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Gas prices plummet in July. Aren't they supposed to rise in summer?

The Christian Science Monitor -- Washington — Prices at the pump just keep dropping.

The average US gas price is now $3.52 per gallon, according to a Thursday report released by automotive group AAA, making current prices the lowest since March of this year. This July, US consumers saw a bigger drop in gas prices than in any July over the last six years. The price at the pump fell every day but one over the course of the month, according to AAA.

Gas prices generally rise in the summer months, as Americans hit the road and drive up demand for gas. The federal government also mandates that refineries produce a more costly, lower-emission blend of gas in the summer – and those increased costs are passed onto motorists.

Not so this year. A burgeoning supply of domestic crude oil is holding down gas prices at home, even...  (go to article)

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2016 XE Will Be The Most Fuel-Efficient Jaguar Ever Thanks To Aluminum Construction

Motor Authority -- Aluminum Construction
By Viknesh Vijayenthiran Viknesh Vijayenthiran
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Share on TwitterJaguar’s all-new 3-Series and C-Class fighter, the XE, is set for a reveal on September 8 but the British automaker simply can’t help itself from releasing a few details early. In addition to a teaser photo showing the car’s face, we’ve been given a look at its new aluminum internals, Ingenium range of four-cylinder engines and its suspension.

Now, Jaguar has released information on the car’s fuel economy, claiming that the new XE will be the most fuel-efficient model in the marque’s history. This is due in part to the car’s efficient Ingenium engines but primarily because of its aluminum-intensive lightweight...  (go to article)

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Marathon Petroleum says doubtful LOOP will export U.S. crude

Reuters -- Increased interest among some U.S. companies to export minimally processed very light domestic crude has not translated into solid plans to move oil out of the country's only port that can take deliveries from the largest tankers, Marathon Petroleum CEO Gary Heminger said on Thursday.

The Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP) in New Orleans, of which Marathon is a part owner, is built to take deliveries of up to 1.2 million barrels per day of imported crude, Heminger said.

Heminger said Marathon has considered the idea, but export volumes would not be high enough to justify the cost of making the LOOP's 48-inch pipeline bilateral, or able to move crude in or out. It also would not justify building a parallel export pipeline, the CEO said.

The LOOP offloads crude 20 miles off the coast of  (go to article)

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U.S. oil dives below $100 on Kansas refinery outage, equity drop

Reuters -- U.S. crude oil tumbled more than $2 on Thursday, going below $98 a barrel, hitting the lowest level since March on news of a potentially lengthy shutdown at a Kansas oil refinery, while Brent also slipped amid signs of robust OPEC oil production.

CVR Refining said its 115,000-barrel-per-day refinery in Coffeyville, Kansas might be shut for as long as four weeks after a fire in a gasoline-related unit on Tuesday. The refinery is a major consumer of benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude.

A lengthy shutdown of the Coffeyville refinery could temper demand for WTI crude. Traders say this should help rebuild inventories in the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub that have fallen this summer to six-year lows.

"If refinery runs pull back, we will see rebounds in crude stocks," said Phil Flynn,  (go to article)

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Crash tests show smaller cars don't fare well

WRBC -- (NBC News) - The Mini Cooper Countryman was only one of a dozen small cars to get a "Good" rating in the latest round of "small overlap front crash" tests from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The small overlap test replicates what happens when the front corner of a vehicle collides with another vehicle or an object at 40 miles an hour.
Seven of the 12 tested received "Acceptable" or "Marginal" ratings, while four others received a rating of "Poor", including the Fiat 500L, Nissan's Juke and their all-electric Leaf, as well as the Mazda 5.

The institute concluded they didn't provide enough protection to the occupants' compartment.

"The survival space wasn't well maintained and that means things were pushing ..................  (go to article)

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Researchers discover cool-burning flames in space that could lead to better engines here on earth

UCSanDiego -- A team of international researchers has discovered a new type of cool burning flames that could lead to cleaner, more efficient engines for cars. The discovery was made during a series of experiments on the International Space Station.
FTFA "...it could potentially lead to engines that burn fuel at cooler temperatures, emitting fewer pollutants such as soot and nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide, also known as NOx, while still being efficient."  (go to article)

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Latina teen invents device to prevent hot car deaths

Foxnews.com -- Go to URL to view video.  (go to article)

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Fracking spill dumps 480 barrels of HCL acid SW of Hennessey

Enid News and Eagle -- HENNESSEY — A fracking-related hydrochloric acid spill southwest of Hennessey is possibly the biggest of its kind in the state, according to an Oklahoma Corporation Commission spokesman.

Spokesman Matt Skinner said 480 barrels of hydrochloric (HCL) acid spilled Monday in rural Kingfisher County. A tank emptied out the acid, which is used in frack jobs.

“I’ve never heard of a spill this size occurring in relation to fracking materials,” Skinner said. “At the very least, this is very unusual. This might be the biggest one we’ve seen.”

Skinner said each barrel contains 42 gallons. That would total more than 20,000 gallons in the acid spill.  (go to article)

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Tesla Automotive beats the street for the quarter

CNBC -- Wall Street analysts were forecasting Tesla to post earnings, excluding items, of 4 cents per share on $811 million in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.
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GM missed red flag from rental car firms on fatal crashes

Auto News-Bloomberg -- More than seven years before General Motors Co. began the biggest wave of auto recalls in history, an investigator for Vanguard Car Rental USA Inc. contacted the carmaker about a fatal rollover crash in California.

A driver in a new Chevrolet Cobalt rented from Vanguard’s Alamo unit lost control on a warm, dry and clear day in September 2006. Traffic had been light, according to the police report. The sedan drifted across lanes, got caught in a gravel median and rolled over. The seat belt was buckled. The air bag didn’t deploy. The driver was killed.

A Vanguard claims adjuster wrote to GM and said even though the cause of the crash wasn’t immediately known, “due to the serious nature of this accident we feel that it is imperative that you open a claim...
 (go to article)

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GM, too, removes parts to weigh pickups, boost payload ratings

Automotive News -- General Motors now says it deletes heavy items such as the rear bumper from certain pickups when it weighs them in order to boost the vehicles’ maximum payload ratings.

GM says it adopted the practice for the 2014 model year in response to competitive pressures as it launched redesigned full-sized pickups.

The practice is similar to one adopted by Ford Motor Co. about four years ago to show a maximum payload that is larger than would be possible if the automaker used the standard base curb weight of a pickup.

Chrysler Group’s Ram brand uses only an unmodified base curb weight on the Ram pickup, as does Toyota Motor Corp. to set the payload of its Tundra pickup, spokesmen for those two pickup makers said.  (go to article)

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Tweet derails Cassidy DWI plea deal hearing

Associated Press -- A horse racing tweet prompted prosecutors to halt a court hearing at which a lawyer for seventies heartthrob David Cassidy was supposed to accept a plea deal on the singer's behalf.

Cassidy was charged last summer with driving while intoxicated in the town of Schodack, near Albany. Because he lives in Florida, prosecutors agreed to let his lawyer appear in court for him Wednesday.

But a tweet by the New York Racing Association said Cassidy was at Saratoga Race Course, 40 miles north of Schodack.
 (go to article)

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Senate Dems to House: Amended highway bill can be fixed

The Hill -- Senate Democrats said Wednesday that their amended version of a bill to save federal transportation funding could be fixed in time to beat a Friday deadline for Congress to reach an agreement.

Republicans in the House have argued that the Senate's changes to their nearly $11 billion bill to extend transportation funding until next spring would leave the measure about $2 billion short of the amount of money that is needed to refill the Department of Transporation's Highway Trust Fund until the end of the year.

Two of the primary authors of a Senate amendment that moved up the expiration date for the highway funding from May 2015 to December said Wednesday afternoon that the House could fix the error and still accept their version of the transportation funding extension.
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House jams Senate on highway funding

The Hill -- The House on Thursday will try to force the Senate to agree to its version of a $10.9 billion bill extending federal funding for highways and infrastructure projects.

Republicans in the House believe Democrats in the Senate will have little choice but to accept their version of the bill if it is sent back on Thursday afternoon, just before Congress is set to begin a five-week recess. The House plans to adjourn shortly after the vote.

At issue is how long transportation funding will be extended in the short term. Democrats want to deal with a longer-term fix during the lame-duck session after the November elections, while Republicans want to extend funding into next year and the next Congress — possibly one with a Republican Senate.
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HitchBot Update: After a day going back and forth, Canada’s hitchhiking robot makes surprising progr

National Post -- It was a busy day that covered a lot of territory for hitchBOT, the talking robot attempting to hitchhike its way across Canada to test just how kind people are

After Tue was lost — the robot travelled backward in NB (got a camping trip out of it) only to end up where it started — hitchBOT was driven 450mi Wed

After finally leaving Campbellton,NB it crossed into QC at 10AM and was photographed on Twitter wearing a pink backpack and its signature yellow boots at infocentre

The robot was later taken all the way through QC City

It believed the same person still had hitchBOT halfway between Montreal and Cornwall,ON

HitchBOT seems to be enjoying its trip, meeting new people

Drivers report having conversatiions with the robot, ranging from discussions on of love to belief in a higher power  (go to article)

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Huge Overnight Moves in Several Markets Push National Retail Average Higher

GasBuddy Blog -- After a 32-day streak of lower gas prices, the GasBuddy unleaded regular national average has climbed for two straight days, thanks to some double digit increases in a few Rust Belt cities, not a nationwide trend. Toledo, Ohio, for example saw an overnight gain of a whopping 22.2cts/gal, pushing gas prices there to $3.437/gal. Despite weaker U.S. spot markets for gasoline, the Toledo metropolitan area has seen another 2cts/gal of increases Thursday morning, perhaps proving that all gasoline prices, like politics, are local.According to GasBuddy, other metropolitan areas that now reflect double digit increases from Wednesday include:...  (go to article)

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esla seals landmark deal to mass-produce EV batteries in the US

Engadget International -- Tesla has signed a deal with Panasonic that'll see the pair team up to build the Gigafactory. It's from here that vehicle packs and cells will be mass-produced on an unprecedented scale that costs are expected to tumble. According to the announcement, Tesla will build the plant and maintain it, while Panasonic supplies the lithium cells, plant, machinery and manufacturing equipment to make the whole thing happen.  (go to article)

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Shell Profit up on Higher Oil Prices

ABC News -- Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Europe's largest oil company, says second quarter earnings rose on higher production and higher selling prices for oil, and fewer one-time charges.

Net profit was $5.31 billion, up from $1.74 billion in the same period a year earlier. Shell booked net one-time charges of $979 million in the quarter, down from $2.21 billion in the second quarter of 2013.

The Anglo-Dutch company produced 3.08 million barrels of oil and equivalents per day, only a fractional increase. But Shell said production of oil, which is more lucrative, was up 3 percent while natural gas production fell 8 percent.

The company said oil production has increased in Iraq and the Gulf of Mexico, offsetting declines at aging fields.
 (go to article)

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US oil shipment navigates around decades-old ban

CNBC --
The Overseas Santorini tanker sails under the Harbor Bridge into the Port of Corpus Christi in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Eddie Seal | Bloomberg | Getty Images
The Overseas Santorini tanker sails under the Harbor Bridge into the Port of Corpus Christi in Corpus Christi, Texas.

United States oil production has boomed in recent years, and now a loophole in a long-standing law has allowed the first export of unrefined American oil in decades.

A tanker left Texas for South Korea with a $40 million shipment of unrefined oil on Wednesday night in the first unrestricted export since the 1970s, The Wall Street Journal reported.  (go to article)

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Obama to Congress: Finish highway bill before recess Read more: http://thehill.com/policy/transpo

The Hill -- "We've got just today and tomorrow until Congress leaves town for a month, and we've still got some serious work to do," he said. "We've still got … to put people to work rebuilding roads and bridges. And the Highway Trust Fund is running out of money; we got to get that done."

The House has said that it prefers to extend transportation funding until next May to avoid efforts to increase the 18.4 cents-per-gallon gas tax that is normally used to pay for transportation projects.

The gas tax has been the traditional source of paying for transportation projects since the inception of the Interstate Highway System in the 1950's. The tax has not been increased since 1993, however, and it has struggled to keep pace with infrastructure expenses as cars have become more fuel efficient.
 (go to article)

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The rise of the connected car puts the Web behind the wheel

The Globe and Mail --
A new wave of technology is set to revolutionize the experience of drivers and passengers on road trips, errands and even the commute to work.

Vehicle manufacturers and technology companies are combining expertise to develop a more connected car–bringing Internet access and smartphone-like features into cars and trucks. Other companies, such as auto insurers and app developers, are also integrating in-car connectivity into their businesses.

This shift is expected to generate major profits in the coming years, with global revenues projected to reach $20-billion (U.S.) by 2018, according to a recent report from Juniper Research, a mobile and telecom analysis group.  (go to article)

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Consumers interested in driverless vehicles but concerned about safety

Detroit Free Press -- U.S. drivers are interested in owning driverless vehicles, but they aren’t necessarily willing to pay extra and they have serious concerns about the safety of autonomous cars, according to a new University of Michigan study.

The U-M Transportation Research Institute survey found that 68% of people believe completely driverless cars would result in fewer crashes, while 49% believe they would reduce traffic congestion.

But 67% also said that they would be moderately or very concerned about driving or riding in a totally driverless vehicle, compared to only 11% who were not concerned and 22% who were only slightly concerned.

The survey suggests that the auto industry faces an uphill battle in convincing consumers to embrace the idea of handing the steering wheel, accelerator and brakes  (go to article)

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Tesla signs battery plant deal with Panasonic

Detroit Free Press -- Tesla Motors solidified its deal with Panasonic to construct and operate a massive factory expected to produce battery cells and packs for the Silicon Valley automaker’s electric vehicles.

Tesla has agreed to build and manage the facility, while Panasonic has agreed fund the cost of manufacturing equipment, the companies said in a statement.

Panasonic will supply the cylindrical lithium-ion cells, while Tesla will manufacture the actual battery modules and packs that power its vehicles. Tesla already assembles its vehicles at a California factory formerly operated jointly by General Motors and Toyota.

The companies did not detail how they are splitting the costs for the so-called “gigafactory,” which is expected to cost up to $5 billion and employ 6,500 workers by 2020.
 (go to article)

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New sanctions for Russia—here's where they'll hurt

cnbc -- As pro-Russian militants intensify fighting in eastern Ukraine, the U.S. and European Union have stepped up an ongoing economic and trade war to pressure Moscow to back down.  (go to article)

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EPA hears pros, cons of new

Prairie Public News -- Hundreds of people gathered across the nation on Tuesday, in four different cities to give the Environmental Protection Agency a piece of their minds.

The subject: proposed new rules to cut carbon pollution from power plants 30 percent by 2030.

The rules, announced back in June, would be the biggest step taken by the US so far to combat the effects of climate change.

Public hearings are going on in Washington DC, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, and the only hearing in the West-- in Denver.  (go to article)

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Oil hangs near $106 on increased supply, low demand

Reuters -- Brent crude slipped below $106 a barrel on Thursday as higher OPEC output and disappointing demand in the United States outweighed tensions in the Middle East, Africa and Ukraine.  (go to article)

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Gas Prices Have Sharpest July Drop in 6 Years

24/7 Wall Street -- The average price of a gallon of gasoline fell by nearly $0.14 in July, from $3.753 at the beginning of the month to $3.617 at the end. Not since 2008 has the difference in price of a gallon of gas fallen that much. And in 2008, the month started at an average price of $4.165 before falling to $4.01 by the end.

In the past seven years, only 2008, 2009 and this year have seen average gasoline prices drop. In the other four years they gained from a little (about two cents a gallon in 2010) to a lot (nearly 19 cents in 2013).

Only two states — Hawaii and Alaska — now have gasoline prices that average more than $4 a gallon. Even California is enjoying a respite, with an average of $3.98 a gallon.  (go to article)

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Exxon Mobil restarts Pegasus pipeline in Texas

AP via Fuel Fix -- Exxon Mobil has restarted a section of its Pegasus pipeline in Texas more than a year after a crude oil spill in central Arkansas forced the company to shut down the entire line, a spokesman said.

The southern portions of the pipeline were restarted on July 9, ExxonMobil spokesman Aaron Styrk told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in an email. The Texas section includes a 205-mile segment between Corsicana and Beaumont and a 6-mile segment between Beaumont and Nederland.

The Pegasus pipeline ruptured in March 2013 in Mayflower’s Northwoods subdivision, sending an estimated 210,000 gallons of heavy crude into the neighborhood, drainage ditches and Lake Conway. Authorities have said the oil did not reach the main portion of the lake.

The federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Admini  (go to article)

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Kurdish Oil Mystery Deepens as Ship Unloads Cargo in South China Sea

IBT -- A tanker carrying Kurdish oil has unloaded part of its cargo in the South China Sea, although the identity of the buyer remains a mystery.

The United Emblem Tanker had left the Turkish port of Ceyhan in June, carrying up to 1 million barrels of crude oil produced in Iraqi Kurdistan and exported by the autonomous region's government without permission from Baghdad.

It is one of three tankers that were loaded and sailed from Ceyhan in June.

A second tanker, the United Kalavrvta, has been anchored off the Texas coast for days amid a protracted legal dispute between Iraq and Kurdistan over the autonomous region's right to sell oil on international markets.

A US judge rejected a request from Baghdad that the US seize the tanker, saying that it was anchored outside of American territorial...  (go to article)

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Car crashes into bee-infested abandoned house; St. Charles driver dies as rescuers hindered by swarm

MLive -- A St. Charles man died Wednesday, July 30, after his vehicle crashed into a vacant, bee-infested home in the village.

The 54-year-old man was driving west on Spruce Road at about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday when his vehicle continued straight at a curve just west of M-52, sending the vehicle crashing into an abandoned home at 216 W. Spruce, the Saginaw County Sheriff's office reports.

Saginaw County Sheriff Lt. Randy Pfau said the incident is still under investigation, but said preliminary findings suggest the crash was related to a medical emergency.

Pfau said people nearby saw the crash and rushed to help the driver, but were driven back by swarms of bees, released when the car struck the home.

"The house, we're being told, has not been occupied for many years," he said.  (go to article)

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Los Angeles Toddler Dies After Getting Trapped in Hot Car

The Weather Channel -- For the 19th time this year, a young child has died after getting trapped in a hot car, police say.

A 3-year-old boy was found unresponsive in the Los Angeles suburb of Sylmar Wednesday afternoon, authorities said. Police said the boy was playing in the yard of his family's home when he climbed into a car and couldn't get out.
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Why Local Gas Prices Are Skyrocketing

WLNS-TV -- 6 News reporter Emerald Morrow went out to find out more about what's behind the spike in gas prices we've seen across mid-Michigan.  (go to article)

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Exxon 2Q profit climbs 28 percent

Yahoo News - AP -- IRVING, Texas (AP) — Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) on Thursday reported net income that climbed by 28 percent in its second quarter, and topped analysts' expectations.

The Irving, Texas-based company said net income increased to $8.78 billion, or $2.05 per share, from $6.86 billion, or $1.55 per share, in the same quarter a year earlier. The average estimate of analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for profit of $1.91 per share.

The company said revenue rose 4.9 percent to $111.65 billion from $106.67 billion in the same quarter a year earlier, and beat Wall Street forecasts. Analysts expected $109.14 billion, according to Zacks.

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BP, Shell, Morgan Stanley seek end of oil price-fixing lawsuit

Reuter -- BP Plc , Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Morgan Stanley and other companies urged a U.S. judge to dismiss nationwide litigation claiming they conspired for 12 years to fix prices of Brent crude oil, a benchmark for the cost of gasoline and heating oil.

In papers filed on Monday night in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, the defendants said there was no evidence they colluded to manipulate spot prices or intended to do so, in violation of U.S. commodity and antitrust laws.

They also said that because the alleged manipulation took place outside the United States and was governed by foreign law, U.S. courts had no authority to handle the case to begin with.  (go to article)

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Oil companies forfeit Arctic drilling rights

Fuel Fix -- — Oil companies that locked up more than 1.3 million acres of the Beaufort Sea for drilling in 2007 have since relinquished nearly half that territory.

The industry’s appetite for tapping those Arctic waters may be waning even as the Obama administration plans to auction off more of the area.

Oil companies have ceded rights to drill on roughly 584,000 acres, despite paying tens of thousands _ and sometimes much more — in bonus bids for individual leases in auctions since 2003, according to an analysis of government data by the conservation group Oceana reviewed by FuelFix.

And now, all but seven of the 141 still-active oil and gas leases in the Beaufort Sea along Alaska’s northeast coast are partly or completely held by a single firm, Shell Oil Co. The tracts, which generally span about  (go to article)

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How safe is your rental car?

USA TODAY -- In recent years more and more car owners have been affected by manufacturer recalls on critical automotive components. But what if a recall doesn't affect the car you own, but instead affects the car you're renting?

The good news is the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act of 2013 can remedy this situation by ensuring rental fleets comply with recall notices. The bad news is this law is floundering in Congress: GovTrack's prognosis is not good, citing only a 14% chance of being enacted. And in the meantime, it can be hard for renters to determine what a rental firm's policy is on recalled vehicles.  (go to article)

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Crude oil slips below $100 a barrel after supply data

Market Watch -- Crude-oil futures extended overnight losses in Asian trade Thursday, on bearish U.S. inventory data that sent the U.S. oil benchmark below the $100 a barrel mark.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures CLU4 -0.95% for delivery in September traded at $99.67 a barrel, down $0.60 in the Globex electronic session. September Brent crude UK:LCOU4 -0.60% on London’s ICE Futures exchange fell $0.22 to $106.29 a barrel.

Overnight, Nymex lost 70 cents a barrel and Brent lost $1.21 a barrel.

U.S. oil stockpiles fell by 3.7 million barrels in the week ended July 25, compared with market estimates of a 1.8 million-barrel decline, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said Wednesday.  (go to article)

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Energy Companies Rethinking Russia After New Round of Sanctions

The New York Times -- LONDON — The downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine — and the tougher round of sanctions against Russia that followed — is prompting some big multinational energy companies to take a fresh look at the ramifications of the crisis.

For months, American and European energy players have continued to sign deals with Russia, maintaining a posture that business was proceeding as usual. But top industry executives are now starting to acknowledge that the escalating tensions could sharply hurt Western oil and gas giants with major investments in Russia, as well as the service companies that are key technology suppliers.

“We are in the heat of a very emotional stage,” Robert W. Dudley, BP’s chief executive, told reporters on Tuesday. The company warned that further economic sa  (go to article)

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Best mileage for pickups: Will 2015 Ford F150 top Ram 1500's 28 mpg?

GasBuddy Blog -- How much does fuel economy matter for pickup owners? Ford Motor Co. is concerned that its new aluminum-bodied 2015 F-150 pickup coming this fall might not be able to beat Chrysler Group’s Ram 1500 and claim best-in-class fuel economy.Ford officials said the new F-150 -- which would need to deliver better than 28 mpg on the highway to top the Ram with its EcoDiesel engine -- will deliver better fuel economy and greater towing and hauling capability than the current steel-bodied truck. But when it comes to questions about the redesigned F-150’s estimated fuel economy ratings, Autonews.com says Ford sidesteps them. ...  (go to article)

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Despite peak demand and violence overseas, Nebraska gas prices are dropping

Nebraska Radio Network -- Gasoline prices often skyrocket following international events, but escalating military action in Israel and the recent downing of a Malaysian airliner have not brought a pump price hike.

In the past week, gas prices have actually dropped in Nebraska. Fuels analyst Harold Hommes says there have been no catastrophes impacting Gulf Coast refineries.

“Refinery production is running right at 100% right now, so the situation is as about as good as we could ask for,” Hommes says.

AAA reports gas prices in Nebraska are averaging $3.47 a gallon statewide. That’s eight cents below the national average and the state price has dropped four cents in the past week, 13 cents in the past month.  (go to article)

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U.S. Oil Imports May Fall as Gulf Prices Drop Below Brent

Bloomberg -- U.S. crude imports may drop from last week’s two-month high as prices on the Gulf Coast, home to 51 percent of refining capacity, slipped below Brent.

Imports climbed 337,000 barrels a day in the week ended July 25, the EIA reported today. Light Louisiana Sweet crude on the Gulf traded below Brent, benchmark for half of global oil trade, for a fourth day, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

LLS surged $4.52 a barrel above Brent on July 23, the biggest premium in one year, as strong refinery demand depleted crude inventories in the Gulf region. For the past year, the grade averaged $4.26 cheaper than Brent. Refineries slowed their operation last week amid rising fuel inventories.

“This is a short-term reaction,” said James Williams, an economist at WTRG Economics,“But it’s not going  (go to article)

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Pony Express Oil Pipe Line-fill Starts; Shipments Seen in Oct.

Reuters -- Line fill on the Pony Express Pipeline carrying crude from Wyoming to Oklahoma began last week although commercial shipments are expected to be delayed until the fourth quarter, market sources said on Tuesday.

The 230,000-barrel-per-day pipeline, which was originally set to start up in August, has been pushed back by several months, two trading sources said. They indicated that the majority of shipments was now expected to start for October.

Line fill on the pipeline was first reported by Genscape, which said it would take 25-40 days to fill with a total of 2 million barrels at a rate of 50,000-80,000 bpd.

Pony Express...includes a 430-mile converted natural gas pipeline and a new 260-mile line that will carry light crude in North Dakota's Bakken
shale plays from Guernsey, WY, into Cus  (go to article)

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WTI Drops Below $100 as U.S. Fuel Supplies Rise; Brent Declines

Bloomberg -- West Texas Intermediate dropped for a fourth day and slipped below $100 as gasoline stockpiles rose and demand declined in the U.S., the world’s biggest oil user. Brent decreased in London.

Futures fell as much as 1.1 percent in New York. Gasoline supplies expanded by 365,000 barrels last week to 218.2 million, the highest level in four months, the Energy Information Administration said yesterday. Average consumption shrank 0.5 percent over the past four weeks to the lowest since May, even as the country’s peak driving season started with the Memorial Day holiday on May 26.

“This should be a period of peak demand,” said Jonathan Barratt, the chief investment officer at Ayers Alliance Securities in Sydney.  (go to article)

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Winemakers want NY to deny gas storage permits

The Oklahoman-AP -- Finger Lakes winemakers and other business owners asked Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday to deny permits for natural gas and propane storage facilities in former salt mines along Seneca Lake, saying the projects would bring heavy industry, more truck traffic and an unacceptable risk of catastrophic accidents to a region that thrives on tourism.

Opponents of Houston-based Crestwood Midstream's project said at a news conference in Albany that it would endanger drinking water, the local economy and the region's wine and tourism industry.

"There is no justification for jeopardizing the Finger Lakes' place as an international destination for world-class agri-tourism," said Lou Damiani, owner of Damiani Wine Cellars. "There is no propane shortage and we have worked too hard to get where we...  (go to article)

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New bus barn will hold 400 compressed natural gas buses

CBC -- The federal government is going to put $48 million towards a new bus barn for Calgary, the first to be built since 1975.

It will allow the City of Calgary to store and maintain the 400 new compressed natural gas (CNG) buses it's going to be buying.

The city is currently testing four different types of buses that run on compressed natural gas. They're quieter, better for the environment than diesel and more reliable.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi says it will be a new kind of bus facility for the city.

“The new facility will be designed for indoor bus storage; will include the ability to fuel buses with CNG. In fact it will have a direct link into a CNG pipeline.”

A decision will soon be made on a bus supplier — and...  (go to article)

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Pure Lithium in Battery May Generate More Powerful Battery

Scientific American -- A team of Stanford University researchers, including former Energy Secretary Steven Chu, believes it has achieved the "holy grail" of lithium battery design: an anode of pure lithium that could boost the range of an electric car to 300 miles.

Lithium-ion batteries are one of the most common types of rechargeable batteries on the market today. But most of the batteries—found in technologies like smartphones and electric cars—use an anode made of graphite or silicon.

The lithium in a lithium-ion battery today is found in the electrolyte. The electrons in the electrolyte flow to the anode during recharging, and if the anode were also made of lithium, the battery would be able to generate much more power and weigh much less.

Until now, however, lithium anodes have been unusable. The materia  (go to article)

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City: Emails show ‘cozy’ ties of PG&E, regulator

Fuel Fix -- SAN FRANCISCO — Top California regulators communicated often and enthusiastically with executives at Pacific Gas & Electric Co., even offering unsolicited advice on handling the media while they presided over a case to decide how much the utility should pay for a deadly explosion in a San Francisco Bay Area suburb, according to a trove of emails released Monday.  (go to article)

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Senators Took Donations From Lobbyists Representing Pro-Keystone Alberta Government

Hoff Post -- WASHINGTON -- A high-powered Washington lobbying firm representing the government of Alberta, Canada, made $17,000 in donations to senators it was courting for support of the Keystone XL pipeline, according to an investigation by the Toronto Star.  (go to article)

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MM&A train from Lac-Mégantic rail disaster pulled from U.S. auction

Canadian Press -- The police stepped in after a report by The Canadian Press revealed that locomotive MMA 5017 was slated to be sold on Aug 5 at a ME rail yard

The locomotive played a key role in the events that led to the Jul 2013, oil-train derailment that destroyed part of the QC town and killed 47 people

Police wanted to prevent the engine from being sold until after the judicial process is complete

The starting bid had been set at $10K

The locomotive is being held at the Derby Rail Yard in Milo, ME, on TSB's behalf

Prosecutors have charged train engineer Harding, railway traffic controller Labrie and manager of train operations Demaître. Each one faces 47 counts of criminal negligence causing death

The ME locomotive auction is scheduled to move ahead and will feature two dozen locomotives fro  (go to article)

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Driverless Cars to Hit Public Roads in Britain by January 2015

Time -- Driverless cars will be hitting British streets for test runs by January 2015 — the British government plans to announce on Wednesday — although the Highway Code will need to be revised to allow for the changes, industry experts say.

The self-driving cars for civilians will be an extension of ones already used by the British army, which are provided by MIRA, a vehicle-engineering and design company.  (go to article)

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Hydropower plan vital in climate change fight, officials say

Boston Globe -- State environmental officials are vigorously lobbying lawmakers to pass a controversial energy bill they consider critical to cutting greenhouses gases that contribute to climate change, but they worry it won’t get a vote with the legislative session ending this week.

The so-called Clean Energy Resources bill, opposed by some environmental advocates and industry groups, remains stalled in committee. With three days left in the session, administration officials have even drafted a last-ditch amendment that they hope to tack on other legislation.

“Frankly, it’s up for grabs . . . and they’re almost out of time,” Governor Deval Patrick told reporters on Monday as he entered a private meeting with legislative leaders.

The bill would require utility companies in the state to sign long-term a  (go to article)

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