More Gas Price Hikes Ahead

Morning Business Memo…

More pain at the pump may be ahead for motorists at the peak of the summer driving season. The US Energy Department says average prices for regular unleaded jumped 15 cents a gallon in the past week. That's 21 cents more than this time last year. The price spike has been caused by a significant decline in crude oil inventory "as well as the situation in Egypt that is likely stoking tensions and fears of supply disruption from that region," says Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for Crude oil prices have increased about 10 percent in the past month, and gas costs "still have some more catching up to do," he says. But the trend may be temporary. "I do expect prices will calm down," DeHaan tells ABC News Radio.

Car sales in Europe have fallen to a 20-year low. The slump is a further indication of how the European recession has depressed sales of US companies overseas. Ford's European division is forecasting a loss of about $2 billion for 2013, says Bloomberg News. GM's European sales last month fell nearly 10 percent.

Have rising mortgage rates put the brakes on the housing recovery? We'll get the first indication this morning when the National Association of Home Builders releases its latest monthly survey. Industry confidence rose this spring to the highest level since before the housing bust. Thirty-year mortgage rates have risen about 1 percentage point since touching record lows in February.

Yahoo has won a court fight that could help the public learn more about the government's efforts to obtain data from Internet users. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which reviews government requests to spy on individuals, ruled that information should be made public about a 2008 case that ordered Yahoo Inc. to turn over customer data. The order requires the government to review which portions of the opinion, briefs and arguments can be declassified and report back to the court by July 29.

European soccer club Real Madrid can add one more trophy to its case: It is now the world's most valuable sports franchise, worth $3.3 billion, according to Forbes. Manchester United is in second place and Barcelona completes a sweep of the top three by Europe. The New York Yankees are in fourth place. NFL teams have the largest social media followings among US fans, but football can't touch soccer on the global stage. According to Forbes, the NFL's 30 most valuable teams "have 60 million Facebook fans and Twitter followers combined." Spanish soccer powerhouse Barcelona has 61 million all by itself.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio Twitter: daviesabc

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