Arizona Discount Travel Blog

$7.00 at the pump – coming to a location close to you

ADMIN’S NOTE … Interesting, as I had forecasted several months ago that the year 2009 is gonna be very rough on Americans …

Seems that other’s around the world agree, and paint a very dim future world-wide …

Gazprom, Russia’s gas monopoly, on Tuesday predicted oil prices would reach $250 a barrel in 2009.

The striking prediction came as the International Energy Agency, the developed world’s energy watchdog, warned that record high prices were needed to choke off demand in order to balance the oil market.

It is the IEA’s most candid admission to date that oil supply is struggling to catch up with Asian demand, and follows the sharp rise in prices last week, which saw crude jump more than $16.24 in less than 36 hours to a record $139.12.

Asia and other foreign countries are driving up the demand, sucking the wells dry


June 11, 2008 Posted by | In the news, Oil and Gas News | Leave a comment

Time-Warner wants to charge you an Internet “Meter Fee”

By Peter Svensson – AP Technology Writer – June 3, 2008

NEW YORK (AP) – You’re used to paying extra if you use up your cell phone minutes, but will you be willing to pay extra if your home computer goes over its Internet allowance?

Time Warner Cable Inc. customers — and, later, others — may have to, if the company’s test of metered Internet access is successful.

On Thursday, new Time Warner Cable Internet subscribers in Beaumont, Texas, will have monthly allowances for the amount of data they upload and download.

Those who go over will be charged $1 per gigabyte, a Time Warner Cable executive told the Associated Press.

Metered billing is an attempt to deal fairly with Internet usage, which is very uneven among Time Warner Cable’s subscribers, said Kevin Leddy, Time Warner Cable’s executive vice president of advanced technology.

This will be as popular as a turd in a punchbowl

June 3, 2008 Posted by | Commentaries, In the news | Leave a comment

GM closing 4 truck and SUV plants in North America

By Associated Press – June 3, 2008

WILMINGTON, Del. – General Motors is closing four truck and SUV plants in the U.S., Canada and Mexico as surging fuel prices hasten a dramatic shift to smaller vehicles.

CEO Rick Wagoner said Tuesday before the automaker’s annual meeting in Delaware the plants to be closed are in Oshawa, Ontario; Moraine, Ohio; Janesville, Wis.; and Toluca, Mexico.

He also said the iconic Hummer brand may be discontinued.

Wagoner said the GM board has approved production of a new small Chevrolet car at a plant in Lordstown, Ohio, in mid-2010 and the Chevy Volt electric vehicle in Detroit.

Wagoner said GM’s board approved the production schedule of the Chevrolet Volt


GM plans to bring on-line around 2010 the “All-Electric” Chevrolet Volt … a technological breakthrough required to make this concept a reality is a large lithium-ion battery.

This type of electric car, which the technical community calls an “EV range-extender,” would require a battery pack that weighs nearly 400 pounds.

Some experts predict that such a battery – or a similar battery – could be production-ready by 2010.

The images below are clickable to see them full-size…

June 3, 2008 Posted by | Commentaries, In the news | 1 Comment

Hurricane season is here – $150 for oil is a reality too

By Associated Press and Kiplinger Business Center – May 30, 2008

I just recently predicted oil would get to around $200 per barrel, and it looks like I’m right on target … price of oil expected to rise on news that busy hurricane season in Gulf of Mexico will push cost of barrels to $150

Meteorologists are predicting a busy hurricane season this year, and any direct hit on the Gulf of Mexico’s extensive oil and gas infrastructure could easily send already sky-high oil prices rocketing past $150 a barrel.

But predicting whether, much less where a big storm will strike, is tricky business. Energy markets haven’t priced in a potential catastrophe, and won’t factor in a hurricane until a storm actually forms.

The 2005 hurricane season was one of the most destructive in history

One powerful Hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico would put gasoline at $6.00 a gallon

June 1, 2008 Posted by | Commentaries, In the news, Oil and Gas News | Leave a comment

Fuel suppliers demand airlines pay cash in advance

By Carl Mortished and Amanda Andrews – Times Online – May 26, 2008

Recession Warning Sign #283 … fuel suppliers cut off credit, demand airlines pay cash in advance … passengers who always had to pay in advance point, laugh “Ha ha” loudly …

Airlines are being forced to pay cash in advance for jet fuel as the major oil companies tighten the screws on an industry that is being crushed by an extraordinary surge in the price of crude oil.

Sources within the airline industry indicate that credit is being denied to most of the leading American carriers and the practice is moving to Europe and Asia.

So uncertain is the cash solvency of the industry that jet fuel suppliers insist on prepayments into special bank accounts.

The need to put up money before delivery of fuel is a huge financial burden that has been shifted from the oil companies to the airlines.

According to John Armbrust, a US jet fuel consultant, the oil industry had $5 billion (£2.5 billion) of jet fuel credit outstanding to airlines before the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Now they are demanding that airlines leave cash on deposit.

SouthWest Airlines is one of a few likely to still get credit

May 27, 2008 Posted by | In the news, Oil and Gas News | 1 Comment

Gas prices at the pump – are you ready to spend $6 or more a gallon?

By David Goldman – staff writer – May 22, 2008

Traders say that even though you’re already paying for the hurricane season, the price could spike to $6 a gallon if catastrophe strikes …

Batten down the hatches … hurricane season starts officially on June 1st … it’s expected to be a rough one, threatening to upend refineries and disrupt pipelines in the southern United States.

And that could send gas prices, already nearly 20% above what they were last year, soaring even higher.

That’s what happened three years ago when the Gulf Coast was battered by two hurricanes – Katrina and Rita – in the span of a few weeks.

Peter Beutel, oil analyst at Cameron Hanover Beutel, said if a Katrina-like hurricane were to hit in July, gas prices could go as high as $5 or even $6.

Like any disruption to supply, when a hurricane takes out drilling platforms and refineries, supply and demand principles lead to a jump in crude oil gasoline prices.

The last huge gas spike caused by a hurricane happened in the late summer of 2005, when Katrina and Rita brought many Americans their first glimpse at $3 a gallon for regular gas.

Amazing – this is what I forecasted months ago, but people thought I was crazy

May 22, 2008 Posted by | In the news, Oil and Gas News | 4 Comments

General Electric – getting out of the appliance business forever

By Yahoo! News – May 14, 2008

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – General Electric Co. plans to auction off its appliances business, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

GE has hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to run an auction for the appliance division, according to the newspaper, which quoted unidentified sources.

The sale could yield between $5 billion and $8 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported.

G.E. entered the appliance business in 1907

May 14, 2008 Posted by | Commentaries, In the news | 1 Comment

Barack Obama – visits “57 AMERICAN States”???

DAMN … when did America acquire 7 additional states in the past few months???

DUUUHHH … and the Liberals say Bush is stupid?

I would point out this is sort of like the pot calling the kettle black … but undoubtedly someone would accuse me of being a racist!

The Moron never caught himself … then he said that he had been to all “57 States” but one!

Does that mean there are really 58 states???

But then he said that he hadn’t been to Alaska and Hawaii, which is two more … by my count.

So … how many states does Obama think that the “UNITED STATES” has anyway??? …

Can’t believe how many STUPID-ASS Americans would consider voting for such an ILLINOIS IDIOT!

May 13, 2008 Posted by | Democrappers, Demon-rats, In the news, Politics | Leave a comment

Dallas High School Seniors graduating – can’t add nor subtract


Meet your new burger-flippers, the Class of ’08 … 75% of graduating Dallas, TX seniors can’t read above 8th grade level or handle enough math to deal drugs …

And, just think … these are America’s “Future Leaders” …

It’s May, which means thousands of high school seniors across North Texas can almost taste it – their diploma … this month 7,500 DISD seniors are expected to walk across the stage and make their families proud.

But what if we told you that 75 percent of the seniors headed to Dallas community colleges, can’t read above an 8th grade level, and others can’t add or subtract?

Graduation is a time for feeling proud, but that might quickly change to frustration for thousands of DISD students like Gia Hollis come fall, when reality hits.

The students will tell you themselves what the focus was in high school.

And then there’s math … There are some students in these remedial courses who cannot add, subtract, or do basic multiplication.

And one professor says calculators are a big problem.

No, Professor – I blame the 2-job parents who didn’t teach their kids anything for 18 yrs! .

May 11, 2008 Posted by | Commentaries, In the news | Leave a comment

Postage stamps have gone up again – get the new “Forever stamp”

By CNN Money – May 10, 2008

The cost of mailing a letter goes up a penny to 42 cents on Monday, the latest in what are expected to be annual price adjustments by the Postal Service.

A new law regulating the post office makes it easier to raise rates as long as the agency doesn’t exceed the rate of inflation. Rates are to be adjusted each May.

But the post office also has introduced a way for people to save money when the price goes up, the Forever stamp, which remains valid for first-class postage regardless of any increases.

With the rate increase approaching, sales of the Forever stamp reached 64 million-a-day in April, postal officials said. Forever stamps currently sell for 41-cents, but can be used after the rate increase without any additional postage.

However, when the rate goes up, so does the price of Forever stamps.

Unlike the Forever stamps, other 41-cent stamps will require additional postage under the new rates, and postal officials said they printed an additional 1.5 billion 1-cent stamps in anticipation of the demand.

In other words, you won’t have to buy those stupid $0.1 stamps with your current stamps

May 10, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Canada Police will taser you – even in a hospital bed

Police subdue vicious 82 year-old guy on oxygen lying in a hospital bed by tasering him three times …

An elderly man in Kamloops, B.C., was zapped three times on the torso by a police stun gun while lying on his hospital bed, CBC News has learned.

Frank Lasser, 82, appeared fragile Thursday when he showed the Taser marks on his body and talked about the ordeal he went through Saturday.

RCMP said nurses called police after Lasser became delirious and pulled a knife out of his pocket.

Lasser told CBC News that he sometimes becomes delusional when he can’t breathe properly.

He said he couldn’t explain why he refused to let go of the knife even after the Mounties arrived.

Lasser said there were three RCMP officers in his hospital room and believes they could have easily handled him without the use of a Taser.

They could have gone in there and taken an old man without any trouble at all

May 9, 2008 Posted by | In the news | Leave a comment

Indiana Nuns are not allowed to vote – they’re retired

By Scott Martelle – Los Angeles Times – May 7, 2008 included

Nuns in their 80s and 90s turned away from polls for not having IDs … by a fellow nun …

A dozen nuns and an unknown number of students were turned away from polls Tuesday in the first use of Indiana’s stringent voter ID law since it was upheld last week by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The nuns, all residents of a retirement home at Saint Mary’s Convent near Notre Dame University, were denied ballots by a fellow sister and poll worker because the women, in their 80s and 90s, did not have valid Indiana photo ID cards.

Though state officials reported no significant problems, advocates monitoring polling places said there was occasional confusion.

Angela Hiss, 19, of suburban Chicago, said she was allowed to register to vote several weeks ago but was turned away Tuesday from a polling site in South Bend, where she attends Notre Dame.

Hiss said officials at a local motor vehicles office then would not accept her Illinois license as proof of identification for an Indiana license.

Indiana is a WEIRD state

May 7, 2008 Posted by | In the news, Politics | Leave a comment

Military soldiers may not be getting paychecks in a few weeks

By Yahoo!News – May 5, 2008


The Pentagon warned Tuesday the US Army will not be able to pay its soldiers beyond June 15 unless Congress acts soon on a stalled request from the administration for war funding.

It was the latest salvo in a long-running impasse between the Democratic-controlled Congress and the administration over a 108-billion dollar request to fund US military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan in the 2008 fiscal year.

The pay crunch would be eased if Congress authorized funds to be moved from other accounts to pay soldiers, but the Pentagon is pressing for approval of the full budget request.

Most of our troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan could go without pay

May 6, 2008 Posted by | In the news, Military | Leave a comment

John McCain’s health care plan makes sense

By Star Parker – – May 5, 2008 included

McCain’s health care plan differs from that of Obama and Hillary’s because it makes sense …

A gold star to John McCain for his just released plan for reforming American health care.

Analysts will pick apart details and surely will find shortcomings. But directionally, McCain’s approach is on the money. Contrary to the vaporous rhetoric of change offered by the Democrats, he has proposed real structural health care reform.

The plan boldly takes on key problems in how we deliver health care that have contributed to out-of-control cost escalation.

According to a recent University of Minnesota study, health insurance premiums have increased over recent years ten times faster than personal incomes, and by 30 percent from 2001 to 2005.

The employer-based system has been an engine for driving up costs

May 6, 2008 Posted by | In the news, McCain, Politics, Republicans | 1 Comment

The SUV is an irrational vehicle – it’ll never come back

By Jenn Abelson – Boston Globe – May 6, 2008

After paying $75 to fill his black Dodge Ram pickup truck for the third time in a week, Douglas Chrystall couldn’t take it anymore.

Feeling pinched at the pump, and guilty as well, Chrystall, a 39-year-old father from Wellesley, is putting ads online to sell the truck, and the family’s other gas-guzzler, a Jeep Grand Cherokee.

He knows it will be tough to unload them because he is one of a growing number of consumers downsizing to smaller, more fuel-efficient cars.

Americans are turning away from the boxy, four-wheel-drive vehicles that have for years dominated the nation’s highways.

Sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks – symbols of Americans’ obsession with horsepower, size, and status – are falling out of favor as consumers rich and poor encounter sticker shock at the pump, paying upward of $80 to fill gas tanks.

And just think – I only spend $30 a week to keep my Buick filled up

May 6, 2008 Posted by | In the news, Oil and Gas News | Leave a comment

How to get hot flight attendants to come to your house

By Susan Finch, L.A. Times – May 4, 2008

With foreclosures on the rise and for-sale signs all over neighborhoods, owners across the country are struggling to find ways to meet their payments and stay in their homes. One possible solution is to open your doors to airline employees looking for what is known in the industry as a “crashpad.”

Despite a relatively low profile, crashpads are not a new idea and are nearly as old as the airlines themselves.

Pilots, flight attendants and other airline employees may live in one city but fly out of another one, sometimes hundreds of miles away. Often this gap between home and base is the result of employees’ shifting schedules or changing to a different airline.

Others find their base city to be too expensive to live in.

Although employees’ benefits allow for free or cheap commutes by air, schedules don’t always offer much flexibility — 6 a.m. flights and sporadic on-call schedules can make lodging in surrounding airport neighborhoods a necessity.

When crew members live in one state but travel to another for work, the airlines are not required to pay for their accommodations.

Flight crews are offered complimentary hotel rooms only when en-route or on a lay-over.

Homeowners – rent a room in your house to airline crews for $350 a month

May 4, 2008 Posted by | In the news | Leave a comment

Michelle Obama – Barack has hit the boiling point

By Tim Shipman – April 30, 2008

Barak Obama is nearing his “boiling point” over questions about his character and judgment …

Welcome to the Big Leagues, rookie …

Barack Obama is struggling to contain his anger and frustration over the constant barrage of questions about his character and judgment, his wife has revealed.

Michelle Obama lifted the lid on the irritation felt by the leading Democrat candidate for the White House at the way anti-American outbursts by his pastor, Jeremiah Wright, have dogged his campaign.

He is said to be itching to turn all his fire on John McCain

May 4, 2008 Posted by | Democrappers, Demon-rats, Politics | Leave a comment

GOD Bless America – A “Must Have” Bumper Sticker

Need I say more?

Click the image for the full-size version … AMEN…

May 2, 2008 Posted by | God / Jesus Christ | Leave a comment

Jesse DuPlantis – America needs to listen to him daily

I personally have over 75 of Jesse’s DVD’s, as he’s one of this country’s most truthful and inspirational Evangelists since Billy Sunday and Billy Graham…

This is “Close Encounters of the GOD Kind”…

May 1, 2008 Posted by | God / Jesus Christ | Leave a comment

Military recruits accepted with waivers for past criminal conduct

By CNN News – April 30, 2008

Army and Marine recruits accepted with waivers for past criminal conduct get promoted faster, earn more medals for valor, re-enlist at higher rates, and stay in the military longer … would you like to know more? …

WASHINGTON (AP) – Soldiers who need special waivers to get into the Army because of bad behavior go AWOL more often and face more courts-martial.

But they also get promoted faster and re-enlist at a higher rate, according to an internal military study obtained by The Associated Press.

The Army study late last year concluded that taking a chance on a well-screened applicant with a criminal, bad driving or drug record usually pays off.

And both the Army and the Marines have been bringing in more recruits with blemished records.

Still, senior leaders have called for additional studies, to help determine the effect of the waivers on the Army.

On the brighter side, those with waivers earn more medals for valor and tend to stay in the Army longer.

IMO, we would do better by placing hard-core criminals into military service

April 30, 2008 Posted by | In the news | Leave a comment

Fuel prices rising – I wasn’t off by far according to this forecast

By Dan Dorfman – New York Sun – April 28, 2008

Analysts predict that market factors with drive gas prices up to $7 to $10 a gallon … and most likely higher than that …

>>>>> For those not as familiar with the oil / Petrochem market as I am, I’ll explain this in easy-to-understand terms …

The prices are high due to the fact of the recession in the United States and the economic crisis which has touched several countries, a situation which has an effect on the devaluation of the dollar, and therefore each time the dollar falls one percent, the price of the barrel rises by $4, and of course vice versa.

If the dollar strengthens by 10 percent, it is probable that (oil) prices will fall by 40 percent … <<<<<

Get ready for another economic shock of major proportions — a virtual doubling of prices at the gas pump to as much as $10 a gallon.

That’s the message from a couple of analytical energy industry trackers, both of whom, based on the surging oil prices, see considerably more pain at the pump than most drivers realize.

An Arco gas station in San Mateo, Calif., has already raised its price to a sky-high $4.62.

These increases are taking place before the all-important summer driving season, signaling even higher prices ahead.

Translating this price into dollars and cents at the gas pump, one of our forecasters, the chairman of Houston-based Dune Energy, Alan Gaines, sees gas rising to $7-$8 a gallon.

The other, a commodities tracker at Weiss Research in Jupiter, Fla., Sean Brodrick, projects a range of $8 to $10 a gallon.

This would undoubtedly create considerable global economic distress

April 28, 2008 Posted by | Commentaries, In the news, Oil and Gas News | Leave a comment

Wachovia Bank – caught laundering drug money

By CNN News – April 26, 2008

When Wachovia Bank isn’t busy losing billions of your dollars in bad lending, they midnight as a drug-money laundromat …

Was that wrong? …

Should they not have done that? …

The bank is being investigated by prosecutors as part of a probe into alleged drug money laundering by Mexican and Colombian money-transfer companies, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Wachovia Corp. is being investigated by Federal prosecutors as part of a probe into alleged drug money laundering by Mexican and Colombian money-transfer companies, according to a Wall Street Journal report Saturday morning.

A Wachovia official said the bank is cooperating in the probe, which is also scrutinizing several other large U.S. banks, according to the newspaper.

The bank severed its ties to these money transfer firms in December and January, when the investigation began.
*** AHA! … in other words, you got caught red-handed back then and are trying to squirm out of the picture by offering such a dumbass statement! … ***

The U.S. banking industry has pursued a foothold in the remittance industry, which transmits more than $50 billion from the U.S. to Latin America annually – primarily on behalf of immigrants sending money back to their families.

The industry charges high fees to transfer these funds.

The probe comes at a difficult time for the bank, which announced on Friday that it will pay $144 million to settle federal charges that it failed to stop telemarketers from taking advantage of thousands of elderly consumers.

If you bank with them now, run as fast as you can and close your accounts!

April 28, 2008 Posted by | Commentaries, In the news | 4 Comments

Superdelegates should select Hillary over that Idiot Barack

By Right Wing News – April 25, 2008

WOOHOO … I agree with this Author 100%! … c’mon, John McCain … jump in there and slap both of them down! …

Although I’m supporting John McCain for President in 2008, I have to admit that I’d rather see Hillary Clinton as his opponent.

That’s not because I think she’d be a weaker candidate … it’s because I’d love to see that smug tin god, Barack Obama, humbled and forced to taste bitter defeat at Hillary’s hands.

Ironically, just a few months ago, I would loved to have seen Hillary beaten by Barack because she seemed to have such a sense of entitlement about the Democratic nomination … so now, the shoe is completely on the other foot.

Come to think of it, that may be Barack Obama’s only significant accomplishment … he has been the first Democrat who has ever made conservatives see any good at all in Hillary Clinton.

Here are his top 10 reasons – suck it up Barack Obaba-Yo-Mama

April 27, 2008 Posted by | Democrappers, Demon-rats, McCain, Politics, Republicans | 1 Comment

Gas-guzzling SUV’s – Dealers won’t accept them as trade-ins now

By Associated Press – April 26, 2008

This is amusing to me, especially since so many women just HAD TO HAVE AN SUV … most of them can’t see over the steering wheel, much less park one CENTERED between 2 white stripes on any parking lot … As gas prices rise, trade-in value of SUVs drop … you’re going to have to drive that thing into the ground …

For used-car dealer Ivan Hoyos, accepting a sport-utility vehicle as a trade-in is no longer good business.

“Nobody is buying used SUVs,” said Hoyos, 35, who stopped accepting them six months ago.

“The truth is more and more dealers are staying away from used SUVs and large trucks … it doesn’t pay; you can’t have a unit sitting on the lot forever.”

Independent used-car dealers and massive chains like AutoNation Inc. are having trouble selling used SUV’s

April 27, 2008 Posted by | In the news | Leave a comment

Economy is so bad – Ebay to start auctioning Real Estate

By Barbara E. Hernandez – Mercury News – April 25, 2008

Remember how everyone scoffed when eBay started car auctions?

Well, soon they might be your realtor …

Two auctions in the East Bay next week show that developers and builders are eager to sell off their slow-moving homes.

Vista Del Mar’s neighborhoods range from 1,560 to 3,665 square feet and feature fireplaces, tile entry ways, master suites and walk-in closets. Homeowner association fees are $132 a month for the Villages only.

Minimum bids start at $265,000 for 1,560-square-foot homes at the Villages. The homes were priced previously from $470,990 to $836,044.

Builders will continue to start new homes on a very limited basis

April 27, 2008 Posted by | In the news | Leave a comment

Internet to hit it’s “full capacity” by 2010

Doom-filled warnings arrive from AT&T this week.

The company says that without substantial investment in network infrastructure, the Internet will essentially run out of bandwidth in just two short years …

Blame broadband, says AT&T.

Decades of dealing with the trickle of bandwidth consumed by voice and dialup modems left AT&T twiddling its thumbs.

The massive rise of DSL and cable modem service in the 2000s has had AT&T facing a monstrous increase in the volume of data transmissions … and that’s set to increase another 50 times between now and 2015.

That’s enough, says AT&T, to all but crash the system … Yahoo Tech News

ZDNet reports on this too

April 25, 2008 Posted by | In the news | Leave a comment

Route 66 – America’s Last Frontier Most Have Never Seen


How many of you can name the original actors of Route 66 from this photo … “Tod” and “Buzz”?

Yeah; it’s Nostalgia time for this old fart … Historic gas station on Route 66 re-opens

WOW … I remember I was riding a Triumph 500 Motorcycle from Marine Corps Base (MCB) Camp Pendleton, CA to Las Vegas on the week-ends, passing thru these small towns along the way … so much of America’s open landscape and open highway’s have changed so much since then!!!

Before you miss a very important part of America’s history … the next time you get 2 – 3 weeks of vacation time from work … do yourself and family a huge favor before it’s completely gone forever…

1. Put your cellphone away unless you absolutely need it!
2. Grab your video camera instead!
3. Stop at numerous “out-of-the-way” places as often as you can … these will offer the largest, juiciest hamburgers that have ever hit your lips!

Are you ready to go traveling across America by vehicle?

Have you ever gone thru actual American Ghost Towns?

If you’ve never gone thru this awesome experience … check out this other story about … Roy’s Gas Station

After that, I hope you check out this awesome website about Ghost Towns of the American West

April 25, 2008 Posted by | Commentaries | 1 Comment

Saudi Arabia and Middle East Oil – America say’s Good-bye!

*** Admin’s Note *** … with over 32 yrs in the Petrochemical industry, and working several times in Venezuela, I’ve harped to numerous oil companies to drill in this region.

Now that we’re in an alleged “oil crisis”, it amuses and amazes me that they’re just now “discovering” what I told them over 20 years ago … ***banging head on keyboard*** …

By Bloomberg News – April 24, 2008

Brazil’s discoveries of what may be two of the world’s three biggest oil finds in the past 30 years could help end the Western Hemisphere’s reliance on Middle East crude …

Brazil’s discoveries of what may be two of the world’s three biggest oil finds in the past 30 years could help end the Western Hemisphere’s reliance on Middle East crude, Strategic Forecasting Inc. said.

Saudi Arabia’s influence as the biggest oil exporter would wane if the fields are as big as advertised, and China and India would become dominant buyers of Persian Gulf oil, said Peter Zeihan, vice president of analysis at Strategic Forecasting in Austin, Texas.

Zeihan’s firm, which consults for companies and governments around the world, was described in a 2001 Barron’s article as “the shadow CIA.”

Brazil may be pumping “several million” barrels of crude daily by 2020, vaulting the nation into the ranks of the world’s seven biggest producers, Zeihan said in a telephone interview.

The finds they’ve got so far are just the tip of the iceberg

April 25, 2008 Posted by | In the news, Oil and Gas News | Leave a comment

D.O.T. To Double Denied Boarding Compensation

The Department of Transportation in a final rule released today said it will double the maximum amount airlines must compensate involuntarily bumped passengers. Though the ruling came amid fierce opposition from air carriers, DOT said it would go into effect in 30 days.

Under the rule, passengers who are involuntarily bumped would receive compensation equal to their one-way fare up to $400 if they are rescheduled to reach their destination within two hours of their original arrival time for domestic and four hours for international flights, and $800 if they reach their destination after those times.

“It has been 25 years since the rule was last revised, and the existing $200 and $400 limits on the amount of required denied boarding compensation for passengers involuntarily denied boarding have not been raised since 1978,” DOT said in the filing. “The Department has received recommendations from various sources that it reexamine its oversales rule and, in particular, the maximum amounts of compensation set forth in the rule.”

DOT said it also would make the rules applicable to aircraft that seat between 30 and 60 people, which previously had been exempt from the denied boarding standards.

According to DOT figures, denied boardings steadily have increased since 2001, reaching a record high last year of 1.12 for every 10,000 passengers. President George W. Bush last year proposed to raise denied boarding compensation caused by airline oversales following mounting public outcry over airline service.

April 23, 2008 Posted by | In the news | 7 Comments

U.S. Airways To Charge For Window, Aisle Coach Seating

U.S. Airways beginning May 7 will charge customers at least $5 per leg for window and aisle seat assignments “in the first several rows of the coach cabin,” but said it would offer them free of charge to its elite frequent flyer members, who “also have exclusive access to exit row seats.”

Others, though, would have to pay for the assignments exclusively through online checkin, as they are not available at the time of booking or via the carrier’s airport checkin kiosks. US Airways on its Web site said, “Choice Seats will be assigned free of charge at the airport if no other seat assignments are available.”

US Airways said the Choice Seats comprise about 8 percent of coach seating, as “the remaining 92 percent are assigned free of charge any time after purchasing a reservation.” That carrier said the policy would not affect its shuttle flights or those operated on Saab 340 aircraft.

Northwest Airlines in 2006 launched an “open-ended” test to see if travelers would pay a premium for reserved aisle, window and exit row seats in the United States. The carrier since has expanded the program to international routes, charging up to $50 for transpacific and some transatlantic flights, though the domestic charge ranges from $5 to $35. Northwest on its Web site says the Coach Choice assignments are available on about 5 percent of its inventory.

Many carriers have sought out new forms of revenue by unbundling services that once were included in the price of a ticket, from checking a second piece of luggage to providing inflight meals, among many others.

“I’ve got to believe they’re scraping the bottom of the barrel already,” Bob Brindley, vice president of the Americas for Advito, BCD Travel’s consulting division, said this week prior to US Airways’ announcement. “I’ve seen a couple of comedy sketches where they charge for extra oxygen on the airplane, so you can take this to the absurd. They’ll keep looking and pushing the envelope.”

April 23, 2008 Posted by | In the news | Leave a comment