Consumer news: Least expensive Labor Day gas prices since 2010; Uber expands to more cities; Abercrombie & Fitch ditches logo on clothing
Least expensive Labor Day gas prices since 2010, according to forecast
(ABC News) - Americans behind the wheel may get some relief in their wallet this weekend, as Labor Day gas prices are forecasted to reach the lowest holiday levels since 2010, according to a study by GasBuddy.
The price drop is part of a decrease that began in July and will likely continue through the autumn, according to the gas price tracking company.
The average national gas price is $3.45 for a gallon of regular, according to the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration's weekly report released on Monday. That price is about two cents cheaper from last week, and nearly 10 cents cheaper from a year ago.
Regions that source gasoline from the U.S. Gulf Coast, which GasBuddy says accounts for more than 51 percent of American refinery capacity, will likely see the cheapest gas prices.
However, there are some areas that will still have to pay average or higher prices. States around the Great Lakes may get the short end of the stick due to price adjustments at their regional refineries.
Geopolitical tensions such as violence in the Middle East and uncertainty about long-term Russian energy supplies have not altered the oil supply yet, according to GasBuddy analyst Patrick DeHaan.
It helps that refineries have operated with few problems this summer and rising domestic oil production is putting downward pressure on oil and thus gasoline prices, he said.
The lack of major hurricanes, which generally propel oil prices higher, is another factor he said.
"The good news for motorists doesn’t end there: the conclusion of Labor Day weekend also brings summer driving season to a close, and demand drops off, easing prices," DeHaan said.
Much of the U.S. also will switch back to winter gasoline in mid-September, which should also put downward pressure on pump prices as winter gasoline is cheaper to produce, he said.
Parts of the country may already notice isolated instances of prices as low as $2.99 a gallon, he said, such as Tennessee, South Carolina, Alabama and Mississippi.
DeHaan predicts that the national average this fall will drop to around $3.30 to $3.39 a gallon, with a small chance of even $3.20 a gallon, meaning some states will see averages under $2.99 a gallon.
Uber hires former Obama adviser Plouffe, expands to more cities
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama's former campaign manager and White House senior adviser David Plouffe is joining car service startup Uber as it seeks to expand in cities worldwide.
Plouffe will serve as Uber's senior vice president of policy and strategy, bringing a campaign mindset to a company that has faced resistance in some U.S. cities from the taxi industry and regulators.
"Uber has been in a campaign but hasn't been running one. That is changing now," Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said in a blog post announcing Plouffe's hiring.
Uber uses a mobile application to connect riders with vehicles for hire. The San Francisco-based company has run into opposition from taxi industry groups which accuse it of lowering prices to knock out competition.
Plouffe was the architect of Obama's 2008 presidential campaign and a top White House adviser as Obama won re-election.
He is expected to remain on the board of directors for the Barack Obama Foundation, which is selecting a location for Obama's presidential library, but will depart the advisory board for Organizing for Action, a group advocating for Obama's policies.
Abercrombie & Fitch ditches logo on clothing
NEW YORK (CNN) - Abercrombie & Fitch might have been cool and sexy 10 years ago, but today it's struggling to stay in style.
The teen apparel maker known for its racy ads continues to bleed sales, especially at its struggling Hollister brand. While Abercrombie (ANF) did turn a profit in the second quarter, that was fueled largely by the fact it's shutting down stores left and right to cut costs.
"The problem is they are still in the midst of a product transition, and the U.S. retail environment is very promotional," said Betty Chen, who covers A&F at Mizuho Securities.
The A&F logo has gone so out of fashion in North America that the company plans to phase out sweatpants, t-shirts and other merchandise that prominently feature it.
It's not just A&F hoodies and polo shirts that are on sale. A&F shares tumbled 6% on Thursday as the retailer failed to meet the lofty expectations investors had that drove a rally in the stock earlier this year.
Challenging environment: A&F disclosed a 6% decline in second-quarter revenue. That's worse than analysts had been fearing.
Abercrombie CEO Mike Jeffries acknowledged the difficulties, describing "a continued challenging environment."
Sales at the company's namesake brand dipped 1%, while abercrombie kids sales slid 6% and Hollister sales dropped 10%.