WBEZ | crude oil http://www.wbez.org/tags/crude-oil Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en President Obama rejects Keystone XL pipeline project http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-01-19/president-obama-rejects-keystone-xl-pipeline-project-95650 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2012-January/2012-01-19/keystone3.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Yesterday, President Obama said "no for now" to the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. The project, to be executed by the company TransCanada, would have carried heavy crude oil from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada all the way south to refineries on the Texas coast.</p><p>The pipeline provoked a robust debate across the United States, prompting environmentalists, farmers, and members of the oil industry and Congress to stake out impassioned positions for or against its creation. The issue also seemed to re-energize America's environmental movement. In November, 12,000 people encircled the White House to protest the pipeline, making it the largest protest to ever take place outside the president's residence.</p><p>Last summer, <em>Worldview</em> explored the cultural, psychological and social tolls of the proposed pipeline with University of Alberta professor and philosopher <a href="http://www.augustana.ualberta.ca/profs/dgoa/" target="_blank">David Goa</a>. He's director of the <a href="http://www.augustana.ualberta.ca/research/centres/ronningcentre/" target="_blank">Chester Ronning Centre for the Study of Religion and Public Life</a>.</p><p>For David, Keystone XL had opened up a revealing dialogue about the kind of world Americans really want. Today, David returns to discuss the human issues surrounding the pipeline project.</p><p style="margin-left: 1in;">&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 19 Jan 2012 16:08:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-01-19/president-obama-rejects-keystone-xl-pipeline-project-95650 Landowners oppose the 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-08-30/landowners-oppose-1700-mile-keystone-xl-pipeline-91244 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-August/2011-08-30/keystone2.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483679-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/wv_20110830b.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p>If built, the Keystone XL pipeline would slice through 1,700 miles of land to deliver crude oil from the tar sands in Alberta, Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast. The project would impact thousands of landowners in five states.&nbsp; We speak with three of these landowners who are protesting the project, which has been proposed by <a href="http://www.transcanada.com/" target="_blank">TransCanada</a>.</p><p>Earlier this month, Ben Gotschall of Nebraska, as well as David Daniel and Eleanor Fairchild from East Texas, traveled along the route of the proposed pipeline to speak out against it. The pipeline, they say, will threaten grasslands that have been unspoiled for generations as well as the livelihoods of American farmers, while reaping profits for a foreign oil company. They stopped by to discuss the project while on their way to <a href="http://www.tarsandsaction.org/">protests</a> in Washington D.C.</p></p> Tue, 30 Aug 2011 15:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-08-30/landowners-oppose-1700-mile-keystone-xl-pipeline-91244 $4 a gallon gas prices: Who's to blame? http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-04-21/4-gallon-gas-prices-whos-blame-85534 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-April/2011-04-22/AP080618019899-gas Mike Groll.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Gasoline prices are closing in on $4 a gallon. Department of Energy <a href="http://www.eia.doe.gov/oog/info/gdu/gasdiesel.asp" target="_blank">data</a> show the average price for regular gas in the U.S. is $3.84 per gallon. That's 98 cents higher than a year ago, and just an "average." In California, the average price is $4.20 per gallon.</p><p>It's tempting to blame speculators for the price run-up. In March, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder established a task force to investigate potential fraud in energy markets.</p><p>So far, it's "clear that there are lawful reasons for increases in gas prices, given supply and demand," Holder says in a statement.</p><p>It's also tempting to blame the falling value of the dollar for rising oil prices. After all, oil trades in dollars and since January the U.S. currency is down about 10 percent against the euro.</p><p>But Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst with the Oil Price Information Service, says it's more complicated than just that. Trouble in the Middle East is still spooking markets, and investors want to buy oil.</p><p>"There's a lot of money that's chasing commodities," Kloza says. "And among the money funds that are chasing commodities, the favorite commodity right now is oil."</p><p>The more money that chases a commodity, according to economics 101, the more prices will rise. Kloza says you can add to that a seasonal phenomenon.</p><p>"The market always gets buzzed in the spring," he says. "Sometimes — and I think this may be one of those years — it gets a little bit sloppy drunk."</p><p>Right now, Kloza considers anything above $4 a gallon "sloppy drunk." He says that kind of behavior has consequences.</p><p>"We'll see prices correct or ease back a little bit and we'll spend a driving season where we pay something between $3.25 and $3.75 for gasoline," predicts Kloza.</p><p>Declining consumer demand could make that prediction a reality.</p><p>"Over the last month, the country has pumped about 2.1 percent less gas than a year ago," says Michael McNamara, vice president at MasterCard SpendingPulse. His business tracks purchases made with credit cards, cash and checks.</p><p>McNamara says demand started to suffer when gas rose above $3.25 per gallon in February.</p><p>"Especially going into weekends — people tend to cut back a little bit more on Saturday pumping as opposed to commuting traffic on Mondays and Tuesdays," McNamara says.</p><p>There's other evidence that drivers are paying very close attention to gasoline prices these days. Todd Hendrix says his phone is ringing a lot. He owns Hendrix Industrial Gastrux in Wauconda, Ill. The small business installs kits to convert gasoline-powered vehicles to natural gas.</p><p>Natural gas prices have remained steady recently. When people learn they can save 30 percent or more by burning natural gas, they start bugging Hendrix.</p><p>"We spend a lot of time trying to explain to them why we can't convert their Volkswagen or their BMW or their Mercedes-Benz or something like that," says Hendrix.</p><p>Because of federal regulations, Hendrix says he can't convert just any car that comes in. So he focuses on fleets that put a lot of mileage on their vehicles.</p><p>It costs $10,800 to convert a Ford Crown Victoria at Hendrix's shop. But with government incentives and natural gas at $2.40 per gallon, Hendrix says a fleet manager can pay for a converter kit and start saving money in just a few months. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. </p> Thu, 21 Apr 2011 15:22:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-04-21/4-gallon-gas-prices-whos-blame-85534 Consumer prices post biggest increase since June '09 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-economy/consumer-prices-post-biggest-increase-june-09-85230 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-April/2011-04-15/103415333.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Consumers paid more for food, gas and rent last month, but outside those categories inflation remained tame. The Labor Department says the Consumer Price Index rose five-tenths of a percent in March. That matched February's increase, the largest since the recession ended in June 2009.</p><p>In the past 12 months, the index has increased two-point-seven percent, the biggest rise since December 2009.&nbsp;</p><p>Outside volatile food and gas, the so-called core index rose one-tenth of a percent. Economists monitor core prices to get a sense of broader inflation trends.</p><p>In the past 12 months, core prices rose one-point-two percent, up from the six-tenths of percent pace recorded last October. Still, the March increase is well below the 10-year average of one-point-nine percent.</p><p><strong>As gas prices surge, fuel purchases ease</strong></p><p>The average price of gasoline is now above $4 per gallon in five states, including Illinois, and it could rise to that level in New York and Washington, D.C., this weekend. The $4 mark is a tough reminder for American drivers. The last time they saw prices that high was in the summer of 2008, just before the economy went into a tailspin.</p><p>Retail surveys show that motorists are already starting to buy less fuel, yet the government still expects pump prices to keep climbing this summer.&nbsp; The national average has increased for 24 straight days, hitting $3.82 per gallon on Friday. It's above $4 in Connecticut, Illinois, California, Hawaii and Alaska.</p><p><strong>Factory production on the rise</strong></p><p>Meanwhile, in other economic news released Friday, U.S. factories produced more consumer goods, business equipment and raw materials in March, boosting manufacturing activity for the ninth straight month.</p><p>The Federal Reserve says output at the nation's factories, mines and utilities increased eight-tenths of a percent last month after edging up one-tenth of percent in February. The previous month's results were dragged down by a weather-related drop in utility production.</p><p>Factory production, the largest single segment of industrial production, increased seven-tenths of a percent last month. Manufacturing has been a key driver of economic growth since the recession ended. That continued last month, even with supply chain disruptions stemming from the crisis in Japan.</p><p>Overall industrial production has risen about 11 percent since its recession-low in June 2009. It is still eight percent below its pre-recession peak, reached in September 2007.</p></p> Fri, 15 Apr 2011 13:55:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-economy/consumer-prices-post-biggest-increase-june-09-85230 United, Continental raising airfares http://www.wbez.org/story/airfares/united-continental-raising-airfares-84045 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/archives/images/cityroom/cityroom_20090630_newsintern_2114625_Unit_large.png" alt="" /><p><p>United and Continental airlines are raising fares on many U.S. routes by $10 per round trip. The increase was confirmed Monday by Mike Trevino, a spokesman for the airlines.</p><p>U.S. airlines have raised fares at least a half-dozen times this year as they try to offset rising jet fuel costs.</p><p>The last attempt failed when other airlines decided not to follow American Airlines when it raised prices earlier this month, also by $10 per round trip.</p><p>Rick Seaney, CEO of travel website FareCompare.com, said consumers also got a break last week when U.S. airlines offered more discount seats for early-summer travel. Still, he said, cheap seats will be harder to find this year.</p></p> Mon, 21 Mar 2011 21:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/airfares/united-continental-raising-airfares-84045 Gas prices abnormally high for January http://www.wbez.org/story/aaa/gas-prices-abnormally-high-january <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/97962735.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Gas prices nationwide are surging this January and Chicago is no exception. According to AAA&rsquo;s Fuel Gauge Report, drivers in Chicago are paying an average of $3.30 cents a gallon for unleaded gas. That's 40 cents more than last year.</p> <div>Beth Mosher is a spokeswoman for AAA. She said customers can expect the trend to continue.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;We don't see any relief for this in sight,&rdquo; she said. &nbsp;&ldquo;We think we're going to be experiencing the over $3 prices well into the year, if not for the entire year.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Mosher says recent cold temperatures and a spike in global demand are driving up the price for crude oil. Right now a barrel of crude goes for about $91, up $12 dollars from a year ago.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>A two year forecast by the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows crude prices rising to $99 a barrel by 2012. That's 2.4 cents more per gallon at the pump for every dollar increase in crude oil.</div></p> Wed, 19 Jan 2011 19:37:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/aaa/gas-prices-abnormally-high-january