In other items: Emirates set to order A350 jets; General Electric spending to double on "cleaner products"; General Motors denies talking with Toyota; executive at General Reinsurance reportedly SEC target; and Japan Airlines chairman quitting over safety record.

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The nation’s average gasoline price fell 3 cents a gallon in two weeks, continuing a drop that began last month, industry analyst Trilby Lundberg said yesterday.



The average retail price for all three grades Friday was $2.24 per gallon, down from $2.27 April 22, said Lundberg, who publishes the Lundberg Survey of 7,000 gas stations. Self-serve regular was an average 2.21 a gallon.


Prices are still more than 40 cents higher than they were at the start of 2005, Lundberg said.


She said the recent relief at the pump was due to an increased supply of both crude oil and gasoline and the completion of some maintenance projects that had reduced refinery capacity. She said those factors had offset a spike in consumption that usually occurs in spring and summer.


Airbus



Report: Emirates set to order A350 jets

Dubai’s Emirates airline is set to place an order for up to 50 A350 aircraft with Airbus, in a deal worth up to $6 billion, the Sunday Times of London said yesterday. The paper, which did not reveal the source of its information, said the order was to be announced at June’s Paris Air Show.


The order would be Airbus’ first big contract for the new jet, which is intended to compete with Boeing’s new 787, the paper said.


An Emirates spokesman said the airline was still talking to all major manufacturers about what planes could meet its needs. Airbus officials were not available for comment.



General Electric



Spending to double on “cleaner products”

General Electric Chief Executive Jeffrey Immelt is expected to announce today the company will double its research-and-development spending in the next five years for “cleaner products” including jet engines, power generation and locomotives.


General Electric, which makes engines for Boeing jets, said it expects the increase to double sales from businesses that use wind turbines to create power, treat water and reduce greenhouse-emitting gases.


GE is the world’s largest maker of turbines for power plants, locomotives, jet engines and medical-imaging equipment.


General Motors



Carmaker denies talking with Toyota

General Motors yesterday denied an online Wall Street Journal report that it and Toyota Motor are discussing a possible technology-sharing pact that could lead to a quicker, wider offering of gas-electric hybrid cars.


The report said GM Chairman Rick Wagoner plans to meet top Toyota officials in Japan in May.


GM spokesman Scott Fosgard said Wagoner’s planned visit had nothing to do with Toyota and denied anyone else was holding talks with the Japanese company.


Berkshire Hathaway



Executive at General Reinsurance reportedly SEC target

The Securities and Exchange Commission may level civil penalties against Rick Napier, an executive at one of Berkshire Hathaway’s insurance companies, according to a Wall Street Journal report yesterday.


On Friday, billionaire investor Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway announced the SEC was considering civil penalties against a senior vice president at subsidiary General Reinsurance over alleged violations of securities laws. Berkshire did not name the executive.


Japan Airlines



Chairman quitting over safety record

Japan Airlines, the country’s largest airline and a big Boeing customer, said today Isao Kaneko would quit as chairman and director May 31, taking responsibility for the carrier’s deteriorating safety record.


The carrier did not say who would succeed Kaneko, 67.


Kaneko stayed on his chairman after stepping down as CEO in March. The airline was ordered by Japan’s transport minister to improve its record and was put through a safety audit.


Kaneko had said he would quit as soon as the airline was on a path to merge its international and domestic businesses, spokesman Tatsuo Yoshimura said.


Compiled from The Associated Press, Bloomberg News and Reuters