Used car costs jump 41.2% in past year
The prices for new vehicles rose 12.4% from February 2021 to February 2022, while used cars and trucks saw price increases of 41.2% last year — one of the largest increases of any category in the Consumer Price Index.
Other costs associated with owning a car have grown rapidly as well, and account for more than half of consumer spending on motor vehicles in the U.S.
However, a new study by the online shopping app CoPilot found that spending on vehicle purchases and operations can vary significantly by state. Researchers calculated total motor vehicle spending per capita in 2020, which includes both new and used vehicle purchases as well as vehicle operation expenses, and ranked states accordingly.
Residents of Tennessee spend a per-capita total of $3,212 on vehicle purchases and vehicle operation expenses each year, including $746 on motor vehicle fuels, lubricants, and fluids.
Renault pauses Moscow production
French automaker Renault has moved to pause production at its Moscow plant in an apparent move to fend off mounting criticism. It came hours after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused the company and others in France of aiding Russia’s war effort during a virtual address to parliament.
Renault’s announcement Wednesday night meant it broke ranks with other major French companies that have defied pressure to keep operating in Russia.
It’s often a point of pride for France — and its companies — to be more independent from its allies when it comes to policy toward Russia. It’s a stance that has started to unravel as the war grinds on.
Russian stock market opens with big limits
The Russian stock market has opened for limited trading under heavy restrictions for the first time since Moscow invaded Ukraine. It comes almost a month after prices plunged and the market was shut down as a way to insulate the economy.
Trading of a limited number of stocks, including energy giants Gazprom and Rosneft, took place Thursday under curbs meant to prevent a repeat of the massive selloff Feb. 24 that came in anticipation of Western economic sanctions. Foreigners cannot sell and traders are barred from short selling, or betting prices will fall.
The benchmark MOEX index gained 4.3% as some companies partially recovered losses.
FERC backs off climate changes
Amid pushback from industry groups and lawmakers in both parties, federal energy regulators on Thursday scaled back plans to consider how natural gas projects affect climate change and environmental justice.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said a plan to consider climate effects will now be considered a draft and will only apply to future projects.
Opponents had criticized a proposal approved last month to tighten climate rules, saying it was poorly timed amid a push for increased natural gas exports following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell called the climate policy “baffling,” while Senate Energy Committee Chairman Joe Manchin, D- W.Va., said the agency’s “reckless decision to add unnecessary roadblocks” to approval of natural gas projects “puts the security of our nation at risk.”
“At a time when we should be looking for ways to expedite the approval of these important projects, the [energy] commission has chosen on a purely partisan basis to do the exact opposite,” McConnell wrote in a letter Thursday, hours before the panel backtracked on the climate proposal.
Uber puts taxis on its app in NYC
Uber, hit by driver shortages and a surge in food delivery requests during the pandemic, will begin including New York City taxi cabs on its app.
That’s a partnership that until recently would have been unthinkable with both camps fighting ferociously for the same customers. But the wait for an Uber ride has grown longer on some days due to a driver shortage.
The partnership will boost the number of Uber rides available, and it gives NYC cab drivers access to a massive pool of commuters with an Uber app on their phones.
— Compiled by Dave Flessner