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AUTOS
March 29, 2013 | By Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles Times
When Ferrari's biggest and baddest supercar is a hybrid, you know the world has changed. Once considered the province of techies and the eco-friendly, hybrids are catching on in almost every vehicle segment. Hybrid sales were up 32% in the first two months of this year compared with the same period last year, according to research firm Autodata Corp. That's driven by a combination of trends, including upward-creeping gas prices, a growing track record for reliability and the wider selection of hybrid offerings - everything from the entry-level Toyota Prius C to the spacious Ford Fusion sedan to the LaFerrari, a 949-horsepower, million-dollar monster.
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AUTOS
March 21, 2013 | Ronald D. White
California drivers have long suffered from the state's geographical isolation from the nation's major oil pipelines that pump crude to domestic refineries. That forced California to rely on much more expensive imported oil. In 2012, California imported more than half of its oil from overseas (50.7%) for the first time ever. But that has begun to change. In the short term, analysts say California prices should fall to the $3.75 to $4 range for a gallon of regular gasoline in the coming weeks.
AUTOS
March 6, 2013 | By Ronald D. White
It's one of the most interesting facts in a new study that covers 40 years of U.S. driving, from 1970 to 2010. Even after a 737% increase in the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline over that period, from 36 cents to more than $3, Americans are driving alone more often than before. Michael Sivak's study -- titled Effects of Vehicle Fuel Economy, Distance Traveled, and Vehicle Load on the Amount of Fuel Used for Personal Transportation in the U.S: 1970-2010 -- can be found here . Sivak is the director of sustainable worldwide transportation for the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute.  He found that in 1970 the average vehicle load -- the number of people  riding in a car, truck or SUV -- was 1.9 people.
AUTOS
February 28, 2013 | By Ron White
California gasoline prices may have already peaked for the first half of the year and should head lower soon, analysts said. Meanwhile, nationwide gasoline price averages over the first two months of the year rose at such a blistering rate that Americans were on pace to pay half a trillion dollars on gasoline in 2013 for the first time ever, analysts said. The high prices were causing big changes in the driving habits of American motorists, with gasoline consumption dropping sharply.
AUTOS
February 21, 2013 | By Ronald D. White
Southern California has seen its biggest ever one-month rise in gasoline prices, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California's weekend gas watch. The average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in the varying regions of Southern California has now climbed 57 to 59 cents since last month. "We looked at all of the one-month spikes that could have been bigger since the year 2000 and this was bigger than any of those," said Marie Montgomery, a spokeswoman for the Automobile Club.
AUTOS
February 13, 2013 | By Ronald D. White
Supporters of green-car technology like hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electric cars say they were happy to hear that automakers like Ford and Honda are expanding the number of dealerships who can sell those cars. Honda's 2013 Honda Fit EV, launched in California and Oregon in July, will be added to dealerships in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, New York and New Jersey. Ford Motor Co. is accelerating dealership certification for its plug-in electrified vehicles from 200 to 900 dealers.
NEWS
February 11, 2013 | By Paul Whitefield
Went to a magic show Sunday, called, appropriately enough, “ Smoke and Mirrors .” Watched the magician pull a rabbit out of his hat and everything. (OK, it was a bird, but who's counting?) You know it's all an illusion -- trickery, sleight of hand, misdirection -- but you laugh and are amazed anyway.  Great fun. Came to work Monday and read about a different magic show. It's called gas prices, though it could just as easily be called smoke and mirrors. Seems that gasoline prices are at record highs for this time of year, both nationally and in California.
AUTOS
February 11, 2013 | By Ronald D. White
Hedge funds, commodity pools and other high-roller investors have thrown close to $12.5 billion into a collective bet that gasoline prices will rise, and some analysts say it's one reason why gasoline prices are at a record for this date in California and nationally. The details were contained in the Commodity Futures Trading Commission report released Friday, showing that betting on higher gasoline prices was closing in on the highest level ever of $13 billion, set last March. Quiz: Why are California gas prices so high?
BUSINESS
February 5, 2013 | By Ronald D. White, Los Angeles Times
Average California gasoline prices jumped 23 cents in the last week, passing $4 a gallon in Los Angeles, fuel surveys show. This surge follows a year in which the nation's motorists spent a greater percentage of their annual income on gasoline than at any time in the last three decades, the Energy Department said. Gasoline expenditures were higher despite a sharp improvement in automobile fuel economy, according to a separate report. The average cost for a gallon of regular gasoline in California jumped to $3.914 on Monday, up 23.4 cents from a week earlier, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report.
AUTOS
February 4, 2013 | By Ronald D. White
Expect a bit of a shock if you fill up your gas tanks in Southern California this week. The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in the state has jumped 23.4 cents since last Monday, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report. Most of the spike has been driven by the state's southern counties. PHOTOS: Best car values for fuel economy Los Angeles and Long Beach, for example, are averaging $4.017 a gallon, up 24.8 cents over the past week. Orange County gasoline is averaging $4.002 a gallon, up 26.1 cents since last Monday.
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