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The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today announced selections for an expanded Low or No-Emission (Low-No) Bus Competitive Grant Program that reflects growing interest in new technology buses. Twenty transit providers in 13 states will receive a share of $55 million for transit buses and related technology that replaces aging diesel fuel buses with battery-electric or fuel cell-powered vehicles and incorporates other innovations.
Photo by Rongy Benjamin
I was talking with my one of my boys after his successful lacrosse tournament. He quipped that this was the best summer ever. Clearly the euphoria and exhilaration of the weekend success was what he had in mind. But for motorists, there's a hint that this truly is the best summer as far as gas prices are concerned, in recent memory.
Yesterday, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) in its weekly assessment of the US petroleum industry zeroed in on what's behind the summer savings; increased gasoline production and high inventories combine to reduce global refinery gasoline margins.
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 1.7 million barrels (MMbbl) to a total of 521.1 MMbbl. At 521.1 MMbbl, inventories are 61.5 MMbbl above last year (13.4%) and are well above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year.

GASOLINE INVENTORIES:
Gasoline inventories increased by 0.5 MMbbl to 241.5 MMbbl. At 241.5 MMbbl, inventories are up 25.5 MMbbl, 11.8% higher than a year ago. 

Here's how individual regions and their gasoline inventory fared last week: East Coast (+0.5 MMbbl); Midwest (-2.1 MMbbl); Gulf Coast (+1.3 MMbbl); Rockies (-0.2 MMbbl); and West Coast (+0.8 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 decreased by 0.8 MMbbl to a total of 152.0 MMbbl. At 152.0 MMbbl, inventories are up 7.9 MMbbl, or 5.5% vs. a year ago.
Image From ..flckr user Rennett Stowe
As crude prices struggle to gain footing above the $45 per barrel level, the average retail price of gasoline has been in a tailspin that is showing no signs of stopping. The national average topped out at $2.39 per gallon on June 12th. Since then, U.S. prices have fallen to $2.16 per gallon, with South Carolina leading the U.S. with the lowest state average of $1.83 per gallon. As motorists have benefited from the cheapest summer gasoline prices since 2004, the low commodity prices have been problematic for different sectors of the energy industry. Downstream refining margins are poor at the moment. Upstream drilling has seen a slight uptick in activity, but the steady flow of news of various rounds of layoffs can’t make the casual observer too optimistic of the health of the upstream energy sector. 

High inventories remain the thorn in the side of the energy industry. The high inventories have helped prices beat decade-plus records, but have come at a cost to the energy industry.
Image From ..flickr.com
When Joshua Brown, 40, of Canton, Ohio, was killed in Florida driving a Tesla Model S, it was unclear whether the crash was the fault of the driver, the Tesla, or the tractor trailer that was struck. Sadly, he became the first fatality of a self-driving vehicle.

And the New York Times' Anjali Singhvi and Karl Russell have since reported that the accident may have happened, at least in part, because of a technology glitch.  "Tesla's crash avoidance system is designed to engage only when radar and computer vision systems agree that there's an obstacle."

While there are multiple integrated technologies operating simultaneously for crash avoidance systems to work ffectively, some may work better than others...
As air temperatures in the nation set records this weekend, gasoline prices have continued to cool off, falling 6 cents per gallon in the last week to $2.15, according to price-tracker GasBuddy.com.

It was another win for motorists filling up as 48 states saw their averages decline versus last week with just Idaho (up 0.4c) and Alaska (up 0.2c) bucking the downward trend, that was led by Indiana (down 15.6 cents), Michigan (down 12.6 cents) and Ohio (down 12.4 cents). Oil prices meanwhile slipped to a new summer low to close out last week and begin this week at $43.56/bbl.

Expectations for near record gasoline demand have tapered, leading to more doubt about Americans absorbing the glut of crude oil fast enough, and pushing oil prices lower as the end of the summer driving season comes into sight. Oil inventories remain well above average, as do gasoline supplies, contributing to the falling prices. Oil refiners that had been profitable last year are seeing crack margins erode as supply stacks up.
via iStock


With September rapidly approaching, now's the time to prep for the return to school—and all those responsibilities. Feeling a little overwhelmed between the carpooling, commuting, sports practices, club meetings, errands and everything else that seems to hit all at once? Don't worry, we're here to help you smoothly transition into the season.
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Late last year we posted an update about law enforcement efforts in Florida and New York to tighten the laws and increase penalties for anyone caught using a skimmer.  These are the devices federal, state and local  law enforcement officials in just about every state are finding with growing frequency at gas stations, ATMs... and anywhere you can pay for something using a credit card or debit card.

Specifics about many investigations both open and closed are hard to come by, partly to protect the identities of federal agents, both FBI and Secret Service, and perhaps also to suppress public awareness of the widespread extent of this problem.

But we now know that there's a new skimmer development that consumers, banks and convenience store retailers need to recognize...
Image From ..Flckr user Nicholas A. Tonelli
How much spending has been cut in the contiguous U.S. by upstream oil and gas companies? Well if you ask research and consulting firm Wood Mackenzie, that total comes out to nearly $150 billion across 2016 and 2017. The firm estimates that on a global scale, that figure has come out to nearly $370 billion cut in that same timeframe according to a news release on Thursday. The US, which makes up the vast majority of that total, has seen exploration, drilling, and production change vastly over the last couple years as oil and natural gas prices have impacted, as budgets are being slashed everywhere. The brutal size of these spending, or capital expenditure, cuts are being blamed on agile and cheap shale oil plays for the contiguous (lower 48) US.
Albert Premier Rachel Notley photo by Day Donaldson
With the US approaching an election in November, signatories to the Paris Climate Change initiative (COP21) like Canada and the US find themselves in opposite circumstances when it comes to ratification.
The Canadian government led by Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has not only ratified the COP21, but with a majority mandate to govern that's good for four years, has pledged to follow through on the Accord and his earlier campaign pledge on imposing a "strong" price on carbon should any of Canada's 10 provinces fail to do so.
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 2.3 million barrels (MMbbl) to a total of 519.5 MMbbl. At 519.5 MMbbl, inventories are 55.6 MMbbl above last year (12.0%) and are well above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year.

GASOLINE INVENTORIES:
Gasoline inventories increased by 0.9 MMbbl to 241.0 MMbbl. At 241.0 MMbbl, inventories are up 24.7 MMbbl, 11.4% higher than a year ago. 

Here's how individual regions and their gasoline inventory fared last week: East Coast (-0.1 MMbbl); Midwest (+1.3 MMbbl); Gulf Coast (-0.4 MMbbl); Rockies (+0.0 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 decreased by 0.2 MMbbl to a total of 152.8 MMbbl. At 152.8 MMbbl, inventories are up 11.3 MMbbl, or 8.0% vs. a year ago.
Image From ..Flckr, user Dan Ox
Under the Obama Administration, a measure was put in place in 2010 to help reduce greenhouse gases caused by car emissions. The program was broken into two rounds of compliance, where the first round covered cars for manufactured for model year 2016. The second portion of the program governed car emissions through 2025. The fuel emission requirements, dubbed the National Program, brought on complaints from car manufacturers that the National Program was too aggressive in its fuel standards. As we are upon the second phase for the National Program, the government conducted a study to look at whether the requirements were unreasonable for manufacturers. The press release from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) outlines the findings of the Technical Assessment Report (TAR).
Image From ..Flickr.com / Doug Kerr
California's DOT has officially launched its new pay-by-mile Road Charge Pilot Program, where selected volunteer participants will help the state gain insight into alternatives to finance California's transportation infrastructure. This pilot will study road charge alternatives to the gas tax and will provide the Legislature with the data needed to better determine whether a road charge funding concept is viable for California. No actual money will be exchanged during the pilot.

Volunteers that have been accepted to participate in the pilot are made up of drivers from all parts of California with various socioeconomic backgrounds. In addition, some out-of-state volunteers will be featured in the pilot in order to help California determine how a road charge tax could impact visiting drivers.

The good news for pilot participants is that they will not actually pay a road charge while participating in the pilot. Instead, they will make simulated payments based on how far they drive.

According to numerous reports, Turkish maritime authorities have reopened Istanbul's Bosphorus Strait to to waiting tanker and grain traffic halted when a coup was attempted late Friday afternoon ( Saturday morning in Turkey.
Like the Straits of Hormuz in the Arabian Sea, the Bosphorus is one of the world's most vital chokepoints for crude transit with 3% of global supply from Russia, making its way from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean.
Image From ..flickr.com / Ken Lund
Long before the Bastille Day massacre in Nice, France, a growing number of economists and U.S. travel industry experts predicted that N. American leisure travel would likely increase significantly in 2016, and that trend is influenced largely by lower fuel prices; consumer dissatisfaction with air travel; and, growing safety concerns over travel abroad.

All of these factors contribute to the renewed interest in 'seeing America first'. And that's been part of our DNA for more than 100 years. Earlier this year which marks the Centennial for the National Park Service, NPS announced that more than 305 million people visited America's national parks in 2015, eclipsing the all-time visitation record that was recorded in 2014.

And 2016 could set a new record...  Are you considering visiting a national park this year?  You'll be surprised by the number of first-time visitors!
"Consumers working together to save on gas"