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Entries in Gasoline (34)

Thursday
Apr282011

Gas Earnings: Exxon Profits Up 69%, Shell Up 30%

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell reported first quarter profit increases Thursday of 69 percent and 30 percent, respectively, from the same period last year. With rising gas and oil prices, analysts expected the five biggest oil companies -- with Exxon as the largest -- to report that they are swimming in revenue.

Exxon earned $10.7 billion in the first quarter, up from $6.3 billion. Shell announced profit of $6.3 billion in the first quarter this year, up from $4.8 billion.

BP and ConocoPhillips announced their first quarter earnings Wednesday, in a week when the biggest oil companies have begun to release their 2011 profits. The "Big Five" oil companies include BP, Chevron, Conoco Phillips, Exxon Mobil and Shell.

ConocoPhillips said its first quarter earnings increased 43 percent to $3 billion from $2.1 billion in the same period last year. BP's first quarter earnings dipped this year -- $5.48 billion compared with $5.60 billion during the first quarter a year ago -- including a charge of $384 million related to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Valero Energy, based in San Antonio, Texas, and the largest independent U.S. refiner, announced Tuesday a first quarter profit of $98 million "primarily due to higher margins for diesel and jet fuel," compared to a first quarter loss last year of $113 million.

Chevron, based in San Ramon, Calif., is slated to announce its earnings on Friday while Marathon Oil, based in Houston Texas, will announce its earnings Tuesday.

The national average for regular gas is $3.88 a gallon, the highest since August 2008, according to the Department of Energy this week.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr272011

Top Five Oil Companies Have High Expectations for Earnings

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- BP and ConocoPhillips announced their first quarter earnings on Wednesday, continuing the week when the biggest oil companies begin to release their 2011 profits. With rising gas and oil prices, analysts expect the five biggest oil companies to announce that they are swimming in revenue.

ConocoPhillips announced that its first quarter earnings increased 43 percent to $3 billion from $2.1 billion in the same period last year. BP's first quarter earnings were down this year -- $5.48 billion compared with $5.60 billion during the first quarter a year ago -- including a charge of $384 million related to oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Valero Energy, based in San Antonio, Texas and the largest independent U.S. refiner, announced on Tuesday a first quarter profit of $98 million "primarily due to higher margins for diesel and jet fuel" compared to a first quarter loss last year of $113 million.

Energy behemoth Exxon Mobil is scheduled for Thursday while Chevron is slated for Friday. Marathon Oil, based in Houston Texas, will announce its earnings next week on May 3.

On Tuesday, the price of light, sweet, crude oil futures settled at $112.21 a barrel. Many analysts are waiting to see if oil prices will break the most recent high of Sept. 22, 2008, when oil settled at $120.92 a barrel.

The national average for regular gas is $3.88 a gallon, the highest since August 2008, according to the Department of Energy this week.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr202011

Thieves Canvassing Neighborhoods, Businesses to Steal Gas

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(HICKORY, N.C.) -- Bobby Fox has allegedly found a way around high gas prices: steal it.

The Hickory County thief was caught with a hose in his mouth and carrying a bucket siphoning gas from a pickup truck, police in North Carolina told ABCNews.com

"We've had some trucks that had their gas stolen, but we have not connected him to that yet," said Libby Grigg, an administrative assistant at the Hickory Police Department.  "That's under investigation."

The area has seen its share of gas theft in recent weeks, including gas siphoning at a U-Haul facility in the neighborhood.  The case is unsolved.

Fox was caught red-handed in a separate incident siphoning gas out of one vehicle and when approached by an officer he fled on foot, police said.  His motive?  "I guess he needed the gas," said Grigg.

The Hickory County thefts are a part of the current trend of gas siphoning crooks across the United States who are skipping trips to the pump, preferring instead to take gas from the cars of neighbors or businesses as gas prices top $4 a gallon in some places.

"It's not mystery.  It's like copper theft and other precious metals," says Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com.  "It's becoming more appealing for criminals to siphon gasoline and diesel."

In the last few weeks gas thieves have grown brazen, with thieves bypassing gas tank locks by drilling holes in the tanks or the more dangerous method of cutting gas lines.  At times, they are walking off, or driving off, with hundreds of gallons of gas.

One daring thief targeted SUVs parked in the driveways of residential homes in St. Charles, Illinois.

"We have occasionally have gas thefts reported but nothing like the last three weeks," said Paul McCurtain, spokesman for the St. Charles Police Department.  "We're guessing it's related to the increase in the price of gas and since most are occurring in residential areas all of our officers are very much aware and are spending more time in the area."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Apr112011

Gas Prices Rise, Americans Ditch Their Cars

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- As the average price of gasoline edges closer to $4 a gallon -- with one gas station in Orlando at $5.59 a gallon, according to GasBuddy.com -- have drivers finally reached the point when they will switch to smaller cars or forego driving altogether?

Drivers can be especially resistant to changing their behavior, but Mantill Williams, spokesperson for the American Public Transportation Authority, said gas prices have taken a serious toll on wallets.

"The tipping point probably has moved somewhat over time," Williams said. "As gas prices rise, consumers get accustomed to it. As you start to get close to $3.50 and toward $4 that's the point when people start to see there's a cheaper way to get around."

Gas and oil prices have been on the rise, in part, because of turmoil in oil-producing regions of the Middle East, like Libya. The Energy Department will release its latest figures Monday and another steep rise is expected.

Williams shared the example of commuters in Durham, N.C., as evidence that for those tired of high gas prices public transportation is the quickest way to cut costs.

In February, public transportation ridership thereincreased 21.8 percent, according to the Durham Area Transit Authority. In January, it increased 14.8 percent. 

In Pompano Beach, Fla., public transportation ridership increased 10.6 percent in February and 6 percent in January, according to the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority.

If regular gas prices reach $4 a gallon across the country, an additional 670 million passenger trips via public transportation could be expected, according to a report by the American Public Transportation Authority last month. That would result in more than 10.8 billion trips per year. If gas prices reach $5 a gallon, the report estimates an additional 1.5 billion passenger trips.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Mar282011

High Gas and Oil Prices: It's Not Just About the Middle East 

Comstock Images/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- Gas prices are still at their highest levels since 2008, in part because of the Japan earthquake and turmoil in the oil-producing Middle East. But analysts say the price of oil and gas would still hover at a surprisingly high level despite geopolitical concerns.

Oil futures settled at $105.40 a barrel Friday, the third consecutive day above $105, according to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Group.

On Monday, the Department of Energy will release its weekly gas prices and analysts expect they will remain mostly unchanged. Last week's national average was $3.51 per gallon for regular gas, an increase of 74 cents from a year ago, and .05 cents from the prior week. Last week was the 13th consecutive week that the average was above $3 a barrel. The last time gas passed was above $3.50 was Sept. 29, 2008, when the weekly average was $3.64.

Robert Powell, Middle East analyst with The Economist Intelligence Unit, estimates that even without the current conflicts in countries including Syria, Yemen, Bahrain and Libya, oil would still be around $90 a barrel. Why? The simple rules of supply and demand, he said.

"The fourth quarter of last year was pretty robust globally," Powell said.

In fact, the Commerce Department announced Friday the U.S. economy grew quicker than first thought. Gross domestic product in the U.S. grew at an annualized rate of 3.1 percent, revised from 2.8 percent.

Charles Dewhurst, national energy practice leader at BDO, agrees with Powell that without the recent global events, oil prices would be around $90 a barrel. He points to events in Libya and Japan, in particular, as contributors to the high price of oil.

"My perspective is there probably is a $15 price premium right now because of those two events," Dewhurst said. "The Japanese economy is going to need its electric power from oil-based sources as a backup to their nuclear problems. Their demand for oil has already increased."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Mar082011

US Unlikely to Tap into Strategic Oil Reserves, Experts Say

Comstock Images/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- With gasoline prices soaring fast, there has been some talk by the Obama administration to tap into the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve to help ease some of the pain at the pump.

But most fuel analysts say it's not worth the effort, even as prices have zoomed up 40 cents a gallon in the past month because of unrest in the Middle East and northern Africa.

White House chief of staff Bill Daley has talked about releasing just over four million barrels from the reserve, which is currently at its capacity of 727 million barrels.

While four million sounds impressive, it's not.  That's the equivalent of what U.S. motorists use in just a half a day of driving.

There are reasons to leave the Strategic Petroleum Reserve alone.  Analysts explain that crude stockpiles are now above their four-year average and there's not been steep decline in oil imports, despite all the problems in Libya and elsewhere.

Still, futures traders are exploiting the crisis anyway, sending the price of crude well past $100 per barrel, which ultimately affects what we all pay at the pump.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb252011

Biggest One-Week Oil Price Rise in Two Years Hits Consumers

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASILLA, Alaska) -- As oil touched $100 a barrel this week for the first time since 2008, residents of Alaska, the state with the most expensive gas in the country – sometimes triple the country's average - say daily life is being affected in ways large and small.

According to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge, Alaska has the highest average price of gas per gallon at $3.66 as of Feb. 24. The state with the least expensive gas is Wyoming, at $2.98 a gallon.

The price of oil settled at $98.13 on Friday, an astonishing jump of 14 percent or $11.93 from the previous week. This was the biggest one-week percentage increase in the price of oil in two years.

Verne Rupright, mayor of Wasilla in southern Alaska, said residents are especially price-sensitive to the commodity in the largest state in the country.

"It's going to affect everything," said Rupright. "We're definitely watching global oil prices." The price of oil may have eased after news that Saudi Arabia announced a $36 billion economic package, allaying fears that unrest would spread further in the Middle East. Many are concerned that Libya could halt exports after leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi threatened to destroy his country's oil fields.

This week, the U.S. average price of gas per gallon rose to $3.19, up 54 cents from a year ago, and slightly higher than last week's $3.14. This was the highest weekly price posted during the month of February since 1990, according to available data.

Rupright said gas in his neighborhood currently averages around $3.70. But in more rural areas like Kotzebue, in the northwest region, gas is around $7 a gallon. Rupright said he fears that with the growing price of oil, gas prices could skyrocket as they did in 2008. Three years ago in Kotzebue, he said, gas passed $12 a gallon.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jan312011

Exxon Reports 53% Increase In Fourth Quarter Profits

Photo Courtesy - KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images(IRVING, Texas) -- Exxon said it earned a net $9.3 billion in the fourth quarter of 2010, a 53 percent increase over what it earned in the same quarter of 2009.

The company said it earned $30.5 billion over the full year, up 57 percent from the prior year. Earnings per share in 2010 rose 55 percent to $6.22 from 2009.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan212011

Gas Prices Tick Up to $3.12 Per Gallon

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A gallon of gasoline has risen to a national average of $3.12, AAA said Friday, up 26 cents per gallon since the end of November.

The American Petroleum Institute (API) tells ABC News that demand for gas has been weak, but John Felmy, chief economist at API, notes that the price of gas has risen with the price of crude oil and, he says, it could go higher in the summer months.

“Over the last couple months we've seen crude oil prices go up by 27 cents a gallon,” Felmy said, “and gasoline went up by 26 cents.”

Thirty-seven states and Washington, D.C., have gas prices above $3.00 per gallon, or within pennies of that marker.

Demand for ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel -- used on highways -- rose 13 percent last year, up 16 percent in December, signaling a rebounding economy.

U.S. fuel consumption has increased at the fastest pace in six years and total demand is up for the first time in two years.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jan182011

Gas Prices: Another Week, Another Penny

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Gas prices ticked up another penny during the past week, the U.S. Department of Energy said Tuesday, with the national average price now sitting at $3.10.

It’s the highest gas price since October 2008 and the second-highest price for gasoline in the month of January ever. Only the week of Jan. 7, 2008 was higher, at $3.11.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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