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June 23, 2011 | By Neela Banerjee, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration announced Thursday that it planned to release 30 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, as part of a coordinated international effort to drive down high crude prices and revive the flagging economic recovery in the world's most industrialized countries. The decision sparked a plunge in crude oil prices in the U.S. and Europe. Oil futures were down $4.02 to $91.39 a barrel at about 10:45 a.m. PDT. The price was down as much as $5.72 a barrel in earlier trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
June 3, 2011 | By Tina Susman, Los Angeles Times
This isn't Missouri, where TV news stations show the wreckage left by the tornado that roared through Joplin. It isn't Alabama, where a deadly twister tore through Tuscaloosa five weeks ago. But it might as well have been for Mary Talley, who watched in agony Thursday as her family's home was laid bare for all to see, from the laundry basket in the bedroom to her son's black pastoral robe. Few of the stunned onlookers snapping pictures of the spectacle took notice of Talley, leaving the tiny 73-year-old woman with a cane to quietly grieve for the yellow house that was reduced to ruins by a tornado that left a swath of Massachusetts in shambles.
March 15, 2011 | By Ronald D. White, Los Angeles Times
For California drivers, $4-a-gallon gasoline is right around the corner after an 8-cent increase in the average price during the last week. Can $5 be far behind? Many analysts are predicting a sharp rise in energy prices, particularly on the West Coast, as refiners scramble to replace more than 1 million barrels a day in refined fuels production lost because of Japan's earthquake and tsunami. "This will most likely test whether consumers are going to be willing to pay $5 per gallon for gasoline and diesel fuel in the U.S," said consultant Bob van der Valk, who tracks fuel prices for 4Refuel Inc., which helps companies buy fuel more economically for their fleets.
March 10, 2011 | By Neela Banerjee and Henry Chu, Los Angeles Times
Saudi Arabia produced 9.1 million barrels of oil a day in February, 1 million barrels more than its official output quota as an OPEC member, the Saudi Petroleum Ministry said, part of an effort to calm prices that rose sharply after oil exports from Libya plummeted. Oil prices were mixed Tuesday ? falling 64 cents to $104.38 a barrel in New York but rising $2.88 to $115.94 in London ? after the Energy Department reported that U.S. oil supplies had increased more than expected and energy officials sought to reassure markets in the face of continuing unrest in Libya and the Mideast.
March 5, 2011 | By Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times
To proponents, it's a win-win concept: Generate revenue for Los Angeles' depleted treasury while taxing an industry ? the oil business ? that is widely reviled, despite its historic ties to Southern California. But detractors see something else: A job-extinguishing levy that would ravage small businesses and raise gasoline prices while doing little to close the city's budget shortfall. So go the arguments for and against one of the most contentious March 8 citywide ballot items: Measure O (O as in oil)
February 24, 2011 | By Tom Petruno, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
U.S. crude oil prices tumbled from their highs Thursday as some speculators apparently backed off from bets that Middle East unrest would worsen. The market also may have been calmed after Saudi Arabian officials reiterated their intent to replace any crude supplies lost because of production cutbacks in strife-torn Libya. Near-term oil futures in New York ended floor trading at $97.28 a barrel, down 82 cents from $98.10 on Wednesday and down from an intraday high Thursday of $103.
February 23, 2011 | By Walter Hamilton, Los Angeles Times
With the price of oil flirting with the $100-a-barrel level for the first time in more than two years, stock investors increasingly fear that Mideast turmoil could put the brakes on U.S. economic growth. Financial markets were spooked Wednesday by signs that the confrontation between Libyan strongman Moammar Kadafi and anti-government protesters was intensifying. Protesters said they seized control of a major city in the western part of the country, while the government was said to be massing fighters around Tripoli, the nation's capital, in preparation for potential clashes in coming days.
February 16, 2011 | By Andrea Chang, Los Angeles Times
Consumers are hoping to cash in on last week's state Supreme Court ruling that it's illegal for retailers to ask customers for their ZIP Codes during credit card transactions, except in limited cases. More than a dozen new lawsuits have been filed against major chains that do business in California, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Bed Bath & Beyond Inc., Crate & Barrel and Victoria's Secret. More filings are expected in the coming weeks. The flurry of litigation stems from a decision last week against Williams-Sonoma Inc. in which the state high court ruled unanimously that ZIP Codes were "personal identification information" that merchants can't demand from customers under a California consumer privacy law. That decision sparked lawsuits, mostly in San Francisco and Los Angeles courts, that seek class-action status and compensation for affected shoppers.
January 4, 2011 | By Ronald D. White, Los Angeles Times
Oil and gasoline prices began the new year on the same rising course that closed out 2010. Crude oil for February delivery jumped to $92.66 a barrel, a 26-month high, before settling at $91.55, up 17 cents, on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil last settled above $92 a barrel Oct. 3, 2008, when it closed at $93.88. Higher crude oil costs have been pushing up pump prices since early December. On Monday, the average U.S. pump price climbed 1.8 cents to $3.07 a gallon, according to the Energy Department's weekly survey of service stations around the U.S. California's average gained 2.1 cents to $3.308 a gallon.
December 2, 2010 | By Kathleen Hennessey, Tribune Washington Bureau
Republicans rolled out a confrontational, no-compromise strategy this week that may carry long-term risks, but has put them in position to dominate the lame-duck session of Congress and marginalize President Obama's agenda. Among congressional Republicans, confidence levels are so high that they are barreling over what might be considered standard political traps. As they fight to preserve tax cuts for the wealthiest taxpayers, for instance, they are prepared to let unemployment insurance benefits run out for 2 million jobless Americans unless offsetting spending cuts can be found.
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