National / International News

Trickle down oil prices?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-12-18 11:00

This is a busy time of year for the Goodyear tire store and garage in McLean, Virginia. People want a tune up before heading out for the holidays, maybe want to pick up a set of tires.

Store manager Eddie Adiyeh has been selling tires for almost 30 years, so he should know: Do tire prices normally go down, along with oil prices? 

“I don’t remember them going down when the prices went down," he says. "But I remember them going up a little bit when the oil went up.”

Goodyear owns Adiyeh’s store, and sets the prices. So I called a Goodyear spokesman, Keith Price, and asked him: will tires get cheaper?

His response: “I’m not able to comment or speculate on what might happen to the price of tires.”

But Price did say it takes a while for the tire to go from factory to warehouse to distributor to store. He figures tires being made now, with the cheaper oil, should be in stores this spring. 

So will they be cheaper then?

“It’s not entirely black and white,” says Nicholas Mitchell, a senior vice president and research analyst at Northcoast Research who follows Goodyear. He says oil makes up about a quarter of the cost of synthetic tires, the kind most consumers buy. Mitchell thinks competition among tire manufacturers will push down prices.   

“Someone will move first and try to lower prices to drive market share,” he says.

But here’s why it’s not black and white: With gas prices down, we’re driving more, and wearing out our tires faster. If demand for tires rises, Mitchell says, prices won’t fall as much. 

Farmers feel ripple effects of the oil boom

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-12-18 11:00

The oil boom in Texas has ripple effects that go beyond the cost of gasoline. Kai Ryssdal talked with commercial grain farmer Curt Mowery of Mowery Farms in Rosharon, Texas, to find out how oil is reflected in his business.

As a commercial grain farmer, Mowery estimates that 50 percent of his costs circle around oil. Some examples include the chemical costs on some of the crop protectants, containers and transportation from getting grain from the field to the processor. “Everything’s tied to oil that we do in our business,” he says.

As the cost of oil goes down, Mowery might see savings in 2016, but he doesn’t believe the consumer will see savings for a while. “The price will go down a lot slower than the price will go up," he says.

Oil prices scrape bottom of the barrel

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-12-18 11:00

Crude oil prices fell to 5½ -year lows on Thursday. The price of Brent Crude closed at $59.27 a barrel, and West Texas Intermediate Crude closed at $54.11 a barrel.

A barrel of crude oil is a “convenient measure,” says Eric Smith, associate director of Tulane University’s Energy Institute. “It’s 42 gallons because that’s what John D. Rockefeller put it in – old beer barrels, back in the 1890s.” Today, oil moves in pipelines, tanker ships, barges and railcars to get from the oil fields – whether in Saudi Arabia, Nigeria or North Dakota – to the refineries.

Transportation only constitutes a small fraction of the barrel’s cost, according to economist Rayola Dougher of the American Petroleum Institute, the industry trade group. Most of the cost of oil can be attributed to exploration, drilling and pumping.

“Finding the oil is a very involved process,” says Dougher. “Onshore it can take $19 to $20 a barrel, but it could be twice to three times as much offshore.”

In the Bakken shale oil fields in North Dakota, which are pumping out a lot of high-quality light sweet crude (a similar grade to the benchmark West Texas Intermediate), producers can still make a small profit with crude in the $55-a-barrel range, after subtracting the costs of exploration, production and transportation, Smith says.

“You’d probably go down to $30 before somebody shuts in a well. They might not drill a new one. But they wouldn’t stop producing the old one until the price got below that cost.”

VIDEO: Brawl over Kenya security bill

BBC - Thu, 2014-12-18 10:49
Kenyan lawmakers traded blows and the deputy speaker had water thrown on her during a chaotic parliamentary session which approved changes to a tough new security bill.

PM 'did not leave NI for rave party'

BBC - Thu, 2014-12-18 10:36
Downing Street rejects suggestions that the prime minister left talks in Northern Ireland early last week so he could attend his wife's "Ibiza-style rave" birthday party.

White House Says Response To Sony Attack Will Be 'Proportional'

NPR News - Thu, 2014-12-18 10:27

The White House won't confirm North Korea is behind the attack, citing an ongoing investigation. Nevertheless, it is mulling over its options.

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VIDEO: Mourning and rage after school attack

BBC - Thu, 2014-12-18 10:26
Pupils who survived a massacre at their school in Pakistan have been paying tribute to those who died.

NIH Allows Restart Of MERS Research That Had Been Questioned

NPR News - Thu, 2014-12-18 10:20

The National Institutes of Health has approved requests for waivers from a moratorium on experiments that aim to make the virus that causes Middle East respiratory syndrome more infectious in mice.

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Sony hack is 'US security issue'

BBC - Thu, 2014-12-18 10:09
The cyber attack on Sony that forced the cancellation of a major film release is being viewed as a national security matter, the White House says.

The casualties of Russia's decline

BBC - Thu, 2014-12-18 10:03
The knock-on effects of Russia's economic troubles

VIDEO: 'Exhausted workforce' in Apple factory

BBC - Thu, 2014-12-18 10:02
A BBC investigation for Panorama has exposed poor working conditions in factories making Apple products in China.

Is Putin right?

BBC - Thu, 2014-12-18 09:56
Most analysts say Russia can afford its debt repayments for the next couple of years, but Mr Putin will have to stem the tide of money leaving the country.

Cost of MPs' advisers hits £8.4m

BBC - Thu, 2014-12-18 09:49
The cost of ministers' special advisers increases more than £1m in the past year, taking it to £8.4m, official figures show.

6 Things You Should Know About Cuban Cigars

NPR News - Thu, 2014-12-18 09:42

If you plan on traveling to Cuba to pick up some cigars, here are some facts you should know.

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VIDEO: Why am I the only gay pro footballer?

BBC - Thu, 2014-12-18 09:39
LA Galaxy winger Robbie Rogers shares his experience of coming out with two gay Sunday League footballers.

Boost for mobile phone coverage

BBC - Thu, 2014-12-18 09:37
Mobile phone coverage in Wales is set to be boosted from 63% to 83% as part of a £5bn UK-wide deal with the four mobile networks.

UN seeks North Korea ICC charges

BBC - Thu, 2014-12-18 09:20
The UN General Assembly calls for North Korea to be referred to the International Criminal Court to face charges of crimes against humanity.

A comedy of terrors - in four acts

BBC - Thu, 2014-12-18 09:18
The story of how a Christmas Day movie was forced off movie screens is a comedy and a tragedy - with a larger question not yet answered.

Infection investigated after two die

BBC - Thu, 2014-12-18 09:18
Infection control experts start an investigation into a cluster of C. difficile cases at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.

Boko Haram Suspected In New Round Of Killing And Kidnapping

NPR News - Thu, 2014-12-18 09:15

The latest killing and kidnapping occurred just 20 miles from where the Islamist extremist group kidnapped nearly 300 schoolgirls in April.

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