London (CNN) – For the airline industry, it seems barely does one crisis subside than the next rears up. No sooner has the European debt debacle gone to the back-burner - taking away one of the biggest threats to economic growth - than oil price rises become a concern. And it's a worry as big, if not bigger, than the debt crisis.
All the forecasts have been done on the basis of $99 to $100 per barrel of oil. Prices are now more than $120 for Brent and that is hitting airlines hard. For most airlines, more than 30% of revenues are now going on fuel. In some cases, it is the single biggest component.
Tony Tyler, head of IATA, the organization representing aviation, describes airlines as “weak but still profitable.” With prices for oil having risen more than 30% he says airlines are suffering a “double hit.” As ticket prices go up, people travel less. There is a “hit to the revenue line and the cost side,” he notes.
(CNN) – Gas prices in China rose as much as 7% Tuesday, the biggest increase since 2009 to offset rising costs for oil refineries. In the U.S., drivers are seeing pump prices inching up, slowly approaching record highs not seen since July 2008.
As gas prices rise, due largely to fears that tensions with Iran will cut off supply, is oil set to become the new Greece?
The chief economist at HSBC thinks so. Much like worries of the eurozone debt woes could weigh on the global economy, now rising oil prices are attracting similar attention.
Berlin (CNN) – A new vehicle has found its way onto Berlin’s street: a car that does not demand a driver.
Developed by Dr. Raul Rojas and his team at Berlin’s Freie University, this computer-controlled car is equipped with sophisticated lasers, radar, video cameras and a sensitive GPS system.
"What we think is that this can be the car of the future in the sense that you don't need to drive,” said Rojas. “It would be like a taxi. You don't even need to own a car, you don't have to park the car, you don't need a garage at home."
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