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As flood waters ravage Texas and other parts of the country, flash floods occur in a second and planning ahead may save you or your property. While flooded car prevention tips may not be new to you, refreshing your memory can quicken response times in case of an emergency. As you make your way through emergency preparedness tips, although the majority of tips may be known, the one tip you didn’t know could be the one to save you.

Image From ..nbcnews.com
A study from AT&T reported by USA TODAY says Americans may not be able to save themselves from the stupid choices too many of us are making while driving. 

The crisis of distracted driving in America is getting worse. An AT&T study found that that 27% of drivers between age 16 and 65 say they use Facebook while driving, while 14% say they use Twitter behind the wheel.

It gets worse. A stunning 30% of those Twitter uses say they tweet while driving "all the time," 28% say they surf the Internet, and more than 10% report using Instagram and Snapchat.

With plenty of attention being paid to oil’s recent price rally against the backdrop of record setting oil inventories and increased global production, a review of the complex world of oil pricing might be in order.

Oil prices are essentially based on three indices used by the oil industry: The West Texas Intermediate Index set at the New York Mercantile Exchange, Brent Crude Index which flows from the Intercontinental Exchange in London and the OPEC Basket, which is the average price per barrel of all OPEC member producers. Depending on where the crude is to be used or delivered and its quality (ex: heavy or light), it is these exchanges which serve as a guide for oil buyers who, as it turns out, rarely pay the full index price. That’s because the physical trading of oil through a contract price mechanism also takes into account such factors as the volume, ease of transportation, storage capacity and processing of the crude purchased or even the credit standing of the purchaser.

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 2.8 million barrels (mb) to a total of 479.4 million barrels. At 479.4 million barrels, inventories are 86.4 million barrels above last year (22.0%) and are well above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year.

GASOLINE INVENTORIES:
Gasoline inventories decreased by 3.3 million barrels to 220.6 million barrels. At 220.6 million barrels, inventories are up 9.1 million barrels, or 4.3% higher than one year ago. Here's how individual regions and their gasoline inventory fared last week: East Coast (-1.8mb); Midwest (-1.8mb); Gulf Coast (+0.3mb); Rockies (+0.1mb); 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 increased by 1.1 million barrels to a total of 128.8 million barrels. At 128.8 million barrels, inventories are up 12.8 million barrels, or 11.0% vs. a year ago.

Image From ..freep.com
It's lighter and faster and it's the all new Camaro.  The new softer-edged car shares almost no parts with the aggressively angled Camaro available at dealerships now, according to GM. The only two parts the cars have in common, the automaker said in an announcement, are the Chevrolet bow-tie badge on the trunk and the SS badge on V8-powered SS models.

The new Camaro will be at least 200 pounds lighter than today's model thanks to various weight-saving parts. A new design makes the car look lower and wider even though its actual dimensions are within 2 inches of the current Camaro.

The new car will be available with V8 and V6 engines, each more powerful than the current car's V8 and V6, as well as with a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine.You've got to see this...

With the busy summer driving season amongst us, we are excited to provide you with another way to search for cheap gas and plan your next road trip. Today we are happy to announce the availability of the all-new GasBuddy app for iPad.

The new iPad version of the app brings the same speed and ease of use for drivers and road-trippers to find the cheapest gas stations to fuel up, whether on the couch or on the go. Highlights include: 

  • Search for gas stations with a dual list/map view, making it easier to view all options sorted by price and/or distance on a single screen. 
  • Like the previous app versions, users can find gas stations using iPad's GPS capabilities or search by city or zip code. The larger map enables users to see more of the cheapest gas stations located along the route making for easier trip planning. 
  • Taking full advantage of the bigger screen, users can now more easily report prices, manage their profiles and earn extra points that can be entered into a daily drawing for a $100 gas card.

Download the new GasBuddy for iPad app on the App Store. Log in with your current account or create a new one and start earning points across all iOS devices.

As time goes on, the designs of cars on the roadway are rapidly changing. These rapid changes often leave the safety standards meant to protect them in the dust. Guardrails, a device not given much thought, are governed by dated standards, based on a vehicle fleet not representative of what’s on the roadways today. The agency in charge of the guardrail standards is looking to change that.

In the spring 2015 meeting for the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the Acting Administrator for the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced plans to improve the safety of guardrails and other roadside safety hardware by discontinuing funding to devices that do not meet stricter safety requirements.
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As I pulled up to my friend's house I couldn't help but wonder when his parents got to town as I marveled at the brand new RV parked in his driveway.  As I craned my neck around looking for his parents I could see him smiling.  He said, "I know what you're thinking!"  "Nope. It's mine!"  Yes indeed, my friend had joined that subset of adults, the RV set. My interest was piqued so I decided to do a little research. The Huffington Post provided the following:

What is a recreation vehicle (RV)?

  • An RV is a vehicle that combines transportation and temporary living quarters for travel, recreation and camping.
  • Two main categories of RVs are motorhomes (motorized) and towables (towed behind the family car, van or pickup).  Type A motorhomes are generally the largest; Type B motorhomes or van campers are the smallest and Type C motorhomes generally fall in between.  Types of towable RVs are folding camping trailers, expandable trailers, truck campers, conventional travel trailers and fifth-wheel travel trailers.  Sports utility RVs (also sometimes called “toy haulers”), which feature a built-in garage for hauling cycles, ATVs or sports equipment, are available in both motorhomes and towable RVs.
  • What is the RV industry’s economic impact?
  • There are more than 12,000 RV-related businesses in the U.S. with combined annual revenues of more than $37.5 billion.The RV industry employs more than a quarter million Americans.  Effects of the recession caused significant RV-related job losses.  Since June 2007, RV-related layoffs totaled approximately 280,000 — 55% of the industry’s workforce. RV shipments began to improve in the last half of 2009 and RV manufacturers continue to rehire workers to keep pace with demand.  Shipments in 2013 were 12% higher than in 2012.
  • RVs are made by American companies employing American workers that are located in America.  In fact, more than 60% of recreation vehicles are made in Elkhart Country, Indiana.

Who is the RV traveler?

  • U.S. ownership of RVs has reached record levels, according to a 2011 University of Michigan study commissioned by Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA).  Approximately 8.9 million households own an RV.
  • Today’s typical RV owner is 48 years old, married, with an annual household income of $62,000 — higher than the median for all households, according to the Michigan study.  RV owners are likely to own their homes and spend disposable income on traveling — an average of three weeks annually, RVIA research shows.
  • A leading force behind RV ownership’s upswing is the enormous baby boomer generation, supported by strong ownership gains among both younger and older buyers.  In fact, high RV ownership rates now extend across a 40-year span from age 35-to-75, the Michigan study found.
  • More RVs are now owned by those ages 35-to-54 than any other group, according to the University of Michigan study. 
  • More than 11 percent of U.S. households headed by 35-to-54 year olds own an RV, exceeding the 9.3 percent ownership rates of those 55 and over. The 35-to-54 age group posted the largest gains in the 2011 Michigan survey.

Why do people choose and use RVs?

  • Flexibility and convenience — RVs offer a convenient, hassle-free way to see America.  RV travelers enjoy the freedom and flexibility to go where they want, when they want — without the worry and stress of inflexible schedules, advance reservations, airport waits and luggage restrictions.
  • Comfort — With fully-equipped kitchens and baths, rooms that slide out at the touch of a button, central air and heat, flat-screen TVs, surround-sound stereos and more, today’s RVs provide travelers with all the amenities of home while on the road or at the campground.
  • Family appeal — RVing is a uniquely enjoyable way to travel as a family.  In fact, families that frequently vacation by RV say it fosters an increased sense of togetherness and helps improve family communication.  RV owners say that strengthening family relationships is important for their pleasure trips.
  • Affordability — RV vacations are more affordable than travel by personal car, commercial airline or cruise ship, according to vacation cost-comparison studies by PKF Consulting.  Even factoring in RV ownership costs, and considering resulting tax benefits, a family of four can spend up to 59 percent less when traveling by RV.
  • Lure of the outdoors — RVers can enjoy the mountains, beaches, parks, popular tourist attractions and small towns whenever they want, without giving up the comforts of home.  With sport utility RVs, RV travelers can easily haul their ATVs, snowmobiles, motorcycles or other outdoor vehicles right on board.
  • Versatility — In addition to travel, camping and outdoor recreation, RVs are used year-round for a variety of other purposes, like shopping, tailgating at sporting events, pursuing special interests like horse, dog and antique shows and other hobbies.
  • Rentals available — Renting an RV is a popular way to “try before you buy.”  The RV rental business is a $350 million industry, which is continuing to grow.

Where do RVers travel?

  • With more than 16,000 public and privately owned campgrounds nationwide, RVers are free to roam America’s roads for a weekend — or months at a time.
  • Privately owned RV parks and campgrounds are found near popular destinations, along major tourist routes and even in metropolitan areas.  These campgrounds appeal to travelers by offering a variety of activities to keep the whole family happy, including swimming pools, game rooms, playgrounds and snack bars.
  • RV travelers seeking a resort atmosphere are attracted to the growing number of luxury RV resorts with facilities such as tennis courts, golf courses and health spas.
  • Facilities at public campgrounds tend to be simple, but offer great scenic beauty.  Public lands are popular for hiking, fishing, white water rafting and many other outdoor recreational opportunities enjoyed by RVers.

How can I learn more about RVs?

  • Surf the web — Check out RVIA.org and GoRVing.com for information on RV travel trends, vehicles types, show listings and lists of RV dealers and campgrounds in your area.
  • Visit an RV dealer — Check GoRVing.com to find local dealerships.
  • Attend an RV show — A variety of RVs of all shapes, sizes and costs are displayed at dozens of RV shows around the nation.  Show dates and locations are searchable at GoRVing.com.
  • Rent an RV —More than 460 RV rental outlets are located across the country.  Renting allows potential buyers to try RV travel and determine which vehicle types best suits their needs.  Check GoRVing.com for the nearest rental outlet.

Image From ..dailyherald.com
Before we fire up the grill and crack open a cold beer or run like lemmings to mind-numbing shopping malls let's remember why we're not at work today and give this day the honor and dignity it deserves.

It's been said thousands of times and it still demands repeating:  freedom isn't free.  Think about those who gave their lives for us.  Think about the spouses and children they left behind and the joyful milestones they missed. 

We owe them more than a debt of gratitude, a solemn thought or silent prayer.  Our duty  is to conscientiously protect those freedoms for which they died to preserve.  Anything less is not enough.



I stumbled across some interesting, curious, and at times funny driving laws that while more than likely not enforced, STILL are on the books in these countries and states.  The Huffington Post listed 50 such laws.  Some were simply beyond belief and I left those off.  Give these a read.

·         All Danish drivers have to check under their car before they even start the car.  The reason:  To see if there’s a person under it.

Image From ..nypost.com
After a year of testing its bubble-shaped driverless cars on the empty roads of a shuttered Central Valley military base, Google is about to deploy its fleet on the busy streets of Silicon Valley.

According to the San Jose Mercury News, for now, the cars must have safety drivers ready to grab the wheel or hit the brakes if something goes wrong. But self-driving software could soon move from test cars to consumer vehicles as the California Department of Motor Vehicles puts finishing touches this month on new operational rules for autonomous cars, making it the first government in the world to create a detailed handbook for robots on the road.  Are you ready for this?
(c)IIHS
The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) has brought the hammer down on Japanese airbag manufacturer Takata. As news broke Tuesday, the agency, which had previously been criticized for being too soft on the automobile industry, announced the largest recall in American automotive history. The recall of Takata-made airbags in 34 million vehicles is said to affect 1 in 7 vehicles on the road today. 

The airbags in question were under investigation for sending shrapnel throughout the car’s compartment upon deployment. These bits of shrapnel could be lodged in passengers, with injuries similar to gunshot or stab wounds.
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 2.7 million barrels (mb) to a total of 482.2 million barrels. At 482.2 million barrels, inventories are 90.9 million barrels above last year (23.2%) and are well above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year.

GASOLINE INVENTORIES:
Gasoline inventories decreased by 2.8 million barrels to 223.9 million barrels. At 223.9 million barrels, inventories are up 10.6 million barrels, or 4.9% higher than one year ago. Here's how individual regions and their gasoline inventory fared last week: East Coast (-0.9mb); Midwest (-1.0mb); Gulf Coast (-0.2mb); Rockies (+0.1mb); and West Coast (-0.8mb). 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 0.5 million barrels to a total of 127.7 million barrels. At 127.7 million barrels, inventories are up 11.4 million barrels, or 9.8% vs. a year ago.

The Philadelphia Inquirer says an app that would allow Philadelphia drivers to pay for parking by phone - and add time remotely to avoid a ticket - could be launched as soon as fall, if the Parking Authority gets the green light from City Hall.

Some city officials fear the app will hurt the School District, which benefits from parking ticket revenue while others like Vince Fenerty, executive director of the Phila. Parking Authority (PPA), say "This is innovation. It's about making it easier to pay your meter." 

Pay-by-phone apps have been launched in cities across the country, including Phoenix, Washington, and Miami.

During World War II, the United States government subdivided the sates into 5 regions to assist with organizing fuel allocations. After a revamp during the Korean War effort, the subdivision named the Petroleum Administration for Defense Districts, or PADDs, was adopted by government oil and gas agencies to report regional data. The Energy Information Agency (EIA) is currently in charge of surveying oil market players and tracking stats by state and PADD level.

Not all PADDs are created equally. In Lee Greenwood’s famous song he sings, “…from Detroit down to Houston, and New York to L.A.,” while obviously not thinking about oil stats in the tune, he does highlight 4 different PADDs. With the vast land these PADDs are covering, there are bound to be regional differences.
"Consumers working together to save on gas"