Rob Black & Your Money April 16 - Electric Cars Save $$$, Open Table Hurt & Prom Costs $1000+

By: Rob Black - Mon, 16 Apr 2012 15:41:52 -0800

Winner: Dow Ends Higher on Retail Sales
Most U.S. stocks rose, after the biggest weekly decline in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index in 2012.
Equities advanced as retail sales gained 0.8 percent in March, almost three times as large as projected.

The U.S. economic recovery looks intact.  Earnings will continue to grind higher. That explains the market resilience.

Tech stocks were big losers today but have been big winner this year +17%.
Winner:  Electric Cars Cost $1,200 a Year Less

Drivers of electric vehicles such General Motors’s Chevrolet Volt and Nissan’s Leaf may save as much as $1,200 a year compared with operating a new gasoline-powered compact car, scientists studying improved fuel economy found.

With gasoline at $3.50 a gallon, drivers who plug cars into electrical outlets would save $750 to $1,200 a year instead of buying gas for a new car that gets 27 miles a gallon when driving 11,000 miles a year.

Electric vehicles have higher up-front costs so knowing how much one can save by using electricity instead of gasoline is an important factor for consumers.

Ford, maker of a Focus electric car, starts  at $39,995 before a $7,500 U.S. tax credit. Nissan’s Leaf starts at $35,200.

Typically costs are roughly  $16,500 more for similar sized gasoline-powered versions

Winner: Food Network's New Side Dish

The Food Network has given millions of viewers tips about how to make dinner. Now it hopes to help diners who would rather eat out.

Scripps Networks Interactive, which owns the Food Network and other lifestyle channels, is offering a service that lets people make restaurant reservations online.

The move pits the company against OpenTable, which has offered a similar service since 1998.

It is already operating on a small scale in Washington and Philadelphia. So far, the service has signed up only about 130 restaurants, but ...

The new service will offer lower prices for restaurants, charging the restaurants $0.75 per reservation, and $175 to $200 a month for its table management feature.

This is in contrast to OpenTable's $200 to $700 enrollment fee, $1 per reservation fee, and a monthly $199. Pretty steep.

Prom Spending Rises to $1,078 This Year

Prom is the new wedding, and spending on the springtime high school dance is climbing within reach of celebrations of holy matrimony.

This year, families with teens are expected to spend an average of $1,078 on prom, up from $807 last year.

Spending has been driven to never-before-seen levels as teens are influenced by everything from celebrities and reality TV to the prevalence of social media.

Parents in one of the lowest income brackets (between $20,000 and $29,999 a year) will spend more than $2,600, twice the national average, while families in high income brackets plan to spend between $700 and $1,000.

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