Money Matters - Simplified


Airline profits expected to fall as fuel costs surge

Natural catastrophe in Japan, political unrest in the Middle East and North Africa and spiraling rise in oil prices were cited as the main reasons behind the International Air Transport Association (IATA) warning that airline industry profits will dip in 2011.

Shell to go ahead with floating LNG project

It will surely be extremely large, approximately the size of four football fields put together. That’s what Royal Dutch Shell intends to build, as it bets big time on liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Asia.

Mass. company making fuel from bacteria

At a time when scientists are looking for alternatives to non-renewable sources like diesel and petrol, a biotechnology company in Massachusetts is claiming that they have discovered a fuel source.

Fueling error blamed in loss of satellites

Moscow -- Russia's loss of three satellites during launch this week was caused by an off-course booster rocket that had been given too much fuel, officials said.

The estimated 1-1/2 to 2 tons of excessive fuel caused the rocket to deviate from its course and the satellites crashed into the Pacific Ocean, RIA Novosti reported Friday.

"According to preliminary information, the problem was not with the fuel service unit at the launching site, but with one of the sensors showing the fuel level," Gennady Raikunov, head of the investigation commission, said.

"We do not rule out the factor of human error," he said.

Raikunov said the Russian space rocket corporation Energia may be linked to the incident.

CO2 seen driving comet's 'jets'

College Park, Md. -- NASA's close encounter with comet Hartley 2 found dry ice is the fuel for jets of gas and dust bursting from the comet's surface, U.S. researchers say.

Images from the University of Maryland-led EPOXI mission flyby show spectacular jets of gas and particles shooting from many distinct spots on the surface of the comet, a university release said Wednesday.

Spectral analysis of the materials coming from the jets shows primarily CO2 gas (carbon dioxide) and particles of dust and ice, researchers said.

"Previously it was thought that water vapor from water ice was the propulsive force behind jets of material coming off of the body, or nucleus, of the comet," UM astronomy professor Jessica Sunshine said.

Rocket Stock or Dud?

 "The bigger they are, the harder they fall." It's the worst nightmare of every investor in today's market -- buying a rocket stock just before it takes a nosedive.


Michigan grants $2.1B for jobs

Lansing, Mich. -- The state of Michigan says it has approved $2.1 billion in grants to automakers and others to keep jobs in the state and fuel an economic recovery.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm said the grants set a record for the Michigan Economic Growth Authority for one day of awards announced, The Detroit News reported Tuesday.

Chrysler LLC is set to receive $1.3 billion in tax credits over 20 years in exchange for an $850 million investment in a body shop in Sterling Heights, Mich., the Detroit Free Press said.

No new Chrysler jobs are expected immediately, but 900 more could be added to a Sterling Heights assembly plant if a second shift is required next year, the News said.

EPA draws line on truck fuel efficiency

Washington -- The Environmental Protection Agency announced fuel efficiency standards for U.S. commercial trucks for the first time, similar to rules for lighter vehicles.

The rules cover fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions and are shaped to cover a variety of larger vehicles, such as vans, buses, tractor trailers, fire trucks and cement mixers, The New York Times reported Monday.
Various classes of vehicles under the proposal have different standards. Tractor trailers and buses, if the rules meet final approval, would have to reduce gas consumption by 20 percent by 2018. Trucks under the category of "work trucks," like cement trucks that drive far fewer miles per year, would have to reduce gas consumption by 10 percent by 2018.

Auto dealer chair rejects 60 mpg goal

Detroit -- The chairman of a national U.S. auto dealers association said the Obama administration's new fuel standards goals were too ambitious.

Speaking to an Automotive Press Association audience at the MGM Grand in Detroit, National Automobile Dealers Chairman Ed Tonkin said, "We would all like to believe consumers would be willing to pay whatever it takes to reach such a worthy goal.
But will they? Or is this another example of getting ahead of the consumer?"

The Obama administration is studying a proposal to have auto maker fleets reach an average fuel efficiency rating of 60 miles per gallon by 2025. The current goal for the industry is to obtain an average of 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016.

Franchetti saves fuel, wins Indy 500

Indianapolis -- Dario Franchitti was able to save just enough fuel down the stretch of a dominating performance Sunday to collect the victory at the Indianapolis 500.

Franchetti led for 155 of the 200 laps, taking his last pit stop on lap 164 and skillfully using just enough of his remaining fuel to end up in the Indy 500 winner's circle.

When pole sitter and defending champion Helios Castroneves was forced to pit with nine laps left, Franchetti surged into the lead for good.

Castroneves ended up finishing ninth.

With Franchetti's win, Target Team owner Chip Ganassi became the first owner to collect wins at both the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500 NASCAR races.