www.timesleader.com News Sports Weather Obituaries Features Business People Opinion Video Contact Us Classifieds

In brief

New mileage goals for 2015

The nation’s fleet of new cars and trucks will be required to achieve 31.6 miles per gallon by 2015, the Bush administration said Tuesday.

Transportation Department Secretary Mary Peters outlined the plan on Earth Day, setting a schedule that was more aggressive than initially expected by industry officials.

The plan responds to a new energy law pushed by Congress and signed by President Bush that requires the nation’s new cars and trucks, taken as a collective average, to meet 35 mpg by 2020.

New cars and trucks will have to meet a fleetwide average of 31.6 mpg by 2015.

Journal editor resigns

Marcus Brauchli is stepping down as managing editor of The Wall Street Journal just four months after Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. bought the paper, the company announced Tuesday.

Brauchli, who had been in the post for just under a year, will stay on as a consultant to News Corp. A search for a replacement will begin immediately.

Murdoch has been moving quickly to reposition the Journal as a competitor to the New York Times, adding more politics and reorganizing the paper.

House prices still risky

An influential economist who long predicted the housing market bubble cautioned Tuesday that the slump in the U.S. housing market could cause prices to fall more than they did in the Depression, and bailouts will be needed so millions don’t lose their homes.

Yale University economist Robert Shiller, pioneer of the widely watched Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home price index, said there’s a good chance housing prices will fall further than the 30 percent drop in the historic depression of the 1930s. Home prices nationwide already have dropped 15 percent since their peak in 2006, he said.

Shiller’s Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home price index is considered a strong measure of home prices because it examines price changes of the same property over time, instead of calculating a median price of homes sold during the month.

Feds downplay speculation

Farmers and food producers on Tuesday told federal regulators that speculation by Wall Street investors — not a supply-demand imbalance — is what’s driving up prices and volatility, making it harder for commercial buyers and sellers of grain to use the exchanges as a tool for limiting the risks of price uncertainty.

In the past year, prices for corn and cotton have ballooned roughly 50 percent and 65 percent, respectively, according to industry officials.

But commissioners from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission cautioned against blaming speculators, saying current market conditions can be explained by a weak dollar, small inventories due to poor weather and higher transportation costs.

The Weekender Go Lackawanna Timesleader The Dallas Post Tunkhannock Times Impressions Media The Abington Journal Hazelton Times Five Mountain Times El Mensajero Pittston Sunday Dispatch Creative Circle Media Image Map