Premium gasoline? You’re wasting money unless you vehicle requires it, AAA says.

Is premium worth the price? AAA tested vehicles to find out.

Do you buy premium gasoline when you don’t need to? Some motorists think it might help their vehicle’s performance, even if it isn’t required.

AAA released new research Tuesday that shows paying-up for premium –91/93 octane vs. 87 octane for regular — may not be worth the extra money, unless your vehicle absolutely requires it.

“Sometimes consumers think they are giving their vehicle a boost by buying a higher-grade gasoline than what is required,” said AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins. “AAA already proved that there is no benefit to using premium gasoline in cars designed to run on regular. Now we can confidently say that unless the vehicle manufacturer requires it, or you drive in demanding conditions, motorists who buy premium are wasting money at the pump.”

Some motorists may consider the additional torque and horsepower to be worth the extra money. Individual drivers – particularly if their driving style can be described as “spirited” – may find an improvement in vehicle driving performance for off-the-line acceleration, highway passing, hill-climbing when loaded with luggage, or towing a trailer; and may determine that their personal driving benefits from the use of premium gasoline.

While some vehicles are designed to run on premium octane gasoline, others simply recommend it. So AAA set out to determine the effects of using premium gasoline in vehicles that recommend it, and whether the benefits in fuel economy and horsepower are worth the higher price at the pump.

The Price of Premium

  • On average, this year in Florida, there has been a 20-25 percent  (57 cent) price gap between regular and premium octane fuel ($2.37 vs. $2.94)
  • On Monday, the state average price for a gallon of regular was $2.41 vs. $3.00 for premium. (Click here to view today’s averages)
  • In Palm Beach County on Tuesday, regular averaged $2.53, while premium was $3.15.

Putting Premium Fuel to the Test

  • AAA tested a variety of vehicles that recommend, but do not require the use of premium (91 octane or higher) gasoline.
  • A series of tests were conducted to determine whether the use of premium gasoline resulted in:
    • Improved fuel economy
    • Increased performance (horsepower)
  • Although AAA has already proven that these vehicles are unlikely to see any benefit from using premium gasoline during typical city or highway driving, a combination of laboratory and on-road tests were performed to simulate extreme driving scenarios such as:
    • Towing
    • Hauling cargo
    • Aggressive acceleration
  • Test vehicles included: Ford Mustang GT, Jeep Renegade, Mazda MX-5 Miata, Cadillac Escalade ESV, Audi A-3, and the Ford F150 XLT
  • Key Findings
  • Most vehicles showed a modest improvement in fuel economy and performance.
  • Fuel economy for test vehicles averaged a 2.7 percent improvement. Individual vehicle test result averages ranged from a decrease of 1 percent (2016 Audi A3) to an improvement of 7.1 percent (2016 Cadillac Escalade).
  • Horsepower for test vehicles averaged an increase of 1.4 percent. Individual vehicle test result averages ranged from a decrease of 0.3 percent (2016 Jeep Renegade) to an improvement of 3.2 percent (2017 Ford Mustang).
  • Premium gasoline costs 20-25% more than regular.
  • The fuel economy improvements recorded during AAA testing do not offset the potential extra cost to purchase premium gasoline.
  • Click here to read the full report

 

Premium Gas – Recommended vs. Required

  • Last year, nearly 1.5 million new vehicles sold in the United States recommend, but do not require, premium gasoline.
  • The trend toward recommending or requiring higher-octane fuel continues to rise as manufacturers work toward meeting stringent CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards.

“By offering a choice, automakers can market modest gains in fuel economy and performance, and car buyers are less likely to hesitate about buying the vehicle, because their operating costs will be lower,” Jenkins continued. “Unfortunately, by only recommending premium fuel, the engine cannot be calibrated to take full advantage of the higher octane, because it also needs to perform adequately with lower octane (regular) fuel. Therefore, the fuel economy and performance gains are only minor.”

AAA Recommends

  • Drivers of vehicles that require premium gasoline should always use it.
  • For those vehicles that do not recommend or require premium gasoline, AAA suggests drivers opt for the lower priced, regular fuel.
  • Any vehicle that makes a “pinging” or “knocking” sound while using regular gasoline should be evaluated by a AAA Approved Auto Repair Facility and likely switched to a higher-octane fuel.
  • AAA urges drivers who use premium gasoline to shop around for the best price, as it could vary dramatically between gas stations in any given city.
  • The AAA Mobile app, is a free tool to help drivers identify the least expensive premium gasoline near them.

Higher Octane Does Not Mean “Higher Quality”

  • AAA found no benefit to using premium gasoline in a vehicle that only requires regular-grade fuel.
  • In a study released last year, AAA found that consumers wasted nearly $2.1 billion dollars fueling vehicles with higher-octane gasoline.
  • Drivers seeking a higher quality fuel for their vehicle should consider using one that meets Top Tier standards. Previous AAA research found it to keep engines up to 19 times cleaner.
  • The study noted the difference in fuel quality was dependent on the various detergent packages in gasoline, which vary by retail brand.

Florida citrus crop estimate shrinks again post-Irma

Florida citrus groves were severely damaged by Hurricane Irma. Provided.

Hurricane Irma continues to haunt Florida farmers as the U.S. Department of Agriculture Tuesday once again decreased its monthly estimate of the state’s 2017-2018 citrus crop.

The USDA now says Florida will produce 46 million boxes of oranges, down 4 million boxes from November and 8 million boxes from October. The USDA makes its first estimate in October of each year and revises it monthly until the end of the season in July.  For more information go to https://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Florida/Publications/Citrus/

   “This is exactly what we thought would happen as the true damage begins to rear its ugly head in the groves across Florida,” said Michael W. Sparks, executive VP/CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual, the state’s largest grower organization. “Unfortunately the situation is going to get worse before it gets better; we think the actual size of the 2017-2018 crop will not be known until the season is over and all the fruit is picked.”

“Clearly, this lower estimate provides stark evidence that Congress needs to pass a citrus relief package so we can start to rebuild and put the industry on a path to sustainability while saving the communities that rely on citrus,” Sparks said.

On September 10  Hurricane Irma moved through the center of the state pounding Florida’s major citrus producing regions with up to 110 mph winds and 15 inches of rain. The hurricane blew fruit off the tree and caused widespread tree damage. A FCM survey of growers conducted post Irma pegged total fruit loss at almost 60 percent with some reports of 100 percent fruit loss in the Southwest part of the state.

Tuesday’s forecast represents a decline of more than 80 percent since the peak of citrus production at 244 million boxes during the 1997-98 season.

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said Tuesday, “While much of the state has recovered and moved on from Hurricane Irma, Florida’s citrus growers continue to grapple with the unprecedented damage, which is still unfolding in many groves. Florida’s growers need support and they need it as quickly as possible. I will continue to work with Governor Scott and leaders in Washington to get Florida’s growers the support and relief they need to rebuild.”

After Irma, Putnam announced that Florida citrus sustained more than $760 million in damages.

For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit FreshFromFlorida.com.

 

 

Get rid of unwanted apps to protect yourself, FTC advises

The FTC says smart phone users should delete any apps they are not using. Provided.

Not using an app? Get rid of it, the Federal Trade Commission advises.

Using your social media account to log into an app or website can be easier than creating a new user name and password. But, after a while, you can collect more apps and become registered on more websites than you really use. This can leave you open to cyberattacks, phishing, and scams, the FTC said.

When you use social media accounts to sign up for apps or websites, you may give the app or website permission to do things on your behalf, like post to your social media page. You’re also possibly saying it’s OK to access information like your name, birthdate, location, contacts, and even your messages. Over time, you may even forget which apps or sites have these permissions.

Here’s how  to help ensure you’re not granting permissions to sites and apps you no longer want to have this access:

  1. Ask yourself: “Why do they need this info?” When signing up for an app or website, pay attention to what permissions it’s asking for. If you’re not comfortable allowing access, select “deny “or “disagree” when you see the message asking for permissions. This typically stops the registration process.
  2. Purge your permissions list. Go to the settings on your social media site and follow the instructions that lead you to the list of sites and apps to which you’re granting access. Follow the instructions that tell you how to remove those apps or sites, click on one at a time and select the option that allows you to remove it.
  3. Make it a habit. Set a reminder on your calendar for at least every few months to check your permissions.

The FTC has more information for you about online security and privacy.

Guard against porch pirates stealing packages from doorsteps

The joys of online shopping can turn into disappointment if your packages are stolen off your doorstep.

Known as “porch pirates,” these thieves search neighborhoods for packages and even follow delivery trucks hoping to score a big haul. It’s a growing problem as Americans are doing about half their shopping online this year.

An estimated 25.9 million Americans have had a holiday package stolen from their front porch or doorstep, up from 23.5 million porch thefts reported in 2015, according to  a recent   study conducted by insuranceQuotes.com

While they’re on your property, some also steal or vandalize your cherished decorations.

Laura Adams, senior insurance analyst at InsuranceQuotes.com said, “You could have packages delivered to your office or to a local locker, or use motion detectors, security systems and light timers to fend off thieves.”

Over the past several years, security firms, delivery services and online retailers have tried to find both low- and high-tech solutions for this problem.

For instance, Landport is a secured delivery drop box homeowners can install on their porch or stoop. The box is bolted to its location and features an electronic keypad on which a delivery driver enters a unique access code to open the lid. Prices start at $499.

“Unfortunately, porch theft is a difficult problem to address,” says Monica Eaton-Cardone, co-founder and COO of the risk-mitigation firm Chargebacks911. “While there are organized groups who engage in this practice, it is most often a crime of convenience; the thief sees a package sitting unattended, and simply grabs it.”

Delivery confirmation can help by serving as evidence for a transactions dispute, Cardone says, but it doesn’t prevent the root of the issue: the theft.

On the high-tech end of porch theft solutions is the recently unveiled Amazon Key. When a delivery arrives at your house and you’re not home, the courier scans a barcode that sends a request to Amazon’s cloud.

If it’s approved Amazon remotely unlocks your door and starts recording video through the online retailer’s Cloud Cam. The delivery is left inside the house, the courier relocks the door, and the customer gets an instant notification that the delivery was just made (accompanied by a short video showing the successful drop off).

The service costs $249.99 and includes the smart lock, camera and installation.

Since its release earlier this year the Amazon Key has generated mixed reactions from analysts. Some herald it as a novel approach to solving the porch pirate predicament, while others are skeptical that consumers will be comfortable allowing a stranger access to the home — regardless of the fact that it’s being recorded.

“I think this is an overly ambitious idea that will not catch on initially, but it has promise,” says attorney Marc Lamber, who specializes in the intersection of cutting-edge technology and personal injury law. “Right now I think privacy and safety concerns will outweigh the benefits of preventing porch theft. The idea of giving a ‘key’ to your house to a random delivery driver will not sit well with most people.”

Lamber says consumers are right to be a little skeptical about the Amazon Key at this stage, adding that he can foresee scenarios where the camera does not work and the driver gains entry to your home without you being able to observe what they’re doing. Or perhaps the smart lock does not relock correctly or has a buggy code that grants entry permission to more than one person.

 How can you protect your packages?  Amazon, UPS and FedEx offer several options.

•  Amazon Locker holds Amazon packages for customers. We found only two in Palm Beach County — at Whole Foods in Palm Beach Gardens and Whole Foods in Boca Raton.

• The Amazon Key program , as described above,  for Prime members, allows delivery people to use a key, or key code, for homes with digital locks and alarms so they can enter to deliver packages.

• There’s also the Original Porch Pirate Bag.   The delivery person places the package in the open bag,  seals and locks it. The 30-inch by 40-inch  bag sells for $29.95 on Amazon. It is attached to a post, door handle or something similar near the front door.

•The $89 Package Guard is a Wi-Fi-connected sensor station for package drops. The device sends you an alert when the package arrives. You can create an invite-only group of friends and family who can pick up the package if you aren’t home.

Package Guard sounds a 100-decibel alarm if the device is moved or a package is stolen. It can handle multiple packages from 16 ounces to 100 pounds.

• The FedEx and UPS apps also might be helpful. They allow users to reschedule and even re-route packages in real time. The UPS My Choice feature and FedEx Delivery Manager allow customers to make sure someone is home when the package arrives, or even direct packages to certain locations, such as their workplace or a neighbor’s house.

•Another option is the  U.S. Postal Service’s secure delivery services such as those requiring a recipient’s signature at the time of delivery or registered mail which documents each step in the package’s journey.

 

States wary on Trump talk of selling health plans across state lines

President Donald Trump’s announced plans to sign an executive order letting consumers buy health policies across state lines sent ripples through the country Thursday, and an official with Florida’s biggest insurer took note of the likely impact in West Palm Beach.

President Donald Trump (Getty images).

“We believe states are going to have a far bigger issue than insurance companies when it comes to this concept of selling across state lines, as each individual state has its own insurance commission that has a job to protect its own consumers,” said Gordon F. Bailey III, vice president of public affairs and community engagement for Jacksonville-based Florida Blue.

Companies will live by whatever rules are set, he said.

Bailey talked about what comes next for health care as the featured speaker at Palm Beach County’s Business Development Board annual luncheon in West Palm Beach Thursday.

The national advocacy group Consumers Union has warned selling across state lines could foster “junk insurance” and a “race to the bottom” for insurers to cluster in the states with the weakest consumer protections. In turn, it could undercut the ability of individual states to set their own rules to protect, say, consumers with prior health problems from being denied coverage or charged more.

Florida’s Department of Financial Services “will continue to look deeper at the concept of inter-state insurance sales — and its possible impacts on Florida’s policyholders — as the specifics of President Trump’s plan come to light,” said spokeswoman Ashley Carr. “Florida has fashioned itself a leader in implementing insurance consumer protections, and we’d look to see that those protections remain in place.”

Florida’s Office of Insurance Regulation said it will “look forward to reviewing the executive order once it is signed.”

Trump signaled his intentions before the order is actually out.

“I’ll probably be signing a very major executive order where people can go out, cross state lines, do lots of things and buy their own health care,” Trump told reporters Wednesday at the White House. “It’s being finished now. It’s going to cover a lot of territory and a lot of people, millions of people.”

Trump mentioned selling across state lines on the campaign trail, and proponents including Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul say it potentially gives consumers more marketplace choices, promotes competition and could lower costs.

But others say how the order is worded is very important, because it could also undermine state-based regulation and represent a way to use one state’s laws to make an end run around another state’s consumer protections.

“We haven’t yet seen the details of any proposed Executive Order and can’t comment until we see the specifics,” said Mike Consedine, CEO of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. “As a general matter, health insurers already have the ability to sell insurance in multiple states as long as they comply with state consumer protection and licensing laws, which many already do. The NAIC has long been opposed to any attempt to reduce or preempt state authority or weaken consumer protections.”

Insurers already have a limited ability to sell across state lines under current law and waivers to the Affordable Care Act, though as a practical matter it rarely happens because provider networks are usually set up on a state-by-state basis.

Senate Republicans said this week they could not find the votes to pass an overhaul of Obamacare. Trump’s executive order would represent an attempt to take action without waiting for congressional debate and deliberation.

 

 

 

NEW: Hurricane Irma generates more than 335,000 claims in first week

Hurricane Irma has produced more than 335,000 insurance claims in a week, according to figures state regulators released Monday.

That includes more than 10,000 in Palm Beach County.

Estimated insured losses statewide so far are just under $2 billion.

The numbers will grow. Some residents are only now returning to their homes, and homeowners with damage from Irma have an additional 90 days to submit information on claims under emergency orders from state officials.

State officials emphasize this data is preliminary.

State-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp. expects about 125,000 claims from its customers. It has the second-highest number of policies statewide, about 450,000.

 

How safe is your water? Check EWG’s database by zip code.

EWG’s database is an easy way to check water supplies around the country. Provided.

If you want to know more about potentially harmful chemicals that may be in your drinking water, check out Environmental Working Group’s new national  Tap Water Database.

FIND OUT HOW SEPTIC SYSTEMS ARE POLLUTING DRINKING WATER

By  entering your zip code or local utility’s name, you can find all contaminants detected in tests by the utilities themselves and reported to federal or state authorities. Every water utility in Palm Beach County is included in the database.

EWG ALSO PUBLISHES THE “DIRTY DOZEN” PRODUCE LIST

The database contains data from almost 50,000 public water systems in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

It identifies pollutants found in virtually all U.S. water systems, said Sonya Lunder, EWG senior analyst.

Lunder said the point of the database is make people aware that there is a big gap between what is legal in the water supply and what is safe. Most water systems are in compliance,  but even so, may still contain contaminants in concentrations exceeding the levels that scientists say pose health risks, she said.

“It is definitely less safe than people believe. I think people assume they are going to smell or taste the problem or see discolored water,” Lunder said.

EWG researchers spent the last two years collecting data from state agencies and the EPA for drinking water tests conducted from 2010 to 2015 by 48,712 water utilities in all 50 states and D.C. All told, the utilities tested for approximately 500 different contaminants and found 267.

Contaminants detected in the nation’s tap water included:

  • 93 linked to an increased risk of cancer. More than 40,000 water systems had detections of known or likely carcinogens exceeding established federal or state health guidelines – levels that pose minimal but real health risks, but are not legally enforceable.
  • 78 associated with brain and nervous system damage.
  • 63 connected to developmental harm to children or fetuses.
  • 45 linked to hormone disruption.
  • 38 that may cause fertility problems.

Of course, it is difficult to quantify exactly what the risk is and  how large a role contaminants found in water may play in any disease. The cancer risk would vary, Lunder said, adding that people should be concerned about the effects of contaminated drinking water  combined with exposure from other sources, such as polluted air.

EWG also provides a list of filter systems that can significantly reduce the contaminant levels in their water. It receives 3 percent of sales of filters sold on Amazon to people who have clicked through from its website.

A large source of pollution across the country is agricultural and industrial runoff that ends up in the water supply.

But for Palm Beach County’s largest water utility, the Palm Beach County Water Utilities Department,  that isn’t a problem. The water it supplies to 530,000 people comes from the underground Biscayne Aquifer and in the Glades, from the deeper Floridan Aquifer, the utility’s spokesman Shawn Reed said.

After being drawn from the aquifers, the water is filtered and disinfected.

The EWG database states the utility’s water was found to have two contaminants detected at levels above health guidelines.

However, under the Safe Drinking Water Act, there are no  mandated levels of the two chemicals, chlorate and hexavalent chromium, said Palm Beach County Water Utilities spokesman Shawn Reed.

Reed said that chlorate is a  byproduct of chemicals used to disinfect water. Chromium is naturally occurring in the rock surrounding the water in the aquifers.

“The numbers they are reporting are correct. We have provided those to the EPA and that is where EWG has gotten them from,” Reed said.

The Environmental Protection Agency has standards that all water utilities have to meet, and Palm Beach County Water Utilities meets those.

“”If the EPA chooses to add chlorate and hexavalent chromium  to the guidelines, we will meet the levels they determine for those,” Reed said. “The important thing to note is that the drinking water is safe. We do meet all the standards that have been established.”

 

 

 

 

 

Inspector finds dead rodent at CityPlace movie theater

A patron of the AMC CityPlace 20 theater shot this photo of three rodents that appeared to be mice.

A state inspector found a dead rodent under the screen in theater #7 at AMC CityPlace on Monday and issued a warning.

The rodent was in a mouse trap, Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation spokeswoman Kathleen Keenan said Tuesday.

The theater and its food service were not shut down, Keenan said.

An inspector from DBPR’s Division of Hotels and Restaurants re-inspected the West Palm Beach theater Tuesday, Keenan said.  Traps in theater #7 were clear on Tuesday, the callback report states.

“Yesterday, the Division responded to a complaint, forwarded from the Department of Health, and conducted food service inspections at the licensed public food service establishments located at the theater,” Keenan said.

“Due to the allegations of the complaint, the inspector checked theater #7 and found a dead rodent in a mousetrap behind the screen,” Keenan said.

The theater, 545 Hibiscus St., also was cited for four other violations.

An employee was not wearing a hair restraint while preparing food. The hot water at the sinks in both the men’s and ladies’ bathrooms did not reach the required 100 degrees.

The inspector noted  a buildup of ice in a walk-in freezer as well as water  draining onto the floor between the ice machine and a water heater.

During a follow-up inspection Tuesday, the theater was cleared of the rodent violation and the hair restraint violation, and was given more time to fix the other problems. Repairs are underway.

Another inspection will be conducted before September 25.

DBPR’s Division of Hotels and Restaurants licenses and inspects public food service establishments in movie theaters.

Since late Friday night, reports of rodents being spotted at the theater have been circulating on social media.

A theater employee referred calls to AMC’s corporate office, which did not respond to a request for comment after 5 p.m. Monday.

“Went to see the 9:50 show for girls trip last night at city place when someone yelled it’s a rat, look down it’s 3. So if you go to the movies and they put you in theatre 7 get your money back,” one Facebook post states. One person commented she had seen rodents there a week ago.

INSPECTOR FINDS LIVE ROACHES AT LOCAL CHICK-FIL-A

Ashley Pearce, 30, a West Palm Beach resident and preschool teacher, told The Palm Beach Post that with about 15 to 20 minutes left before the movie’s end,  she heard some commotion near the front of the theater.

“Someone yelled, “It’s a rat,” and people were running out and putting their feet up,” Pearce said.

She turned on a light on her phone and saw three mice, and took a photo. Everyone in the section she was seated in left and headed to the box office to get refunds, Pearce said.

FOUR PALM BEACH COUNTY RESTAURANTS CITED FOR ROACHES, RODENTS

About 50 people lined up for refunds. One woman said she saw five rodents, Pearce recalls.

Pearce said she received a $30 refund for the two tickets and drink she had purchased, but no apology.

“I was disgusted,” Pearce said. “I took my 2-year-old son there just a couple of months ago. Kids sometimes pick food up off the  floor and eat it.”

“I think they should shut it down until they get it taken care of,” Pearce said.

 

 

Nuclear panel: FPL’s plan to inject wastewater into ground is okay

FPL’s Turkey Point nuclear plant is shown here. The company is seeking to add two more nuclear reactors at the site.

In a blow to those opposed to Florida Power & Light’s license application to build two new nuclear reactors at its Turkey Point plant, a federal panel has agreed that the environmental impact of injecting treated, reclaimed wastewater into deep wells will be “small.”

The proposal calls for millions of gallons of wastewater containing at least four contaminants from the proposed Turkey Point 6 and 7 nuclear units’ cooling system to be injected into 13 deep wells into the Boulder Zone underlying the site overlooking Biscayne Bay south of Miami.

WHAT’S THE CONTROVERSY OVER FPL’S TURKEY POINT COOLING CANALS?

Intervenors have asserted that wastewater injected into the Boulder Zone, which begins at 3,030 feet below ground, could migrate upward to the Middle and Upper Floridan Aquifers. The  Floridan Aquifer System  supplies water to millions of people and is the major source of ground water supply in Florida.

FPL spokesman Peter Robbins said Tuesday, “We’re pleased, but it is one step in a long and detailed process. We continue to seek the federal licenses, and that is still our focus.”

NRC, ARMY CORPS GIVE ENVIRONMENTAL OKAY TO NEW REACTORS

The National Parks Conservation Association, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and Miami-Dade residents Capt. Dan Kipnis and Mark Oncavage legally intervened in the federal licensing proceedings in 2010.

Caroline McLaughlin, Biscayne program manager for the National Parks Conservation Association said Tuesday, “From our perspective, the disappointing decision by the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board doesn’t change the fact we still have serious concerns about the expansion proposal and its potential threats to Biscayne National Park and Everglades restoration.”

Sara Barczak, SACE’s high risk energy choice program director, said the  intervenors are evaluating whether to appeal the decision.

At a May  hearing in Homestead, the intervenors asserted that the project’s final environmental impact statement is deficient. The chemical concentrations of ethylbenzene, heptachlor, tetrachloroethylene and toluene in the wastewater may adversely impact the groundwater should they migrate from the Boulder Zone to the Upper Floridan Acquifer.

In a 42-page ruling issued July 10, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board said that the NRC staff has demonstrated by a preponderance of the evidence that the environmental impacts of the proposed deep injection wells will be “small.”

The reasons? The wastewater is unlikely to migrate to the Upper Floridan Aquifer, and even if it did the concentration of each of the four contaminants would be below the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s primary drinking water standard and would pose no known health risk, the board wrote.

FPL ORDERED TO FIX TURKEY POINT’S SALTY PLUME

McLaughlin said while the NRC panel looked at only one narrow issue involving the proposed new reactors, there is already widespread contamination into the Biscayne Aquifer from the two existing reactors’ cooling canals.

WILL FPL’S FIX TO TURKEY POINT CANALS WORK?

SACE’s expert Mark Quarles argued that FPL needs to conduct seismic-reflection surveys which would provide a better way to show if upward migration could occur. The method has been endorsed by the federal U.S. Geological Survey.

Since the new reactors are not likely to be built before 2031, there is plenty to time to do such studies, Barczak said.

FPL’s Robbins said the company expects the NRC to issue the licenses by the end of this year or early next year. However, FPL plans to pause the project once it receives the license while it continues to observe nuclear construction projects in Georgia and South Carolina.

 

Gasoline prices could be increasing soon, AAA says

Gasoline prices are low, but could be headed back up soon.

Provided.

The estimated 37.5 million Americans who hit the road on Independence Day found the lowest gas prices in more than a decade, according to AAA, whose data is collected from credit card swipes and direct feeds from 120,000 gas stations nationwide, in cooperation with OPIS and Wright Express.

But prices could inch up in the next week or two.

READ MORE ABOUT WHY GAS PRICES ARE SO LOW

 

“Unfortunately the pump price plunge may soon come to an end,” said AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins. “We are entering a six-week period where demand is normally the strongest of the year. Plus, oil and wholesale prices made solid gains last week, reaching a level that should cause gas prices to level off. Motorists in some markets may see pump prices climb 5-10 cents in the next week or two as a result.”

YOUR IDENTITY COULD BE STOLEN AT THE GAS PUMP

Palm Beach County’s average for a gallon of regular stood at $2.26 Wednesday, down just fractions of a cent from Tuesday, according to AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report.

The cheapest gasoline is at $1.95 a gallon for regular at Rocket Fuel, 100 N. Federal Highway, North Palm Beach. The next lowest price is $1.97 at 7-Eleven, 1220 Federal Highway, Lake Park, as reported on GasBuddy.com

About 10 Palm Beach County stations are selling gasoline at $1.99 Wednesday. To search in your area, go to GasBuddy.com

Although the national average of $2.23 was the lowest for the holiday in 12 years, gas prices in the southeastern U.S. were the lowest in 13 years. On July 4 gas prices averaged $2.15 in Florida – 9 cents less than a year ago a year ago, and the lowest price for the holiday since 2004.

Florida’s daily gas price averages are the lowest since November 2016. The state average declined for the 31st consecutive day on Tuesday, for a total of 23 cents since June 3.

The oil market has steadily climbed during the past week after EIA data showed domestic oil production lowered by about 100,000 barrels per day, for the week ending on June 23. Moreover, last week Baker Hughes Inc. reported that for the first time in 24 weeks, the U.S. oil rig count declined by two – bringing the total rig count to 756. Neither of these declines are considered dramatic, but the sudden shift in fundamentals was enough to send oil prices higher. Market watchers will look to today’s EIA data report to see if this trend continues, in hopes it will steer prices higher.

The price of crude rose for the 10th consecutive day Monday, settling at $47.07 per barrel. Crude prices are up $4.54 since reaching this year’s lowest daily settlement of $42.53 on June 21.