Fuel Costs Are Expected To Rise In The Upcoming Months

In the previous few months, travelers were enjoying low priced gasoline. However, the gas prices are showing a steady increase all across the nation. The refineries prepare for summer months by replacing winter blend by summer blend. The prices of fuel in the summer months are usually higher and the oil prices across the globe signal that the prices will go much higher than the previous year. The refinery maintenance cost and operational cost to produce summer gasoline has resulted in the price increase.

On Monday, the national average was $2.31 which is much higher than the $2.29 dollar a week ago. In the same time last year, gasoline prices were $1.81. The sharp rise in the cost of fuel is attributed to the increased oil prices all over the world. Gas price was steady during the month of February and experts suggest that the rate will go much higher in the upcoming months.

The price of premium gasoline went to $10.53 from $10.44. Regular gasoline which was sold at $9.60 is now sold at $9.62. The price of diesel also went up to $9.07 from $9.06 per gallon. The acquisition cost of fuel called as Cost of Insurance and Freight (CIF) has increased recently and this has led to the overall increase in the gas prices. Crude petroleum in the world market is enjoying steady price gain and this has directly reflected in the price increase of different petroleum derivatives. As a result, the fuel cost has increased.

While the gasoline prices have increased in all states, Alabama still sells cheap gasoline for $2.06 per gallon. Similarly, South Caroline also sells gas for $2.04 per gallon at various pumps. Chattanooga offers the best fuel price in the entire nation as the average is 29 cents less than the national average. On the Lee Highway, several service stations were selling the fuel well below the $2 price mark. Gas prices in Ohio have gone up matching the increase in the national average. Some of the gas stations were selling fuel for as much as $3 per gallon. The highest price was recorded in Hawaii where gasoline costs $3.09 per gallon. California and Washington are also selling fuel for $2.99 and $2.78 respectively.

The national average has gained 50 cents in recent months. More than 93% of the gas stations now charge more than $2 per gallon of fuel. This price is at least 13% higher than last year. The volatility in gas prices is expected to increase when there is refinery outrage. The production loss in unexpected circumstances can’t be compensated by the other refineries that minimize production due to maintenance activities.

The summer gas is inherently expensive as it is much cleaner. It allows the fuel to continue to be stable while burning at a higher temperature. The cars can operate at increased power in summer as the summer blend boosts the energy by 1.7%. However, this increase in gas mileage won’t be sufficient to offset the price increase of the fuel.


Private Sector Of Eurozone Grow To Reach 6-Year High

The introduction and result of Brexit vote had a serious impact on the economy of the Eurozone. The United Kingdom leaving the European Union will have a lasting impact on both the UK and Europe. Industry experts are happy to know that the Eurozone was more resilient than what they thought. In a surprising result, the private sector business of Eurozone showed significant growth. In fact, the growth was rapid that it reached a 6-year high in February. The surveys showed a significant boost in the private sector growth which will aid the development of Eurozone economy.

In another news, the inflation rate of Eurozone is not satisfactory. In fact, the inflation has gone further than the target set by the European Central Bank. This makes it difficult for the policymakers to introduce changes to the monetary policy. While the inflation rise demands a change in the monetary policy, the economic growth suggests that it must be left as such.

Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) is usually considered as a growth indicator and it increased from 54.4 to 56.0 in just one month. The optimistic fact about this growth is that the index remained flat since 2011 and the growth was not anticipated. The economic data from Germany showed a sharp decline in retail sales in January. However, the PMI index showed that the private sector market in the large European economies such as France, Germany, Spain, and Italy rose sharply in the past few weeks.

In the current situation, any growth in the European economy is welcome by the market watchers. Even though the economic growth can’t be considered rapidly increasing, it shows that the economy is significantly solid. Apart from the Brexit referendum, the European trade market is under threat due to the presidential challenges in France. Marine Le Pon, the anti-right leader was hoping to become the next president of France and it could influence the economy. However, the investors are not worried about it right now as they understood the resilience of the economy.

If the current pace of economic growth continues, the Eurozone economy could register 0.6% gain in the first quarter. This is far greater than the expectation of 0.4%. However, this prediction is based on the hope that the European elections don’t bring about drastic new changes. The economic growth experienced right now is due to the growth in all the 4 major European economies. The industry experts are happy because this growth is sustainable in the upcoming months.

The optimistic views on the economy have helped the European companies to grow independently. Several companies have raised their prices and as a result, the job market has also improved. The PMI employment index increased from 53.4 to 53.8, reaching its highest value since 2007.

Euro however lost against the dollar as the dollar was rallying high. This didn’t hinder the growth of the manufacturers who used the opportunity to benefit from the exports. As the dollar has started to remain steady, currency strategists predict the Euro to rise again.


DOW Jones Reaches 21000 For The First Time Showing Economic Boost

The stock market emerged as a clear winner after the election of Donald Trump as the President of the USA. Despite the ambiguity regarding Trump’s plans for economic growth, the stock market has been gaining steadily. Trump’s proposal for tax reforms, deregulation, and infrastructure spending has pushed DOW Jones index to a new high. Just a few weeks ago, DOW Jones reached its most coveted 20,000 mark. Following Trump’s speech addressing the Congress, the DOW Jones index has reached an all-time high of 21,000.

The rise to 21,000 from 20000 is rapid and it is the biggest increase since 1999. For the past 12 sessions, the DOW index has been setting record highs as it continued to climb. The index increased by 1.46% in a single day, registering its largest daily gain for this year. The index has been enjoying an upward trend continuously for the past 4 months, gaining 15% in this time period. February proved to be the best month for DOW index in five years.

Apple is the best performer gaining 14.7% due to the rise in the index points. It contributed to 122.65 points. Goldman Sachs and Boeing also contributed more than 100 points, pushing Dow index to an all-time high. In total, Goldman contributed 167 points in the past one year. Chevron, Exxon Mobil, and Intel were the worst performers during this time.

The deregulation proposal has increased the optimistic views of investors. They are excited about tax reforms and deregulation. Among the various stocks, the stocks of financial firms gained the most. American Express and JP Morgan Chase emerged as clear winners gaining more than 2.3%.

Many experts are of the opinion that the rally is propelled by the speech made by Donald Trump which had a positive tone. Even though he didn’t elaborate on the specifics of the deregulation and tax reform policies, the stock market picked up as a result of the promising speech. The market was initially fearful that the President may not be able to pass the agenda. However, the Presidential address to the congress made it clear that Trump is on track with his plans to execute the promises of his campaign.

The S&P 500 index also gained 0.87% and Nasdaq increased by 0.83%. Economists agree that implementing these plans will take a long time. However, knowing that the President is keen on drafting plans to execute his promises has encouraged the investors. Trump strongly condemns taking jobs away from the United States and his policies focus on improving the domestic economy.

It is also expected that the Fed will increase the interest rates in March. Even though it will make it expensive to borrow money to buy more stocks, the investors are happy about the proposed rate hike. The actual rate of interest is not relevant because a rate increase signals the confidence of the Federal Reserve in the economic expansion. When the Fed is confident that the economy will get past the stagnation, the investors will be hopeful too.


Federal Reserve Planning To Introduce Another Rate Hike In March

The increase in interest rates by the Federal Reserve is one of the economic events that will affect the entire world. In the past 10 years, the Fed has increased the rate just twice. Fed has announced some time back that the interest rates will be increased thrice this year. During the start of the year, the Fed was unsure of Trump’s economic policies and the Chair wanted to wait before increasing the interest rates. Now, the Fed is in a hurry to introduce a rate hike in March as proposed earlier.

The market was expecting that the Fed Chair Janet Yellen will give a more definitive plan on rate hikes. True to the expectation, the Chair commented that a rate hike in the mid-March is more appropriate considering the current economic situation. The central bank is all set to increase the interest rate. Her speech is made even more interesting as she pointed out the more rate hikes will be introduced than what it was actually planned.

Janet Yellen gave a speech to The Executives Club in Chicago. She suggested that the central bank is moving at a slower pace, hesitating to increase the rates when the economy needs it the most. Yellen commented that it is imperative to cut down the support now because increasing the interest rates rapidly in the future could disrupt the economy and even push it into recession.

The Federal Reserve will meet on 14-15th of March to discuss the economic policies. Yellen’s speech clearly indicated that the meeting will result in the Fed increasing the interest rate which is appropriate for the economy. The rate hike will not only help the economy to proceed on the current track but also provide a boost necessary to propel it forward. During her speech, she noted that this will not be the last hike for this year. Investors hope that there will be at least one interest rate hike which keeps them optimistic.

The term Jenet Yellen uses to describe the monetary policy is closely watched by the experts. During her speech on Jan 19th, she called the monetary policy modestly accommodative which indicated that Fed will slow down on increasing interest rates. However, in her current speech, she called it moderately accommodative which means that the economy is proceeding in the direction the Fed wants it t.

There is a subtle difference in the way the Fed speech was delivered on Friday. It increased the optimistic views of the investors because multiple rate hikes in this year will help the economy to advance further. The Fed is prepared to work with the economic plans of the POTUS and introduce rate hikes at the appropriate time. The Payrolls are also increasing and Fed hopes that it will be sustainable.

While answering the questions, Yellen commented that the decision made by the Fed is not influenced by the expansionary fiscal policy. Market experts hope that the new move by the Fed will result in a liberal budget policy as the economic risks show a decline.


Trump’s Presidential Congress Speech Offers No Additional Details

The President Donald Trump officially gave his speech addressing both the houses of the Congress. It was one of the most anticipated speeches as the entire congress was waiting for Trump to expose his plans for the upcoming year. The Republicans were nervous that there would be embarrassing moments. The Democrats were waiting to bring him down when he proposes a controversial plan. Trump emerged to become a political leader by taking a neutral stance and ending the speech without hurting both the parties. At the end, the Congress didn’t receive any clarification it has been waiting for.

After the Presidential inauguration, Trump signed several executive orders and promised to make great changes to the economic policies. It was expected that he will shed additional light on the details of the policies. The Republicans were slightly disappointed that Trump didn’t give policy specifics and he didn’t propose any plan on paying for the new policies. The executive branch of the White House is keen on developing policy details necessary for legislation.

The White House team was optimistic about the speech, claiming that it is visionary. On Wednesday, several lawmakers were invited to discuss policy details regarding healthcare. Trump was careful not to be strong on endorsing any aspect of the policy. He ensured that no part of the congress is alienated. He needs the support of the members from both the parties if he wants anything substantial to be done during his presidency.

Trump’s speech was interpreted differently by the Republicans. The House leaders want Trump to replace Obamacare with refundable tax credits. Paul Ryan was enthusiastic about it, but the other conservatives noted that Trump didn’t commit to the plan. Republicans want to scale back Obamacare and hoped that Trump takes a cue from the proposal. Trump pleased the lawmakers when he said that he will take all necessary steps to help people already on Medicaid.

Kevin Brady, the Tax chairman was pleased when he heard Trump saying that the US unfairly allows imports without charging anything. House Speaker Paul Ryan wants to impose import taxes and bring about border adjustability. Trump hinted at making changes to the tax package deliberately avoiding border tax issue. While taking about changing the education system, immigration laws and paid family leave, Trump remained as vague as possible without divulging the details.

Democrats were enthusiastic about Trump’s proposal for a trillion dollar infrastructure project while the Republicans don’t want him to undertake big projects. While Trump has proposed a $54 billion addition to the budget, he didn’t clarify how he is going to come up with the money. The Republicans want more money for military budget and they don’t want to derail federal agencies actions either. It was expected that Trump would reveal his plans on budget cuts to promote military spending.

Trump succeeded in making a presidential speech without offending anyone. However, the Congress is left with even more questions because no policy specifics were exposed. Nevertheless, both the parties are willing to wait and watch the executive plan from the White House.


Google Chromebook Receiving Android Apps Soon


Many Chromebook owners have been enjoying their Android Apps via Google Play even though there are so many that have not. So many not receiving them that many Chromebook owners were continuing to believe or follow the information. I myself included.

The initial Chromebook slotted to have access to the apps were the Chromebook Pixel 2 (2015), Acer Chromebook R11, and Asus Chromebook Flip. I myself am the owner of the Acer Chromebook R11.

In June it was announced that they were being offered with the Chrome OS beta 53.0.2785.36 update. With the exception of the Asus Chromebook Flip that offer was for the use to occur on a developer channel rather than the stable portion of the operating system.

Finally, in August, Chrome OS beta 53.0.2785.36 came through. The Chromebooks not on the app listing received this download first, by as long as two to three weeks. My household has multiple Chromebooks that are different makes and models.

“Happily, I can report that the apps have been on my Acer Chromebook R11 and working, in most cases, for a short while. There are days in which those apps downloaded may open and then close just as quickly, not open at all, or in some cases even give corrupt messages upon download. This was in the realm of what we had expected, however.”

Any time a program, game, device, or other electronic component is in a Beta Mode one should not expect perfection, ie the reasoning Beta Mode exists.

I myself might be slightly more aware of this as I am a frequent Beta Tester for various apps and programs. As a Beta Tester you are “playing the game or app” knowing there are issues or updates that need to be verified. Sometimes you are told in advance areas in which to look for issues but most often you are reporting the issues as they are initially found.

“It is highly enjoyable to be on the ground floor working on apps and games before they are released to the public for the first time. From Beta Testing to Beta Testing, I would often wonder if there was any chance the next one would be one of the huge cutting edge apps that would go down in history.”

The cutting edge apps that had been being thought of as in the past were those such as FaceBook, Google Chrome, and Twitter, who were both Beta at one time.

More often than not, however, when those that Beta Test or other aspects of work on apps, programs, games, and the like, that have yet to drop are not allowed to discuss the job. With almost all of the larger companies those that work before a drop must sign a NDA (Non Disclosure Affidavit) before they are allowed access of any kind. Thus the reason, so much new information is not leaked.

Google continues to “do their thing” behind the scenes in hopes of getting the Google Play Store to even more of the Chromebook line as those that own the following can attest.

  • Acer Chromebook 14
  • Acer Chromebook 15
  • Samsung Chromebook 3
  • Toshiba Chromebook 2

Google promises there are more to come and unlike other companies making headlines these days, Google is coming through for their users just as they promise. So all you Chromebook owners out there, hang tight because I can tell you it is worth the wait!


US School Systems Receive Failing Grades for Economic and Financial Literacy Training

Bad School Exam Grade

According to the latest news from CNBC, the number of states that require high school students to complete an economics course has dropped in the past two years. Also, mandates for personal finance education in high school remains stagnant.

Research released to CNBC showed that 20 states presently require that high school students take an economic course. Currently, 16 states require standardized type tests of economic concepts. The Council for Economic Education also discovered that 17 states require high school students take a course in personal finance.

Nan Morrison, who is CEO and President of the Council for Economic Education registered her disappointment in the survey results. She said, “We were disappointed to see that no additional states require courses in personal finance to be taught.”

Over the past two years, Illinois and New York added new standards that include the teaching of personal finance, and Washington has passed legislation that calls for personal finance be taught. However, the state of Wyoming dropped the requirement.

Research shows that financial education varies broadly by state. Some states require that standards be followed as early as primary school while others recommend that high school classes focus on offering personal finance or economics in their curriculum. Still, other states require students to pass financially based courses in order to graduate.

Not surprising – information released this month shows that high school students that have to take personal finance courses have a lower debt delinquency and better credit scores. The information showed notable improvement for the credit outcomes of young people, age 18 to 22 years old in three states in particular – Georgia, Texas, and Idaho. In these states, financial education mandates are deemed “rigorous” by the Council for Economic Education.

In fact, Idaho requires students to finish at least six months of a standardized course in personal finance while Texas includes student testing. Georgia requires that their teachers be trained in personal finance as well.


Free College Tuition May be in Your Future


Hillary Clinton proposes free college tuition in the future as her platform and plan as it seems to have recently expanded and had added methods formerly first heard of with the former plan of Bernie Sanders.

Previously Clinton had the stance, while Sander’s remained in the race, that if something was offered for free the fine print would need to be closely read.

Clinton’s fine print it seems is much the same as that of Sanders’ she had rebuffed. The primary difference is as follows.

Free college would not be for everyone, under the Hillary Clinton plan. It would apply, however, to the low and middle income based families and would only include those colleges that are in-state and public based.

Those considered to be of low or middle income are reported as the families of four with whom have an income of $85,000 or less at the time of implementation.

Within a four year span, the $85,000 amount would raise in increments until it reaches $125,000 per family of four.

Those families that exceed the above monetary figures would still pay for college as they normally would, unlike the plan initially heard from Barry Sanders.

Both plans only address tuition. Tuition does not include room and board, books, and many other aspects of college based expenses.

These plans being spoken of by the presidential hopefuls also include different means at which to have some student loan forgiveness available as well.

Some colleges have already been helping students in such a fashion. Two such schools include Stanford and Princeton.

At Princeton, those students that have families making under $125,000 pay nothing at all for tuition. They also receive grants to help offset so of the total cost for room and board.

Stanford also uses the family income number of $125,000 and those students pay zero tuition in total as it is covered by Stanford.

Community colleges in both Oregon and Tennessee also offer similar programs or tuition assistance plans.

The Tennessee program is funded thanks to the state lottery revenue. It allocates approximately $1,165 per student annually.

Oregon although similar operates a bit differently in that the state has what is referred to as “last dollar” scholarships. These scholarships are available only after the student has used up any other scholarships and federal grants that they might qualify.

Another location that has a program in place is located in the city of Detroit. Here free community college funds are from private donations as well as prefigured property tax funds.

Then there is also Louisiana. Although not called anything similar it currently has roughly 47,000 residents that are obtaining a community college education based academically to those who meet set standards that have been in place. This program is currently in jeopardy as there seems to be a financial shortfall that may soon eliminate the program.


Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Back On Earth Following Hot and Explosive Times


Samsung has once again launched the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 in a global fashion. Retailers according to Samsung should have all received cases of the phablets at this time.

As you may recall the sales of the Note 7 were halted when models had batteries that caught on fire, or worse, came into light back on September 2. A globally based recall was placed into motion at that time.

Samsung stated on October 3 that the Note 7 phablets have been reissued with different batteries and they hope with no sticking styluses as well.

South Korea was the first to get the opportunity to experience this new reissue and relaunch.

What is unclear is whether or not the reasoning behind the battery issues has been discovered or how it was able to become fixed this quickly.

Reports from China have indicated that the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 replacement phone continued to overheat and to also catch fire but little else is being said around this China-based issue.

If you happen to still have one of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7’s with the bad battery no need to fret.

The Samsung exchange program is continuing. However, those at Samsung recommend that you act soon.

At last notice Samsung reports that only 25% of the affected fire erupting models have been turned in during the voluntary recall that remains actively in place.

Even though 75% of the bad models of Samsung Galaxy Note 7’s remain in the hands of consumers at this time there is already some concern regarding exactly what those who are attempting to exchange potentially harmful phablets.

To help reassure consumers that they are truly receiving one of the new “safer” models Samsung has launched an IMEI checker online.

The replacement models are also said to have a battery indicator, green in color, that is to be displayed on the phablet’s screen as well as on the status bar.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 lands back on Earth at a T-Mobile near you starting this Wednesday, October 5.

No need to worry these are not the same Samsung models that have the exploding batteries as before but rather a new Samsung shipment that is said to have included a different battery.

In fact, for those that hand delivery their bad Samsung Galaxy Note 7 to their nearby T-Mobile location will receive a $25 discount on their next billing cycles bill.

If the location of choice for your return does not have one of the new safer Samsung Galaxy Note 7’s on hand you will receive a loaner phone to use until one is made available as well as the $25 discount.

Loaner phone models have not been mentioned by name, make, or variety nor disclosed in another other manner at this time.

Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T have all also resumed sales of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 online with not one of them noting any delay with ordering at this time.