- - Tuesday, May 31, 2011

ENERGY

Oil, gas prices fall in time for summer

NEW YORK — Oil and gasoline prices finally hit the brakes in May.

After surging to the highest levels since 2008, oil dropped 10 percent for the month and gasoline slipped nearly 4 percent.

The May slump will ripple through petroleum markets around the world, affecting fuel prices everywhere.

Crude futures dropped early in May as a growing number of industry and government reports showed plentiful supplies and falling demand. The dollar grew stronger against other currencies during the month, and that helped push oil lower as well.

Last May oil dropped about 17 percent, from just under $83 a barrel to $68, for similar reasons: a stronger dollar and rising supplies of crude.

The national average for a gallon of regular gas peaked at $3.9845 in the first week of May before sliding 20.5 cents per gallon by the end of the month. Prices were down for the 19th day in a row on Tuesday, to $3.78 per gallon, according to AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service.

CURRENCY

Dollar falls against euro on possible Greek aid

NEW YORK — The dollar fell against the euro Tuesday as investors gained confidence that Greece would soon negotiate a new aid deal to stave off a debt default and U.S. economic data pointed to slowing growth.

In afternoon trading in New York, the euro rose to $1.4378 from $1.4284 late Monday.

Greece received a package of $157 billion (in U.S. dollars) in rescue loans a year ago. But a review of the country’s accounts by experts from the European Union, International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank is expected to show that Greece is going to need even more low-cost loans to keep its country running.

If Greece gets additional aid, it would help ease fears of a looming default that could hurt the European banks that hold Greek bonds. Those fears weighed on the euro last week, sending the currency below $1.40 for the first time in two months.

AUTO

GM to invest $88 million in plant

DETROIT — General Motors Co. plans to invest $88 million in equipment and tooling for an unspecified new model to be built at its Lansing Grand River assembly plant in Michigan.

The plant currently builds three models of the midsize Cadillac CTS car — sedan, coupe and wagon — along with a high-powered V-series version of each model.

The high-powered wagon is the least fuel-efficient small station wagon on the U.S. market, according to the U.S. Department of Energy website fueleconomy.gov, which rates the vehicle at 12 miles to the gallon in city driving and 18 miles on the highway.

The Lansing Grand River plant employs 917 hourly and salaried employees, GM said.

The investment is part of GM’s previously announced plan to invest $2 billion in 17 U.S. plants.

LAWSUIT

Company sued over promissory notes infomercials

DENVER — Colorado and federal officials are suing a company that runs infomercials offering to teach people how make money in the promissory notes business.

Colorado Attorney General John W. Suthers on Tuesday announced the lawsuit against Westminster-based Dalbey Education Institute, formerly known as America’s Note Network. The company markets its products in infomercials that have featured actor Gary Collins.

Mr. Suthers and the Federal Trade Commission allege the company and its principals engaged in deceptive trade practices. They say very few customers earn money from its products and that some testimonials don’t disclose actual earnings after costs are deducted.

The company denies the allegations and says the case is flawed.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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