GM Could Make Huge Payments to Crash Victims

(Image Credit: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

Morning Money Memo:

General Motors today plans to announce its compensation plan, paying victims of crashes caused by bad ignition switches. CEO Mary Barra has said there won't be any cap on payments. The decision on how much to pay claimants is being made by compensation expert Kenneth Feinberg. GM says the faulty switches are responsible for at least 54 crashes and more than 13 deaths, but lawyers and lawmakers say the death toll is closer to 100. Feinberg's payments could go into the hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions.

This year has been a record year for auto-safety recalls. But many recalled cars are not repaired by used car dealers before they are sold to consumers. "It's critical if there's an air bag issue that it be addressed in your car," executive market analyst Jack Nerad of Kelley Blue Book says. "It's important that if your car has been recalled for you to know it and then do something about it." Under current law, consumers, not dealers, have responsibility for responding to recalls. "The first thing people should do is either check sites like ours, or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration site," he adds.

Are you planning a summer road trip? Be prepared for sticker shock at the pump. The price of gas is heating up as summer kicks into high gear. This will be the most expensive July 4th holiday since 2008. Gas prices in some of the most populous states are close to or above $4. Earlier this year most industry analysts had forecast lower gas prices for this summer. The calculations were upset by the growing war in Iraq and instability elsewhere in the oil-rich Middle East.

Online-streaming service Aereo is closing down its operation for now, a few days after it was dealt a devastating defeat by the Supreme Court. "We have decided to pause our operations temporarily as we consult with the court and map out our next steps," Aereo said in a letter to customers posted on its website. The Supreme Court dealt Aereo a major setback Wednesday in ruling that the television-over-the-Internet service operates much like a cable TV company. As a result, the service violates copyright law unless Aereo pays broadcasters licensing fees for offering TV stations.

"Transformers: Age of Extinction" is ruling the box office. The fourth installment of filmmaker Michael Bay's morphing robots series earned $100 million in its opening weekend, making it the biggest debut for a movie in 2014, according to studio estimates. The Paramount film also earned $201.3 million from 37 international territories. "Transformers" stars Mark Wahlberg and Nicola Peltz as a human father and daughter who aid the transforming robots from the Hasbro toy franchise. "Transformers: Dark of the Moon," the previous installment in the series, took in $97.8 million during its opening weekend in 2011.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio Twitter: daviesnow

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