Money in a Minute: Headlines for April 12, 2011

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In today's news: A Republican budget-cutting plan is criticized by another Republican, gas consumption drops as gas prices climb, Amazon will sell a cheaper Kindle - with a catch - Nissan's electric cars need a jolt, and Wal-Mart cuts prices.

FEDERAL BUDGET: Senate Republican Chambliss says Ryan’s budget proposal won’t work

Republican Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee and author of a budget-cutting plan that’s gotten a lot of attention lately, has a new critic – a Republican senator. “Saxby Chambliss said the House’s 2012 budget proposal put together by fellow Republican Paul Ryan won’t work because it relies too heavily on spending cuts and doesn’t raise tax revenue to help cut the deficit,” Bloomberg reports.

FUEL PRICES: Drivers start to cut back on gas as prices rise

Gas prices are way up, and not surprisingly, gas sales are way down. “With the price of gas above $3.50 a gallon in all but one state, there are signs that Americans are cutting back on driving, reversing a steady increase in demand for fuel as the economy improves,” the Associated Press reports. “Gas sales have fallen for five straight weeks, the first time that has happened since November.”

TECH: Amazon offers cheaper Kindle – with ads

Starting May 3, you can save $25 on the Kindle e-reader, but you’ll pay in other ways. “The Kindle’s ‘special offers’ and ads will appear on the e-reader’s screensaver and at the bottom of its home screen,” CNN reports. “Some of the discounts Amazon plans to offer in the initial weeks include a $20 Amazon gift card for $10.”  (See our story Why You Shouldn’t Buy an Amazon Kindle)

CARS: Nissan: Restart problems reported in Leaf electric cars

First there were Toyotas that wouldn’t stop. Now there are Nissan Leaf electric cars that won’t start. “Japan’s No.2 automaker said on Monday it was looking into the exact cause, which it traced back to the Leaf’s air-conditioning unit,” MSNBC reports. “Nissan plans no recall for now since the issue does not affect safety.”

SHOPPING: Wal-Mart plans ad campaign to woo back shoppers

Wal-Mart admitted yesterday that it has lost “customer confidence” for “having the lowest price.” So the massive discount chain is trying to reverse sales declines by lowering prices, starting next week. “Wal-Mart Stores is launching a national TV ad campaign Monday highlighting its renewed focus on low prices,” USA Today reports. “It has also been adding back thousands of products it had culled in an overzealous bid to clean up stores.”

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