Biz bits

Augusta team studies Little Rock's trolleys


A four-person team studying the feasibility of a light rail system in downtown Augusta spent Tuesday in Little Rock, Ark., as part of its effort to complete the study, getting answers to questions on operations, construction and political challenges.

The team consists of Margaret Woodard, executive director of the Downtown Development Authority of Augusta; Juriah Lewis, transit planner for Richmond County's planning commission; Steve Cassell, city traffic engineer; and Brian Plascik, transportation planner for URS Corp.

Their findings will be included in the study. URS Corp., which was hired by the authority to do the study, should have the feasibility determined by August. The team returns to Augusta today.

Gas prices rise even as crude's slide continues

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. --- Retail gas prices rose for the 49th straight day Tuesday even though crude fell yet again.

The national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline gained a half cent overnight to $2.674, according to auto club AAA, Wright Express and the Oil Price Information Service, surpassing a stretch in early 2007 when prices moved up 48 straight days.

In late April, when this streak began, a gallon of gas cost only $2.05.

Even during strong gasoline rallies in 2007 and 2008, prices tended to back off after gains of 20 cents to 40 cents per gallon, said Fred Rozell, OPIS' retail director. "This is unprecedented," he said.

Best Buy gains market share, but profits fall

NEW YORK --- Best Buy Co. Inc. said Tuesday that it gained market share in the first quarter, particularly in TVs, computers and mobile phones, even as its profit fell 15 percent. The results beat Wall Street expectations, and the nation's largest consumer electronics seller maintained its annual profit outlook.

Best Buy's shares fell $2.82, or more than 7 percent, to $35.84 in late trading amid uncertainty about consumer spending.