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Mexico’s Pemex Lowers Expected Oil Output for 2014

Peak Oil News and Message Boards -- Mexico’s state-owned oil company Petróleos Mexicanos said Friday that crude-oil output this year would fall to about 2.35 million barrels a day after accounting for water and other impurities coming out of its fields in increasing quantities.

Pemex, as the company is known, said crude-oil measured at the wellhead in the January-to-July period averaged about 2.47 million barrels per day, while the amount of oil obtained after removing water, segregating products and accounting for inventories was 2.34 million barrels a day.
 (go to article)

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Coconut For Your Cars!

Baylor -- ...a material scientist from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, Dr. Bradley said that the fibers from coconut shells and husks can be used to make car parts,,,,  (go to article)

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Iowa farmers wary of proposed crude oil pipeline

The Des Moines Register -- Construction of an 1,100-mile crude oil pipeline slicing diagonally through 17 Iowa counties would generate millions of dollars for the state's economy, but it's creating worries among farmers asked to provide easements on their land.

Energy Transfer Partners of Dallas has proposed building the 30-inch-diameter pipeline, which would initially carry 320,000 barrels of crude oil daily — with a capability for 420,000 barrels. The oil would be transported from North Dakota's Bakken oil fields, where production has been booming, to Patoka, Ill., about 75 miles east of St. Louis, Mo., while passing through South Dakota and Iowa.  (go to article)

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10 ugliest cars of 2014

Yahoo! Autos -- In the post-recession United States, aesthetics are just about the last thing anyone is looking for in an automobile.

According to Polk, the average U.S. car has been on the road for more than a decade as drivers conserve cash, but even new-car buyers aren't being swayed by good looks. The share of new cars being bought by Americans between 18 and 34 is down 30% in the past five years, according to auto pricing site Edmunds.com, while the Pew Research Center study notes that people under 35 bought 12% fewer cars than they did in 2010.

A study done this spring by the Frontier Group and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund found that the average U.S. driver actually started cutting back well before the recession, peaking around 2004 but dropping 6% by 2011.

(slide show)  (go to article)

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Oil futures fall to cap a bearish week

MarketWatch -- Crude-oil futures ended lower Friday, capping a week of bearish news for the commodity.

Light, sweet crude futures for delivery in October slipped 31 cents, or 0.3%, to $93.65 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. New York-traded oil declined 1.8% on the five-day period, its fourth straight weekly loss.

October Brent crude on London’s ICE Futures exchange fell 34 cents, or 0.3%, to $102.29 a barrel. Brent declined 1.2% on the week, its second consecutive weekly loss.

“The crude complex is once again facing headwinds in the form of a stronger dollar,” said Matt Smith, a commodity analyst with Schneider Electric. A strong greenback is usually a negative for commodities, which are priced in dollars.

“The last week has brought a plethora of bearish news for the crude market,” ...  (go to article)

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Power Rankings: The 9 most powerful sedans sold in America

Yahoo! Autos -- It’s official: The Hellcat name is too good to slap on only the Dodge Challenger SRT. Indeed, the introduction of the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat brings the badge and its bodacious 707-hp supercharged V-8 powertrain into the realm of the four-door sedan—because think of the families, you know?

After the smoke from our burned-rubber four-door fantasies subsided, we started pondering the other megahorsepower production sedans on which the Charger Hellcat is ready to pounce like so many unsuspecting, overfed hamsters.

As with any list, we established criteria for inclusion and exclusion. We decided that only true sedans with enclosed trunks counted, to keep the comparison with the Charger SRT Hellcat honest.  (go to article)

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Flashflooding & mudslides trap motorists; Washington officials urges caution

GasBuddy Blog -- Image From ..kxly.comHeavy rainfall in a wildfire-charred area of North Central Washington state triggered flash flooding and mudslides that stranded motorists and closed highways the past two days.Vehicles were trapped in debris-laden water Thursday night in Okanogan County, and mud and rocks carried by moving water blocked State Highway 20 yesterday, said National Weather Service meteorologist Stephen Corfidi. Up to 10 vehicles were also stranded in mud in the Methow Valley, Corfidi said.Heavy rain that started early Thursday afternoon in North Central Washington state, which has been burned by destructive wildfires More than an inch (2.54 cm) of rain fell in about an hour near the town of Twisp, Corfidi said. While the rain has subsided, officials urge motorists to exercise extreme caution near effected areas.  ...  (go to article)

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Enbridge Avoids U.S. Review With Plan to Boost Oil Sands

Bloomberg -- Enbridge Inc. (ENB) said it found a way to ship more Alberta oil to the U.S. that doesn’t require a Keystone XL-like review: switching crude from one pipeline to another before it crosses the border.

The State Department, responsible for approving cross-border energy projects like the Alberta Clipper and the proposed Keystone XL line to the U.S. Gulf Coast, said in a statement that Enbridge can go forward with its plan under authority granted by previously issued permits.

The plan drew criticism today from environmental groups, including the National Wildlife Federation, opposed to new imports from Canada’s oil sands because mining and processing the fuel releases more climate-warming carbon than other types of crude.

“The president’s promise to decide Keystone XL based on its...  (go to article)

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How Long Until Residential Battery Storage Reaches Grid Parity in Germany?

Greentechmedia -- It’s very close, according to the German government and some industry observers.

It is now generally recognized that rooftop solar has reached “socket parity” -- meaning that it is comparable to or cheaper than grid prices -- in many countries over the last few years. The big question for consumers and utilities is when socket parity will arrive for solar and battery storage.

Some suggest it is many years away. Others, such as UBS and Rocky Mountain Institute, say it could arrive in Australia and the U.S. within four to six years, and perhaps even sooner.

The following graph, from the economic development agency Germany Trade and Invest, outlines the metric that will govern the arrival of grid parity for battery storage. Electricity prices are rising and solar PV prices are falling  (go to article)

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US Solar Carport Market Poised for Record Year, Continued Growth

Greentechmedia -- Annual installations will exceed 100 megawatts for the fourth consecutive year.

The U.S. solar carport market has emerged as a substantial component of the U.S. solar industry.

According to the latest report from GTM Research, U.S. Solar Carport Market 2014-2018: Landscape, Outlook and Leading Companies, the U.S. is forecasted to add more than 180 megawatts of solar carports in 2014, making it the fourth consecutive year with more than 100 megawatts installed.

 (go to article)

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A zero-emissions American supercar

Autonet -- A new, all-electric American supercar made its debut Sunday on the Concept Car Lawn at the Pebble Beach Concours d‘Elegance in Monterey, Calif.

Based on the Shelby Daytona, the Renovo Coupe replaces the V8 gasoline engine with a pair of electric motors connected to a lithium-ion battery pack. The company claims more than 500 hp, 1,000 lb.-ft. of torque and a 0-60 mph time of 3.4 seconds.

The Coupe will go into limited production in 2015 and Renovo began taking orders at its Pebble Beach debut. The price? A mere $576,000 Cdn.  (go to article)

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N.Y.'s fastest drivers rarely face toughest penalties

Star Gazette -- Speeding on the nation's roadways accounts for more than 10,000 deaths every year — more than drowning, fires and accidental shootings combined.

But when New York's most egregious speeders are caught in the act, state records show, judges and prosecutors routinely look the other way.

An analysis by the Central New York Media Group of state data on 6 million traffic citation convictions from 2010 to 2013 shows the state's most dangerous speeders are usually allowed to plead to lesser charges. In the process, they avoid the harsh penalties set aside for the state's most reckless speeders.  (go to article)

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The Longest, Fastest F1 Race of the Season Happens This Weekend

Wired -- Summer vacation is over for Nico Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel and the boys, and the Formula 1 season resumes this weekend at the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium. Spa isn’t just one of the most famous tracks in motorsports (with one of the most famous corners in motorsports). It’s also the longest circuit on the F1 calendar, and one of the trickiest to drive well.

A lap at Spa is 4.352 miles long, compared to the more typical 3.427 miles you see at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. What’s remarkable is that although Spa is nearly a mile longer than Austin, the difference in the record lap times at each (both held by Vettel) is just 7.916 seconds.  (go to article)

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Report finds illegal use of diesel in fracking fluids

NRDC -- Last week, the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) released a report which found that companies had disclosed using diesel fuel in fracking in 12 states. The use of diesel fuel as a component of fracking fluid is illegal without a permit under the Safe Drinking Water Act, and none of the companies had permits for its use. EIP also found that many of the reported incidents of diesel use had later been scrubbed from submissions which companies made to FracFocus, a website where fracking chemicals are disclosed to the public.

At least 33 different companies reported using diesel fuel in fracking at least 351 wells, according to EIP. The use of diesel is a serious concern. In 2004, an EPA report looked at the chemicals added to fracking fluids used in coalbed methane extraction and foun  (go to article)

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Why Volcanic Ash Is So Terrible for Airplanes

Wired -- The Barðarbunga volcano in Iceland is showing signs of a potential eruption, sparking fears among airline executives that they could be facing another Eyjafjallajökull, whose 2010 eruption forced airlines to avoid huge swathes of airspace and lose billions of dollars. The risk posed to aircraft by airborne volcanic ash is as bad as ever, but airlines are better equipped to spot and avoid trouble—and save money—than they were four years ago.

The problem is that volcanic ash is simply terrible for airplanes. Made of up tiny glass particles and pulverized rock, it can be spewed tens of thousands of feet into the air, reaching jet cruising altitude. It’s abrasive enough to erode the blades of the compressor (which increases the pressure of the air that feeds the jet engine), reducing its...  (go to article)

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'The blood money collection' -- U.S. Marshall-seized muscle cars up for auction

Fox News -- According to the official FBI website, 40-year-old David Nicoll, of Mountain Lakes, N.J., amassed a significant fortune through his company, Biodiagnosotic Laboratory Services, LLC, via a scheme to bribe health care providers to prescribe unnecessary blood tests  (go to article)

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Inside North Dakota's latest fracking problem

CNBC -- The prairies—once dotted only with cattle and an occasional lazy oil derrick—are now marked by thousands of flares, open pits or steel pipes burning off excess natural gas  (go to article)

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Five Top Green Gadgets That Make You Want To Be Rich

AutoEvolution -- In case you are one of those folks who claim money won’t bring you happiness what you are about to read will either offense you, or change your mind. In our travels through the long valleys of newly designed goods we have stumbled upon several gadgets that once again prove being friendly with the environment does not come cheap. Definitely not when you also want to have a bit of fun, that is.

If you were kidnapped by Martians and hidden on the dark side of the moon for the last two decades you probably haven’t yet realized everything is run through technology. As opposed to say the 90s however, nowadays all the research scientists conduct will exist only through the concern for a better environment.

But what’s with all this obsessive thinking for the environment, you might ask. Well.  (go to article)

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ISIS' thirst for oil could lead to 'global catastrophe' if unchecked, experts say

Fox News -- Islamic State's thirst for blood has the world on edge, but its equally insatiable yearning for oil could prove a "catastrophe" for the global economy if the terror organization isn't stopped, experts say.

The jihadist group, formerly known as ISIS, now controls seven oil fields and two small refineries in northern Iraq, bringing in as much as $2 million per day by selling up to 40,000 barrels via middlemen in illicit deals. The black market oil sells for roughly $25 to $60 per barrel, compared to the current market rate of $102, according to Luay al-Khatteeb, founder and executive director of the Iraq Energy Institute. And while this is a veritable drop in the global bucket of oil production, the crude spigot will continue translating into terror funds for Islamic State militants if unch  (go to article)

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Leonardo DiCaprio visits Alberta oilsands to research documentary

Canadian Press -- Actor Leonardo DiCaprio is the latest celebrity to visit Alberta's oilsands.

Sources involved with the visit say DiCaprio is doing research for an environmental documentary

The Oscar-nominated star of "The Wolf of Wall Street" has a long history of involvement with the environment

He sits on the boards of several international conservation organizations and started an environmental charity foundation in 1998

The controversial oilsands development near Fort McMurray has seen a string of high-profile visitors in recent years

They include human rights leader Archbishop Desmond Tutu, musician Neil Young and Oscar-winning film director James Cameron
 (go to article)

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Will car-hacking become the new carjacking?

Market Watch.com -- Google Inc. revealed a new operating system for cars, called Android Auto, on Wednesday, laying the groundwork for vehicles to virtually become smartphones on wheels. As more cars become connected to the Internet in some capacity and collect and transmit more data, the question becomes all the more real: Will car-hacking become the new carjacking?

The first Android Auto-equipped cars will be available this year. Drivers will be able to control the navigation, communication and music systems with their voices — responding to text messages by speaking, for example. The Internet search giant also unveiled its prototype last month for a fleet of self-driving cars — compact two-seaters sans steering wheels, accelerators and brakes, which cruise along at a maximum speed of 25 mph and virtually  (go to article)

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Oil Rigs Slide Most Since 2012 With Crude at 7-Month Low

Bloomberg -- The number of rigs targeting oil in the U.S. shrank this week by the most since 2012 as crude trades at a seven-month low and drillers redirect equipment to focus on the most profitable plays.

Oil rigs tumbled by 25 this week to 1,564, the lowest level in a month and the largest drop since Dec. 21, 2012, data posted on Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI)’s website today show. Those targeting gas meanwhile jumped to the highest in five months, the Houston-based field services company said.

U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude declined for a fifth week, the longest losing streak in nine months.
Lower prices threaten to halt a surge in the oil rig count as energy producers use a combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to draw record volumes out of shale formations from Nort  (go to article)

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Refiners, marketers press for Jones Act changes

Platts -- Petroleum marketers and refiners are planning a substantial effort to get Congress to change the Jones Act, a nearly century-old law they claim is driving up motor fuel and heating oil prices and severely inhibiting the flow of crude oil between US ports amid the ongoing domestic oil boom.

But rather than repealing the law, due to the overwhelming support it has within the US shipbuilding industry and by members of Congress, the planned Capitol Hill lobbying efforts will be aimed at weakening the Jones Act. This could include new waivers to get the rising tide of light sweet crude from the Gulf of Mexico to East Coast refineries or modifying rules on the percentage of a vessels' crew that must be US citizens.

"I'm not naive enough to think that Congress will repeal this thing," said Char  (go to article)

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Australia and Europe have a power problem -- too MUCH power

Smart Grid News -- Australia faces an unprecedented oversupply of energy according to the country's energy market operator. "For the first time in the history of the National Electricity Market, no new thermal baseload electricity generation is required over the next decade...due to the continuing decline in electricity consumption," Australian Energy Market Operator said in the report.

That decline is due to a convergence of several factors – greater energy efficiency, more rooftop solar, and the recession that heavily impacted manufacturers who use lots of electricity.

Electricity consumption continues to decline in Australia. As a result, Australia will produce up to 8,950 megawatts of surplus generation in the next year alone.  (go to article)

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Why August looks like the best month to buy a new car

Yahoo Motoramic -- For most of the world, 2014 does not end until December 31. But in the automotive world, it’s as good as done. The long-held tradition of carmakers starting to deliver updated, next-model-year cars and trucks en masse to their showrooms starting around September means that dealers will automatically get more aggressive in summer months, but according to John Krafcik of TrueCar, brands have started selling 2015 models even earlier than usual, making this August the month during which you’re bound to score the best deal on a new car.

A month-by-month breakdown of new car and truck prices during the last five years, as provided by TrueCar.com is striking, revealing August as the month with the lowest average transaction price for a new car at $29,296, with July coming in second at $29,465.  (go to article)

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Business News: Richmond-Area Companies James River Coal selling three mining complexes for $52 mill

The Richmond Times Dispatch -- A subsidiary of Lexington, Ky.-based Blackhawk Mining LLC is the top bidder for three mining complexes auctioned off by Richmond-based James River Coal Co., which is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
James River Coal said Thursday it has accepted a binding agreement to sell the coal mining complexes for $52 million to JR Acquisition LLC, a wholly-owned unit of Blackhawk Mining.JR Acquisition also will assume certain liabilities, the company said.
James River Coal conducted a court-monitored auction for the company’s assets this week.
The auction had previously been delayed several times, but the company said on Aug. 16 that it had chosen Blackhawk Mining as a stalking-horse bidder with an opening offer of $50 million.
A hearing to confirm the sale is scheduled for Aug. 26 in U.S. Ban  (go to article)

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Are Safer Rail Cars Rolling Thru Your Town (and how to tell)

The Oregonian -- So how can the public confirm the company's use of the newer and safer tank cars? It's challenging.

The Oregonian was twice able to independently verify through a railroad tank car database but that's not a public database. You'll have to rely on your eyes.

Here's how to determine whether you're looking at an old tank car or a new one:  (go to article)

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Kuwait, China sign biggest crude supply deal in Kuwait's history

Hispanic Business . com -- Under the agreement, KPC will provide UNIPEC crude oil, starting from 2014, with the volume expected to reach 300,000 barrels per day (bpd). KPC reached the historic......  (go to article)

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Used car market showing no signs of slowdown

CNBC -- Tariq Khan says he can feel it in his gut.

When he sees a used car or truck he knows he can sell for a healthy profit, the auto dealer from Villa Park, Illinois, jumps on it.

"I walk around it, check the record, but it's ultimately a gut feeling," Khan said. "You have to buy the right car at the right price."

For Khan, the right price for a 2004 Lexus LS 430 was $7,500.

"I'll probably sell it for nine or 10 grand," he said.

Khan is one of several hundred auto dealers who spent a rainy day at the Manheim auto auction in Matteson, Illinois, where thousands of used cars are bought and sold.

"Very few people realize used car sales are probably three times bigger than the new car industry sales. The used car industry really fuels what happens with auto sales," said Sandy Schwartz ...  (go to article)

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Lac-Megantic criminal probe leads Quebec police to MMA chairman's U.S. office

Canadian Press -- QC police have visited the U.S. 4 times to seize documents and to interview witnesses — including railway boss Ed Burkhardt

A provincial police spokesman also expects investigators to return to the U.S. to gather more evidence for analysis in QC

At least part of the police force's efforts took place at the Chicago-area office for Burkhardt's company, Rail World Burkhardt was chairman of Rail World subsidiary MMA Railway, the firm at the centre of the catastrophe

"We interviewed many American witnesses, people highly placed in the company like Mr. Burkhardt

Since it is a company, MMA Canada could only face fines, if convicted

Some locals who watched the accused enter the Lac-Megantic courthouse said they hoped authorities would file charges against railway and government officials  (go to article)

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Altered fireworks, chickens found in W.Va. crash

Associated Press -- Police say altered fireworks, weapons, live chickens and marijuana were found inside an SUV that wrecked on Interstate 79 in West Virginia, and a Pennsylvania man has been arrested.

A criminal complaint in Roane County Magistrate Court charged 21-year-old Seth Grim of Emmaus with possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, a felony.
 (go to article)

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Snowy owl that survived bus hit dies in Minnesota

Associated Press -- The snowy owl that captured the nation's capital attention when it perched at The Washington Post building and survived being hit by a bus has died.

The University of Minnesota's Raptor Center in St. Paul says on its website that the owl, which had undergone rehab there, was found dead on the shoulder of a Minnesota highway.
 (go to article)

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'Cash for Clunkers' actually hurt the auto industry

Saint Louis Post-Dispatch -- A new study by three Texas A&M University economists says the misguided stimulus policy wasn't even good for the auto industry. Mark Hoekstra, Steven L. Puller and Jeremy West find that the program's fuel-efficiency constraints induced people to purchase smaller, less expensive cars than they would otherwise have bought.
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Inside North Dakota's latest fracking problem

CNBC -- From his driveway, Tom Wheeler's view of North Dakota's sprawling grasslands seems endless.  (go to article)

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Techsplanations: Owning An Electric Car Hard to accept, but the payoff can be big for many drivers

AOL Autos -- Electric cars have been around for decades, but it hasn't been until recently that they have been controversial.

The U.S. government, as well as influential cities and states like Colorado, New York and California, have committed to increasing the number of electric cars we buy and drive. The reasons given are to reduce C02 emissions, as well as reduce the country's dependence on oil by tapping into the U.S.'s vast natural gas and coal reserves, which are the two biggest energy sources powering electric power plants.

But how do they work exactly? What's it like to own one and live with one? Are they as powerful as gas-powered cars?

What is it?

An electric vehicle is powered by a battery rather than an internal combustion engine. They have been around a long time. Most of the electric c  (go to article)

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Driverless Cars Could Lead To Organ Donor Shortage

AOL Autos -- Unintended consequences abound when it comes to emerging technology, and self-driving cars are no exception. Numerous ethical and legal dilemmas associated with autonomous vehicles are currently being explored and have been well documented, but it seems there is one drawback that has been missing from the conversation: where are we going to get our extra organs?

It sounds like a dark question, but consider this: car accidents kill 3,287 people every day in the U.S., and self-driving cars should drastically reduce that number. Google's autonomous car, for example, has traveled more than 700,000 miles on California roadways with only one accident, and that one involved a human being behind the wheel at the time. Fatal auto accidents supply the majority of donor organs, but 18 people a day s  (go to article)

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GM reviewing timing of Russia plant expansion

Reuters -- General Motors Co (GM.N) said on Friday it was reviewing the timing of the expansion of its Russian plant near St Petersburg because of a slump in the auto market."In view of the current business situation in Russia and the lower sales volumes since the start of the year, we are taking a close look at our plans. As part of this, we are also reviewing the timing of our expansion plans at the GM Auto Plant in St Petersburg," GM's spokesman said. The company has not disclosed which models the second stage of the plant would produce. On Thursday, GM said it was to reduce production at the plant to four days a month in August and September, extending to eight in October.  (go to article)

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Jury rejects claim against Enbridge in 2010 oil spill

LSJ.com-Company says its business disrupted -- BATTLE CREEK — A jury rejected a damage claim against Canadian oil pipeline company Enbridge Inc. on Thursday in the first civil trial rising from the 2010 oil spill into the Kalamazoo River.

After deliberating for 20 minutes, a jury of four women and two men found that Enbridge was not responsible for losses to a nonprofit startup company offering deer hunting opportunities for people with disabilities.

Extreme Adventures, which filed for a permit to use Fort Custer Recreation Area to take veterans and others with disabilities hunting, asked for $62,928 because it said it could not use any of the 2,000 acres to hunt after the spill.

“It’s just another big company taking advantage,” said company founder Charles Blakeman Jr. of Bellevue after the verdict. His attorney, Michael Leavitt...  (go to article)

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Will the Hybrid Version of a Car Actually Save You Money?

http://oppositelock.jalopnik.com -- It costs more to buy the hybrid trim on most models. Do the savings on gas justify the price tag? Not really...unless you buy an MKZ. Take a look below to see how many thousands of miles you'll need to drive before you break even on that hybrid.  (go to article)

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Carmakers put Apple's CarPlay in the slow lane

Computerworld -- Some car manufacturers are delaying their rollout of CarPlay, the software platform from Apple that synchronizes an iPhone to a vehicle's infotainment system.

At the same time, automakers are also queuing up Google's Android Auto for mirroring those smartphones to radio systems. Android Auto is expected to outpace CarPlay in manufacturer deployments, according to research firm IHS.

Apple's own website proclaims that CarPlay will be available in "select new cars in 2014." But, to date, no car manufacturer has rolled the software out, according to Filomena Berardi, a senior analyst with ABI Research.

Three of five leading carmakers who had expected to integrate the CarPlay middleware for 2015 models coming out this year appear to have delayed their rollout.  (go to article)

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Gas transportation system key to boosting power sector's gas use: Oglethorpe

Platts -- A US Environmental Protection Agency proposal to increase the capacity factor of natural gas-fired combined-cycle power plants to 70% by 2030 is "doable," but only if the country's gas transportation system is strengthened, officials with a large Georgia generation and transmission cooperative said Wednesday.

Oglethorpe Power, which supplies wholesale power to 38 electric cooperatives in the state, could comply with language in EPA's June proposal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the generation sector 30% below 2005's level by 2030 in part by increasing the use of gas-fired units to the 70% level, CEO Mike Smith said in a second-quarter earnings call.

But Smith said transitioning to an era when combined-cycle units provide much of the nation's baseload power would require a signif  (go to article)

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Maintenance: Chevron installs new equipment at El Segundo refinery

GasBuddy Blog -- Chevron's El Seguno refineryMaintenance: it's a reason you hear GasBuddy analysts cite sometimes for higher gasoline prices. Well, what is maintenance and why does it cause prices to go up? This article from Chevron talks about how complicated doing maintenance is- replacing, upgrading, installing, etc. To perform this work, part of a refinery is shut down so that repairs and upgrades can take place- temporarily causing the amount of gasoline that a refinery supplies the market- to drop, and causing prices to rise. Maintenance is absolutely essential for refineries to operate day in and day out and for supply to remain healthy.When you have a giant steel drum that's almost 100 feet long, 30 feet in diameter and weighs 300 tons, lifting it is a challenge. The task becomes even more daunting when you have six of them. Such was the task for Chevron's El Segundo Refinery this summer as it sought to lift its new coke drums into place using one of the largest cranes in the world.The refiner  (go to article)

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Oil Prices Edge Lower as Supplies Rise, Tensions Ease

Wall St Journal -- Updated Aug. 22, 2014 10:02 a.m. ET

Oil prices slipped Friday amid increasing global supplies and easing geopolitical tensions, while markets awaited macroeconomic signals from the central banker retreat in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

Light, sweet crude for October delivery fell 78 cents, or 0.8%, to $93.18 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent futures on the ICE Futures Europe exchange were down 23 cents, or 0.2%, at $102.40 a barrel.

The first tanker of crude from Libya's revived production left port and was looking for a buyer, Energy Market Institute analyst Dominick Chirichella said in a note. The Italian tanker Maria Bottiglieri was expected to be loaded with 600,000 barrels from Libya's Es Sider terminal, the country's largest.

Meanwhile, there was little news of advances  (go to article)

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U.S. Oil Futures Set for Fifth Weekly Drop on Demand

Bloomberg -- West Texas Intermediate crude headed for a fifth weekly decline, the longest losing streak in nine months, on concern refineries will reduce demand for crude as the end of summer driving season approaches.

Gasoline demand slid to a two-month low last week, according to the Energy Information Administration. U.S. refineries typically schedule seasonal maintenance for September and October. Traders are also awaiting a speech from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen for clues on the timing of higher interest rates.

“The focus is definitely on the U.S. and on concern about demand as we head into the maintenance season,” said Carl Larry, president of Oil Outlooks & Opinions LLC in Houston. “People are waiting to see what Janet Yellen is going to say.”  (go to article)

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6500 tickets sold for Keystone XL opposition concert

Fuel Fix -- Organizers say nearly all the $50 tickets for a Willie Nelson and Neil Young concert organized by opponents of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline have been sold.

The group Bold Nebraska said in a statement Thursday more than 6,500 of the 7,000 tickets for the Sept. 27 concert had been sold since Wednesday.

The TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline would carry oil from Canada south to the Gulf Coast. The concert will be held on a farm near Neligh that’s in the proposed path.

Pipeline critics worry it could contribute to pollution and contaminate groundwater. Young and Nelson have said they agreed to perform to highlight concerns.

TransCanada says the pipeline would be built with advanced safety features. The southern leg of the pipeline between Oklahoma and Texas is already operational.
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Police urge undocumented residents to prepare now to apply for driver’s licenses

SBSun/LA Daily News -- Police are urging eligible undocumented immigrants to be ready for a new state law going into effect Jan. 1 that allows them to apply for a driver’s license for the first time in more than two decades.  (go to article)

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Proposal for one-person train crews criticized

The Spokesman Review -- A proposal that some freight trains through Spokane could have just one person on board as early as January has divided a union of rail workers and added fuel to a debate about how trains can be safely operated.

The tentative agreement, forged last month between BNSF Railway and a union representing conductors and engineers, would allow trains equipped with new accident prevention technology to shed their human conductors. The agreement was negotiated and signed by eight members of a general committee of the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Union (SMART).

Nearly 6,000 BNSF ground service employees throughout the Midwest and Pacific Northwest would be affected by the change. Trains without the safety technology would keep their conductors.

 (go to article)

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Ford working on Prius rival to meet federal fuel standards

Detroit News -- Ford Motor Co. plans to introduce a new hybrid vehicle or line of vehicles in 2018 that would compete against the Toyota Prius and help Ford meet strict federal mandated mileage standards, a forecasting firm said Thursday.

An executive at Troy-based LMC Automotive said the firm expects Ford to introduce a “Prius-like family of vehicles eventually,” beginning with a unique 2019 model-year hybrid that would be built at the Wayne assembly plant.

Jeff Schuster, LMC’s senior vice president, Americas region and global vehicle, said in an interview the new vehicle, which would go into production in 2018, would be built on the automaker’s C2 global platform, which will also be used on the next-generation Focus and Escape.

Schuster said LMC expects Ford will produce about 90,000-100,000 of the  (go to article)

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Oil futures hover around $94 a barrel

MarketWatch -- Crude-oil futures moved in a narrow price range in Friday as some market participants think oil may be oversold.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange light, sweet crude futures for delivery in October traded at $93.82 a barrel, down 14 cents in the Globex electronic session.

October Brent crude on London’s ICE Futures exchange fell 14 cents to $102.49 a barrel.

Oil had gained overnight and both Nymex WTI and Brent crude have settled higher for two consecutive trading sessions.

“There’s not necessarily specific bullish news to argue that the market has become tighter but there has been at least some talk that OPEC might trim output to provide support if the market were to extend the downtrend,” Citi Futures analyst Tim Evans said.

But [OPEC] may not need to trim output despite ...  (go to article)

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U.S. Economy Loses $100 Billion Annually To Neglected Roads & Bridges

GasBuddy Blog -- Congestion on major urban highways now costs the U.S. economy more than $100 billion a year in fuel and lost work time, estimates the American Society of Civil Engineers.And, says said Casey Dinges, the engineering group's senior managing director: "It's become a white-knuckle experience for many commuters." Age is a key factor. Most of the major highways were built decades ago.America's transportation structures look all the more frayed next to those in advanced economies in Europe and Japan, or in China, which has been busily constructing high-speed rail and new airports. Will we ever see real improvement? ...  (go to article)

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The best cars for kids

MSN -- You’re never too young to get behind the wheel, as this collection of fun-size cars proves

It's back-to-school time, and you know what that means -- moans and groans, pencils and books. But what better way to keep your littl'uns motivated than… buying them a car!

All kinds of weird and wonderful miniature cars are available for children, from the very expensive to the brilliant little convertible made from a trash can.
 (go to article)

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