridays: Using mapping firm Esri, ABC News looked at prices at more than 5,100 gas stations in four areas of the nation: Chicago, Boston, Orange County and Jacksonville. In April, when the average price of gas shot up 30 cents, ABC News found that filling up on Friday saved the most money. In three of the areas, gas prices increased most on Saturdays.

Go to Warehouse Clubs: Gas prices at warehouse clubs like Sam's, Costco, and BJ's are at least 3 percent lower than the average gas station. With gas prices hovering at nearly $4 a gallon, you could save nearly $2.25 every time you fill up at a warehouse club.

Choosing the Right Location: On the way to the beach, the countryside, or the big city, it might seem easiest to fill up along the highway, but that could cause you more pain at the pump. ABC News found that finding a gas station just one minute from a highway can save you 11 percent or about $7 to fuel your trip. Also, avoid filling up downtown.

With gas prices hovering near $4 a gallon, Americans are already feeling the effects of gas prices well before the summer driving season kicks off this Memorial Day weekend. Gas prices are the highest they've been since August 2008. The national average for retail gas prices is $1.07 per gallon more than last Memorial Day Weekend.

There are some signs of relief. The national average for unleaded regular gasoline was $3.81 on Thursday, 9 cents less than it was last week.

Pump prices this weekend are expected to drop even more because oil prices are down about 12 percent since the beginning of the month.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Gasoline Prices Will Fall, Say Analysts

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Energy analysts are convinced that gasoline prices are going to start coming down soon because of rapidly falling crude oil prices.

That seems hard to believe, given that gas prices dropped a mere half-cent from the week before.  Americans are now spending about $3.955 a gallon on average, 14 cents more than we were forking over a month ago.

However, analysts believe that the worst is over for now and that we won't be seeing $4 or more per gallon this summer, thanks in large part to less consumer demand.

Matt Smith at Summit Energy believes, "We should see the change at the pump soon.  We should see prices down at $3.50 a gallon on average."

However, it could be as long as six weeks before that happens because of flooding down South that could slow deliveries from 11 refineries.

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


$4 Gas Might be Here to Stay

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In state after state, stunned drivers are pulling into gas stations advertising $4-per-gallon gas. Five states already have record-high gas prices, and another 22 states are within 15 cents of record prices. Economists say that prices may dip to around $3.25 later this year, but that everyone should start getting used to seeing a new digit on gas station price boards.

The U.S. Department of Energy reported late Monday that gasoline prices at the pump averaged $3.96 a gallon nationwide, up a little over eight cents from a week ago.

"Nationally, gasoline prices have been above $4 for the last week or so," Jamie Webster, a senior manager with PFC Energy, told ABC News. "I would anticipate that staying above $4 a gallon for gasoline, the national average, is probably going to be the case through Memorial Day, and probably a few weeks after that."

The main reasons for the high prices are a rise in demand as the U.S. and global economies continue to recover from the 2008 financial crisis, combined with the recent unrest in oil-producing countries such as Libya. Combining the two creates pressure on prices from both sides -- higher supply and higher demand.

Indiana is one state that has seen a new all-time high for gas prices -- $4.19 a gallon.

Because of the high prices, drivers are trying to push the "E" on their gas gauges to the limit. In Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, mechanics say they have seen a jump in customers who have damaged their fuel pumps by driving with empty tanks.

High gas prices have spurred an increase in gas siphoning theft. In California, Mark Moss, the owner of Canyon Ridge Contractors, told ABC affiliate KABC, "It seems like since fuel has spiked we've had several jobs where someone comes in and steals 1,800 - 2,000 gallons of fuel [from our trucks] at one time."

There are no predictions for gas prices to go down significantly anytime soon. Webster said a drop in prices back to the $3 or so we saw last summer could actually be a bad sign because it would probably come from a large economic slowdown.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Death Tornado Destroys Supplies of Gas, Water, Electricity

Alex Stone/ABC News(TUSCALOOSA, Al.) -- Lethal tornadoes that killed more than 300 people in Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and three other southern states also have destroyed or damaged power plants, power lines, gas stations and water supplies.

More than 1 million people are without electricity. Thousands are homeless or without fuel or safe drinking water. Three nuclear power plants have shut down and are offline.

Natural gas supplier Alagasco said in an announcement that as of Thursday night it had responded to more than 1,800 calls from customers reporting leaks. The company suspended service to many customers until leaks can be repaired. Some 2,000 Tuscaloosa gas customers have been affected.

Survivors mobbed grocery stores and gasoline stations. An Exxon station ran out of gas by mid-morning Thursday. Other stations saw long lines of cars waiting for their pumps. Some shut because of damage or put up signs announcing they were closed.

Clay Ingram, public relations director for the AAA of Alabama, agrees: "Gasoline availability has improved dramatically today with the return of electrical service to a big portion of the affected areas, including Tuscaloosa, Decatur, Cullman and north Birmingham," he said in an e-mail. "Huntsville is still struggling with power outages. Many gas stations in the affected areas have acquired portable generators in order to be able to use the gas pumps and this has helped in a big way."

The storm badly damaged Tennessee Valley Authority power lines and transmission towers throughout the region. More than 120 power poles or steel structures were damaged, according to TVA. As of Friday morning, emergency crews had repaired and returned to service 14 lines out of 70 affected. Some 612,000 homes and businesses still remain without electricity.

At TVA's Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, all three units of the 3,274-megawatt facility remain shut down, after storms damaged electric lines supplying energy to their reactors. Emergency diesel generators automatically kicked in, resupplying the loss.

The three Browns Ferry reactors have nearly as much radioactive fuel between them as do Fukushima's six reactors. Browns Ferry—second biggest supplier of nuclear power in the United States—may remain offline for weeks, or until transmission lines taking power from it to surrounding areas are repaired.

In one part of Tuscaloosa, drug stores, shopping malls, dry cleaners, and other commercial establishments were flattened. A nearby coal mine also suffered damage. Elsewhere in the region, 200 chicken houses holding 4 million chickens were destroyed.

Factories in the region have been closed and manufacturing suspended at plants belonging to Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Mercedes and Toyota.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Oil: Big Five Report $34.2 Billion in Profits

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(SAN RAMON, Calif.) -- On Friday, Chevron reported $6.2 billion in profits in the first quarter of 2011, bringing total profits for the five largest oil companies to $34.2 billion -- or some $379 million each day. Profits were up 42 percent from the same period a year ago.

AAA’s daily gas price measure shows a national average price for regular at $3.91, up six cents from a week ago. With oil prices trending slightly higher Friday, it appears that Monday’s official gas price report will also be up.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio