Hertz and Enterprise, two of the world’s largest car rental companies, have both tried to win the hearts of environmentalists by offering customers all-electric vehicles.
Now both companies are going even greener by launching car-washing systems that use less water to keep their rentals looking new.
Hertz has begun to use a biodegradable spray solution that is wiped off with microfiber towels at 220 locations across the country. Next year, Hertz hopes to expand the program to all 3,700 locations in the U.S. and Europe, which it says will more than 130 million gallons of water annually.
Not to be outdone, Enterprise is expanding to its rental outlets in Hawaii and California a nontoxic washing system that is now only used in some New York and Boston locations. The system uses a highly concentrated cleaning solution that is also sprayed on the cars, reducing its carbon footprint by 95%, compared to traditional car-washing methods, according to the manufacturer.
More than 70 passengers on a US Airways Express plane were recently surprised to see police and paramedics board the jet in Phoenix and announce that a fellow flier might have tuberculosis, a contagious airborne disease.
Further tests by the Maricopa County Public Health Department in Phoenix determined a few days later that the passenger was not infected with TB.
But don’t fret. It is extremely rare for a passenger with a highly contagious disease to board a commercial plane, according to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Local health officials alert the CDC about people with highly contagious diseases and the center notifies the Transportation Security Administration, which adds those names to a “Do Not Board” list. It is similar to the “No Fly” list used to keep potential terrorists off of commercial jets.
The US Airways Express passenger was apparently added to the “Do Not Board” list after he had boarded the plane....
The Federal Housing Administration is reducing the maximum size of the mortgages it will back, a step already taken by housing finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
As of Jan. 1, the limits for FHA-insured loans in the nation's most expensive areas will be $625,500 for a single-unit dwelling, down from $729,500, except for certain parts of Hawaii, where the caps will be $657,800 to $721,050.
The FHA historically provided insurance on smaller loans so first-time borrowers and people with modest incomes could get mortgages. Its role changed and Congress increased the limits in 2008 during the financial crisis, when home loans not backed by the government dried up.
More recently, banks have been eager to write jumbo mortgages for well-heeled borrowers without government support.
“Implementing lower loan limits is an important and appropriate step as private capital returns to portions of the market,” FHA Commissioner Carol Galante said in announcing the change. The...
The Navy has launched a drone from a submerged submarine, a feat that could prove valuable in providing intelligence and reconnaissance capabilities for military special operations for decades to come.
The small drone was fired from the Providence submarine's torpedo tube, where it unfolded its wings, took off and flew a “several hour” mission demonstrating live video capabilities streamed back to the sub, the Navy said.
The project, which took $15 million and about six years to accomplish, was carried out by the Naval Research Laboratory. It took place at the Navy's Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center in the Bahamas.
"This six-year effort represents the best in collaboration of a Navy laboratory and industry to produce a technology that meets the needs of the special operations community," Warren Schultz, program developer and manager with the Naval Research Laboratory, said in a statement. "The creativity and resourcefulness brought to this project by a unique...
NEW YORK -- The Dow Jones industrial average surged nearly 200 points Friday after the U.S. Labor Department reported the economy gained 203,000 new jobs in November, beating expectations.
The Dow added 198.69 points, or 1.3%, closing at 16,020.20. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 20.06, or 1.1%, to 1,805.09. The tech-focused Nasdaq composite index rose 29.36, or 0.7%, to 4,062.52.
Investors brushed aside worry that an improving labor market might push the Federal Reserve to ease off its monetary stimulus sooner rather than later.
The Fed's program has helped fuel this year's stock rally, which has lifted the Dow 22% as of Friday afternoon.
“The Street is waking up to the fact that good news really is good news, not bad news," said Alan Whitman, managing director at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management in Pasadena. “It means the economy is able to carry itself on its own, and that’s really what we want.”
A 19-story-tall rocket launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base late Thursday night, carrying a secret payload for the U.S. government.
An Atlas V rocket blasted off from Space Launch Complex 3 at 11:15 p.m. PST, lighting up the night sky as it roared into orbit.
The mission was carried out by United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of aerospace giants Lockheed Martin Corp. and Boeing Co., for the National Reconnaissance Office.
The government agency operates the nation's system of spy satellites. As usual, it has not disclosed any information about the mission, called NROL-39.
United Launch said that 12 small spacecraft, called CubeSats, were also sent up as part of the mission.
The Army disclosed Friday that it developed four of the nanosatellites, which will remain on orbit for “several years” supporting experiments before burning up in the Earth's atmosphere. The spacecraft represents the first U.S. Army-designed and -built satellites in more than 50 years, it said.
Consumer confidence unexpectedly rebounded in December to a five-month high after slumping in recent months partly due to the partial government shutdown, according to a Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary reading.
The widely watched gauge of consumer sentiment reached 82.5, up from a November reading of 75.1 The boost is likely to be welcomed by retailers, who have reported weak holiday sales compared with last year.
On Thursday, data firm Retail Metrics reported that same-store retail sales -- excluding figures from the Gap and Zumiez chains -- rose an anemic 1.9% last month, missing expectations for a 3% year-over-year increase.
November's weak sales disappointed retailers who had gone all-out in their efforts to lure consumers. They offered steep discounts, opened on Thanksgiving Day and some even offered price-matching policies over the Black Friday weekend.
Consumer sentiment has likely improved because of the...
Solar and wind farms scored a victory Friday when the Interior Department announced an extension of permits which allow renewable energy projects to accidentally kill or injure bald eagles without penalty.
Renewable energy companies will now be able to obtain permits good for up to 30 years, a sharp jump from the previous five-year maximum.
In a statement, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said the permitting change will "help the renewable energy industry and others develop projects that can operate in a longer term, while ensuring bald and golden eagles continue to thrive."
Despite a downgrade to its credit rating, Australia's national airline said it remains financially strong and continues with "business as usual."
The Qantas Group issued the statement Friday, one day after Standard & Poor's dropped the credit rating for Qantas Airways to below investment grade, from BBB-/A-3 to BB+/B.
S&P said the downgrade came in response to intense competition from Virgin Australia, which has raised Qantas' financial risk profile from "intermediate" to "significant."
Qantas Group Chief Financial Officer Gareth Evans said the downgrade was not a surprise but added that the airline has a cash balance of $2.8 billion and has launched a $2-billion cost cutting plan over the next three years.
“It remains business as usual across the Qantas Group," he said in a statement.
But part of the airline's cost-cutting efforts include eliminating 1,000 jobs over the next 12 months, the airline announced Wednesday.
The airline has accused Virgin Australia of using foreign...
Bank of America Merrill Lynch's head of currency research says that bitcoin, the unregulated digital currency, may emerge as a serious competitor to traditional money-transfer providers, and he has identified a fair value for the burgeoning currency.
In a note to clients Thursday, David Woo, the bank's head of global rates and currencies research, said bitcoin could become a major means of payment for e-commerce, and that it has "clear potential for growth."
Woo said that bitcoin's fair value -- assuming it becomes a major player in e-commerce and gains a significant store of value similar to that of silver -- is $1,300.
In a rare case, a California judge has ordered a South Pasadena plastic surgeon to spend five days in jail and pay $562,500 in penalties for improper billing of emergency-room patients.
California healthcare regulators said they sued Jeannette Martello in 2011 to stop her from illegally billing insured patients for emergency-room care. Officials said Martello collected or tried to collect more from patients beyond the discounted rates their insurance companies had already paid, a practice known as balance billing.
Martello aggressively pursued payment from patients by filing numerous lawsuits and taking out liens on their homes.
"The court's ruling will finally put an end to Dr. Martello's illegal attempts to make patients pay her money they don't owe," said Shelley Rouillard, director of California's Department of Managed Health Care.
[Updated 2:45 p.m. PST Dec. 6:Martello has appealed the jail sentence, and may also appeal the rest of the court ruling, according to her attorney,...
WASHINGTON -- Big gains in factory and construction jobs last month have experts optimistic that the labor market is starting to produce enough higher-paying jobs to fuel stronger economic growth.
"It's not just the quantity of the jobs but the quality," Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial, said of Friday's Labor Department report of a surprisingly strong 203,000 net new jobs added in November.
Of those hires, manufacturers accounted for 27,000, the most since March 2012 and a sharp increase from October's 16,000 new jobs.