The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline at the nation's filling stations rose to $3.62, the Lundberg survey reported Sunday. The price was up...

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The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline at the nation’s filling stations rose to $3.62, the Lundberg survey reported Sunday.

The price was up 15 cents Friday from two weeks earlier, according to oil-industry analyst Trilby Lundberg’s survey of 7,000 stations nationwide. The price was the highest ever reported in her research.

“This time little of it was crude oil; it was the margin recovery for retailers that really needed it, and refiners got a bit, too,” Lundberg said. “Refiners needed about another 25 or even 50 cents more per gallon to bring some of their capacity out of mothballs and attract foreign gasoline.”

The highest average price for self-serve regular was $3.95 a gallon in San Francisco. The lowest was in Cheyenne, Wyo., at $3.39 a gallon.

According to the AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report, the average price for regular in the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett area was $3.74 Sunday, down slightly from Saturday.

Berkshire Hathaway

Buffett criticizes some bond insurers

Billionaire Warren Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway has begun competing with MBIA and Ambac Financial Group to insure municipal bonds, said some rivals don’t deserve their AAA credit ratings.

Credit-rating firms shouldn’t be giving top grades to bond insurers that borrow money at 14 percent or whose stock has dropped 95 percent, Buffett said at a news conference Sunday in Omaha, Neb., after Berkshire’s annual meeting.

Berkshire, whose credit is also rated AAA, owns almost 20 percent of Moody’s, one of the biggest U.S. rating firms.

That’s attracted scrutiny from Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who is investigating possible conflicts of interest between Berkshire’s bond insurer and the stake in Moody’s.

A favorable Moody’s rating for Berkshire or a lower rating for a competitor could give Buffett’s firm an advantage. Buffett said Sunday he’s never tried to influence Moody’s.


Mobile video service launches

AT&T launched its new video service for cellphones on two phones, and it will charge $15 per month for 10 channels.

AT&T Mobile TV is almost identical to Verizon Wireless’ V Cast Mobile TV, and it is operated by the same company, Qualcomm. AT&T will have two exclusive channels on the service, it said.

AT&T already has a mobile video service called CV, which is based on different technology. It works like Internet video, providing short clips on demand.

Qualcomm’s MediaFLO service is more like regular TV broadcasts, constantly streaming shows on airwaves that run alongside regular cellphone spectrum. Judging by V Cast Mobile TV, which is available on four phones, the quality is much higher than on-demand cellphone clips.

The service will be available in 58 markets, including Seattle, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York.

Research In Motion

BlackBerry that flips open planned

Research In Motion plans to start selling a BlackBerry mobile phone that flips open to reveal a keyboard and that could become a “Motorola Killer,” RBC Capital Markets analyst Mike Abramsky said.

The device will probably go on sale in the U.S. near the end of the year for $149 or less with subsidies from wireless carriers, Abramsky wrote in a note last week. The phone has two screens and a camera, he wrote.

Research In Motion wants to draw customers looking for so-called clamshell-shaped phones like Motorola’s Razr, a style that accounts for half of the U.S. market, according to Abramsky.

The company is accelerating its push beyond business users after introducing devices for consumers, such as the Curve, last year.


Artists get creative with home page

Google’s once-austere Web site is turning into an eclectic art gallery.

Hoping to spur more customization of its home page, the Internet-search leader has unveiled a lineup of colorful graphics dreamed up by a mix of creative souls, ranging from fashion designer Oscar de la Renta to the rock group Coldplay.

The panoramic decorations, known as “skins,” can be draped around Google’s search box if a user has a personal login.

The custom home page, known as “iGoogle,” is the company’s fastest growing service along with e-mail. Google won’t specific how many people use iGoogle, but it says the number is in the millions.

Nearly 70 prominent artists from 17 countries contributed the new designs, which include the work of children’s photographer Anne Geddes and the cartoon editor of The New Yorker, Robert Mankoff.

Compiled from The Associated Press, Bloomberg News and Los Angeles Times