Fuel Fix

(Photo: First Solar)

First Solar lays off 2,000 as Europe demand wanes

First Solar Inc. is laying off 2,000 workers and closing its plant in Frankfurt, Germany, in response to waning demand for solar panels and increased competition from China.  More »
Fire boat response crews battle the blazing remnants of the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010.  (Photo: HO/AFP/Getty Images)

Investigators say Congress hasn’t changed laws to prevent future spill

Investigators who probed the 2010 Gulf oil spill on Tuesday blasted Congress for failing to pass a single substantive change in laws governing offshore drilling that could help prevent a repeat of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.  More »
A delivery driver connects hoses on a gasoline tanker, prior to replenishing the tanks at a BP station in Pittsburgh. The nationwide average for regular unleaded slipped less than a penny to $3.764 per gallon on Tuesday, March 6,2012. That ended a streak of price hikes that began on Feb. 8.  (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Heat means drivers will pay more for less gas

Drivers might already feel like they are getting ripped off at the pump, but many drivers are unaware that they are paying more for less gasoline during the summer months.  More »

Mitsubishi, Mitsui back $6 billion Sempra gas terminal

Mitsubishi (8306) Corp. and Mitsui & Co. agreed to help Sempra Energy (SRE) develop a $6 billion natural-gas export facility in Louisiana, as Japan imported record amounts of the fuel.  More »
(AP file photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Valero to report a 1Q loss

Refiner Valero Energy Corp. said Monday that it will report a first-quarter loss as it takes a $605 million charge against earnings, or $1.10 a share, to shutter its unprofitable refinery in Aruba.  More »
A 40-watt-equivalent LED Bulb (Photo: Lighting Science Group Corporation)

Rebates to drop cost of LED bulb to $60

How much would you pay for an amazing, state-of-the-art light bulb? Shoppers will be asking themselves that very question at Home Depot and other outlets starting Sunday —Earth Day— when the bulb that won a $10 million government contest goes on sale.  More »
A boom is used to protect marshland in Terrebonne Parish on the Louisiana coast after the Gulf oil spill in 2010. Photo: Smiley N. Pool / Houston Chronicle

Congress stifles bill to funnel spill fines

A bipartisan push to set aside billions in fines from the BP oil spill for Gulf of Mexico restoration remains stalled in Congress as the disaster’s two-year anniversary nears.  More »
Former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling (AP file photo/David J. Phillip)

High court turns away Skilling appeal

In the matter of Jeff Skilling, the former Enron executive praised for building an innovative energy giant and then vilified for propping it up with bogus accounting, some people think he deserved every day of the 24-year prison sentence he got when convicted of 19 counts of securities fraud and other financial crimes in 2006.  More »
Zero-emission electric cars like the Nissan Leaf, seen here in Tokyo last month, are greener in some parts of the U.S. than in others, largely because of the power plants that keep them running, a new study says. Photo: Itsuo Inouye / AP

When using an electric car, it’s all about location

Electric cars are only as green as the power plants that fuel them.  More »
(AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Electric cars cost $1,200 a year less to run

Drivers of electric vehicles such as General Motors Co. (GM)’s Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Motor Co.’s Leaf may save as much as $1,200 a year on fuel compared with a new gasoline-powered compact, a scientists’ group found.  More »
Workers in protective suits and masks wait to enter the emergency operation center at the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station in Okuma, Japan in 2011. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, Pool)

Japan may be atomic-power free next month

Japan may be without atomic- generated electricity for the first time in more than four decades next month when its last reactor still running after the Fukushima nuclear disaster shuts for maintenance.  More »
Protestors scale a shale gas rig at Banks, near Southport, England bringing a halt to work at the Cuadrilla Resources site Wednesday  Nov. 2 , 2011.  Cuadrilla Resources, which is drilling for gas in northwestern England, said Wednesday that independent experts concluded that the tremors were due to an unusual combination of geology and operations, and were unlikely to happen again. The company said local geology would limit any future seismic events to around magnitude 3 on the Richter scale. The tremor on April 1 measured 2.3 on the Richter scale.  Local campaigners have mounted a "Frack Off" campaign to oppose the drilling technique that cracks open rock layers to free natural gas.  (AP Photo/Peter Byrne/PA)

Report to UK government backs fracking

Exploratory work to extract gas by hydraulic fracturing in England should be allowed to resume even though the technique has caused earth tremors, a report commissioned by the government said Tuesday.  More »
A Chevrolet Volt undergoes a quality inspection on the production line at a General Motors assembly plant in Michigan on Nov. 30, 2010. (AP file photo/Paul Sancya)

Chemical plant shutdown could cut auto production

The potential shortage of a key component used to make fuel lines and brake lines could force automakers in the U.S. and around the world to close car and truck plants as they run short of parts.  More »
(Photo: Fotolia)

Oil near $104 after successful Spain debt sale

Oil prices rose to near $104 a barrel today in Asia after strong demand for Spanish debt in a sale of 12- and 18-month notes eased some fears that Europe’s debt crisis could soon flare again.  More »
(Image: Fotolia)

Chesapeake Oilfield plans IPO

Chesapeake Energy Corp., the second-largest U.S. natural gas producer, plans to sell shares in its hydraulic-fracturing business unit to raise $862.5 million amid a North American gas glut that squeezed cash flow.  More »