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NATION



Published: Mon, February 21, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



NATION

Gas prices slip

CAMARILLO, Calif. -- Retail gas prices dropped slightly in the last two weeks as oil price increases were checked by an increase in the gasoline supply, an industry analyst said Sunday.

The average retail price for all three grades dropped half a cent to $1.93, between Feb. 5 and Friday, said Trilby Lundberg, who publishes the semimonthly Lundberg Survey of 7,000 gas stations across the country.

The most popular grade, self-serve regular, was priced at $1.90 a gallon, while customers paid $2 for midgrade. Premium averaged $2.10 a gallon for the period.

During the two-week period, crude oil prices rose almost $2 per barrel, but gasoline supplies also grew, offsetting the price increase, Lundberg said.

"This small drop in price doesn't herald big price cuts to come," Lundberg said. "More likely, gasoline prices will cease dropping soon, unless crude oil prices fall dramatically."

She said gas prices will likely rise in the future toward a peak during the summer driving months of June, July and August.

Stern guest gets subpoena

NEW YORK -- A regular guest on Howard Stern's syndicated radio show said he will testify Wednesday in a probe of trading of Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. shares, which surged last fall when Stern announced he was moving his program to the company.

Chaunce Hayden, who writes gossip and other celebrity news for Steppin' Out magazine, received a subpoena Thursday ordering him to appear before SEC investigators in New York to discuss "trading in securities of Sirius Satellite Radio."

Hayden said Sunday that an SEC attorney who phoned him before the subpoena was issued asked about the reactions of Stern and his staff when Stern's move to Sirius was announced in October.

Sirius shares soared almost 30 percent early on Oct. 6 when Stern announced the five-year, $500 million deal to move his program to Sirius beginning in 2006 when his contract with Infinity Broadcasting Corp. ends. The shares finished trading that day nearly 16 percent higher, closing at $3.87, on volume that was nearly five times the stock's normal.

WORLD

Air France crews strike

PARIS -- French carrier Air France predicted more flight cancellations at Paris' Orly airport today as a strike by ground crews was to move into a fourth straight day.

Dozens of flights from Orly West terminal have been canceled since Friday, when ground crew teams walked off the job to show support for a colleague who was suspended in connection with a deadly accident.

About 50 of 170 scheduled flights were to be canceled at the terminal today, Air France said Sunday. The strike has affected mainly domestic flights.

Crews were protesting the suspension of a colleague on duty when a flight attendant fell to her death Feb. 1 while trying to disembark from an Airbus A319 plane onto a mobile staircase on the Orly tarmac.

Vindicator wire reports




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