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Honda to invest $98M at Ohio engine plant

Published: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 4:43 PM
Updated: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 4:43 PM

Honda said it will invest $98 million at its largest auto engine plant so the western Ohio facility can produce components for its new transmission technology.

Officials said Wednesday that the engine plant in Anna in Shelby County will make high-tech pulley components for Honda's new continuously variable transmission, or CVT. Honda announced $120 million in investments last year for the production of the CVT at the plant in nearby Russells Point, which is located in Logan County.

Honda says the two combined investments for building next-generation powertrain technologies will create 150 jobs.

The Russells Point plant is expected to start making the CVT this summer, with pulley components from Japanese operations. The Anna plant will begin manufacturing those parts next year.

The Anna plant currently employs 2,400 people, and the Russells Point plant has about 1,000 workers.

The latest expansion plan follows last month’s announcement that Honda will resurrect the Acura NSX sports car, designing and building the “supercar” in a new plant to be built in Central Ohio. Honda has not revealed the new plant’s specific location.

Honda has grown in the past 30 years to become a major economic force in Ohio.

The automaker employs approximately 13,500 workers at its Ohio sites, including roughly 1,300 from the Dayton area and another 1,400 from Clark and Champaign counties.

One of those sites is a parts distribution center in Troy.

The Japanese automaker is investing more money in Ohio even though the company is having a tough year. On Tuesday, Honda said its profit last quarter fell 41 percent to the equivalent of $625 million as sales slid 8 percent. The company, hurt by the strong yen and supply disruptions from Thailand’s floods, also projected a sharply lower full-year profit and a 12.2 percent decline in full-year sales.

Since late 2010, Honda has announced or embarked on investments in Ohio that exceed $500 million. Some of the previously announced investments include $70 million to add 200,000 square feet to the Russells Point plant, $64 million for a new stamping press at Honda’s Marysville auto assembly plant, and $44 million to renovate the East Liberty body paint shop.

Mike Dodds, executive director of the Sidney-based West Ohio Development Council, welcomes Honda’s latest pledge to beef up its infrastructure and add workers. More than one-third of Shelby County’s approximately 50,000 residents work for manufacturers such as Honda, Emerson Climate Technologies, Cargill, Advanced Composites and NK Parts, he said.

Dodds said a slowly improving manufacturing sector has helped cut Shelby County’s unemployment rate from 11.1 percent in January 2011 to 7.7 percent in December 2011.

“They are our bread and butter,” Dodds said.

Built in 1985, the $1.7 billion Anna plant has about 2,400 employees. In 2010, the facility produced more than 770,000 engines.

The $425 million Russells Point plant, built in 1997, has about 1,050 employees and produced nearly 600,000 automatic transmissions in 2010.

Dodds said Honda’s plans impact “residual business,” including Ohio suppliers. Honda has 150 Ohio suppliers and has made $33 billion in purchases from those suppliers during the past five years, Honda has said.

“We consider ourselves very lucky,” Dodds said.

Jeff Hoagland, president and chief executive of the Dayton Development Coalition, said the recent announcements from Honda signal confidence in the state’s tax structure, work force and business environment.

“It’s like sports — success breeds success,” Hoagland said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Dayton among cities with wildest swing in gas prices

Published: Tuesday, August 20, 2013 @ 1:31 PM
Updated: Tuesday, August 20, 2013 @ 1:31 PM


            Kyle French, a UD student from Springfield, Ill., pumps gas on Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013, at a station in Dayton. CHRIS STEWART/STAFF

Listed among the nation’s top cities for the worst gas price volatility is the City of Dayton.

“The steep price hikes recorded in more than 25 cities in the Midwest dwarf the increases seen in the rest of the country,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst with GasBuddy. “And nowhere is it worse than Ft. Wayne, Indiana. So far this year, Fort Wayne has recorded the highest single day average price hike -34 cents per gallon— among its three highest daily changes.

DeHaan said it is followed by Indianapolis (.32), Dayton (.31), Columbus (.30) and Toledo (.2)8.

DeHann said the figures represent the average of the three highest single-day price spikes and “Midwesterners have seen 30+ cent increases often enough to know they’re not a statistical anomaly.”

GasBuddy examined frequency of price changes and found the Midwest and West Coast regions led the way with the number of days that prices changed a penny or more per gallon.

“When we look at the number of days with average price decreases of more than a penny, we see the Midwestern cities more than doubling every other region in the country,” DeHaan said. “It’s the downside of that roller coaster ride that consumers easily forget. We complain about the higher highs, but we’re quiet when we benefit from the lower lows.”

Hurricane causing local gas prices to fluctuate

Published: Monday, October 29, 2012 @ 8:58 AM
Updated: Monday, October 29, 2012 @ 8:58 AM

Area gas prices remained unsettled Monday as Hurricane Sandy prompted the shutdown of several key East Coast refineries but also squelched demand.

Prices for regular grade gasoline ranged from $2.93 a gallon at a Costco store in the Cincinnati area to $3.40 a gallon or more at several Dayton-area stations. The average price in the Dayton area rose more than 17 cents per gallon last week to $3.43, contrary to the national trend.

The national average has fallen 9.6 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.56 a gallon, according to DaytonGasPrices.com.

Including the change in gas prices in Dayton during the past week, prices Monday were 5.4 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 29.1 cents per gallon lower than a month ago, according to DaytonGasPrices.com

“With Hurricane Sandy headed for the East Coast, there are a number of uncertainties in regards to the impact at the pump for various fuels,” said GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. “There is very little to look back at history and compare this storm to, and so far, it remains to be seen exactly how gasoline and diesel prices will be impacted.”

The biggest refineries in the Northeast shut down or throttled back on Monday in advance of Hurricane Sandy. Phillips 66 shut down its Linden, N.J. refinery, the second-biggest in the Northeast at 285,000 barrels per day. The biggest refinery in the area, Philadelphia Energy Solutions, was nearly shut. Most other big refineries in the Northeast were running at reduced capacity.

Sandy is powerful enough to down trees and powerlines and cause widespread flooding. Businesses could also be shut for days. If so, demand for gasoline and other oil products would drop sharply.

The power outages and the shutdown of major cities “may take a toll on demand unlike anything we have seen before,” wrote Phil Flynn, a senior market analyst for Price Futures Group, in a report. “The impact on demand may not last for hours but more than likely for days.”

Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at Oil Price Information Services, said he expects the drop in demand for oil and refined products “will be about as significant as we’ve seen since Katrina made landfall” in 2005.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Sears recalls Kenmore dehumidifiers

Published: Friday, August 03, 2012 @ 6:39 AM
Updated: Friday, August 03, 2012 @ 6:39 AM

Sears is recalling Kenmore dehumidifiers because of fire and burn hazards.

The dehumidifier can overheat, smoke, melt and catch fire. More than 100 people have reported the problem to Sears, citing more than $7 million in property damage and three reports of smoke inhalation injuries.

Consumers are urged to stop using the device immediately and contact Sears.

Ohio gas prices up slightly this week

Published: Monday, July 30, 2012 @ 9:11 AM
Updated: Monday, July 30, 2012 @ 9:11 AM

Ohio drivers can expect to pay about a penny more per gallon at the gas pump this week.

The average price for a gallon of regular gas was $3.46 in Monday's survey from auto club AAA, the Oil Price Information Service and Wright Express. That's up slightly from about $3.45 last week.

A year ago, the average in Ohio was $3.68.

Nationally, the average price for regular gas is about $3.49, about 2 cents higher than last week. The national average last year at this time was $3.71.

U.S. oil supplies swelled in June to 22-year highs but have declined since then.