Friday, April 20, 2018
Business

Amount spend on gas to set U.S. record this year

The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in the United States this year hasn't reached the highs seen in 2008, when it hit an all-time record of $4.114. The 2012 average hasn't even climbed as high as it was last year, when it reached $3.965, according to the Energy Department.

But fuel prices have been so consistently high in 2012 that American motorists are on pace to spend more on gasoline this year — $483 billion, or $1.32 billion a day — than they ever have before, according to the Oil Price Information Service in New Jersey.

That would break the old record for the amount of money spent by Americans on gasoline, set last year, by about $12 billion. That's despite the fact that the U.S. average topped out this year at $3.941 a gallon back in April.

Analysts say the most remarkable thing is that high gasoline prices didn't have the chilling effect on consumer spending that they did four years ago.

"Americans seem to have accepted the news on high fuel prices with aplomb," said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for OPIS.

Gasoline prices this year have been driven, in part, by high oil prices. They have also been affected by consistently high exports of U.S.-produced diesel and gasoline to customers overseas.

A third factor involved periodic regional spikes that helped keep the national average high.

The first of those spikes occurred in the Midwest, where petroleum pipeline ruptures and refinery outages kicked prices sharply higher.

The second occurred in October in California, where prices hit a state record of $4.671 a gallon, sparking several calls for federal and state investigations of refinery practices.

More recently, damage from Hurricane Sandy along the East Coast shut down several refineries and led to temporary fuel rationing in New York and New Jersey.

These impacts canceled out the fact that U.S. demand for motor fuel, running at about 8.7 million barrels a day so far this year, is at its lowest level since 2001, Kloza said.

The U.S. Energy Department said earlier this year that the average price for a gallon of regular gasoline was running about $3.64 in 2012, up from last year's record average of $3.53.

Comments
Regulators allow major solar company to lease home equipment

Regulators allow major solar company to lease home equipment

State regulators Friday determined that one of the country’s largest residential solar companies, San Francisco-based Sunrun, is allowed to lease solar energy equipment for homes in Florida. The decision, solar energy advocates say, could open the do...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Florida unemployment at 3.9 percent for sixth straight month

Florida unemployment at 3.9 percent for sixth straight month

For the sixth month running, Florida’s unemployment rate held at a nearly 11-year low of 3.9 percent in March as steady job gains continued. While many factors kept Florida’s economy chugging along, three industries stand out for leading year-over-ye...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Owners say new house is a disaster; developer accuses them of ‘online terrorism’

Owners say new house is a disaster; developer accuses them of ‘online terrorism’

ST. PETERSBURG --- Stretched across the front of Tim and Hyun Kims’ two-year-old house is a big banner with the name of a developer and the words: "I have to fix my new house."Some of what needs fixing is instantly apparent. The front steps are too ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Florida hits a milestone: More than 100,000 people are registered to use medical marijuana here

Florida hits a milestone: More than 100,000 people are registered to use medical marijuana here

Florida has hit a milestone of sorts as it slowly moves toward wider availability of medical marijuana.The number of patients in the state who are registered to use the substance has surpassed 100,000 for the first time, according to Florida Departme...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Q&A: Walmart leader chats about Florida stores, and the chain’s latest retail strategy

Q&A: Walmart leader chats about Florida stores, and the chain’s latest retail strategy

The Tampa Bay Times recently sat down with Walmart director of corporate communications Phillip Keene to chat about the retail giant’s latest retail strategies and how the company is winning over customers in a competitive market.Already, two of the ...
Published: 04/20/18
Judge: Foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa violated numerous rules of conduct

Judge: Foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa violated numerous rules of conduct

Tampa Bay foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa has violated numerous rules of professional conduct and caused two clients to nearly lose their homes because he failed to tell them about settlement offers from their banks. In preliminary findings of ...
Published: 04/20/18
SunTrust warns 1.5 million clients of potential data breach

SunTrust warns 1.5 million clients of potential data breach

Associated PressNEW YORK — SunTrust Banks Inc. says accounts for 1.5 million clients could be compromised following a potential data breach. The Atlanta bank says that it became aware of the potential theft by a former employee and that the investiga...
Published: 04/20/18
Spring break, hurricane relief boosted Tampa Bay hotels in March

Spring break, hurricane relief boosted Tampa Bay hotels in March

The Tampa Bay area’s hotel occupancy rate rose to 87.5 percent in March, the highest level in three years. The rise was fueled by spring break vacationers as well as insurance adjusters and hurricane cleanup crews flooding the state to restore it aft...
Published: 04/20/18
St. Petersburg police remove disabled adults from ‘deplorable’ assisted living facilities

St. Petersburg police remove disabled adults from ‘deplorable’ assisted living facilities

ST. PETERSBURG — Beef jerky, mayonnaise and Altoids mints were the only edible things in view inside one of the houses. There was no running water. The refrigerator was empty. A bed sat on top of the deteriorating living room floor. Cigarette butts b...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Here’s your first look at what will be Riverwalk Place, Tampa’s tallest tower

Here’s your first look at what will be Riverwalk Place, Tampa’s tallest tower

TAMPA — Developers on Thursday detailed plans for what they touted as the tallest building on Florida’s west coast, with condominiums priced in six and seven figures and a shimmering glass design they say would stand out in the skylines of New York, ...
Updated: 11 hours ago