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Convoys to hit the highway this summer in Michigan

Automotive News -- While Uber and other ride-sharing services are evaluating self-driving cars, the biggest user of autonomous-vehicle fleets may turn out to be the U.S. Army.

The Army, which has hundreds of thousands of vehicles, has been testing convoys of driverless vehicles that follow a truck driven by a human.

 (go to article)

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Gasoline prices may be about to spike

MSN - Market Watch -- Gas market headed for time of year when prices ‘can jump very quickly’

Americans are likely to spend about $27 billion less on gasoline this year than last, but prices are set to spike as the spring refinery maintenance season kicks in.

The average U.S. price for a gallon of regular gasoline stood at $1.806 late Friday, according to GasBuddy.com. That’s down 23.6 cents from last year’s average of $2.042 a gallon.

But prices have a ways to go before they hit their peak this year, according to Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis at the Oil Price Information Service.

He sees a high around $2.50 a gallon for gasoline this year, and it won’t necessarily be because of a rally in crude. He thinks a “substantive meeting between delegates from Russia and OPEC is as likely as a substantive  (go to article)

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Scientists pull clean, renewable energy from human wastes

Science News For Students -- Every day, people visit the toilet. Or, in developing nations, the field, pit or other location where they can relieve themselves. With more than 7 billion people on the planet, that’s a lot of waste. Mixed with water, these wastes are known as sewage. Because they host germs, they can’t just be left lying around. If they taint the water people use for eating, drinking and bathing, those germs can spread disease. So cleaning up the daily production of human wastes is an important part of keeping people healthy.

Most people don’t stop to think about what happens to these wastes as they get flushed down a toilet. But scientists do. Around the world, they’re doing more than just cleaning up our mess. They’re turning these wastes into the latest source of renewable energy.

 (go to article)

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Obama's $10 oil tax proposal would cost motorists

USA Today -- Consumers will likely pay the price for President Obama's proposed $10 tax per-barrel of oil, an administration official and a prominent analyst said Thursday.

Energy companies will simply pass along the cost to consumers, Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com, which tracks gas prices nationwide, said in an interview with USA TODAY.  (go to article)

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Husky puts on short-term hedges during refinery turnarounds

Reuters -- Canadian oil producer Husky Energy said on Friday it is implementing a short-term hedging program to help protect itself from volatile oil prices during turnarounds at its two major refineries in the first half of 2016.

The Calgary-based company, which last month slashed its capital budget by 27 percent, declined to comment on what proportion of oil production it has hedged or at what price.

Husky does not generally hedge production using financial derivatives as its refining arm provides a natural cushion against low crude oil prices, but production at its 160,000-bpd Lima refinery and 160,000-bpd Toledo refinery, both in Ohio, will be cut during the upcoming turnarounds.

Six to eight weeks of maintenance are scheduled at Lima, while there is 70 days of work planned at Toledo, a joint  (go to article)

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Delta-owned refinery challenges U.S. policy on bio-fuels program

Reuters -- A refinery owned by Delta Air Lines is renewing a push to change a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency policy laid down as part of a national program that requires increased use of biofuels like ethanol.

The Renewable Fuel Standard program, launched in 2005, requires refiners to blend biofuels with petroleum-based transportation fuels like gasoline and diesel.

Some refiners have blending capacity but others do not. Those who lack blending capacity must buy compliance credits from other refiners or other companies that blend fuel.

Delta-owned merchant refiner Monroe Energy LLC wants the EPA to shift the compliance obligation to blenders. In a Jan. 29 filing in the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, the company asked for a review of the current regulation.

It was the la  (go to article)

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Canada to Decide on Trans Mountain Oil Pipeline by End of 2016

Bloomberg Business -- Canada’s federal government will make a decision on Kinder Morgan Inc.’s Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion by the end of the year after additional consultations and considering the country’s national interest, Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr said.

The government has added an additional four months to the regulatory process under the National Energy Board in order to provide more assessment of the Trans Mountain project, Carr said in a briefing today in Calgary.  (go to article)

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Elation and Skepticism Over Proposal for Streetcars in Brooklyn and Queens

NY Times -- NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled a proposal to ease commuter complaints: a 16-mile streetcar line running through neighborhoods along the East River in Brooklyn and Queens. The $2.5 billion proposal is aimed at improving accessibility to stretches of the city that have seen an influx of residents in recent years but are still poorly served by the subway system.  (go to article)

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Radar Detectors.....the 1st

GasBuddy Blog -- Image From ..wikipediaHave you ever owned a radar detector?  Did it do what it was designed to do and help you avoid a speed trap?  I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the history of radar detectors.
According to radardetectormuseum.com, the first commercially available radar detector was on the market in the early 60s (who knew?).   In fact it was even featured on the cover of the September, 1991 issue of Popular Electronics.  This detector, known as the Radar Sentry, was made by a company called Radatron out of Tonawanda, New York....  (go to article)

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Oil prices will be pushed up by mounting social costs eventually

Globe & Mail -- It’s fashionable to argue that low oil prices can endure for years because the cost of producing oil in much of the Middle East is as little as $10 (U.S.) a barrel. So the Saudis will keep the spigot pried wide open to choke off more expensive production elsewhere – U.S. shale, the Canadian oil sands, offshore Brazil and West Africa.

The low-cost argument is a fallacy because it ignores the social costs of the oil-producing countries. Take Saudi Arabia. According to Deutsche Bank, Saudi Arabia in 2015 would have required about $100 (U.S.) a barrel to balance its budget; the average price was about half that level. This year, as a result of austerity measures, the Saudis will require $77 oil for fiscal break-even. But that’s about double the current price for Brent crude, the international  (go to article)

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Suncor Energy acquires nearly 73 per cent of Canadian Oil Sands shares

Thge Canadian Press -- CALGARY - Suncor Energy has announced that nearly 73 per cent of Canadian Oil Sands shares and accompanying rights have been tendered to Suncor's offer.

Suncor officials said that as a result, the company will be able to ensure that a subsequent acquisition transaction will be completed and Suncor (TSX:SU) will acquire the remainder of the outstanding COS shares.

In mid-January, COS (TSX:COS) accepted a sweetened takeover offer from Suncor Energy as the market outlook for oilsands producers deteriorates.

The deal drew to a close a bitter takeover battle that pitted two partners in the massive Syncrude oilsands mine against each other.

Suncor offered to exchange 0.28 of one of its shares for each COS share — up from 0.25 of a Suncor share per COS share.

Steve Williams, Suncor president  (go to article)

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2016 Prius Four is a smarter, sleeker version of Toyota's aging hybrid

LA Times -- Back in the dark days of automotive history, fuel was cheap and plentiful and Detroit dinosaurs ruled the Earth.

Then the Prius came along, offering the first practical hybrid solution, and became the bestselling car in California.

Almost a decade later, fuel is cheap and plentiful again, and a changed world awaits the latest iteration of the world's most successful hybrid.

Since the debut of the original, the road has become busy with nontraditional-powertrain vehicles. Almost every major manufacturer makes some kind of hybrid, which is now available in almost every kind of vehicle. And joining the hybrids are flocks of battery-electric Teslas, plug-in Leafs and Volts, and hydrogen fuel cell Mirais and Claritys.

The groundbreaking technology of 2007 is now passe. How can a simple  (go to article)

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Warren Buffett's $1 billion bet on oil

CNN -- The story behind oil's plunge
Oil prices have plunged this year, but Warren Buffett isn't scared. He's bet nearly a $1 billion on the sector since the start of the year.
That's how much Phillips 66 stock Berkshire Hathaway (BRKB) has bought since Jan. 3, according to company filings, the most recent of which was made Wednesday.

Berkshire already owned 61.5 million shares of the oil refining giant, and has recently spent $964 million to buy an additional 12 million shares of the company. Buffett's firm now owns 14% of Phillips 66 shares, making it Bershire's sixth largest holding.
As an oil refining company, Phillips 66 (PSX) is in the  (go to article)

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Rig count plummets nationwide as oil remains at $30 per barrel

San Antonio Business Journal -- Rig counts fell by double digits across the United States as West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices stubbornly remain around $30 per barrel.
Figures from the Baker Hughes Rig Count show that new drilling activity in the United States fell by 48 rigs in one week's tSime. In Eagle Ford Shale region just south of San Antonio, the number of active drilling rigs dropped from 64 to 60.
Baker Hughes (NYSE: BHI) reported drops in all shale basins across the United States, except for the Barnett Shale of Fort Worth, which went from three rigs to four.

In the Permian Basin of West Texas, new drilling dropped to 199 rigs. Across the Lone Star State, new drilling fell down to 281 rigs. The figures show that there are now only 571 active rigs in the United States.
The global supply glut and low oil  (go to article)

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Read Obama's Own Words Justifying The $10/bbl Oil Tax

Oilpro -- President Barack Obama said Friday the reason why he's chosen the present moment to propose a $10 per barrel tax on crude oil is because gasoline prices are low. “The basic proposition is that right now gas is $1.80 and gas prices are expected to be low for a while. That overall can be a good thing for the economy. But what is also important is we use this period where gas prices are low to accelerate a transition to a clean energy economy because we know it’s not going to last.”

In other words, he is overtly taking advantage of low prices at the pump to propose a measure that would 1) raise prices at the pump, 2) hurt consumers, and 3) stifle an oil sector that is already being hammered by low prices.

Thankfully, as John Kemp pointed out Thursday, the proposal stands no chance of becomi  (go to article)

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How High is too High to Drive?

CBC The National -- As Canada begins work on legalizing marijuana, one of the toughest public safety challenges will be deciding when a marijuana smoker is too impaired to drive  (go to article)

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Justin Trudeau blames Conservatives for 'politicized' NEB process, won't rush Energy East

CBC News -- Energy leaders confident the PM understands oilpatch challenges
Trudeau would not commit to green-lighting the divisive Energy East pipeline today and instead slammed his predecessors for interfering in what he said should be a rigorous scientific process
"One of the challenges we're in right now is that my predecessors have politicized that process. I'm not going to prejudge or shortcut the [NEB] process as it goes forward" he said
Trudeau made the statement after meeting with several oil and gas industry leaders in Calgary on Thursday, some of whom were all smiles after speaking with the PM
"What we got today was an understanding of the challenges we face" said Suncor CEO Williams, whose company — Canada's largest oilsands player — posted a net loss of $2B for the final 3 months of 2015  (go to article)

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We Should All Fear Oilmageddon

Bloomberg Business -- Markets are currently in a well-oiled "death spiral," according to Citigroup Inc. analysts led by Jonathan Stubbs.

"It appears that four inter-linked phenomena are driving a negative feedback loop in the global economy and across financial markets," the analysts write, citing the resilient U.S. dollar, lower commodities prices, weaker trade and capital flows, and declining emerging market growth.

"It seems reasonable to assume that another year of extreme moves in U.S. dollar (higher) and oil/commodity prices (lower) would likely continue to drive this negative feedback loop and make it very difficult for policy makers in emerging markets and developing markets to fight disinflationary forces and intercept downside risks," the analysts add. "Corporate profits and equity markets would al  (go to article)

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Volkswagen, Reeling From Emissions Scandal, to Delay Earnings Report

The New York Times -- FRANKFURT — Volkswagen said on Friday that it would delay reporting its annual earnings and move back the date of its annual shareholders’ meeting because of uncertainty about the cost of its diesel emissions scandal.

The delays reflect the company’s problems from the fallout of its admission in September that it had equipped 11 million diesel vehicles with software that could enable them to cheat on emissions tests.

The postponements announced on Friday also highlighted how difficult it was for Volkswagen to calculate the cost of the scandal and prepare credible financial statements. The company, based in Wolfsburg, Germany, faces official investigations in the United States and other countries and lawsuits by thousands of aggrieved car owners.  (go to article)

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USGC butane softens as alkylate rises on summer gasoline blendstock needs

Platts -- US Gulf Coast gasoline traders pivoted further away from winter blendstocks Friday, with alkylate climbing to an 11-day high and March East Texas butane falling out of favor, dipping an extra 2 cents to February butane minus 4.75 cents.

Alkylate at 5.5 RVP is coveted by blenders who need to meet stricter summer specifications for gasoline. Butane at 57 RVP or lower is wanted in winter as a money-saving blending product.

Outside of higher demand for summer-spec gasoline, alkylate differentials have been climbing to maintain their value against falling Gulf Coast gasoline values, which blendstocks use as a pricing basis.

The outright price for Gulf Coast conventional gasoline with 87-octane (M4) dropped 2.21 cents/gal to 89.30 cents/gal, its lowest price since December 9, 2008.  (go to article)

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Battle of Three Oil Benchmarks Upending Crude Flows Across Globe

Bloomberg -- The oil tanker Tofteviken is set to sail from the U.K. this month carrying the first shipment of North Sea Ekofisk crude to the U.S. Gulf Coast in five years.

More than 7,000 miles away, the Syros Warrior is due to deliver Siberian oil to the Chinese port of Qingdao, part of a record surge of cargoes that’s helped Russia overtake Angola as the Asian nation’s second-biggest supplier. Back in Texas, a tanker of crude is scheduled to sail for China in what will be one of the first shipments to leave the U.S. after an export ban was lifted.

These journeys illustrate how the global oil market has been upended by the collapse in prices that was triggered in 2014 by the U.S. shale boom. They’re a reflection of the fluctuating relationship between the three global crude benchmarks being buffeted  (go to article)

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Warren Buffett's $1 billion bet on oil

CNN Money -- Oil prices have plunged this year, but Warren Buffett isn't scared. He's bet nearly a $1 billion on the sector since the start of the year.

That's how much Phillips 66 stock Berkshire Hathaway (BRKB) has bought since Jan. 3, according to company filings, the most recent of which was made Wednesday.
 (go to article)

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Oil tax law? It's not going to happen: Bernstein

CNBC -- President Barack Obama is expected to propose a $10-a-barrel tax on oil companies in his last budget proposal. The initiative aims to create a new clean transportation plan prioritizing the reducing of greenhouse gases.

The White House released a fact sheet on Thursday, where it claims the new plan, which is expected to phase in throughout five years, will reduce carbon pollution, strengthen the economy and make transportation easier for American families.  (go to article)

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The 370 mph 'bullet' fueled by batteries

CNN -- From Malcolm Campbell's Bluebird - the first car to break the 300 mph barrier in 1935 - to the jet and rocket-propelled speedsters of 1960s and 1970s, the famous Bonneville Salt Flats speedway has hosted some of the most iconic cars ever built.

Now a new breed of racers are taking on the famous speedway.

The latest arrival on the salt flats is an electric car - the Venturi Buckeye Bullet 3 (VBB-3).

A joint project of Monaco-based Venturi Automobiles and engineering students from Ohio State University, the car - which is more than 11 meters long - boasts an impressive 3,000 horsepower under the hood and an estimated top speed of 372 mph (600 kph).

The current world land speed record for a battery-powered car is 307 mph - set by the team's previous model, the Venturi VBB-2.5 in 2010.  (go to article)

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Obama says proposal to tax oil sector won't disrupt economy

MarketWatch -- The White House proposed $10-a-barrel tax on oil to pay for infrastructure "is not going to be a disruptive factor in terms of the economy" because gas prices should be low for quite some time, President Barack Obama said Friday. In brief remarks in the White House press room, Obama defended the proposal, saying it balances with the federal government's recent decision to allow oil companies to export petroleum. He said the tax would help wean the economy off dirty fuels. "It is right to do it now when gas prices are really low," he said.
 (go to article)

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Baker Hughes reports seventh straight weekly decline in U.S. oil rig count

Marketwatch -- Oil prices seesawed between losses and gains after data from Baker Hughes BHI, +1.12% showed that the number of active U.S. oil-drilling rigs edged down for a seventh week in a row. They fell by 31 to 467 as of Friday. The total active U.S. rig count, which includes natural-gas rigs, was down 48 at 571. Compared to last year, the total U.S. rig count has fallen by 885, with oil rigs down by 673. March crude CLH6, -2.74% was at $31.73 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, up a penny. It was trading lower at $31.42 before the data.

 (go to article)

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Texas Oil and Natural Gas Industry Paid $13.8 Billion in Taxes and Royalties in 2015, Second Most in

TXOGA -- AUSTIN – According to just-released data from the Texas Oil & Gas Association (TXOGA), the Texas oil and natural gas industry paid $13.8 billion in state and local taxes and state royalties in fiscal year 2015, the second highest such collection from the oil and natural gas industry in Texas history.

“In spite of global economic challenges, all Texans continue to benefit from tax and royalty revenue paid by the oil and natural gas industry,” said Todd Staples, president of TXOGA. “State and local revenue from the oil and natural gas industry directly funds our schools, roads, first responders and essential public services,” he said.

“The oil and natural gas industry contributes more than a half billion dollars annually to the state’s Permanent School Fund, which supports Texas K-12 publ  (go to article)

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Vehicle’s safety recall led to more problems, driver says

The Gainesville Sun -- Even after Toyota issued a second safety recall to fix continuing problems with the rear suspension of certain RAV4s in 2013, a Jonesville woman was told by Gatorland Toyota last year she would have to pay $830 to have the same parts replaced.

She needed to get a rear alignment for her vehicle after learning the inside of the tires were worn bald less than 8,000 miles after the repair.  (go to article)

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The 600-hp Roush F-150: So awesome, it's illegal in California

Autoweek -- Roush installs a TVS 2300 supercharger on top of the 5.0-liter Coyote V8, bumping output from 385 hp to 600 and torque from 387 lb-ft to a healthy 557. It’s on sale now in non-CARB states. As for CARB states, Roush told us, “No CARB approval is pending or applied for. We do have a retail supercharger kit that will be submitted for CARB E.O. and can be installed post-title in CARB states, but do not intend to certify the F150 Roush Supercharged vehicle at this time.”

The 2016 Roush F-150 is on sale now in non-CARB states

 (go to article)

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Producers keep pumping even with oil prices falling

CNBC -- When a commodity costs more to produce than the current market price, producers usually stop producing it.

When it comes to U.S. crude oil, that's not happening, according to an analysis of global oil production by Wood Mackenzie, a commodities market research firm.

The oil glut continues to weigh on crude prices, but the decision to stop pumping when prices fall is not as simple as it may seem.
 (go to article)

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Americans turning back to more fuel efficient cars, says study

GasBuddy Blog -- According to a monthly report by Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle from the University of Michigan, the average fuel economy of newly purchased vehicles increased for the first time in eight months, The surprise increase comes due to a month-to-month decline in pickup trucks and SUVs, the report notes. 

The average fuel economy (window-sticker value) of new vehicles sold in the U.S. in December was 25.1 mpg—up 0.2 mpg from the value for December. Fuel economy stands down 0.7 mpg from the peak reached in August 2014, but still up 5.0 mpg since October 2007 (the first month of monitoring).

For a description of the calculations and the recent mpg values, click here....  (go to article)

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Obama to call for $10-per-barrel oil tax to fund clean transport

1776 Coalition -- President Obama will propose a $10 fee for every barrel of oil to be paid by oil companies in order to fund clean energy transport system, the White House announced Thursday — although Republicans were quick to declare the plan “dead on arrival” in Congress.

The fee would be phased in over five years and would provide $20 billion per year for traffic reduction, investment in transit systems and other modes of transport such as high-speed rail, the White House said. It would also offer $10 billion to encourage investment in clean transport at the regional level.Read more at 1776 Coalition: http://www.1776coalition.com/rise-up-1/obama-to-call-for-10-per-barrel-oil-tax-to-fund-clean-transport#ixzz3zJiZFDXH
 (go to article)

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Four reasons electric vehicle sales will surge – Goldman Sachs

RenewEconomy -- The report predicts that EVs – that is both hybrid and pure electric cars – will make up more than one-quarter of the global car market within just 10 years, their numbers growing from around 1 million today to around 25 million in 2025.

“Over the next 10 years, our sector analysts forecast sales to increase by a (compound annual growth rate of 26 per cent, expanding market share from 3 per cent today to 22 per cent in 2025,” the report says.
 (go to article)

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Oil turns negative after US jobs report miss

CNBC -- Crude oil futures gave up gains after the U.S. jobs report came in below expectations, and as bearish fundamentals weighed on markets at the end of a volatile week that saw prices seesaw over 10 percent within a day.

The U.S. economy added 151,000 jobs in January, compared with estimates for an increase of 190,000 payroll positions.
 (go to article)

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Oil Heads for Weekly Drop as Persistent Glut Stymies Price Rally

Bloomberg Business -- Oil headed for its first weekly drop since mid-January as expanding U.S. crude stockpiles signaled a persisting global glut that’s proving a hurdle for any sustained price rally.

Futures fluctuated today in New York, swinging between a drop of as much as 1.1 percent and a gain of 2 percent. They are down 4.8 percent for the week. U.S. supplies rose above 500 million barrels through Jan. 29, the highest level since 1930 in monthly government data compiled by the Energy Information Administration.  (go to article)

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Non OPEC Oil Production To Collapse In 2016

GasBuddy -- Non-OPEC oil supplies are sharply lower in December. Overall supplies are estimated to have slipped by more than 0.6 mb/d from the month prior, to 57.4 mb/d. A seasonal decline in biofuel production, largely due to the Brazilian sugar cane harvest, of nearly 0.4 mb/d was the largest contributor to December’s drop. Production in Vietnam, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and the U.S. was also seen easing from both November’s level and compared with a year earlier. Persistently low production in Mexico and Yemen were other contributors to the year-on-year decline.  (go to article)

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Obama oil tax proposal would cost motorists

USA Today -- Consumers will likely pay the price for President Obama's proposed $10 tax per-barrel of oil, an administration official and a prominent analyst said Thursday.

Energy companies will simply pass along the cost to consumers, Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com, which tracks gas prices nationwide, said in an interview with USA TODAY.
 (go to article)

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Loss-making oil fields unlikely to be shut willingly

Reuters -- Even as millions of barrels of oil are pumped at a loss at current prices, only a fraction of the production has been shut, industry research group Wood Mackenzie said on Friday.

The apparent financial resilience of some producers could delay a recovery in the oil market that has seen an oversupply of 2 million barrels per day (bpd) push prices down by some 70 percent over the past 18 months.

"Curtailed budgets have slowed investment which will reduce future volumes, but there is little evidence of production shut-ins for economic reasons," said Robert Plummer, Wood Mackenzie's vice president of investment research.

Just 100,000 bpd out of the 96.1 million bpd of oil pumped worldwide have been closed so far since the price plunge, most of it in Canada's oil sands, conventional U.S. proj  (go to article)

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As Cushing fills with oil, Enterprise among first to face hiccups

Reuters -- The unprecedented build-up of surplus crude oil supplies in Cushing, Oklahoma, is beginning to cause logistical headaches for companies moving crude between thousands of steel tanks in the nation's most important storage hub.

Enterprise Products Partners, a large participant but relatively small operator in the Cushing market, has told at least some counterparties that it is experiencing delays in delivering crude from its tanks, according to three sources who were informed of unspecified "terminalling and pump" issues.

The sources attributed the disruptions to the unusually high level of oil collecting in Cushing, the delivery point of the CME Group's U.S. oil futures contract.

"It's hard to move barrels around right now because there's so much oil (in Cushing)," said one trader. The d  (go to article)

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New pedal pushes back when you’re wasting fuel

Boston.com -- Auto parts maker Bosch has invented a pedal that alerts drivers when they are pushing too hard on the gas, potentially hurting their car’s gas mileage.

In a statement, the auto parts maker points out the driver’s foot is responsible for one-quarter of fuel consumption. As a response, the company announced its “active gas pedal,” which alerts drivers to their lead-footed driving behavior by sending a light buzzing signal through the driver’s foot.

According to Bosch, the gas pedal could improve a vehicle’s fuel efficiency by as much as 7 percent. For example, it could signal to a driver that it is time to switch gears to avoid over-revving.

“The Bosch active gas pedal helps drivers save fuel – and alerts them to potentially dangerous situations as well,” said Stefan Seiberth, ....  (go to article)

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Calif cancels road projects; weighs gas tax hike

GasBuddy Blog --
California Governor Jerry BrownBecause of plummeting gas tax revenue Calif. transportation officials have announced plans to cut funding for road and transit projects by $754 million over the next five years, the greatest reduction in two decades.
And that may be just the tip of the iceberg. Lucy Dunn, chairwoman of the California Transportation Commisson warns of "even more draconian cuts next year" if funding sources under consideration by lawmakers do not improve transportation finances.At the same time, the governor and many others recognize the need for more, not less investment, in roads, highways and transportation infrastructure.  So where do you think the needed money is going to come from? ...  (go to article)

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Eleven men died in the 2010 rig explosion that led to BP's Gulf oil spill, but a jury will hear abou

The Republic -- BATON ROUGE, Louisiana — Eleven men died in the 2010 rig explosion that led to BP's Gulf oil spill, but a jury will hear about only four during a rig supervisor's trial this month.

U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. ruled Wednesday that the deaths aren't relevant to the case now that federal prosecutors have dropped manslaughter charges against Robert Kaluza.

If the case goes to trial Feb. 16, Duval said he will inform jurors about the deaths of four workers — Dewey Revette, Jason Anderson, Donald Clark, and Stephen Curtis — because they participated in a key safety test shortly before the explosion.  (go to article)

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Up to 5M vehicles recalled over air bag computer problem

TRIBLIVE-AP -- Another problem has developed with automotive air bags, this one resulting in recalls of as many as 5 million vehicles worldwide.

Continental Automotive Systems says in documents filed with the federal government that moisture can get inside its air bag control computers, causing the power supplies to corrode and fail. If that happens, air bags might not inflate in a crash — or they could deploy without a crash.

The documents, posted Thursday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, say Continental will notify automakers, who will recall cars dating as far back as 2006.

Honda, Fiat Chrysler and Mercedes have issued recalls. Honda reported two injuries from the problem.

Continental said only a portion of the 5 million affected cars are in the United States, but an exact...  (go to article)

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Shale gas, oil extraction costs vary wildly; some drillers profit with crude below $30 a barrel

TRIBLIVE-Bloomberg News -- Texas has a message for $30 crude doomsayers: Bring it on.

A handful of shale patches in the state, which would be the world's sixth-largest oil producer if it were a country, are profitable with crude below $30 a barrel, according to an analysis by Bloomberg Intelligence.

In DeWitt County, which produced more than 100,000 barrels a day in November from the Eagle Ford formation, the average well can be profitable with U.S. benchmark crude at $22.52 a barrel, $4 below the lowest level this year.

Drive 200 miles southwest to Dimmit County, and drillers need $58 oil. The wide range of break-evens, a term for the price at which a well goes from unprofitable to profitable, illustrates one reason why shale production from exploration and production companies has been more resilient than...  (go to article)

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Ontario promises $100 million to help homeowners make energy-efficient upgrades but don’t ask for sp

Canadian Press - TORONTO -- Ontario is promising a $100M rebate program to help homeowners upgrade their furnaces, water heaters and insulation, but there are no details on a start date, eligibility rules or amounts
The goal is to reduce GHG emissions, and help create jobs and lower homeowners’ natural gas bills
Environment and Climate Change Minister Murray says 37,000 customers of Enbridge Gas and Union Gas will be able to have home energy audits to identify energy-saving options
Once the audit is done, the homeowners will be able to get financial help to buy a new furnace, water heater or insulation
About 62% of Ontario homes use natural gas for heating, compared with 28% for electricity and just 3% for oil
Murray says every dollar spent on energy efficiency retrofits can save natural gas customers $1.50 to $4  (go to article)

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In battle with Uber, Toronto taxi industry seems determined to lose respect

National Post -- Little more than a year after Uber launched in Edmonton, the City of Champions last week became the first in Canada to bring the taxi alternative into its regulatory fold. There will be criminal background checks, mandatory commercial insurance and vehicle inspections. But there will also be unlimited supply, and demand-based pricing
It wasn’t painless. Cabbies were furious. “For drivers that own plates, it’s understood that the value of the plates may go down, and that weighs on us,” Edmonton Mayor conceded in an interview
To put it mildly, Toronto’s experience has been dissimilar. And slower
Uber launched in Toronto 3,5 years ago, and the taxi industry and its supporters have been howling ever since. In December, taxi-ists occupied the intersection of Queen and Bay streets for hours
Wedn  (go to article)

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Four Days After Predicting Oil Will Double, T. Boone Pickens Sells All Oil Holdings

ZeroHedge -- Just four days ago, on Monday afternoon, "legendary" oilman T Boone Pickens said that crude has hit bottom at $26 per barrel, and predicting that prices should double within 12 months.

Pickens then doubled-down on his wrong call from last year, telling CNBC's "Squawk Box" that oil prices will rise to at least $52 per barrel by the end of the year. That said, he was at least honest enough to admit that his virtually identical call from last year, when he thought prices would strongly rebound, was wrong.

Whether it's $50 or $70 by the end of 2016 will largely be determined by the global economy, he added reiterating the same flawed thesis he used to justify his bullishness a year ago: "We're still building inventories, and we will for the next several months. And then we'll start to draw,"  (go to article)

Submitted Feb 04, 2016 By:
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Obama proposes $10-a-barrel oil tax

CNN Money -- The White House on Thursday proposed a wave of clean transportation investments that would be paid for through a $10-per-barrel fee on oil.

The tax --which is very unlikely to get through Republican-controlled Congress -- would be paid for by oil companies. It also comes at a time when the energy industry has been crushed by the dramatic crash in oil prices.

Jeffrey Zients, Obama's chief economic adviser, told reporters the fee would apply to oil that is imported into the U.S. He said oil pumped in the U.S. that is exported would not be taxed, ensuring a "level playing field" for American producers.

The U.S. imports quite a lot oil even though it has become more self-reliant in recent years. The nation imported 7.4 million barrels of oil per day as of November, down from 10 million at  (go to article)

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Phillips 66 says California rail project critical to crude supply

Reuters -- Phillips 66 says a long-proposed crude-by-rail project at one of its California refineries is more critical to supply because of the extended shutdown of an oil pipeline that ruptured last year.

Jim Anderson, manager of the project proposed at its Santa Maria refinery, said on Thursday that last May's shutdown of a Plains All American Pipeline line has made the rail facility "more urgent."

Plains' Line 901 moved oil produced in Exxon Mobil Corp's Santa Ynez offshore oilfield, and production ceased when the pipeline burst.

Both "were key to maintaining the viability of the refinery," Anderson said during a webcast of a San Obispo County planning commission hearing on Phillips' request to build the rail facility.

Phillips 66 proposed the project in 2013 to widen supply options as Califor  (go to article)

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Record US gasoline stocks could lead to selloff before summer RVP

Platts -- US gasoline stocks climbed to an all-time high 254.4 million barrels last week, according to EIA data released Wednesday, which will likely continue to exert downward pressure on physical gasoline prices ahead of the switch to summer specification gasoline.

Several benchmark physical gasoline prices already have set record lows largely on oversupply.

Chicago CBOB fell Tuesday to 66.72 cents/gal, its lowest price since Platts started the assessment in 2009, and Gulf Coast benchmark conventional gasoline dropped to 89.97 cents/gal, its lowest since December 2008. 

There is a winter gasoline selloff every year that leads into the change to summer specs, which vary by region, but market players will soon have to decide how to deal with the inventory glut.

"What it means is that refiners in  (go to article)

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Toll lanes could be used to expand Stevenson Expressway

Chicago Sun-Times -- Gov. Bruce Rauner wants to add toll lanes to a congested 25-mile stretch of Interstate 55, and he’s considering a rideshare-like model that would boost tolls depending on the amount of traffic.

The plan, which calls for a public-private partnership that would require legislative approval, would add at least one lane in each direction along the Stevenson between the Dan Ryan Expressway and Interstate 355, Rauner said. About 170,000 cars use this stretch of highway daily.

The current lanes would be used free of charge, but Rauner said his office wants “dynamic pricing” for the new proposed express lanes.  (go to article)

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