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Once-exempt vehicles have new fuel standards

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Fire trucks and concrete mixers, semis, heavy-duty pickups and all trucks in between will, for the first time, have to trim fuel consumption and emissions of heat-trapping gases under new efficiency standards announced Tuesday by President Obama.

The White House said the standards will save businesses billions of dollars in fuel costs, help reduce oil consumption and cut air pollution. The standards apply to vehicle model years 2014 to 2018.

Three categories of vehicles are affected. Big rigs or semis will have to slash fuel consumption and production of heat-trapping gases by up to 23 percent. Gasoline-powered heavy-duty pickups and vans will have to cut consumption by 10 percent, or by 15 percent if the vehicles run on diesel fuel.

The standards also prescribe a 9 percent reduction in fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions for work trucks, which include everything from fire trucks and concrete mixers to garbage trucks and buses.


Apple briefly leads Exxon

NEW YORK (AP) -- Apple briefly surpassed Exxon Mobil on Tuesday as the nation's most valuable company.

The iPhone and iPad maker had the lead for much of the afternoon before its stock closed just behind Exxon's. The two companies are so close that Apple is likely to regain and keep the top spot soon.

Apple Inc.'s stock gained 5.9 percent to $374.01 on Tuesday, bringing its market capitalization to about $347 billion.

Exxon Mobil Corp.'s stock, meanwhile, closed up 2.1 percent at $71.64. That gives the oil company a market cap of $348 billion. Its stock was down earlier in the day, allowing Apple to take the lead.


Schumer aids N.Y. wineries

ROCHESTER (AP) -- Sen. Charles E. Schumer says the federal government is taking an important step to simplify the process of approving labels for New York wines.

Schumer has been pressing the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau this summer to clear up a labeling logjam. Dozens of New York's 300-plus wineries say getting approval for new labels is sometimes taking months instead of days.

Schumer said Tuesday the agency has agreed to immediately begin approving template labels for custom winemakers. Wineries have complained they need approval each time they make small changes to artwork or names on labels designed for special events like weddings or birthdays.

Over the last decade, the agency says its staff has been reduced by budget cutbacks while label-approval applications from wineries nationwide have almost doubled.


Worker productivity down

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. workers were less productive in the spring for the second quarter in a row, a trend that may not bode well for future hiring.

Productivity dropped 0.3 percent in the April-June quarter, following a decline of 0.6 percent in the first three months of the year, the Labor Department said Tuesday. It was the first back-to-back decline in productivity since the second half of 2008.

The drop in productivity helped push unit labor costs up 2.2 percent. That follows a 4.8 percent rise in labor costs in the first three months of this year, the biggest increase since the last three months of 2008.


Bush splits into 2 divisions

Bush Industries has split into two operating divisions, one for the retail furniture market and the other for commercial furniture, the Jamestown-based company said Tuesday.

Bush Furniture will focus on the company's retail and e-commerce markets, while bbf (Bush Business Furniture) will concentrate on its commercial furniture market.

Jim Sherbert, Bush Industries chief executive officer, will oversee both divisions. Patrick Theimer, who has been Bush Industries' executive vice president of marketing and e-commerce for the past two years, has been named president of Bush Furniture. Jim Garde, who has been Bush Industries' chief financial officer and executive vice president since 2006, will be president of bbf.

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