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No, We Don't Need A Gasoline Tax Hike

Investors Business Daily -- It's summertime and that means millions of Americans will soon be cramming in the minivan for family vacation. But Congress may soon be raising the cost of those trips by increasing the federal gas tax.

Why? The highway trust fund that finances our national highway system is running out of money.

The 18.4 cents a gallon federal gas tax will raise about $34 billion this year, but that isn't enough revenue to cover all the spending Congress wants to do.

But here's the dirty little secret that motorists aren't being told: the so-called highway funding shortfall is a hoax. The federal gas tax raises plenty of money to finance the upkeep of the interstate highway system.

From 1984-2012, the capital spending for roads and bridges rose nearly three times the inflation rate.  (go to article)

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U.S. says Takata vehicle recall size includes double counting

The Globe & Mail -- U.S. auto safety regulators said on Tuesday their estimate for the millions of vehicles affected by the Takata Corp air bag recall will likely be revised because cars with two front air bags were double-counted.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has come under fire for failing early on to catch the defective Takata air bag inflators, as well as faulty ignition switches in General Motors vehicles. Both high-profile recalls pushed the agency into the spotlight.  (go to article)

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Why smartphone apps are unlikely to replace car keys

The Globe & Mail -- It’s not fun getting into a car when the interior is 130 degrees, but that’s a typical problem during the summer for those who live in a city like Phoenix, where outside temperatures can regularly soar well past 100.

But Sean O’Gorman never needs to endure a furnacelike cabin. As an owner of a Tesla Model S, he opens an iPhone app a few minutes before he gets into the car and remotely starts his air conditioner.  (go to article)

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Oil prices down over 1% as Greece defaults, output soars

Reuters --

Oil prices fell over 1 percent on Wednesday after Greece became the first developed economy to default on a loan with the International Monetary Fund, and as both U.S. and OPEC production hit new records.

Greece's last-minute overtures to international creditors for financial aid on Tuesday were not enough to save the country from becoming the first developed economy to default on a loan with the International Monetary Fund.

The IMF confirmed that Greece had not made its scheduled 1.6 billion euro loan repayment to the fund. As a result, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde will report to the global lender's board that Greece is ``in arrears'', the official euphemism for default.

Front-month Brent crude futures were trading at $62.79 per barrel at 0654 GMT, down 80 cents and over 1  (go to article)

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House passes $16.1 billion transportation package

KIRO TV -- OLYMPIA, Wash. —

The House on Wednesday passed a $16.1 billion transportation revenue package that includes an incremental 11.9-cent gas tax increase.

The chamber passed the revenue bill on a bipartisan 54-44 vote in the early morning hours and it now goes back to the Senate for a final vote. Lawmakers are in the midst of a third special session, having just finished their work on a state operating budget.  (go to article)

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American designer injecting Acura's new supercar with red, white and blue blood

foxnews.com -- Don’t look now, but America’s next great supercar might actually be Japanese.

Or is it the other way around?

Over a 15-year stretch that ended a decade ago, the Acura NSX was developed and manufactured exclusively in Japan. A response to supercars from around the world, it delivered competitive performance at a much lower price. Only about 18,000 of the elegant coupes were sold, but as a halo product, it made a huge impact on Acura’s image.

Later this year, Acura will finally get around to producing an entirely new NSX – only this time it will be at its Marysville, Ohio, facility, making it arguably more American than the 2017 Ford GT, which will be built by a contractor in Canada.
 (go to article)

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Oklahoma Court Rules Homeowners Can Sue Oil Companies Over Quakes

New York Times -- The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that homeowners who have sustained injuries or property damage from rampant earthquakes they say are caused by oil and gas operations can sue for damages in state trial courts, rejecting efforts by the industry to block such lawsuits from being decided by juries and judges.

The case has been closely watched both by the energy industry and by fracking opponents across the United States, and the 7-to-0 ruling opens the door for homeowners in a state racked by earthquakes to pursue oil and gas companies for temblor-related damage.

It is the first time the court has specifically addressed whether plaintiffs could sue for damage that experts believe is typically caused by massive amounts of wastewater generated by oil and gas drilling — often involving  (go to article)

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Oil falls below $63 as Greece defaults, supply soars

Yahoo finance -- LONDON (Reuters) - Oil fell below $63 a barrel on Wednesday after Greece defaulted on its debt to the International Monetary Fund while U.S. and OPEC production hit new highs, prompting concern about risks to the economic outlook and ample supply.

As well as Greece becoming the first developed economy to default on an IMF loan, oil came under pressure from a surprise gain in U.S. crude stocks reported by the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the prospect of higher Iranian oil exports.

Brent crude was down 70 cents at $62.89 a barrel at 0847 GMT. U.S. crude fell 89 cents to $58.58. Both contracts made gains on Tuesday.

World powers and Iran are holding talks in Vienna on their nuclear dispute. A deadline for an agreement, which could pave the way for higher Iranian oil exports, has  (go to article)

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Effective today: Georgia & Idaho motorists pay tax increases of 7-cents per gal.

GasBuddy Blog --
Image From ..cresa.comGeorgia’s new gasoline tax goes into effect today, and will add approximately 7 cents to the cost of a gallon of gasoline, increasing the state's combined federal and state gas tax from 45 cents to nearly 53 cents per gallon.
The Georgia General Assembly passed HB 170 this year, which changes the way the state taxes gasoline. Currently, there is a 7.5 cent excise tax on each gallon of gas. Gasoline is also subject to the state sales tax of 4 percent, and local sales taxes. In Coweta, the local sales tax is 3 percent. While the state sales tax will go away, it is  replaced with an excise tax of 26 cents. Local taxes won’t change.  Diesel fuel will be subject to a 29 cent state excise tax. ...  (go to article)

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Consumer group says refiners artificially keeping California gas prices high

San Gabriel Valley Tribune -- Oil refiners are gouging California motorists by charging branded stations an average of 30 cents more a gallon for gasoline than unbranded stations, a consumer advocacy group said Tuesday.

Consumer Watchdog delivered its analysis at a meeting with the California Energy Commission Petroleum Market Advisory Committee in Berkeley.

The Santa Monica-based organization said that since May the state’s largest oil refiners have “engaged in unprecedented price manipulation” to keep California gasoline prices artificially high using their leverage over prices at their branded stations.

Consumer Watchdog President Jamie Court said the price manipulation comes at an especially bad time.

“We are asking whether the refinery closures that occurred earlier this year were warranted,” he said.  (go to article)

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Halliburton to close Indiana County office

TRIBLIVE -- Oilfield services giant Halliburton is closing its Indiana County office as gas drilling customers, pressured by low prices, focus more of their activity in the southwest corner of Pennsylvania and in eastern Ohio.

The Houston company on Tuesday notified the 430 workers in the Homer City office that it would close by the end of the year and move operations there to an office in Zanesville, Ohio.

The move will result in the loss of 90 jobs. The rest of the workers will get offers to move to Zanesville or other company locations, spokeswoman Susie McMichael said.

“Halliburton continues to make adjustments to its workforce based on current business conditions,” she said. “We value every employee we have, but unfortunately we are faced with the difficult reality that reductions are...  (go to article)

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Shell's Arctic oil drilling plans hit by polar bears and walruses

The Telegraph -- The Obama administration has dealt a setback to Royal Dutch Shell's Arctic oil exploration plans, saying established walrus and polar bear protections prevent the company from drilling with two rigs simultaneously at a close range, as it had planned.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service issued Shell a permit which emphasized that under federal wildlife protections issued in 2013, companies must maintain a 15-mile buffer between two rigs drilling simultaneously.

The rule is meant to protect populations of animals sensitive to the sounds and activities of drilling. Walruses have been known to plunge off rocks into the sea during drilling, putting their populations at risk. The animals are already at risk from reduced habitat areas due to global warming. Drilling with only one rig at a time  (go to article)

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Obama threatens to 'walk away' from Iran nuclear deal as deadline passes

The Washington Times -- The Obama administration and its negotiating partners blew through Tuesday’s self-imposed deadline for a major nuclear accord with Iran — prolonging for at least another week some 20 months of exhausting and convoluted closed-door talks that have capped more than a decade of brinkmanship between Tehran and the West.

While most analysts say the deal to curtail Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief remains in reach, the last-minute extension triggered fresh speculation that Iran’s leaders may be dragging out the talks for as long as the U.S. and its negotiating partners will allow before ultimately scuttling a final accord.

President Obama insisted again Tuesday that he was not wedded to an agreement at any cost and threatened outright to “walk away” if Iran reneges on th  (go to article)

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Honda Shuts Off Natural Gas Vehicles, Charges Up for More Hybrids and EVs

The News Wheel -- Honda is phasing out its natural gas vehicles, in lieu of developing more hybrids, electric cars and fuel cell vehicles.
A hydrogen-powered Honda FCV should be arriving next year, and the company is also developing a next-generation, two-motor hybrid system for a new Accord Hybrid that’s slated for 2018. There’s also a new battery-electric car, a three-motor hybrid system, and a plug-in hybrid in the works, American Honda Motor Co. executive VP John Mendel said at a recent press conference, according to Auto News.

Honda’s “developing an extensive new generation of electrified vehicles,” said Mendel, in the hopes that the fuel cell vehicle, battery-electric car, and plug-in hybrids “will become a mainstream volume pillar for the Honda brand.”
 (go to article)

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Iran Faces Slow Road Back to Oil Market Even With Nuclear Deal

Bloomberg -- As Iran nears a deal to ease oil sanctions after almost two years of talks, selling more crude remains a long way off.

The nation’s goal of increasing exports 50 percent as soon as restrictions are lifted won’t be fulfilled, say Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Bank of America Corp. and Societe Generale SA. That would require an extra 500,000 barrels of daily output, which the banks say will take six to 12 months as OPEC’s fourth-biggest producer complies with terms of a deal and revives aging wells. The impact on prices will be limited, the banks predict.

“They’ve got to meet the requirements of any agreement, and that’s going to take time,” Jeff Currie, head of commodities research at Goldman Sachs, said by e-mail from New York on Monday. “When you shut these fields in to that significant of  (go to article)

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Montreal to hold public consultation on fossil fuel reduction

Montreal Gazette -- Mayor Denis Coderre announced the city of Montreal will hold a public consultation this fall on municipal initiatives to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

The city received a draft petition of 15,000 signatures in March to initiate the consultation process through the Montreal Public Consultation Office.

“I salute the sensitivity and sense of initiative of individuals who presented the draft petition for a public consultation on fossil fuels,” said Coderre.

Some topics for public consultation include reducing the consumption of fossil fuels, shifting to renewable energy, and finding economic development tools to implement new policy.  (go to article)

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July Fourth holiday driving may be a headache despite falling gas prices

cleveland.com -- CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Driving this weekend? Be prepared for a double shock -- the heaviest July Fourth traffic in years. That's the bad news.

The good news is that gasoline prices are falling. At least that is what the averages are showing.

More American families will be driving this Fourth of July than at any time since 2007, the AAA's reports.

About 41.9 million Americans will be travelling at least 50 miles from home this Fourth of July, the auto club has determined.

"Independence Day is typically the busiest summer travel holiday, and more Americans are planning a holiday getaway than any year since 2007," said Marshall Doney, AAA President.

And about 35.5 million of them will be on the highways, the highest number since 2007.  (go to article)

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Oil companies can be sued by earthquake victim, Oklahoma court rules

CBC News --

An Oklahoma woman who was injured when an earthquake rocked her home in 2011 can sue oil companies for damages, the state's highest court ruled on Tuesday, opening the door to other potential lawsuits against the state's energy companies.

Oklahoma has experienced a dramatic spike in earthquakes in the last five years, and researchers have blamed the oil and gas industry's practice of injecting massive volumes of saltwater left over from drilling.

The state saw nearly 600 quakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater in 2014, compared to just one or two per year prior to 2009, according to the Oklahoma Geological Survey.
¦Fracking and earthquakes: Exploring the connection
¦Fracking criticism spreads, even in Alberta and Texas
¦Fracking Immunity: Holding regulators accountable

 (go to article)

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Can CN Rail Police really issue speeding tickets?

The Globe and Mail -- Don’t want to be railroaded into a ticket? Then don’t speed near CN tracks, the company says
“Speeding is illegal in Ontario,” says CN spokesman Pierre Bergeron. “CN Police have the responsibility to enforce the safety of the public and of CN on and around CN property”
Railway constables working for CN and Via Rail have the same powers as every other police officer in Canada. They can detain, arrest, use force and search.
“They can, in fact, stop a person or vehicle and issue a ticket. If a person does not comply with them, as they have full police power, the person could be arrested for obstructing a police officer under the Criminal Code of Canada”
That power is not new – we’ve had railway police since before Confederation
Railway constables only have jurisdiction within 500 m of railway  (go to article)

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Oil prices drop as Greece defaults and output soars

Reuters -- Oil prices fell on Wednesday after Greece became the first developed economy to default on a loan with the International Monetary Fund and as both U.S. and OPEC production hit new records.

Greece, as expected, was not able to repay 1.6 billion euros it owed to the IMF, in what was the largest missed payment in the Fund's history.

Greece's default pushed up the dollar versus the euro EUR= .DXY, with the stronger greenback pressuring crude prices as it increases dollar-denominated oil import prices for countries using different currencies.

Front-month Brent crude futures LCOc1 were trading at $63.09 per barrel at 0116 GMT, down 50 cents from their last settlement. U.S. crude futures CLc1 fell 65 cents at $58.82 per barrel.

Analysts said rising production from the Organization of Petroleu  (go to article)

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Where Electric Vehicles Actually Cause More Pollution Than Gas Cars

The Atlantic CityLab -- The idea that gasoline cars might cause less environmental harm than electric vehicles seems impossibly backwards. But consider the following thought experiment before you dismiss it out of hand.

A view from the tailpipe gives EVs a clear edge: no emissions, no pollution, no problem. Shift the view to that of a smokestack, though, and we get a much different picture. The EV that caused no environmental damage on the road during the day still needs to be charged at night. This requires a great deal of electricity generated by a power plant somewhere, and if that power plant runs on coal, it’s not hard to imagine it spewing more emissions from a smokestack than a comparable gas car coughed up from a tailpipe.  (go to article)

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California Gas Drops Six Cents 1 July

San Diego Union-Tribune -- Californians hitting the road for a July 4 holiday can expect a bit of relief at the gas pump.

The state is lowering the per-gallon tax, called the excise tax, by 6 cents starting Wednesday to 30 cents per gallon. Californians still also pay federal excise taxes and state and local sales taxes. In fact, drivers in the Golden State pay among the highest in the nation's gas taxes at about 66 cents per gallon, according to the American Petroleum Institute.

However, a driver that travels 15,000 miles per year at 20 miles per gallon saves $45 due to the gas tax cut.

Since 2010, the state Board of Equalization has been charged with adjusting the excise tax rate due to a complex system called the Fuel Tax Swap.  (go to article)

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New CO2 Rules Should Aid Keystone XL Approval, TransCanada Says

Downstream Today (Reuters) -- TransCanada Corp said on Tuesday that tightening climate-change rules from the governments of Canada and the province of Alberta help justify the construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline project.

The company, Canada's No.2 pipeline operator, released a letter sent to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and other department officials saying that increased carbon levies for Alberta oil sands producers and new Canadian targets for greenhouse-gas emission cuts should serve to help assuage U.S. concerns that approving the C$8 billion ($6.41 billion) project would increase climate change.  (go to article)

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U.S. Refiners' Group Wants Wide Debate on Oil Exports

Downstream Today (Reuters) -- The U.S. oil refining industry's association is not opposed to lifting the country's 40-year-old ban on crude exports as long as the move is part of a bigger effort to lower barriers to trade, the group's new head said on Tuesday.

"We're not opposed to lifting the export ban, but we would like to think there could be a broader discussion," about all trade barriers in petroleum markets, Chet Thompson, president of the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), told reporters.

Other trade barriers include the Jones Act, which requires ships servicing coastal businesses to be built in the United States and mostly staffed by U.S. crews, and the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), which requires minimum amounts of biofuels such as ethanol to be blended into gasoline, said Thompson, who b  (go to article)

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California issues ‘Flex Alert,’ urges energy conservation

Sacramento Bee -- With temperatures soaring, managers of California’s electricity grid urged residents Tuesday to conserve energy from 2 to 9 p.m.

The California Independent System Operator, which runs the state’s transmission grid from Folsom, issued a so-called “Flex Alert” calling for conservation. The alert was also expected to to be in effect Wednesday from 2 to 9 p.m., the ISO said.

ISO officials said demand for electricity was expected to peak at 44,700 megawatts at around 6 p.m. That’s the highest energy demand California has seen since last Sept. 15. But it’s still expected to come in well below the projected level of available power supply.

ISO spokesman Steven Greenlee said Tuesday’s alert is the agency’s first heat-related warning since early July 2013, when the grid manager issued alerts  (go to article)

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Solid-State Batteries Already Powering Electric Cars: BlueCars, In Fact

Yahoo -- In the quest for a better battery chemistry that can make electric cars more competitive with internal combustion, solid-state cells have generated quite a bit of buzz.

As the name implies, solid-state cells replace the liquid electrolyte used in current lithium-ion cells with a solid material--a design that has numerous potential advantages, proponents say.

While it's typically discussed as an emerging technology, it turns out there's already a car being manufactured today that uses a battery pack made of solid-state cells.
Depending on where you live, you may be able to drive this car--but you can't buy it unless you live in France.

That's because the car in question is the Bolloré BlueCar, developed for the company's car-sharing service.

BlueCars already operate in several cities in  (go to article)

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Microsoft sells its maps to Uber

Daily Mail -- Microsoft has sold its map-generating technology to ride-hailing app company Uber.

It is believed the firm will use the technology as part of its plans to develop a self driving car.

The Redmond tech giant also sold its display advertising business to AOL and AppNexus as part of a major reorganisation.  (go to article)

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Colstrip coal-powered generator profitable, will stay open

The Spokesman Review/Associated Press -- BILLINGS — The formation of a new company to run Montana’s largest power plant has raised questions among analysts and plant detractors about how long it can keep going, as pollution control costs rise and coal’s share of the electricity market crumbles.

The plant’s new operator has an answer: There are no plans to shut down the 2,100-megawatt Colstrip Steam Electric Station.

Talen Energy spokesman George Lewis acknowledged these are uncertain times for coal power across the U.S.

But he said Colstrip for now remains a solid performer that delivers a profit for the Pennsylvania-based company that assumed operations of Colstrip earlier this month, prompting speculation about its intentions for the 360-worker plant.

“It’s a legitimate question for an operator of any coal-fired plant in  (go to article)

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Spokane businessman accused of fraud related to oil drilling company

The Spokesman Review -- Federal stock regulators accuse a South Hill businessman of defrauding investors with false and misleading claims about the prospects of his Texas-based oil drilling company.

The lawsuit, filed this month by the Securities and Exchange Commission against Glen Landry, claims that he used a series of newsletters to promote unrealistic projections for his company, Norstra Energy Inc., shortly after he became its president and chief executive officer in March 2013.

The SEC alleges Landry and Eric Dany, a paid promoter based in Illinois, told potential investors there was a 99 percent chance Norstra would profit from drilling wells in the Bakken shale formation in northern Montana.

“Landry and Norstra Energy misled investors about the location of the company’s property in order to make the  (go to article)

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Diesel Priced Almost As Low As Gasoline, As Gas Demand Surges

yahoo -- The price of diesel fuel in the U.S. has fallen more than 25 cents per gallon this year.

And thanks to high demand for gasoline, the two fuels now cost nearly the same in many states.

The difference in price between gasoline and diesel is now the smallest that it's been in six years.
Diesel could even fall to the price of gasoline in the coming weeks, reports Bloomberg, as unusually high gasoline consumption continues as the U.S. heads into the heart of the summer driving season.
Average gas prices surged 55 cents per gallon $2.77 last week, AAA data show.

At the same time, diesel was
down 27 cents per gallon, to $2.85.
The difference has averaged 9.3 cents per gallon so far this month--reportedly the smallest gap since August 2009.
The shrinking of that price gap isn't just because of  (go to article)

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Toyota Camry Ironically Tops List Of Cars With Most American-Made Content

Tech Timnes -- The vehicle with the most American-made content might surprise you. Well, that's because, it's a foreign car that's merely built in the United States.

It's the Toyota Camry. A Cars.com list for vehicles with the most American-made content ranks the 2015 Camry, built out of a plant in Georgetown, KY. and sharing the Lafayette, IN. plant with Subaru, as No. 1 on its yearly American-made index. That Camry supports 5,900 assembly workers and surpasses Ford's F-150 pickup for the vehicle with the most American-made content.
 (go to article)

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How Much Does Car Sharing Really Save You?

Bloomberg -- The genius of these [auto lender car-sharing] programs is that they are designed to spur buying, even as car sharing threatens the traditional auto business. The option to lend out a vehicle provides a little nudge to a customer on the fence4. BMW spokesman Almut Stollberg said via e-mail that the Mini program turns the car into “an investment that can be (partially) recouped.”

But how much money can someone make by lending a car to strangers via a slick smartphone app? The answer is wide-ranging and a little complicated but boils down to a fairly simple equation. Returns can be good under two conditions: The borrower doesn’t drive far and the lender doesn’t pay much attention to maintenance, new tires, and the depreciation that comes as the odometer spools up.  (go to article)

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Crude Oil Imports: More to Come?

GasBuddy Blog -- As a Tuesday deadline looms for Iran to have sanctions lifted on them, energy markets hold their breath for any indication of the outcome. Sanctions being lifted on Iran hinge on whether the U.S. and 5 other nations can agree on the terms of Iran’s nuclear program. A nuclear program agreement could, depending on negotiations, have sanctions on Iran lifted immediately. Iran’s crude exports have been severely hampered by tough sanctions; sanctions being lifted could flood the market with even more crude oil, lowering futures prices worldwide. As imported Iranian crude may be in the U.S.’s future, where does the U.S. currently get its crude?
In America, there has always been a sense of pride for being self-sufficient. The country of origin label on goods manufactured outside the U.S. is hidden on packaging, while American-made creations boldly carry the “Made in America” label. The larger-than-life American dream of the big house with a white picket fence and sports car in the  (go to article)

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Energy Intensities of Flying vs. Driving

University of Michigan -- Indeed, in 2010—the last year examined in that study—the energy intensity of driving was 57% greater than the energy intensity of flying. The present study extends the analysis through 2012. Furthermore, this study corrects the publicly available flying data for two inconsistencies: (1) the estimates of the energy intensity of flying are based on different carrier groups for fuel consumed and passenger miles flown, and (2) the estimates of the energy intensity of flying include cargo operations (paid freight and mail). The results indicate that, even before the corrections are made to the flying data, the energy intensity advantage of flying over driving has increased from 2010 to 2012. Furthermore, the net effect of the corrections to the flying data is that the advantage of flying has  (go to article)

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What Do Americans Think About Federal Tax Options to Support Transportation - Survey Results

San Jose State University -- The survey results show that a majority of Americans would support higher taxes for transportation—under certain conditions. For example, a gas tax increase of 10¢ per gallon to improve road maintenance was supported by 71% of respondents, whereas support levels dropped to just 31% if the revenues were to be used more generally to maintain and improve the transportation system. For tax options in which the revenues were to be spent for undefined transportation purposes, support levels varied considerably by what kind of tax would be imposed, with a sales tax much more popular than either a gas tax increase or a new mileage tax.
With respect to public transit, the survey results show that most people want good public transit service in their state. In addition, two-thirds of respondents sup  (go to article)

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Some Texas power companies already spent billions on EPA compliance, before Supreme Court ruling

Houston Chronicle -- While the U.S. Supreme Court dealt a blow against a landmark rule for regulating emissions from power plants, several of the largest Texas power companies said the ruling will have a minimal impact.

Many companies have already spent the money to retrofit or shut down the coal-fired power plants that were most affected. Other Texas power companies rely more on natural gas or nuclear power and actually supported the Environmental Protection Agency rule that went into effect in April.

Some companies like Houston-based Calpine and Dallas-based Exelon Corp. rely more on natural gas -fired or nuclear power plants. They were vocally supporting the EPA rule in the Supreme Court case. In a prepared statement, Exelon spokesman Paul Elsberg said the company was disappointed with Monday’s ruling.
 (go to article)

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First greenfield fuels refinery in 40 years celebrates grand opening

Energy Global -- On 29 June, several hundred business and government leaders celebrated the success of the first greenfield fuels refinery built in the US in nearly 40 years. The Dakota Prairie refinery, which began operating on 4 May 2015, is capable of processing 20 000 bpd of Bakken crude oil. It is supplying around 7000 bpd of diesel fuel to help offset North Dakota’s need to import nearly two thirds of its diesel supply. The refinery is a joint venture of MDU Resources Group, Inc. and Calumet Specialty Products Partners, L.P.

“This facility will help improve the state’s diesel supply, and over time has the potential to be an important contributor to the economic growth of the local and state economy,” said Dave Goodin, MDU Resources President and CEO. “All of this is possible because of the support  (go to article)

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Oil’s Decline Is Making You r Fourth of July Barbecue Cheaper

Bloomberg -- Americans will spend less this year firing up the grill for Fourth of July barbecues, thanks to cheaper energy and rising dairy and pork production.

The cost of a summer-cookout party for 10 people will be $55.84, or $5.58 per person, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation, which conducted a survey of prices in grocery stores across 30 states. That’s down 3 percent from a year earlier, the Washington-based group said.

Independence Day is the most popular time of the year for Americans to cook outdoors, according to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association. Oil’s more than 40 percent drop in the past 12 months has helped to keep U.S. inflation muted, while bigger harvests pushed world food costs to the lowest since 2009.

“The fact that we’ve had low energy prices for more than  (go to article)

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California oil train risks worse in minority areas: report

Reuters -- Californians most exposed to the risks of oil train derailments or fires overwhelmingly live in poorer, minority neighborhoods, two environmental groups in the state said on Tuesday.

The report, the first of its kind to explicitly link issues of class and race to the ongoing oil train safety debate, urged state regulators to ban oil imports by train into California and reject permits for several projects refiners have proposed to expand oil-by-rail cargo capacity.  (go to article)

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Consumer Reports finds some newer cars burn too much oil

Yahoo finance -- Newer cars aren't supposed to burn oil, but Consumer Reports magazine found that some engines mainly from Audi, BMW and Subaru force their owners to add a quart as often as once a month.

In the magazine's annual survey of car owners, significant numbers reported what the magazine considered to be excessive oil consumption. Consumer Reports focused on 2010 to 2014 models and called on automakers to make repairs under the powertrain warranty or to extend warranties.

"The companies should be willing to step up and take responsibility for their products," said Mark Rechtin, the magazine's cars content team leader.

Owners of newer cars, he said, shouldn't have to carry oil around and worry about adding it. Most cars, he said, have dashboard lights warning drivers if their oil gets too low.  (go to article)

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Ford's Mustang pulls ahead in sales race

Detroit News -- Ford Motor Co.'s Mustang is flexing its power in the race for best-selling muscle car.

Sales of the Dearborn automaker's pony car are up 55 percent in the United States through the first five months of the year, and it's outselling its biggest rival — the Chevrolet Camaro — for the first time since 2009.

Through May, Ford sold 56,571 Mustangs; Chevy sold 33,982 Camaros, according to Autodata Corp. The Dodge Challenger is in third place, with 30,166 sold. The Mustang's sizzling start to the year can be attributed to its 50th-anniversary redesign and a new 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder that are attracting younger buyers, especially in Southern California.

If the Mustang's blistering sales pace continues — Ford expects around a 40 percent sales gain for June when results are tallied Wed  (go to article)

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Oil bounces off 3-week lows as Greek debt default looms

Reuters -- LONDON (Reuters) - Oil prices bounced from three-week lows in choppy trade on Tuesday as investors awaited a Greek debt default, shying away from riskier assets and putting benchmark North Sea Brent crude on course for a second month of losses.

Brent for August was up 60 cents at $62.61 a barrel by 0925 GMT, after falling to $61.35 on Monday, its weakest since June 5. It closed at $62.01 on Monday, its lowest finish since April 15.

The contract was heading for a decline of more than 5 percent for June.

U.S. crude was up 30 cents at $58.63, having closed down $1.30 at $58.33 a barrel. It was set for its first monthly decline in three and was down about 3.5 percent this month.

"Markets are worried that a Greek debt default could hit European economic growth and thus fuel demand," said Ta  (go to article)

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POLL-Oil prices seen steady despite Greek crisis, Iran

Reuters -- June 30 (Reuters) - Oil prices are likely to be stable for the rest of this year and climb in 2016 and 2017 as global demand picks up, shrugging off setbacks from the Greek debt crisis and the possible lifting of sanctions on Iran, a Reuters poll forecast on Tuesday.

The monthly survey of 31 analysts showed North Sea Brent crude is expected to average $62 a barrel in 2015, more than $2 above its average price of $59.29 so far this year.

"Oversupply will ease gradually in the second half of this year, helped by stronger demand and slower production from outside OPEC," said Carsten Fritsch, senior oil and commodities analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt.  (go to article)

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The Car Horn......

GasBuddy Blog -- (Insert car horn sound here) It’s a distinctive sound that provides a constant backdrop to cities around the world: the car horn. Image From ..www.incaseimgone.com
Can you imagine having a man walk in front of your car blow a horn and wave a red flag, everywhere you drive? In the earliest days of cars, this was a requirement in Britain. Long before the days of interstates, backup cameras, and drive-thru’s, drivers made use of warning signals to alert other road users to their approach or possible danger. It wasn’t long before car owners and manufacturers realized it would be much more efficient to have drivers operate their warning devices themselves from inside their vehicles.  At the beginning of the 20th century, the quest for effective in-car signaling devices would change the acoustics of American roads forever. Car drivers around the globe had their choice of whistles, sirens, and bells so they could manually alert pedestrians and other road users.  (go to article)

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Ford recalls 203,000 vehicles for warning issues

DetroitNews.com -- Washington — Ford Motor Co. said Wednesday it is recalling 203,000 new Transit Connect and Escape vehicles because warning chimes and messages may not appear on instrument clusters.

The recall covers the 2014-15 models because when “starting the vehicle, the instrument cluster, warning chimes, messages and warning lights may not work, which is a compliance issue with FMVSS 101 and other applicable FMVSS requirements. If these displays don’t work as intended, it could increase the risk of a crash.”

The recall covers 182,520 in the United States and federalized territories, 18,226 in Canada and 2,699 in Mexico. There are no reports of injuries or crashes related to the issue.

The latest generation of the Ford Escape has had many glitches. The 2014 Escape has been recalled eight times and  (go to article)

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Urgent recalls for Chrysler’s Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango

WGNTV.com -- DETROIT — Fiat Chrysler is telling people to stop driving the 2015 models of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango.

The automobile manufacturer says a suspension malfunction causes instability in the rear of the car and reduces braking power.

About 7,700 vehicles are included in the latest recall.

Fiat Chrysler will contact about 65 customers via phone call to arrange an at-home inspection of their car.

The remaining cars included in the recall are still on their way to dealerships, or parked on dealership lots.

Customers who have cars included in the recall will be provided with a loaner car by Chrysler.  (go to article)

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Look after fossil fuel workers in shift to clean energy: union chief

REUTERS -- Coal, oil and gas workers need a secure future as the world moves away from fossil fuel use, and governments and companies must plan to ensure any new global climate change deal is fair for all those impacted, a top trade unionist said.

So far there has been little effort to design a "just transition" to a fossil-free future, putting workers in dirty energy sectors on the defensive, said Sharan Burrow, general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation.

"We know that if governments and industry aren't visionary enough to engage in a dialogue, to put the plan in place, to give people security, then we will see distress, fear and increasingly opposition among people around the world," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an interview.

 (go to article)

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Gas prices in Bradenton-Sarasota, nationally dip as heavy July 4 travel anticipated

Bradenton Herald -- Gas prices are on the decline nationwide as drivers gear up for what AAA expects to be the most traveled Independence Day since 2007.

The national average price for a gallon of gasoline fell to $2.85, a 2-cent drop over the last two weeks. According to industry analyst Trilby Lundberg, the dip comes after a 42-cent jump during the last nine weeks.

In Florida, the average price for a gallon of gas is $2.69 -- 91 cents lower than the price on July 4, 2014.

In Bradenton-Sarasota, average retail gasoline prices have fallen 0.9 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.67 a gallon going into this week, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 308 gas outlets in Sarasota.

"The national average continued its slow retreat in the last week, but current events with Greece may have some bear  (go to article)

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Supreme Court justices ream EPA for ignoring costs to meet air standards

TRIBLIVE -- The Supreme Court's rejection Monday of the process federal regulators used to write mercury pollution rules for the power industry won't revive coal-fired plants that closed, but it raises questions among some industry leaders and analysts about other regulations.

In a 5-4 decision, the court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency should have considered the cost of implementing its mercury and air toxics standards, or MATS, before moving ahead with them. Justices sent the case back to an appeals court to decide what to do next.

“EPA argues that it need not consider cost when first deciding whether to regulate power plants because it can consider cost later when deciding how much to regulate them,” Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the majority. “By EPA's logic, someone could...  (go to article)

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Oil holds near 3-wk lows as Greek enters 2nd day of bank shutdown

The Financial Express -- Oil futures hovered below three-week lows on Tuesday after Greeks took to the streets to protest against austerity following a bank shutdown, keeping investors away from riskier assets and putting Brent crude on course for a second month of declines.

Brent crude futures were down 16 cents at $61.85 a barrel at 0200 GMT, after falling to $62.01 on Monday, their weakest finish since June 5. The contract is heading for its second straight monthly decline.

U.S. crude dropped 20 cents to $58.13, having closed down $1.30 at $58.33 a barrel, its lowest settlement since June 8. It is set for its first monthly decline in three.

“Greece is still the word,” said Ben Le Brun, market analyst at OptionsXpress in Sydney. “That story doesn’t look like stopping anytime soon.”

Tens of thousands of Greek  (go to article)

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Ohio motorists see higher gas prices to start work week

19 Action News (Cleveland, Ohio) -- COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio motorists are seeing higher prices at the pump to start the work week.

A gallon of regular gas in Ohio was averaging $2.81 in Monday's survey from auto club AAA, the Oil Price Information Service and WEX Inc. That's up 8 cents from a week ago.

Average prices in Ohio were above the nation's average, which was $2.77 per gallon on Monday.

But Ohio gas prices remain significantly cheaper than last year at this time, when prices were averaging $3.64 per gallon.

Among the state's metropolitan areas, the Youngstown and Warren area had the lowest average prices Monday at $2.74 per gallon.

Online:

AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report: http://fuelgaugereport.aaa.com  (go to article)

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