Business Briefs – January 8, 2018

Expect to Pay More for Gasoline in 2018

(Los Angeles Times/TNS) – The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline is expected to go up about 8 cents in 2018, according to the annual Fuel Price Outlook put out by GasBuddy, a tech company based in Boston that helps motorists find the cheapest gasoline in a given area.

The average price in the U.S. is projected to rise to $2.57 a gallon, the highest price since 2014. The nation’s current average is $2.49 a gallon, according to GasBuddy data, and could peak at $2.89 a gallon in April.

Oil prices crashed to below $30 a barrel in February 2016 but have slowly increased since then, and Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, points to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries as the big reason why.

OPEC has reduced production to boost prices and, unlike in the past, its members have stuck to their pledges for the most part.

“The old way of thinking was all you could be sure of in life was taxes, death and OPEC cheating on production quotas, so that was a big surprise,” DeHaan said.

Retail Workers Feel Disruption From Shifting Shopper Habits

NEW YORK (AP) – The retail industry is being radically reshaped by technology and nobody feels that disruption more starkly than the 16 million Americans working as shelf stockers, salespeople and cashiers. The shifts are driven, like much in retail, by the Amazon effect — the explosion of online shopping and the related changes in consumer behavior and preferences. With the options and convenience available to them, there’s never been a better time for shoppers. For the workers, well, not always.

Fired Google Engineer’s Suit Claims Reverse Discrimination

NEW YORK (AP) – The Google engineer who was fired for writing a memo criticizing Google for pushing diversity is suing the company, saying it discriminates against white men and conservatives. James Damore’s lawsuit says he was discriminated for his perceived conservative political views and for being white and male. He is joined in the lawsuit by another former Google engineer, David Gudeman.

Emory University Gets $400 Million Gift, Its Largest Ever

ATLANTA (AP) – Georgia’s Emory University is receiving a $400 million gift — the largest in the history of the institution — to find new cures for disease and improve lives. The private school in Atlanta on Monday announced that the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation has pledged the money for medical advances and to enhance people’s health. The Woodruff Foundation says its giving was inspired by the legacy of Robert Winship Woodruff, longtime leader of the Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Co.

Americans Borrowed More In November Amid Solid Year-End Sales

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. consumers ran up nearly $28 billion in new debt on their credit cards and in the form of new auto and student loans, a sign of growing confidence in the economy. The Federal Reserve says that consumer borrowing grew 8.8 percent, the most in more than two years, to $3.83 trillion.