Business news briefs: Local gas prices drop 4.2 cents

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Local gas prices drop 4.2 cents

Retail gasoline prices in Pittsburgh have fallen an average 4.2 cents per gallon in the past week to an average price of $3.58 per gallon. The national average gas price has fallen 3.7 cents to an average $3.39 per gallon, according to GasBuddy.com. Pittsburgh gas prices are 2.19 cents per gallon higher than this time last year, but 10.9 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average gasoline price has fallen 11.3 cents during the last month and stands 10 cents higher than a year ago.

U.S. Steel subsidiary partners in Texas venture

U.S. Steel said its tubular products unit is a 50-50 partner in a venture that will provide threaded pipe and other services to energy companies in the Permian Basin region of Texas. The Pittsburgh company's partner in Patriot Premium Threading Services of Midland, Texas, is Butch Gilliam Enterprises, also of Midland.

Independent group of specialists to join UPMC

Metropolitan ENT Associates, an independent group of ear, nose and throat specialists who have been working out of UPMC Mercy and UPMC Passavant, will formally join UPMC on Jan. 1. James E. Blaugrund, Scott E. Celin, Steven R. Jones, Philip A. Pollice and Michael S. Srodes will continue to see patients at their five clinical locations at UPMC Mercy in Uptown Pittsburgh; the UPMC Passavant Professional Building in McCandless; 969 Greentree Road in Green Tree; 6001 Stonewood Drive in Wexford; and 4190 Brownsville Road in Brentwood.

First Commonwealth adds to board of directors

Indiana, Pa.-based First Commonwealth Financial appointed Jon L. Gorney to its board of directors. Mr. Gorney retired as executive vice president at PNC Financial Services Group in 2010. Before that, he was with National City Corp.

WesBanco completes Fidelity Bancorp acquisition

WesBanco Inc., based in Wheeling, W.Va., has completed the previously announced acquisition of Fidelity Bancorp in West View and added Fidelity CEO Richard G. Spencer to the WesBanco board. Fidelity's branches are slated to come under the WesBanco banner in mid-February when the account conversion is expected to be completed.

Better economy, storm delays lift U.S. auto sales

A better economy and extra demand after Superstorm Sandy lifted U.S. auto sales last month. Carmakers from Chrysler to Volkswagen reported brisk demand in November, and said sales rose on everything from small SUVs to sedans. Sales, when calculated on an annual basis, are likely to be 15 million or more, the highest rate since March 2008, according to LMC Automotive, a Detroit-area industry consulting firm. Toyota said Monday its November sales rose 17 percent, while Volkswagen sales leaped 35 percent. Nissan sales climbed 13 percent. Hyundai saw sales increase 8 percent. Among Detroit's automakers, Chrysler saw the highest percentage increase -- up 14 percent from November 2011. Ford's sales increased 6.5 percent. GM reported just a 3 percent rise, and its top-selling brand, Chevrolet reported flat sales.

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