Hello. I'm Mike Pearson. Tractors continue to roll throughout the Midwest and South as Spring enters its third month. The U.S. economy also appears to have shaken-off the strong grip of winter which had been holding back U.S. economic growth.
According to The Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index the U.S. economy grew 0.4 percent in April - continuing a three month trend.
The increase was attributed, in part, to improvements in the sale of new homes last month. Even with the 6.4 percent rise sales are still 10 percent lower than one year ago.
Wall Street watched records fall as the S & P 500 rode a wave of utility stock investments to hit a record at the end of the week closing just over 1900.
This will be the third consecutive Memorial Day Weekend where gasoline prices are expected to average $3.64 per gallon – up from a December 2013 low of $3.20 per gallon.
And crude oil prices rose to a two-month high hitting $104 per barrel.
To keep America’s gas tanks full, the transportation of crude from the Northern reaches of the U.S. to Southern refineries continues in earnest. And the increased movement of the black gold is still fueling debate across the country.
A new study pushes back at calls for tougher rules for carrying crude, despite at least 8 major accidents transporting the oil in 2013.
The report, funded by the North Dakota Petroleum Council, found the volatility of Bakken Oil comparable to other light crudes with characteristics falling well within the margin of safety for the current fleet.
The National Transportation Safety Board has urged that existing rail cars, some of them older and defective, be retrofitted or phased out of service. Petroleum industry supporters dispute calls for stronger tankers by federal officials, adding capacity would be reduced and likely require more trains to make up for the lost volume.
Canadian investigators have said crude involved in the explosion at Lac-Megantic was highly volatile and comparable to gasoline.
Since the redevelopment of the Bakken region in 2008, 70 percent of the region’s more than 1 million barrels of oil produced daily are moved via rail.