Coffee costs 40 percent more than a year ago

People are paying more to fuel up these days — on coffee.

Coffee price increases have outpaced even the hike in gasoline prices the past year. A 1-pound can of ground coffee sold for $5.10 in April, up 40 percent from $3.64 the year before, according to the Department of Labor. By comparison, a gallon of regular gasoline cost $3.83 on average on Tuesday, up 37 percent from a year earlier.

And while fuel prices are expected to stabilize, coffee increases could continue for some time because the prices that coffee companies pay for unroasted beans are still climbing fast. Coffee futures were trading for $2.61 per pound Tuesday, roughly double a year earlier.

J.M. Smucker Co., the maker of grocery store stalwart Folgers and of packaged varieties of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, said Tuesday that it is raising prices of most of its U.S. coffee products by 11 percent, its fourth increase in a year. Kraft Foods Inc., Peet’s Coffee and Tea Inc., and Starbucks Corp. also recently raised their prices for brewed and packaged coffee.

Court OKs Bank of America overdraft settlement

A Florida court has given preliminary approval to Bank of America Corp.’s $410 million settlement of a federal lawsuit accusing the bank of charging excessive overdraft fees.

The Charlotte, N.C.-based bank will place $410 million in an escrow account that will be divided among 1 million customers who were charged the high fees. According to a court filing Monday, the Southern District Court of Florida granted preliminary approval for the settlement. A hearing has been set for Nov. 7 for final approval.

The bank had reached the settlement in February.

In the lawsuit, consumers alleged the bank processed its debit card and check payments in a way that caused more overdrafts. Customers pay overdraft fees when they spend more money than they have in their accounts.

Debt-laden tax preparer files for bankruptcy

Jackson Hewitt said Tuesday that it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection under the weight of heavy debt.

The nation’s second-largest tax preparer said its lenders agreed to a restructuring plan to lower debt and interest expense. It filed the prepackaged plan with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware for court approval. Under the plan, Jackson Hewitt’s secured lenders will receive their pro rata share of a new $100 million term loan and all of the stock in the reorganized company.

Shareholders and unsecured lenders won’t receive anything.

Jackson Hewitt expects the plan to be implemented in 45 to 60 days. It will operate normally and prepare for the 2012 tax season until then. The Parsippany, N.J., company doesn’t expect customers, franchisees or employees to be affected.

Yahoo announces facelift for popular email service

Yahoo’s popular email service is getting a long-promised facelift. It’s part of the Internet company’s attempt to appeal to people who are increasingly using Facebook, Twitter, Google and other online alternatives to communicate.

The changes announced Tuesday build upon a redesigned email format that Yahoo Inc. began testing last October. The estimated 277 million users of Yahoo’s free email will be switched to the new version during the next few weeks.

The overhaul will enable updates to Facebook and Twitter accounts to be posted from within Yahoo’s email boxes. The revamped service is supposed to be two times faster and capable of sending attachments of up to 100 megabytes.

Other tools include better junk-mail controls and the ability to chat with friends and family logged into Facebook.