Business Digest: Austin-area gas prices rise 7 cents


FUEL

Austin-area gas prices rise 7 cents

Austin-area gas prices surged higher this this week, according to auto club AAA Texas.

The average local price for a gallon of regular gasoline rose 7 cents to $2.16, according to AAA Texas. The price this week is 32 cents more than the same week last year, when the average price per gallon was $1.84, according to AAA Texas data.

Global markets saw an increase in the price of oil this week due to “speculation that OPEC and non-OPEC producers may extend their agreement beyond the original six-month deadline of June,” AAA Texas said.

For Texas as a whole, the average price rose 8 cents to $2.19 per gallon this week, according to AAA Texas. The national average rose by 7 cents to $2.37 per gallon, according to AAA data.

MORTGAGE INDUSTRY

Average rate on 30-year loan dips to 4.10%

WASHINGTON — Long-term U.S. mortgage rates fell this week for a third straight week, approaching their low points for the year.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the rate on 30-year fixed-rate home loans declined to 4.10 percent from 4.14 percent last week. That brought the benchmark rate close to its 2017 low of 4.09 percent reached on Jan. 19. The 30-year rate stood at 3.59 percent a year ago and averaged 3.65 percent in 2016, the lowest level in records dating to 1971.

The rate on 15-year mortgages eased to 3.36 percent from 3.39 percent last week.

The Federal Reserve raised its key interest rate last month for only the third time since 2006, reflecting a consistently solid U.S. economy. Still, some economists don’t expect higher interest rates to slow home sales until later this year.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country between Monday and Wednesday each week. The average doesn’t include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1 percent of the loan amount.

RETAIL

Sunoco selling most convenience stores to 7-Eleven

DALLAS — Sunoco is selling most of its convenience stores to 7-Eleven in a deal valued at $3.3 billion as it looks to focus more on its fuel supply business.

As part of the sale, 7-Eleven Inc. will get about 1,110 convenience stores, mostly along the East Coast and in Texas. Approximately 200 convenience stores in Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma will be sold separately. The transaction also includes fuel, merchandise and other inventories. It does not include Sunoco’s APlus franchisee-run stores or its Aloha Petroleum unit in Hawaii.

As part of the deal, Sunoco LP will have a 15-year take-or-pay fuel supply agreement with a 7-Eleven subsidiary, under which Sunoco will supply approximately 2.2 billion gallons of fuel a year.

The sale, announced Thursday, is expected to close by the fourth quarter.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Twitter fights federal request for user records

Twitter defied a U.S. government request for records that could identify users behind an account opposed to President Donald Trump, and is challenging the order in court.

The company filed a lawsuit against the federal Department of Homeland Security and its Customs and Border Protection office, charging that their efforts to “unmask” the people behind the account violated the First Amendment.

Twitter says its users have a constitutional right to disseminate such “anonymous and pseudonymous political speech.”

The account in question is ALT_uscis, a reference to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office. The account described its users to the Associated Press in February as employees and former employees of the agency.

Twitter declined to comment beyond the lawsuit. The Department of Homeland Security also declined to comment.



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