[cnn-photo-caption image="http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/TECH/biztech/10/01/volt.car.nascar/art.volt.cnn.jpg" caption="GM reveals its first electric car, the Chevy Volt."]
CNN Financial News Producer
General Motor' says its Chevrolet Volt, the electric-drive car that's expected to go on sale in late 2010, is projected to get an estimated 230 miles per gallon in city driving.
That exceptionally-high government mileage rating could give the Volt a major boost. For the first time, car buyers will easily be able to compare electric cars with ordinary gas-powered cars.
"Having a car that gets triple-digit fuel economy can and will be a game changer for us," GM CEO Fritz Henderson said this morning at a press conference showing off the ‘Volt.’
Determining fuel economy for what is primarily an electric car is a tricky matter, and General Motors has been working with the Environmental Protection Agency for years on the issue.
Basically, you will be able to drive the Volt for about 40 miles using its lithium-ion batteries. For those driving less than that, gas mileage is essentially unlimited. It is only after 40 miles that the Volt will start using gasoline.
Stocks struggle ahead of Fed announcement
Stocks on Wall Street opened to the downside and kept sliding as the Federal Reserve's two-day policy meeting got underway today.
The central bank is widely expected to hold rates steady at historic lows near zero. In its closely scrutinized statement, policymakers are expected to say that economic activity is picking up, but that they remain cautious about the outlook. The Fed is not expected to say anything too specific about what its exit strategy may be after putting so much stimulus money into the financial system.
The Fed’s announcement is due around 2:15 p.m. Wednesday.
‘Toxic assets’ still a threat to recovery
The economy may show signs of life, but so-called “toxic assets” are still a major threat to any recovery, a bailout watchdog group warned today.
If the economy worsens and unemployment rises further, the troubled assets on bank balance sheets could lose even more value, according to the Congressional Oversight Panel, which keeps tabs on the $700 billion bailout of the financial sector.
The report reminds Congress that the bailout was initially pitched to help deal with troubled assets, hence the name: Troubled Asset Relief Program. Yet the TARP program has not relieved banks of their troubled loans.
The bailout money has instead been used to help banks boost their capital to withstand future losses. Capital injections help ease pressure and potentially free up money for lending - but the “toxic assets” are still festering.
Productivity jumps 6.4%
A new report shows employers are trying to get as much as they can out of workers these days, a move that could pave the way for better growth down the road.
Worker productivity rose 6.4% during the second quarter at its fastest rate in six years. But it doesn't mean more goods were produced. Instead, the gains came because employers are cutting jobs and hours faster than output is declining.
Labor costs are often a company’s biggest expense. But last quarter, labor costs plunged at the fastest pace in nine ears.
Gas prices shift into reverse
After 20 straight days of increases that drove price higher by nearly 19 cents, gas prices dropped by 2-tenths of a cent to $2.643.
The average price of a gallon of gas is now down $1.471 - or 35.7% - from the record high price of $4.114 that AAA reported on July 17, 2008.
The highest gas prices are in Hawaii ($3.197). The cheapest are in South Carolina ($2.424).
Bank overdraft fees to total $38.5 billion
Banks will collect a record $38.5 billion in overdraft fees this year, with nearly all the revenue paid by just 10% of customers, according to a research report released Monday.
The windfall is nearly double the $19.9 billion collected in 2000 as overdraft fees drift higher despite the recession, said Mike Moebs, CEO of research company Moebs Services.
The national median overdraft fee rose to $26 from $25 in 2008, while larger Wall Street banks charge a median of $35, Moebs said.
Follow the money… on Twitter: @AndrewTorganCNN
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
Questions or comments? Send an email
Want to know more? Go behind the scenes with