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from Global Investing:

Is it time for a Scottish wealth fund?

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Oxford SWF Project, a university think tank on sovereign wealth funds, is looking at reports that the latest entry in the field could be Scotland. The project has a new post about the Scottish government floating the idea of an oil stabilisation fund to use oil and gas revenues.  It cites Scottish cabinet secretary for finance John Swinney looking abroad gleefully:

“We want to harness the benefit of oil revenues now for future years. An oil fund can provide greater stability, protect our economy and support the transition to a low carbon economy. Norway’s oil fund is worth over £200 billion – despite the first instalment being made as recently as the mid 1990s – and Alaska’s oil fund even gives money back to its citizens every year.”

The SWF project reckons the idea is a good one, but wonders if something other than meets the eye is at play. It had two questions.

First, it wonders whether the plan might just be a political rebuke for the UK government from the ruling (and separatist) Scottish National Party over a perceived lack of savings over the years.  Second, it notes that the UK government floated the idea of a strategic investments fund back in April and questions whether "the Scottish SWF reflects a ‘whatever they have, we should have’ mentality".

How will the record OPEC supply cut affect consumers?

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The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed on Wednesday to make its deepest output cut ever to counter slumping demand and falling oil prices.  The output cut has been received with cautious optimism by analysts.

Some say that the price of oil will fall further, while others say $40 a barrel was the lowest it will go. “If you look at the market, prices are going up immediately,” said Frank Schallenberger, head of commodity research at Landesbank. “I really think this is the end of a bear market. $40 was the bottom.”

Fill ‘er up: Cheap gas

With oil plunging to record lows, and the average retail price for gas sinking to less than $2, will Americans rekindle their love affair with trucks and SUVs?

Falling gasoline prices are putting extra money in the pockets of consumers, but there is also some concern that drivers may return to their gas-guzzling vehicles.

Are you taking advantage of cheaper gas prices? Could this be the second coming of gas-guzzling vehicles, or is this simply a brief reprieve? Share you cheap gas strategies.

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign

Road signs are seen in Kokomo, Indiana May 6, 2008.It’s become a truism that Americans are driving less due to high fuel prices. Here are five signs that signal a decline in demand:

1. Drop in volume: The fall in U.S. oil demand in the first half of 2008 was the biggest in 26 years, according to the EIA.

To dig or not to dig? The crude question

President Bush is urging Congress to end a decades-old ban on offshore oil drilling in response to consumer anxiety over record-high gas prices.

“Every American who drives to work, purchases food or ships a product has felt the effect. And families across our country are looking to Washington for a response,” Bush said.

Vacation plans dropped on fuel

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Americans in dire need of a break are canceling their vacation plans — from air travel to road trips — because of soaring fuel prices.

 

In a Reuters/Zogby poll, nearly 39 percent of Americans surveyed said they were reconsidering their vacation plans due to record-high oil prices.

Who wants a 4-day work week?

A man fills his truck up with gas at a gas station in Santa Monica, California, May 28, 2008.A surge in gasoline prices is forcing many to rethink their daily commute to work.

Some private employers as well as local governments are offering a four-day week as a perk that eliminates two commutes a week. In the automaking heartland, the shorter workweek offers employers a way of rewarding employees when the budget does not allow a salary increase.

Stepping on the brakes and getting on the bus

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Driver reacts after filling up at a gas station.More Americans are leaving their cars at home and jumping on buses, trains and trolleys as retail gasoline prices approach $4 per gallon, the American Public Transportation Association said in a report.

“There’s no doubt that the high gas prices are motivating people to change their travel behavior,” APTA president William W. Millar said. (For the full story, click here.)

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