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Reno Police are now able to ticket drivers for distracted driving with a new law that went into effect August 8.

Titled "Inattentive Driving," the new law allows Reno Police to issue citations to people who are eating, putting on makeup, shaving or brushing their teeth while driving, among other distractions.

In addition, if drivers are distracted by their children or pets in the vehicle, or any other activity that interferes with a driver's ability to drive safely, they could be issued a $305 citation.

Photo by Steven Stralton
If they're talking about it, chances are they may actually do it.
Throughout North America, environmental activists, policy wonks and some in the media are toying with the notion that the world can and will eventually abandon a carbon based economy built and sustained on fossil fuels.
Odd as this may seem given oil's ubiquity in society and its pivotal role in improving civilization's quality of life from transportation to pharmaceuticals, perhaps more than worry over carbon emissions, the idea of leaving oil/nat gas and coal in the ground may also be a wider reflection by some, of taking hydrocarbons for granted.
Image From ..flickr.com
At the start of the 20th century, Henry Ford invested in cutting edge technology that revolutionized automotive mass production.  And that technology, obviously, was the assembly line.  

Now a century later, Ford Motor Company is once again investing to revolutionize the automotive industry and (hopefully) produce affordable, autonomous vehicles within about 5 years, and its investment centers on intangibles -- a concentration of intellectual assets in Silicon Valley.

Ford CEO Mark Field sees his company as pioneers in the "automation" of autonomous vehicles.   What lies ahead?  END] Ford’s new breed of self-motoring sedans won’t have steering wheels, brakes or gas pedals. No one is in the driver’s seat. Everyone will be a passenger.  

“The next decade will be defined by automation of the automobile, and we see autonomous vehicles as having as significant an impact on society as Ford’s moving assembly line did 100 years ago,” Field said in a recent interview.

“We’re dedicated to putting on the road an autonomous vehicle that can improve safety and solve social and environmental challenges for millions of people — not just those who can afford luxury vehicles,” said Fields.

Ford has about 10 self-driving Fusion Hybrid sedans that it is testing on roads in California, Arizona and Michigan. It is expected to have 90 by the end of 2018.

It's latest investment  has the company doubling the size of its staff in Palo Alto, California, to more than 300 employees, expanding its offices and labs in that city, and signing new partnerships with companies that are developing technology for self-driving cars. The moves are the latest by Fields to reposition Ford into a full-fledged mobility company.
The Energy Information Administration released its weekly report today on the status of petroleum inventories in the United States.

Here are some highlights:

CRUDE INVENTORIES:
Crude oil inventories increased by 2.5 million barrels (MMbbl) to a total of 523.6 MMbbl. At 523.6 MMbbl, inventories are 72.8 MMbbl above last year (16.2%) and are well above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year.

GASOLINE INVENTORIES:
Gasoline inventories were unchanged last week at 232.7 MMbbl. At 232.7 MMbbl, inventories are up 18.3 MMbbl, 8.5% higher than a year ago. 

Here's how individual regions and their gasoline inventory fared last week: East Coast (-1.0 MMbbl); Midwest (-0.2 MMbbl); Gulf Coast (+1.4 MMbbl); Rockies (-0.1 MMbbl); and West Coast (+0.1 MMbbl). 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 increased by 0.1 MMbbl to a total of 153.3 MMbbl. At 153.3 MMbbl, inventories are up 3.4 MMbbl, or 2.3% vs. a year ago.
Image From ..flickr.com
If you drive a Honda it might be a good idea to peek out the window and make sure your car is right where you left it.  That's because once again the National Insurance Crime Bureau says Honda Accords and Civics are tops on the list of "Hot Wheels", the 10 most stolen vehicles in America.

Older Honda Accords and Civics topped the list for the third year in a row.  For newer models from 2010 to 2015 Toyota was the vehicle of choice for thieves as Toyota Corolla, Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry were the most stolen newer cars, respectively.  Check out the top 10...
For just the first time this summer, the U.S. national average for a gallon of gasoline has risen versus a week ago. The average rose to $2.17 per gallon, up four cents versus last Monday, according to price-tracker GasBuddy.com.

A total of 44 states saw average gas prices rise versus a week ago while just 6 saw declines. Leading states that saw changes: Indiana (+10 cents), Kentucky (+10 cents), Delaware (+10 cents), Michigan (+8 cents) and Ohio (+8 cents). A total of 38 states saw prices rise by more than a penny per gallon versus a week ago, while the remaining 12 saw prices rise by less than a penny or fall. Leading the few decliners was Alaska (2 cents), Utah (2 cents), Wyoming, Hawaii, Idaho (-1 cent).
Photo by Janos Korom
Incredible as t is, we are now in a technical bull territory when it comes to crude. Loosely defined by a 20% increase in value in a month, the rise of WTI and Brent to $ 48.52 and $50.88 a barrel respectively in contrasts to its August 2nd low price of $39.51 and $41.8, certainly fits the bill.
But while the ongoing saga by the US Federal Reserve of whether or not to increase interest rates can be seen as part of the cause of crude's rise, the predominant driver of oil this past fortnight has more to do with the risky premise by oil specualators that OPEC and no OPEC producers might soon find it within themselves to curb excess production at the end of September in Algeria.
Image From ..flickr.com / Mark Goeb
If you're tired of hunting for change just to inflate your tires, you'll enjoy this item...  In Hempstead, Long Island (NY), the Hempstead Town Board approved a law last week mandating that all service stations provide free air to inflate automobile tires.

The “free air” law passed 5-0  by the town requires service stations to not charge for air and to include pressure gauges after town officials cited safety concerns with under-inflated tires.

ome service station owners criticized the law after the vote passed, criticizing the town for hurting small businesses and vowed to pursue a class-action lawsuit. 

Image From ..flckr user Diamond Truckback Covers
On Tuesday the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) jointly finalized standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles that will improve fuel efficiency and cut carbon pollution, while bolstering energy security and spurring manufacturing innovation. The final phase two standards were called for by President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, and respond to the President’s directive in early 2014 to develop new standards that run into the next decade.
Careful what you ask for ....
For some, it may have been a devil's barter, for others, a serious case of "I told you so". Regardless of initial sentiment or interest, a new study this week by one Canadian think tank, the Fraser Institute, concluded that oil rich Alberta's pursuit of capping Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions will cost it $254 billion.
In response to the Keystone XL pipeline rejection last November by the Obama Administration, in large part on grounds it would increase carbon emissions, the Alberta government unveiled in April a 100 megatonne cap on GHG emissions by 2040. Alberta is expected to reach 100 megatonnes of emissions by 2025 due to increased output from its oil sands development.
The Energy Information Administration released its weekly report today on the status of petroleum inventories in the United States.

Here are some highlights:

CRUDE INVENTORIES:
Crude oil inventories decreased by 2.5 million barrels (MMbbl) to a total of 521.1 MMbbl. At 521.1 MMbbl, inventories are 64.9 MMbbl above last year (14.2%) and are well above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year.

GASOLINE INVENTORIES:
Gasoline inventories decreased by 2.7 MMbbl to 232.7 MMbbl. At 232.7 MMbbl, inventories are up 19.9 MMbbl, 9.3% higher than a year ago. 

Here's how individual regions and their gasoline inventory fared last week: East Coast (-0.8 MMbbl); Midwest (-2.4 MMbbl); Gulf Coast (-0.7 MMbbl); Rockies (-0.4 MMbbl); and West Coast (+1.4 MMbbl). 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 increased by 1.9 MMbbl to a total of 153.1 MMbbl. At 153.1 MMbbl, inventories are up 4.7 MMbbl, or 3.2% vs. a year ago.
Image From ..NOAA
In its updated 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook, NOAA calls for a higher likelihood of a near-normal or above-normal season, and decreases the chance of a below-normal season to only 15 percent, from the initial outlook issued in May. The season is still expected to be the most active since 2012.

Forecasters now expect a 70-percent chance of 12–17 named storms, of which 5–8 are expected to become hurricanes, including 2–4 major hurricanes. The initial outlook called for 10–16 named storms, 4–8 hurricanes, and 1–4 major hurricanes. The seasonal averages are 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.

Image From ..flickr.com / Lindsey G.
Last week the Energy Information Administration (EIA) provided an update that's especially important to anyone living on the east coast.  EIA said movements of crude oil by rail within the United States averaged 443,000 barrels per day (b/d) in the first five months of 2016, and that's a decline of 45% from the same period last year. 

Fewer shipments of crude oil by rail from the Midwest to the East Coast  account for about half of the decline. Crude oil shipments by rail have generally decreased since last year due largely to the narrowing gap between domestic and imported crude oil prices, along with the opening of new crude oil pipelines, and declining domestic production in the Midwest and Gulf Coast onshore regions.

And the Bakken Pipeline Project's new finance deal should greatly enhance delivery of shale oil from that region...

The U.S. national average for a gallon of gasoline is virtually unchanged versus a week ago- the first week of the entire summer that it has not declined- and stands at $2.125/gallon, the same as it was a week ago, according to price-tracker GasBuddy.com.

A total of 24 states saw average gas prices rise versus a week ago while 26 saw declines. Leading states that saw changes: Michigan (-10.3 cents), Kentucky (+8.4 cents), Indiana (+7.5 cents), Ohio (-6.2 cents) and Minnesota (up 5.4 cents). A total of 36 states saw prices move by more than a penny per gallon versus a week ago, while the remaining 14 saw prices fluctuate less than a penny.
Photo supplied courtesy of Day Donaldson
A lot can happen between now and the end of September when OPEC members will meet on the sidelines of the International Energy Forum in Algeria to discuss oil production, but that long range event still won't stop some  media from seeking out the latest mumbles from the Saudi Arabian energy minister Khalid al-Falih.
"Consumers working together to save on gas"