• Grant will help SC's seniors make homes energy efficient

    Updated: Fri, May 1, 2015

    COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster is announcing a grant that will help older South Carolinians make their homes more energy efficient. The $1 million donation is being made by Duke Energy Carolinas and is being announced on Friday in McMaster's office in the Statehouse. In addition to McMaster and representatives of the Central Carolina Community Foundation, the Office of Regulatory Staff and Sustaining Our Seniors are attending. Sustaining Our Seniors of South Carolina is a non-profit and non-partisan organization dedicated to promoting and wellness among older South Carolinians. South Carolina's Office on Aging is part of the Lieutenant Governor's office.

  • Japan stocks drift after weak US earnings

    Updated: Fri, May 1, 2015

    Japanese stocks drifted Friday after weak U.S. earnings underlined an uncertain economic outlook and dented Wall Street. Most Asian markets were closed for Labour Day. KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 closed up 0.1 percent at 19,531.63 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.4 percent to 5,814.40. New Zealand's benchmark rose 0.1 percent to 6,205.13. Most markets in Asia and Europe are closed for the holiday. Futures augured gains on Wall Street after a sell-off the day before. S&P 500 futures were up 0.2 percent to 2,083.90. Dow futures rose 0.3 percent to 17,813. CLOUDY OUTLOOK: Disappointing earnings from some U.S. companies added to pessimism about the economic outlook after weak first quarter growth in the world's biggest e

  • Tesla charges into home battery market despite challenges

    Updated: Fri, May 1, 2015

    FOSTER CITY, Calif. (AP) — Tesla CEO Elon Musk is trying to steer his electric car company's battery technology into homes and businesses as part of an elaborate plan to reshape the power grid with millions of small power plants made of solar panels on roofs and batteries in garages. Musk announced Tesla's expansion into the home battery market amid a party atmosphere at the company's design studio near Los Angeles International Airport. The festive scene attended by a drink-toting crowd of enthusiasts seemed fitting for a flashy billionaire renowned for pursuing far-out projects. For instance, colonizing Mars is one of Musk's goals at Space X, a rocket maker that he also runs. Now, he is setting out on another ambitious mi

  • Japan stocks drift lower after weak US earnings

    Updated: Fri, May 1, 2015

    Japanese stocks drifted lower Friday after weak U.S. earnings underlined an uncertain economic outlook and dented Wall Street. Most Asian markets were closed for Labour Day. KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 was down 0.4 percent at 19,431.52 while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.6 percent to 5,824.60. New Zealand's benchmark shed 0.2 percent to 6,190.29. Most markets in Asia and Europe are closed for the holiday. CLOUDY OUTLOOK: Disappointing earnings from some U.S. companies added to pessimism about the economic outlook after weak first quarter growth in the world's biggest economy. While many investors remain optimistic that growth will resume later in the year that belief isn't yet being backed up stronger economic data o

  • Plugging in business briefs for May 1

    Published: Fri, May 1, 2015

    Natural gas prices may cause Williams Cos. to slow production.

  • Oklahoma wind incentive critics, backers take message to voters in direct mail campaigns

    By Paul Monies, Business Writer | Published: Fri, May 1, 2015

    As negotiations continue at the Capitol over curtailing tax incentives for wind projects, some voters are receiving direct mail and robocalls from both incentive critics and the wind industry.

  • Increasing gas tax makes for tough politics, adviser says

    Updated: Thu, Apr 30, 2015

    JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi will need strong bipartisan leadership if officials want to increase the gasoline tax to pay for highways, bridges and other transportation needs, the policy director of a national group called Transportation for America told state business leaders Thursday. Joe McAndrew described such a debate as "a tricky political question," and said gathering support to increase or restructure a gas tax could take years. He said it helps to have support from city and county elected officials, and some states win that support by creating grant programs that would provide money for specific local transportation projects.

  • Correction: Greenhouse Gases-California-Things to Know story

    Updated: Thu, Apr 30, 2015

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — In a story April 29 about Gov. Jerry Brown's new target for reducing carbon emissions, The Associated Press reported erroneously that California has cut its emissions to about 25 percent below 1990 levels. The state is on track to cut its emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 but does not plan to reduce emissions beyond that before 2020. A corrected version of the story is below: Things to know about California's plan to cut emissions Things to know about California's ambitious plan to cut down greenhouse gas emissions By JULIET WILLIAMS Associated Press SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Here are some things to know about California Gov. Jerry Brown's new target for reducing carbon emi

  • Bill allowing self-service gas in rural Oregon passes House

    Updated: Thu, Apr 30, 2015

    SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Motorists traveling along rural roads in Oregon are one step closer to being able to pump their own gas. Oregon drivers haven't been able to pump gas since 1951. Oregon and New Jersey are the only two states that don't offer self-service gasoline. But, under a bill passed unanimously by the House this week, gas station operators in remote sections of the state could choose to keep their stations open when no owner, operator or employee is around the pump gas for customers. Supporters said this would allow drivers to still get fuel, even when there's no one around. The law would be limited to counties where there are less than 40,000 residents. The bill now heads to the Senate.

  • Former Shell employee ordered to pay $19.3M in fuel leak

    Updated: Thu, Apr 30, 2015

    MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A former pipeline inspector must pay nearly $19.3 million in restitution for his role in a jet fuel leak at General Mitchell International Airport three years ago. Federal prosecutors said in a news release issued Thursday that Randy Jones had been ordered to pay the $19.3 million and serve five years' probation. The release did not say when he received the sentence or which federal judge handed it down. Online court records did not immediately list information about the sentencing. They did, however, show that U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa in Milwaukee was assigned the case and Jones was scheduled to be sentenced Thursday. Jones' attorney did not immediately return a voicemail message seeking

  • Wyoming revenue pinch from low oil, gas prices just starting

    Updated: Thu, Apr 30, 2015

    CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming remains on solid fiscal footing for now but the effect of low oil and natural gas prices on government revenue is just beginning to be felt, cautions a report by Wyoming's state revenue forecasters. The severity of that effect depends on whether the downturn persists long enough to ripple through the economy, said Don Richards, co-chairman of the state Consensus Revenue Estimating Group. "In the long and intermediate term, much will depend on the prices of Wyoming's commodities," Richards said Thursday. Oil prices are recovering somewhat from a sharp drop last winter but at around $58 a barrel they are still down 40 percent from last summer. Natural gas prices, at $2.

  • Fee proposed on rail cars that haul oil, other flammables

    Updated: Thu, Apr 30, 2015

    BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — U.S. senators from six states on Thursday proposed that the government charge companies a special fee to ship oil, ethanol and other flammable liquids in older railroad tank cars that have been involved in fiery explosions. The fee would start at $175 and increase to $1,400 per car by 2018. It would raise an estimated $600 million to train first responders, clean up spills and relocate rail tracks around populated areas. The proposal would be paired with tax breaks for upgrades to newer tank cars, so they can better withstand derailments. Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon told The Associated Press the intent is to offer "market-based" incentives for companies to improve safety.

  • Visa 2Q profits fall 3 percent on strong dollar, gas sales

    Updated: Thu, Apr 30, 2015

    NEW YORK (AP) — Payment processing giant Visa Inc. said Thursday that its profits dropped slightly in the first three months of the year, hurt by the strengthening dollar and lower gas prices. But its results still topped Wall Street expectations. The Foster City, California-based company processed $1.24 trillion in payments on its network in the quarter, up 11 percent from a year ago. Payment volume is a closely watched metric for payment processors like Visa and MasterCard because they charge a small fee for every transaction processed on their network. Like other global companies, Visa's results were impacted by the strong U.S. dollar because it makes goods purchased abroad cheaper when their sales are translated i

  • Yelp and Nokia are big market movers

    Updated: Thu, Apr 30, 2015

    NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks that moved substantially or traded heavily Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq Stock Market: NYSE Yelp Inc., down $11.89 to $39.39 The online business reviews company reported worse-than-expected first-quarter results and issued a weak outlook. Statoil ASA, up 76 cents to $21.23 The Norwegian oil and gas company reported a fiscal third-quarter loss on lower oil prices, but the results topped expectations. AmerisourceBergen Corp., up $1.86 to $114.30 The prescription drug distributor reported better-than-expected fiscal second-quarter results and gave an upbeat outlook. Nokia Corp., down 91 cents to $6.

  • Missouri Senate roll call vote on gas tax for road funding

    Updated: Thu, Apr 30, 2015

    The 18-13 roll call vote Thursday by which the Missouri Senate gave initial approval to a measure that would increase the diesel fuel tax by 3.5 cents a gallon and the tax on other gasoline by 1.5 cents. Voting "yes" were 11 Republicans and seven Democrats. Voting "no" were 13 Republicans. Not voting were one Republican and two Democrats. REPUBLICANS VOTING YES Mike Cunningham, Rogersville Tom Dempsey, St.

  • Gasoline prices in Arizona at $2.58 per gallon

    Updated: Thu, Apr 30, 2015

    PHOENIX (AP) — Gasoline prices around Arizona are sharply higher at the pumps this week. Officials with Triple-A Arizona said Thursday that the average statewide price for unleaded regular gasoline is $2.58 a gallon. That's an increase of almost 15 cents from last week. This week's national average also is $2.58 per gallon, up by nearly 9 cents from last week. Triple-A analysts say "crude oil prices continue to spike, which have caused pump prices to jump." Tucson has Arizona's lowest average gasoline price at $2.29 a gallon and Flagstaff the highest at $2.77. South Carolina has the lowest average gas prices among states in the continental U.S. at $2.31 a gallon with California the highest at $3.53 a gallo

  • UN is warned of 'active Iranian nuclear procurement network'

    Updated: Thu, Apr 30, 2015

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Britain has told a U.N. panel of experts that it is aware of an "active Iranian nuclear procurement network" linked to two Iranian companies, raising new concerns as world powers began Thursday to work out the details of a possible comprehensive agreement with Iran over its nuclear program. Two U.N. sources confirmed Thursday that Britain's warning on April 20 is included in a confidential report by the panel. The sources spoke on anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it. The warning names two companies, "Iran's Centrifuge Technology Company and Kalay Electric Company," but it gives no details. Both companies are under U.S. sanctions, and Kalay Electric Company is on the U.N. sanctions

  • Obama signs bill to boost energy efficiency in buildings

    Updated: Thu, Apr 30, 2015

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has signed long-delayed legislation to boost energy efficiency in buildings. Obama signed the bill into law Thursday in the Oval Office. He was surrounded by a bipartisan group of lawmakers. The law aims to cut energy use in commercial buildings, manufacturing plants and homes. Obama says he hopes it will lead to more progress on environmental issues. He says it's an area where Washington could make a big impact and create jobs. The measure was popular in both parties but was defeated last year after becoming enmeshed in a political fight over the Keystone XL oil pipeline. The bill exempts some energy-efficient water heaters from pending Energy Department rules.

  • Oklahoma governor signs legislation for cannabis oil trials

    Updated: Thu, Apr 30, 2015

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Legislation authorizing medical trials for children with severe forms of epilepsy by using an oil derived from the marijuana plant has been signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin. The program will allow the medically supervised use of cannabidiol, a non-intoxicating derivative of marijuana. Research indicates it effectively treats children who suffer from epileptic seizures by reducing the number and intensity of seizures. The bill by Rep. Jon Echols of Oklahoma City and Sen. Brian Crain of Tulsa was signed Thursday and is similar to laws in 13 other states. It's known as "Katie and Cayman's Law" for a young relative of Echols' and a family-friend of Crain's who suffer seizures.

  • North Dakota boardings slump in March but still strong

    Updated: Thu, Apr 30, 2015

    BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota airline boardings have dropped for the first time in years and industry officials say slumping oil activity is a likely reason, though not the only one. They do not believe it is the start of a long-term trend. Passenger numbers at the eight commercial service airports in North Dakota last month dropped a total of 3 percent from March 2014, according to the state Aeronautics Commission. The slide correlates with a drop in oil production — drilling rigs in western North Dakota are at their lowest level in more than five years — and industry officials believe the energy slowdown is affecting air travel. Bismarck was the only western city where boardings didn't decrease in March.