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GASOLINE

Gallon now costs $4 in 6 states, D.C.

NEW YORK | Add New York to the growing list of states where gas prices are topping $4 per gallon.

On Sunday, the Empire State became the sixth state to top $4 for the average price of a gallon of gas, joining Alaska, California, Connecticut, Hawaii and Illinois, according to AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge. The average price of gas also rose to more than $4 per gallon in Washington, D.C., on Saturday.

The next states to join the list could be Michigan, which has gas for $3.95 per gallon on average, and Indiana, where the average price is $3.94. Nevada, Washington and Wisconsin are close behind.

The national average for gas has increased for 26 straight days, and is now at $3.83 per gallon. That’s up 29 cents from a month ago. Retail surveys suggest motorists are reacting to higher prices now by buying less fuel. Still, the government expects pump prices to keep climbing this summer.

BLACKBERRYS

Maker says UAE policy will hit other phones

DUBAI | The maker of BlackBerry devices says tighter restrictions on the popular gadgets proposed by Emirati authorities would likely apply to other smartphones too, raising new questions about data freedom in the Gulf Arab nation.

The United Arab Emirates’ telecommunications regulator has outlined plans to limit access to the Blackberry Enterprise Server system, which provides the most secure form of communication on the handheld devices. Many international companies and government agencies use it to keep emails and other data safe.

Only organizations with 20 or more BlackBerry accounts could use the service under the UAE’s proposed new rules. Others would need to rely on a less-secure system that analysts say is easier for authorities to monitor and could cause accessibility problems for corporate users. Barely six months ago, the federation backed down from a threat to impose a sweeping ban.

TAX CREDITS

IRS paid $513 million in undeserved tax credits

The Internal Revenue Service has paid out more than a half-billion dollars in home-buyer tax credits to people who probably didn’t qualify, a government investigator said Friday.

Most of the money — about $326 million went to more than 47,000 taxpayers who didn’t qualify as first-time home buyers, said the report by J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration. Other credits went to prison inmates, taxpayers younger than 18 and people who did not actually buy homes.

The popular credit provided up to $8,000 to first-time home buyers and up to $6,500 to qualified current owners who bought another home during parts of 2009 and 2010.

AUTO

Two weeks added to Honda factory slowdowns

DETROIT | Honda Motor Co. will slow down production at its 10 U.S. and Canadian auto factories into at least early May because it’s running short of parts made at earthquake-damaged factories in Japan.

The company said Friday that it’s extending the cuts through May 6, and it expects more disruptions after that.

The slowdowns, which could reduce output at its plants by up to 50 percent, are likely to cause shortages of Honda vehicles in a matter of weeks. Honda’s Japanese factories are running at half capacity, and the company’s president has said it could take a few months to return to full production.

The March 11 earthquake and tsunami damaged factories that make key auto parts, affecting nearly all automakers. Other automakers, especially those based in Japan, also have been forced to cut production, and dealers predict shortages soon.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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