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AUTOS

GM, Ford June sales rise as gas prices fall

DETROIT — Falling gas prices brought truck buyers back to Ford and General Motors showrooms last month. Still, pump prices remained high enough that shoppers snapped up smaller cars as well.

GM sales rose 10 percent in June from a year ago. The Detroit car company said it sold 215,358 cars and trucks last month, up from 195,380 a year ago. Ford sales also rose 10 percent. The results indicate the auto industry’s slow recovery from the recession is back on track after a brief slump in May.

GM said that cheaper gas lured more pickup truck buyers with Chevrolet Silverado sales rising 5 percent and GMC Sierra sales up 8 percent compared with a year earlier. Sales of Ford’s F-Series pickups rose 7 percent. Any jump in pickup sales helps the Detroit automakers, which sell more than five times as many pickups as foreign-based brands.

PETROLEUM

Government, oil company differ over spill threat

LAUREL, Mont. — Teams of federal and state workers fanned out Sunday along Montana’s famed Yellowstone River to gauge the environmental damage from a ruptured Exxon Mobil pipeline that spewed tens of thousands of gallons of crude oil into the waterway.

The break near Billings, in south-central Montana, fouled the riverbank and forced municipalities and irrigation districts to close intakes.

Environmental Protection Agency spokeswoman Sonya Pennock said an unspecified amount of oil could be seen some 40 miles downriver during a flyover Sunday, and there were other reports of oil as far as 100 miles away near the town of Hysham.

But an Exxon Mobil Corp. executive said shoreline damage appeared to be limited to the Yellowstone between Laurel and Billings, which includes about 20 miles of river.

State officials on Saturday had reported a 25-mile-long slick headed downstream toward the Yellowstone’s confluence with the Missouri River, just across the Montana border in North Dakota. An estimated 1,000 barrels, or 42,000 gallons, spilled Saturday before the flow from the damaged pipeline was stopped.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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