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The US Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) and a supporting comprehensive research report on vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications technology.

The report will include analysis of the Department’s research findings in several key areas, including technical feasibility, privacy and security, and preliminary estimates on costs and safety benefits, while the ANPRM seeks public input on these findings to support the Department’s regulatory work to eventually require V2V devices to be installed in new light vehicles.

The report includes preliminary estimates of safety benefits that show two safety applications, Left Turn Assist (LTA) and Intersection Movement Assist (IMA), could prevent up to 592,000 crashes and save 1,083 lives per year. The report says that by providing advance warning, V2V technology could help drivers avoid more than half of these types of crashes that would otherwise occur. LTA warns drivers not to turn left in front of another vehicle traveling in the opposite direction; and IMA warns them if it is not safe to enter an intersection, due to a high probability of colliding with one or more vehicles. Additional applications could also help drivers avoid imminent danger through forward collision, blind spot, do not pass, and stop light/stop sign warnings.


Image From ..carscoops.com
Subaru is now arming its two hottest-selling models, the Legacy and Outback, with an impressive array of safety features at tantalizing prices. For $1,200, drivers can add adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring and pre-collision braking, the LA Times reports.

Those features, which together give a glimpse into the future of self-driving cars, can cost thousands more on luxury cars. The smart packaging should further aid Subaru's bid to sustain recent sales gains. Once a niche maker of oddball vehicles, Subaru now outsells Volkswagen and is gaining ground on the major Asian brands.

In the last five years, Subaru has almost doubled its sales in the U.S., and it's done so while offering far fewer dealer incentives than most automakers, according to Edmunds.com. Sales are up 16% for the first six months of 2014.


Image From ..forbes.com
One of the welcome results of the U.S. energy boom is that light, sweet crude from places previously untapped becomes increasingly available and its presence can drive discounts on the nation’s benchmark crude, West Texas Intermediate (WTI), depending on where it’s going.

Texas makes that happen. On August 6th, Tom Kloza, GasBuddy’s chief petroleum analyst, reported that “the discounted WTI comes in the Permian Basin where the West Texas Intermediate crude near Midland sold numerous times for double-digit discounts off the NYMEX.”

More significant than the current discounts is the willingness of producers to offer wide discounts through the next 85 days or so. He noted that numerous deals for Midland-based WTI concluded at prices below the NYMEX October futures quotes.  That’s good news for U.S. consumers.

The Energy Information Administration released its weekly report on the status of petroleum inventories in the United States today. 

Here are some highlights:

CRUDE INVENTORIES:
Crude oil inventories decreased by 4.5 million barrels to a total of 362.5 million barrels. At 362.5 million barrels, inventories are 3.5 million barrels above last year (1.0%) and are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year.

GASOLINE INVENTORIES:
Gasoline inventories increased by 0.6 million barrels to 213.3 million barrels. At 213.3 million barrels, inventories are down 5.1 million barrels, or 2.3% lower than one year ago. Here's how individual regions and their gasoline inventory fared last week: East Coast (+0.6mb); Midwest (-0.4mb); Gulf Coast (+0.2mb); Rockies (+0.0mb); and West Coast (+0.1mb). It is important to note which regions saw increases/decreases as this information likely drives prices up (in the case of falling inventories), or down (in the case of rising inventories).

DISTILLATE (diesel, heating oil) INVENTORIES:
Distillate inventories decreased by 1.0 million barrels to a total of 121.5 million barrels. At 121.5 million barrels, inventories are now down 7.8 million barrels, or 6.0% lower vs. a year ago.

NHTSA Image
As a brand new school year begins, the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reminds parents, students and motorists to be alert and to put safety first in school zones and near school bus stops.

School buses are the safest means of transportation for getting to and from school and keep an estimated 17.3 million cars off the roads every year. Even so, students need to be careful when entering the “school bus danger zone” – 10 feet in front, behind or on either side of the bus. In addition, motorists need to be alert and always stop for a school bus when flashing lights are illuminated.

Let's hope, one day, that such public safety announcements won't be necessary.

Once again, the U.S. Dept. of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) joins with safety advocates and law enforcement officials to announce the Department's annual Labor Day Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over crackdown on drunk drivers. It begins mid-August.  

With an average of one person losing their life every 51 minutes due to an alcohol-impaired driving crash, this year's announcement includes a special focus on both the personal and economic costs of drunk driving.


Image From ..inhabitat.com
Around the globe governments approach traffic congestion in very different ways.  Singapore, for instance, limits the number of driver licenses it grants and makes the cost of vehicle ownership prohibitive. France announced last week a six-month trial to pay people to ride their bike to work.

The French Transport Ministry expects 10,000 people across 20 companies and institutions to participate in the experimental subsidy, which will give commuters 25 euro cents per kilometer, according to a report by Reuters. 

French Transport Minister Frederic Cuvillier said the government already subsidizes both driving and public transport and this new effort will help determine if such a tool can encourage more bike commuting.  Do you think we might see similar efforts in the U.S.?

As the summer driving season fades into the sunset, so too are gasoline prices continuing to fade. The national average has declined about 3c/gal in the last week, and stands at $3.44/gal, the lowest since the end of February, and 9c/gal lower than last year.
Gasoline spot prices, which are determined by open trading on markets, have begun the week by sinking several cents per gallon, a sign that perhaps even lower gasoline prices are soon to come. Indeed, much more downward pressure will hit gasoline prices soon- the end of the driving season comes after Labor Day in the form of lower gasoline demand. Then another whammy to push gas prices down will be the switch back to cheaper winter gasoline that begins September 16, the day after EPA seasonal gasoline requirements are eased.
The keyless locks on your car may not be as secure as you think. 

Criminals are now using scanner boxes to pop some factory-made electronic locks in seconds, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). The devices use technology for keyless car entry, which drivers typically use for easy one-click access to their vehicle or to prevent getting locked out.

“Our law enforcement partners tell us they are seeing this type of criminal activity and have recovered some of the illegal devices,” Joe Wehrle, NICB’s president, said.   “And unfortunately, some of these devices are available on the internet.”

Open Road Toll Mechanism
All six of Massachusetts tolled roads and infrastructure will be converted to a free flow or Open Road Tolling (ORT) system next year. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has awarded Raytheon a US$130m contract for an All Electronic Tolling System (AETS). 

Raytheon and a team of Massachusetts-based companies will convert and replace all manual cash and electronic toll collection (ETC) systems with an advanced system that will automatically toll vehicles as they travel under a gantry. Drivers will be able to pass through the toll station at highway speeds without the need to slow down or stop. The AETS is intended to reduce congestion, travel times and vehicle emissions from stop and go driving at existing toll plazas. Existing E-ZPass transponders will continue to work on the new AETS and the system will perform Image Based Tolling (IBT) at highway speeds on non-EZ-Pass vehicles and send a toll invoice to the registered owner of the vehicle.

Amidst the flood of new arrivals in the U.S. from Central America and Mexico, the Texas Dept of Transportation acknowledges that border chaos has caused new problems for American citizens who must drive into Mexico.

With drivers sometimes waiting up to several hours to cross the U.S.-Mexico border, the Texas Department of Transportation is partnering with the city of El Paso to provide real-time traffic updates so travelers can plan accordingly and avoid long waits. Using Bluetooth® and radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology, wait times will be available to motorists and commercial shippers so they can modify travel plans as needed.  

The City of Richmond, California has given Chevron approval to finish a $1 billion upgrade at its Northern California refinery that’s been planned for almost a decade, after agreeing to spend $90 million on community programs.

The city said Chevron must meet several conditions imposed by the city’s planning commission while installing a new hydrogen plant at its Richmond complex, including limits on sulfur processing and emissions. The world’s third-largest energy company by market value agreed to spend $90 million on city initiatives, including Internet access  for residents and scholarships.

Chevron appealed to the council after the planning commission attached its own conditions to the project, which will allow the refinery to run a slate of higher-sulfur crudes. The city and the company later agreed to a modified set of requirements. The company gained permission for a larger project in 2008 and was halfway finished when a judge reversed the city’s decision, saying its environmental assessment was flawed.

Jaguar Land Rover is recalling 46,515 Land Rover SUVs in the United States and Canada because the front passenger airbag may not deploy because of a part failure, according to documents filed with U.S. safety regulators.

There have been no reports of accidents or injuries relating to the issue in the United States and Canada, a company spokesman said today. He did not know whether SUVs in other markets were affected by the recall.

The Energy Information Administration released its weekly report on the status of petroleum inventories in the United States today. 

Here are some highlights:

CRUDE INVENTORIES:
Crude oil inventories increased by 1.4 million barrels to a total of 367.0 million barrels. At 367.0 million barrels, inventories are 6.5 million barrels above last year (1.8%) and are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year.

GASOLINE INVENTORIES:
Gasoline inventories decreased by 1.2 million barrels to 212.7 million barrels. At 212.7 million barrels, inventories are down 9.7 million barrels, or 4.4% lower than one year ago. Here's how individual regions and their gasoline inventory fared last week: East Coast (-0.4mb); Midwest (-0.1mb); Gulf Coast (-0.7mb); Rockies (+0.2mb); and West Coast (-0.2mb). It is important to note which regions saw increases/decreases as this information likely drives prices up (in the case of falling inventories), or down (in the case of rising inventories).

DISTILLATE (diesel, heating oil) INVENTORIES:
Distillate inventories decreased by 2.4 million barrels to a total of 122.5 million barrels. At 122.5 million barrels, inventories are now down 6.0 million barrels, or 4.7% lower vs. a year ago.

It’s the last month of summer, and while some may be focused on getting ready to go back to school some are trying to get one last trip squeezed in before the cooler weather hits. The best trip to take is one with the open road. If you’re planning on taking a road trip this month, follow our tips below to make sure you save as much money as possible along your journey!

1.     Watch those state lines!

Gas prices can change drastically just by crossing into a different state since gas taxes vary. Average gas taxes in Illinois are over 60c/gal. In Missouri, average taxes are just 35c/gal, and many times just crossing a state line you’ll either see much lower or much higher prices, so hone in on where to fill up before hand to save easy money! Other states lines where there’s a big difference: CA/NV, CA/AZ, WA/ID, MI/OH, IN/OH, WV/VA, FL/AL, NY/NJ, VT/NH, NC/SC, WI/IA, KY/MO, PA/NJ.

2.     BONUS Tip

When you get close to a state line, fire up the GasBuddy app and use the map feature to go scope out prices near the state line- if prices are cheap, fill up, and save the money for other vitals during your trip!

3.     Pack your food

Instead of eating every meal at a restaurant, pack your favorite snacks for breakfast and lunch – then treat yourself to some local spots along you journey. The money you save on two meals certainly adds up! Be sure to keep a few protein bars and extra water bottles in case you decide to go for a hike and need the extra nutrition!

"Consumers working together to save on gas"