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AUTOS
April 11, 2013 | By Ronald D. White
Experts are saying American drivers, including Californians, can expect some of the lowest summer gasoline prices they have seen in three years. Some are predicting a steady decline in California gasoline prices to as low as $3.84 a gallon by August. This year, the Energy Department is expecting a national summertime average of about $3.63 for a gallon of regular gasoline. That would be the lowest in three years, down six cents from $3.69 a gallon a year ago and off 8 cents from the $3.71 average in 2011.
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AUTOS
April 4, 2013 | By Ronald D. White
The drop in gasoline prices in California that began more than a month ago has slowed to a crawl, but there may be good news ahead when one of the state's most important refineries returns to full production as early as this month. When operating at its full 245,000-barrel-a-day capacity, Chevron Corp.'s Richmond refinery is the second most productive in the state. But it has been operating at lower levels since a fire idled part of the facility in August. Analysts at the Oil Price Information Service said the refinery could be back at full operation as early as this month.
AUTOS
March 29, 2013 | Ronald D. White
Depends on whom you ask. The Environmental Protection Agency on Friday proposed what it called "sensible standards for cars and gasoline that will significantly reduce harmful pollution, prevent thousands of premature deaths and illnesses" while "enabling efficiency improvements in the cars and trucks we drive. " For example, the EPA would reduce gasoline sulfur levels by more than 60%, down to 10 parts per million (ppm), in 2017. The EPA proposal would bring the rest of the nation in line with standards already in effect in California, the agency said.
BUSINESS
March 29, 2013 | By Neela Banerjee, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration is expected to propose new rules Friday that would slash the amount of sulfur in gasoline, one of the most significant steps the administration can take this term toward cutting air pollution, said people with knowledge of the announcement. The new rules would bring the rest of the country's sulfur standards in line with California's gasoline program. The oil industry and members of Congress from oil states have criticized the standards as onerous with few health benefits in return.
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.
OPINION
March 24, 2013 | By Brad Schiller
Two years before his death, Hugo Chavez tried to repeal the law of supply and demand, which says that free markets set the price: the higher the demand, the higher the price. Every producer who was willing to sell at that equilibrium price would be able to do so and every consumer willing and able to pay that price could acquire the product. Chavez despised the law because he believed it robbed the poor and unjustly profited producers. In its place, he persuaded the Venezuelan legislature to enact the 2011 Law on Fair Costs and Prices, a price-setting mechanism to ensure greater social justice.
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 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.
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.
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