GAS

Prices at pump stay low

U.S. travelers are being treated to bargains at the gasoline pump this Thanksgiving weekend. Prices are at their lowest level for the holiday since the financial crisis of 2008 despite heightened tensions in the Middle East and a spate of terrorist attacks that would normally lead to higher prices.

On Thanksgiving, the national average for regular gasoline was $2.05 a gallon, 6 cents lower than a week ago, and 76 cents lower than last year, according to the AAA motor club.

AAA expects that nearly 42 million Americans will take road trips through the weekend.

The price of gasoline has tumbled for weeks.

The biggest declines were in Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Minnesota as several Midwestern refineries, particularly Exxon Mobil’s plant in Joliet, Ill., finished their seasonal maintenance.

About 60 percent of the nation’s gas stations are selling gasoline for less than $2 a gallon, according to Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis at the Oil Price Information Service, and with 75 percent of all sales nationwide below the $2 mark.

As the average driver consumes more than 60 gallons a month, most drivers will save $40 to $60 between Black Friday and Christmas, compared with last year, Kloza estimated, and up to $75 from the holiday season of 2013.

STOCK MARKET

Market ends week with gain

Stocks finished mostly higher Friday as they wrapped up a quiet week of trading.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fluctuated early on, but managed to eke out a small gain as telecommunications and financial stocks rose.

Disney dragged down the Dow Jones industrial average after the company said ESPN lost 3 million subscribers in the last year.

Oil prices slumped, dragging down energy stocks.

The Dow fell 14.90 points, or 0.1 percent, to 17,798.49. The S&P 500 picked up 1.24 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 2,090.11.

The Nasdaq composite index added 11.38 points, or 0.2 percent, to 5,127.52.

U.S. markets were closed Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday, and closed at 1 p.m. on Friday.

Stocks didn’t have much momentum in a week of light trading.

The market made its biggest weekly gain of 2015 last week, but this week the Dow fell 0.1 percent and the S&P 500 rose less than 0.1 percent.

ENERGY

Israel plans Abu Dhabi office

Israel “soon” will open an office focused on renewable energy in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates — even though the two nations have no diplomatic relations, an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman said Friday.

If opened, the office would be the first formal Israeli presence on the Arabian Peninsula in years and would come despite decades of hostility between it and its Arab neighbors.

Where that office space will be in the capital remains up in the air, the Abu Dhabi-based International Renewable Energy Agency said, though it confirmed Israel has the right under its charter as a member to work there.

The Emirati government declined to immediately comment and its state-run news agency did not report on the news.

ALTERNATIVE FUEL

Diesel fuel from weed

Three decades ago, a University of Nevada researcher who secured one of the first Energy Department grants to study the potential to turn plants into biofuels became convinced that a weed — curly top gumweed — was growing along the road to the future.

Now, scientists who’ve been cultivating the weed on the Reno campus think they’re on the verge of producing diesel fuel from the sticky cousin of the sunflower that’s found along highways in Nevada’s high desert.

Glenn Miller, an environmental sciences professor, is leading the project in the second year of a four-year $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

He says gumweed requires only about one-fifth as much water to grow as alfalfa. And it doesn’t compete for acreage with animal feed or food crops such as corn and soybeans used to make ethanol in the Midwest.