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U.S. judge orders discovery to begin in some GM ignition switch cases

Reuters -- A federal judge in Manhattan on Friday ordered discovery to begin for some cases filed against General Motors Co in connection with its recall of millions of cars for a faulty ignition switch.

U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman in the Southern District of New York said plaintiffs could begin requesting documents from the company related to accidents, injuries and lost vehicle value linked to the switch that allegedly occurred after GM emerged from bankruptcy in 2009.
 (go to article)

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This 1 chart exposes climate-science deniers

Marketwatch.com -- Yes, this one pie chart exposes the great science-deniers hoax. The first version of the chart came in 2012 based on research by geologist James Powell on DeSmogBlog, updated last year. Powell is a science author whose works include “The Inquisition of Climate Science.” A former college and museum president, Powell was a member of the National Science Board for 12 years, appointed by President Reagan and George H. W. Bush. Powell is the executive director of the National Physical Science Consortium.  (go to article)

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The 10 Funniest Moments in the Keystone XL Fight

Bloomberg Businessweek -- Six years ago today ... TransCanada first tendered its application to complete a $5.4 billion, 1,179-mile pipeline across the U.S.-Canada border ... to commemorate this, its keenly anticipated sixth anniversary, we offer a top-10 list of the most absurd moments in the Keystone fight so far.  (go to article)

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Fiat to suspend output at Italian plant as demand falls: union

Reuters -- Italian automaker Fiat (FIA.MI) will temporarily suspend production at its Pomigliano plant in southern Italy from Oct. 16-27 amid weak demand, a union representative said on Friday. After meeting with the company to approve the temporary layoff of workers for the time of the closure, Giuseppe Terracciano, secretary general for the Fim-Cisl union in Naples, said the measure was "necessary because of the slowdown in the market in view of the end of the year". Fiat confirmed the temporary suspension, but declined to give any further comment. Fiat often uses the state-backed temporary layoff schemes to avoid over-production by keeping workers at home when market demand is lower. The Pomigliano plant near Naples produces the Fiat Panda model. Some 1,950 of the plant's 4,500 workers have alread  (go to article)

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Moron Drives Off Flatbed Tow Truck To Avoid Parking Ticket

MotorAuthority -- The rules of the road are pretty simple, folks: don’t drive too fast, don’t park where you’re not supposed to, pay attention to the signs—those are the basics. Sometimes you break one of those rules. When you do, own up to it. Don’t do what this guy did. What did this guy do? He went out to find his car on the back of a flatbed tow truck for parking violations, climbed aboard, and backed straight off the vehicle—three-foot drop and all. The situation happened in the Walthamstow, East London area in the UK, according to the Daily Mail. Apart from the damage the car is sure to have suffered, the way the driver escaped from the tow truck—and, ultimately it seems, the ticket—was patently unsafe. A group of children were standing nearby when the motorized moron went flailing off the back of the  (go to article)

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Exxon Mobil puts Torrance, Calif, refinery up for sale - sources

Reuters -- Exxon Mobil Corp. has put its Torrance, California, refinery on the block, according to two people familiar with the matter, making it the latest big oil company to consider exiting the state amid tougher environmental standards.

"Torrance has been looked at extensively," said one of the people, who was not authorized to speak about the sale.
 (go to article)

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NOAA: Yet more global heat records fall in August

AP via Yahoo News -- The globe smashed more heat records last month, including Earth's hottest August and summer, federal meteorologists said Thursday.

May, June and August all set global heat records this year. Meteorologists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the average world temperature in August was 61.36 degrees Fahrenheit (16.35 degrees Celsius), breaking a record set in 1998.

Scientists at NASA, who calculate global temperature a tad differently, also found August as the hottest on record.

August was especially hot in the Pacific and Indian oceans and Africa, but cooler in parts of the United States, Europe and Australia. The world's oceans in August effectively tied June for the seas' all-time heat record.  (go to article)

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Elio: 3 wheels, 84 mpg, $6,800

CNN Money -- Elio Motors has created a prototype two-person vehicle built for efficient transportation. With a price tag of $6,800, it already has more than 15,000 pre-orders.

(VIDEO)  (go to article)

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Car Care Council releases update to free guide for motorists

GasBuddy Blog -- Have a car? Want to know how to best care for it? Well the Car Care Council recently updated its free guide for motorists. The 80-page guide, in color, offers 20 more pages of new information to help motorists be care care aware by better understanding the when, why, and how of caring for their vehicles.Available in English and Spanish, individual copies of the new Car Care Guide can be ordered free of charge by visiting the Car Care Council website at www.carcare.org/car-care-guide. The 80-page guide uses easy-to-understand everyday language rather than technical automotive jargon, fits easily in a glove box and covers the most common preventive maintenance occasions and procedures that should be performed to keep cars safe, dependable and efficient. It also includes descriptions of major vehicle systems and parts, and a list of questions to ask about maintenance or repair procedures. A car care checklist reminds motorists what vehicle systems need to be maintained and when servi  (go to article)

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18 best and worst plug-in electric and hybrids

Yahoo! Autos -- It's hard to believe, but the first mainstream plug-in electric vehicles offered for sale to the general public are just barely turning four years old. Model-year 2011 saw the introduction of the Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in hybrid, and the Nissan Leaf, a pure electric vehicle.

Now well into 2014, those two stalwarts continue to battle it out, but now they're part of an 18-car (and counting) field of contestants. New thinking has brought fresh ideas to market, and the head start the pioneers enjoyed is fading fast.

The new plug-in vehicle entries are nearly evenly split between pure electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. But which are the studs and which are the duds? We run them down from worst to first.

Your List May Vary  (go to article)

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Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative auction prices continue to rise

EIA -- September 3 marked the 25th auction of carbon dioxide (CO2) emission allowances by the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a cap-and-trade program covering nine states primarily in the northeastern United States. Allowance prices for this auction were $4.88, marking the third consecutive auction that prices were at or above $4 per short ton (st) of CO2.
RGGI held its first auction in 2008 and by mid-2010, allowances were selling at or near the price floor, or minimum allowable bid, where they remained for more than two years. This was caused in part by an unanticipated decline in natural gas prices, starting as far back as 2007, that had led to a decrease in CO2 emissions as natural gas displaced coal as a generation fuel in the Northeast. Emissions were well below the targets origi  (go to article)

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Panama Canal expansion will allow transit of larger ships with greater volumes

EIA -- Ships carrying crude oil and petroleum products are limited by size restrictions imposed by several of the main thoroughfares of maritime navigation: the Panama Canal, the Suez Canal, and the Strait of Malacca. These size restrictions provide another way to classify the large tankers that carry most of global crude oil and petroleum product trade.
The Panama Canal, an important route connecting the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, currently has a limited role in global crude and petroleum product transport. The canal's current size restrictions means smaller vessels, with capacities of approximately 400,000-550,000 barrels of light sweet crude oil, are the only ships that can safely pass through the canal. These ships are referred to as Panamax tankers, and their  (go to article)

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Cheap Oil and Expensive Oil Tankers: This Is Contango

Bloomberg -- During the last half of 2008, as the global economy ground to a halt, the price of oil fell from an all-time high of $145 a barrel to less than $40. A lot of people lost a lot of money. Just as in the stock market, though, the oil crash presented a chance to buy crude cheaper than it had been in years and might ever be again. If you had a place to store that cheap oil, you could make a lot of money when prices rebounded.  (go to article)

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Teen lights driver's armpit hair on fire, causes crash

USA Today -- A teenager crashed his sport-utility vehicle after a passenger used a lighter to set the hair in his armpit on fire, according to the Ada County Sheriff's Office.

The crash happened at 5:30 a.m. MT Sunday between Boise and the city of Nampa, Idaho, about 20 miles west. Tristan Myers, 18, was driving when his front-seat passenger, a 16-year-old boy, set Myers' armpit hair on fire, deputies said. The driver lost control of the Ford Bronco, rolling the vehicle.

Two girls in the backseat, ages 15 and 16, were thrown from the vehicle. Myers, his front-seat passenger, and a 17-year-old boy remained in the vehicle.

None of the teens was wearing a seat belt, deputies say.  (go to article)

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New Security Measure Targets Card Thieves at Gas Pumps

MoneyTalksNews -- ew anti-theft software is helping gas stations crack down on credit card fraud at the pump.

Pay-at-the-pump terminals at self-serve gas stations are the perfect place for thieves to rack up charges with stolen credit or debit cards. With no one to personally witness the transaction, thieves have little chance of getting caught.  (go to article)

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These Parking Meters Know If You're Driving a Gas-Guzzler

Business Week -- In Madrid, parking meters are joining the fight against air pollution. Starting July 1, newly installed “smart” meters in the Spanish capital will charge higher parking fees to vehicles that guzzle fuel or emit clouds of exhaust fumes.

After pulling into a parking space, drivers will be prompted to enter their license plate number on a keypad on the meter, which is networked into Spain’s vehicle-registration database. The meter then will set a parking rate based on the car’s age and model. Hybrids and other newer, fuel-efficient cars will get a discount of up to 20 percent, while older vehicles and diesel-powered models will pay a surcharge of as much as 20 percent, according to local press reports.

The system is the first of its kind in the world, Mayor Ana Botella says.  (go to article)

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Oil-Price Quirk Sends Crude Out to Sea

Wall St Journal -- Big oil companies and traders are stashing millions of barrels of crude on massive tankers bobbing in the ocean, in a bid to profit from a quirk in oil markets.

Instead of moving crude from one port to another, a growing number of tankers are serving as floating warehouses for companies including Sinopec Ltd. and Vitol Group, according to people with knowledge of their operations. Other companies such as Mercuria Energy Group are using the tankers to haul crude to on-shore storage facilities, these people said.

In a rare split, crude is cheaper in the spot market than in the futures market, where bets are made on where prices will be in the months ahead. By buying physical stocks of oil and immediately selling futures, traders can lock in a profit.

The storage trade isn't without its pi  (go to article)

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Crude oil futures edge lower on stronger dollar

Investing.com -- Crude oil futures were little changed on Friday, as the strength of the U.S. dollar continued to weigh on the commodity, while markets recovered Thursday's mixed U.S. economic reports on Thursday.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, U.S. crude oil for delivery in November traded at $91.83 a barrel during European afternoon trade, down 0.17%.

Prices tumbled 1.31% on Thursday to settle at $91.98.

Futures were likely to find support at $89.76 a barrel, the low from September 15 and resistance at $94.12, the high from September 16.

On Thursday, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said that its manufacturing index deteriorated to a three-month low of 22.5 in September from August’s reading of 28.0.
Analysts had expected the index to decline to 23.0 this month.

The data came after th  (go to article)

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Economic adviser for oil and gas industry defends 'fracking,' exploration boom

MLIVE -- GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Rayola Dougher, a senior economic adviser at the American Petroleum Institute, carries around printouts of her PowerPoint presentations showing how crude oil and natural gas production in the U.S. has soared in recent years.

Dougher also points to charts that show the domestic oil and gas boom has reduced home heating costs by $1,200 per household and saved Michigan school districts $49 million in heating bills. Dougher was in Grand Rapids to address the annual meeting of the Michigan Oil and Gas Association on Thursday, Sept. 18,

Her charts show how lower natural gas prices have created new jobs in the American manufacturing sector thanks to the energy boom, brought about largely by horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking" technologies.
 (go to article)

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Californians Face 'Hidden' Gas Tax in 2015

GasBuddy Blog -- California wants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020.  And in order to do that, it passed a law (AB 32) that will be the first of its kind in the U.S.  Beginning January 1, 2015, the penalty on carbon emissions will also apply to transportation fuels; to oil and gas.  That means if your car runs on gas or diesel, you’ll pay more. Exactly how much more?  Nobody knows.  Apparently state legislators felt compelled to approve the law first and do the math later.  They don’t believe they need to share the pesky details with the folks who elected them.  Based on input from various industry organizations and consumer groups, it’s estimated that the cap & trade ‘tax’ on carbon emissions has the potential to increase California’s retail gasoline prices from 16 cents to 76 cents per gallon.  Most expect at least a 15-cent increase beginning in 2015....  (go to article)

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TransCanada Corp could be target of activist U.S. hedge funds — including Daniel Loeb’s Third Point

Financial Post -- The company’s shares have been strong despite KXL’s continuing setbacks, and gained 3.31% on the breakup speculation to reach $60.81 in Toronto Thu

But several U.S. activist hedge funds are reviewing the Calgary-based pipeline and power company

Among them is Daniel Loeb’s Third Point, which has amassed a position during the past few months

Discussions about a potential breakup campaign are still in the early stages, but some of TransCanada’s largest shareholders have been contacted by hedge funds interested in shaking up one of N Am’s biggest pipeline companies

Hedge funds are increasingly eyeing energy infrastructure players because there is high demand for their assets

“The whole shale revolution has increased the need for logistics, and you can see a tremendous amount of value bein  (go to article)

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Cadillac’s Super Cruise Means Hands-Free Driving as Early as 2016

Wall St. Cheat Sheet -- Autonomous cars have been on many lips for some time now, and several companies have active programs to research and develop a system that is safe and capable enough to employ on a mass-market basis. Nissan, Google, Tesla, Ford, and even Toyota have all discussed self-driving cars at one point or another, and all have various efforts in varying degrees of completion to get its system to market. For General Motors (NYSE:GM), its autonomous — or more accurately, its semi-autonomous system known as ‘Super Cruise’ — will be making its debut on the 2017 Cadillac CTS.

“We are not doing this for the sake of the technology itself. We’re doing it because it’s what customers around the world want. Through technology and innovation, we will make driving safer,” CEO Mary Barra said in GM’s press...  (go to article)

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Pennsylvania DEP orders Range Resources to pay $4 million fine

AP.org -- Range Resources will pay penalties totaling $4.15 million to settle violations related to six Marcellus Shale gas drilling and fracking wastewater impoundments in Washington County that caused soil and groundwater contamination.

It’s the largest fine ever imposed against a Marcellus Shale gas drilling company, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection.

The consent order will result in the closing of five of the football-field-sized impoundments and require Range Resources to upgrade its operations at two others to meet more stringent, but as yet to be adopted, state standards.

..the problems at the drilling reservoirs, each capable of holding 13 million to 15 million gallons of drilling and fracking wastewater, have been well known for a long time and DEP enforcement  (go to article)

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No nuclear waste: Fuel of future produced at Russia's high-tech underground plant

RT -- Russia’s ‘Breakthrough’ energy project enables closed a nuclear fuel cycle and a future without radioactive waste. The first batch of MOX nuclear fuel has been manufactured for the world’s only NPP industrially power generating breeder reactors.

The first ten kilograms of the mixed-oxide fuel (MOX) - a mixture of plutonium and uranium dioxides (UO2 and PuO2), have been industrially produced by Russia’s nuclear monopoly, Rosatom, at the Mining & Chemical Combine (GKhK) in the Krasnoyarsk region.

A world first, tablets of the fuel of the future have been put on serial production and are destined for Russia’s next generation BN-800 breeder reactor (880 megawatts), currently undergoing tests at the Beloyarskaya nuclear power plant.

The production line, now undergoing start-up and adjustment  (go to article)

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DOE contractor agrees to replace failed Biomass Steam Plant at ORNL

Knoxville News Sentinel -- The U.S. Department of Energy has reached agreement with its energy-savings contractor to replace the failed Biomass Steam Plant at Oak Ridge National Laboratory with a new high-efficiency unit fueled by natural gas.

Johnny Moore, DOE’s on-site manager at ORNL, said the modified contract with Johnson Controls protects taxpayer interests and should provide a long-term solution to the lab’s steam needs.

“Our premise was we’ve got to have steam to deliver to the plant, and it was our goal to come up with a solution that was of least cost to the taxpayer,” Moore said in a telephone interview. He said he’s confident that the decision to switch to a natural gas system will prove successful.

DOE will contribute more than $5 million to Johnson Controls’ contract account to help offset some...  (go to article)

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New Orleans solar company attracts $40 million in financing, plans national expansion

nola.com -- Five years ago, entrepreneur Aaron Dirks was looking into installing solar panels on a Lower Garden District home he and his wife were renovating. He encountered a process that was both costly and complex.

Dirks, a self-described "tree-hugging Republican," had the time, money and interest to jump through the hoops. But he quickly realized many of the people who could benefit most from energy savings did not.

"The people and families that need it the most don't have time to fill out paperwork," Dirks said.

Dirks teamed with fellow entrepreneur Tom Neyhart in 2011 to start PosiGen, a New Orleans-based solar leasing and energy efficiency company that tailors services to low- and middle-income buyers.

PosiGen has grown quickly, employing 165 workers and installing more than 4,000 systems

 (go to article)

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Chevron first energy giant to meet new sustainable shale standards

AP -- Chevron has become the first energy company to meet a new set of voluntary shale gas drilling standards that aim to go beyond existing state laws in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, the Pittsburgh-based Center for Sustainable Shale announced Thursday.

The center is a partnership between major energy companies, environmental groups and charitable foundations. Its certification process consisted of an independent review of Chevron documents and 22 of its production sites in the three states.

The program is meant to work much like Underwriters Laboratories, which puts its familiar UL seal on electrical appliances. The review was conducted by Bureau Veritas, an international testing company that also handles the LEED review process for the U.S. Green Building Council.

Nigel Hearne, pre  (go to article)

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Maine regulators asked to decide whether to charge electricity ratepayers for natural gas expansion

BDN -- PORTLAND, Maine — The Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. has asked Maine regulators to make up their minds by the end of November about charging electricity ratepayers a new fee to pay for new natural gas capacity.

The company, owned by Houston-based energy company Kinder Morgan, on Thursday submitted to the Maine Public Utilities Commission a proposal outlining an offer for the state to buy capacity on its planned pipeline expansion through Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine.

The PUC is considering whether and to what extent it should use authority granted by the Legislature to purchase up to $1.5 billion in pipeline capacity over 20 years. The sweeping omnibus energy bill passed last year allows the state to commit to buy up to 200 million cubic feet of natural gas  (go to article)

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Navy showcasing energy innovation in mobile app

fierceenergy.com -- The U.S. military has been on the cutting edge of energy innovation with microgrid deployments and efforts to conserve energy. Now, the Navy has a new digital application that highlights its innovative efforts in energy conservation and behavior change.

Naval personnel are getting "the maximum warfighting punch" out of their energy efforts, according to the U.S. Navy, and the Energy Warrior application showcases their success.

The app also provides facts about worldwide energy use, U.S. oil production, and the Navy's ongoing energy projects, which support the Secretary of the Navy and Chief of Naval Operations energy goals.
 (go to article)

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Smartphone Movements Could Reveal Empty Parking Spots

Technology Review -- Researchers say “pocketsourcing” could let you find parking spots easily, without requiring cities to add spot sensors. Why It Matters

Cities are trying to find new ways to keep track of parking availability and reduce congestion.

 (go to article)

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Saudi Arabia could fight ISIS with oil — if it can bear the price

Finacial Post -- Saudi Arabia might end up doing more in the growing multilateral campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) than its muted response so far has suggested: Using its oil-market power to drive down the price of oil, which the insurgent group relies on to fund its Islamist rebellion.
While the industry is mindful of a disruption caused by a price collapse, companies are comforted by lower differentials between Canadian and U.S. crude
“What could Arab countries offer the West to help contain this threat? Lower oil prices,”  (go to article)

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Solar soldiers: U.S. to train veterans to install solar panels

CBS News -- The jobs training program is among a host of initiatives the White House says will cut carbon dioxide emissions by more than 300 million tons through 2030, plus save billions of dollars on energy bills for homeowners and businesses. It will launch this fall at one or more military bases and train a total of at least 50,000 workers, including veterans.  (go to article)

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Autumn gas prices expected to hit a 4-year low

CNBC -- The national average price for a gallon of regular gas, already down to $3.37, could drop another 20 cents-good news for consumers this fall ahead of the holiday shopping season, according to Gasbuddy.com.

Analysts say prices could fall to a range of $3.15 to $3.25, and that more than 30 states can expect prices under $3 a gallon.

Typically when gas prices fall, it has a positive impact on consumer spending. Gasbuddy says that due to the decline in prices consumers will spend $2.5 billion less on gas this fall than they did last year and that the money saved could trickle into other areas of the economy

Prices have fallen for a several reasons, the first of which includes seasonal factors. First, every fall the industry switches from its summer blend of gas, to the cheaper winter blend  (go to article)

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How Italian Ferrari could become an American company

The Globe and Mail -- A couple of years ago, Lapo Elkann, the car-nut grandson of the late Fiat patriarch Gianni Agnelli, was outraged that Volkswagen had agreed to buy Ducati, the Italian motorcycle company best known for its lean, testosterone-laden road missiles. In a text message to me, he said, “Ducati has to stay Italian” (I had interviewed him not long before about other matters).

Elkann toyed with the idea of bidding for Ducati to keep its bloodline pure but couldn’t compete with Europe’s largest car maker. Ducati is now a brand within Volkswagen’s Audi marque.  (go to article)

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Volvo Canada won’t be at Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver auto shows

The Globe and Mail --
Volvo as a corporation is determined to change the traditional means of doing business in the automotive industry. Some of its dealers may have to be convinced.

Volvo Canada made it known late last week that it would not participate in Canada’s three most prominent auto shows in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. But on Wednesday, Jason Campbell, general manager of the Canadian International Auto Show (CIAS), messaged that Volvo would indeed be part of the Toronto show in February: “This marketplace and marketing platform are too important for manufacturers and their retailers to ignore,” he wrote in an e-mail.  (go to article)

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Fuel prices fall below $3 in Akron-area gasoline price war

Akron Beacon Journal -- A price war along Waterloo and Manchester roads sent prices Wednesday at stations below $3 for a gallon of regular gasoline, a low not seen in a long time.

The Circle K and BP stations at opposite corners of West Waterloo and Manchester roads lowered prices to $2.99.9 a gallon late Wednesday afternoon, according to a website that relies on motorists to report pump prices.

Those and other stations in that area were selling gasoline for $3.01.9 earlier in the day.

“It should be every day, as far as I see it,” said James Fites, an Alliance resident, as he filled a pickup truck at the Sheetz store at West Waterloo Road and South Main Street.

He still wasn’t happy with the cost, though.

“As far as I’m concerned, it is a rip-off,” Fites said.  (go to article)

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Gasoline Hits 2-Year High as Repairs Seen Cutting Supply

Bloomberg -- Gasoline in the U.S. Gulf Coast spot market surged to the highest level in almost two years on speculation that refinery repairs are shrinking available supplies.

Conventional, 85-octane gasoline blendstock, or CBOB, gained 2.25 cents to a premium of 1.25 cents a gallon versus futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest level since October 2012, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Refiners including Exxon Mobil and Marathon Petroleum were said to be performing repairs at plants in the Gulf.

The increase in the Gulf, the nation’s biggest refining hub, threatens to reduce deliveries north to markets in Chicago, the U.S. Midcontinent and New York Harbor. CBOB was at the highest level in the Gulf versus Chicago since July.

“There have been a number of scheduled and unschedu  (go to article)

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Continental Resources unveils new Springer Shale play in Oklahoma

Platts -- Continental Resources unveiled results of the Springer Shale on Thursday, a new Oklahoma oil play that could help boost the state's already growing production to levels not seen in decades.

The Springer, chiefly sited in Grady and parts of Garvin counties at 12,500-foot depths, is yielding top-notch initial output rates and economic returns, company managers said Thursday in webcast remarks during Continental's 2014 Analyst Day in Oklahoma City.

The company's results in the Springer, combined with its own and the industry's mounting production at the South Central Oklahoma Oil Play and output from other formations in the state's subsoil, is adding to Oklahoma's already mounting production of 345,000 b/d in June, according to US Energy Information Administration data.

"Oklahoma could pot  (go to article)

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Nuclear reactor design for North Anna receives federal approval

The Richmond Times Dispatch -- Dominion Virginia Power’s proposal to build a third unit at its North Anna nuclear power station has received a boost with federal certification of a new reactor design. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy’s Economic Simplified Boiling-Water Reactor design for use in the United States. The GE-Hitachi system is the Virginia utility’s choice for its proposed North Anna 3 reactor at the Louisa County power plant. “We are pleased that GE-Hitachi has achieved this milestone in obtaining NRC certification for its … reactor design,” said David A. Christian, CEO of Dominion Generation. “North Anna 3 is an important part of our strategy to maintain a diverse supply of electrical generation for our customers and at the same time lower our overall carbon footprint  (go to article)

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Trucking, highway industries send letter to Congress pleading for ‘robust,’ long-term highway fundin

The Trucker -- Trucking industry lobbyists, transportation officials, equipment manufacturers and a host of other concerned businessmen and women sent a letter to Capitol Hill today urging that congressmen pass a “robust” long-term highway funding bill before May of next year when funding runs out, and protesting the “devolution” of the federal-aid program.

The letter called funding under the Transportation Empowerment Act or TEA “ill-conceived,” and stated that “by stripping away most federal funding for surface transportation projects” it would “virtually eliminate the federal government’s constitutionally mandated role in promoting interstate commerce.”

By 2019, it said, financing for the federal aid highway program will have dwindled by 80 percent, from $45 billion to less than $8 billion.

 (go to article)

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MIT-bred technology would let cars help each other avoid traffic jams

PC World -- Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology used virtual tokens, cellphones and vehicle-to-vehicle wireless LANs to build a system for allocating the limited space available on major thoroughfares. It doesn’t require any physical infrastructure, such as tollbooths, so it could be implemented quickly almost anywhere, they said.

Instead of using cameras or electronic tollbooths by the roadway to detect cars passing a certain point, the MIT system, called RoadRunner, is based on GPS (Global Positioning System) information from the driver’s cellphone in each car. As more cars get connected to the Internet, the system may be able to go into the car itself, according to Jason Gao, a graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science who developed the system with Profe  (go to article)

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Here's How ISIS Is Wrecking Iraq's Oil Industry

Reuters -- A member from the oil police force stands guard at Zubair oilfield in Basra, southeast of Baghdad June 18, 2014.

The Islamic State has taken over several oil-producing areas in Iraq and Syria, raising fears that the group could leverage its hydrocarbon wealth to the point of economic self-sufficiency. A Washington Post article today complicates that picture: ISIS is indeed producing between 25,000 and 40,000 barrels of oil a day, less than East Timor and Cameroon but about as much as Poland, Germany, or New Zealand. However, its oil is of poor quality, and ISIS is likely having trouble transporting it.

According to the report by Steven Mufson, ISIS is only capable of moving its oil by truck, suggesting that the group hasn't mastered the use of northern Iraq's oil pipeline system. And the  (go to article)

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If You Drive Less Than 9,480 Miles Per Year, It's Cheaper To Take An Uber Everywhere Than To Own A C

Business Insider -- The math is pretty complicated, but it turns out that if you drive less than 9,481 miles per year, it's cheaper to take UberX everywhere you go than it is to own a mid-sized car.

There are two catches:

You have to use UberX instead of regular Uber. No town cars for you.
You have to use half your time in the back of the car doing work.

Kyle Hill, the founder of a startup called HomeHero, did the complicated math.

Citing, AAA, he says the average cost of driving a mid-sized car 13,476 miles per year is $8,876.

( 13,476 miles is how many miles the average American drives per year.)

The costs break down like this:

Payments / depreciation ($4,260)
Fuel costs ($2,130)
Interest ($976)
Insurance ($887)
Maintenance and repairs ($355)
Registration and taxes ($  (go to article)

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GM recalling natural gas-powered vans due to possible leak

Reuters -- General Motors Co will recall about 3,200 vans powered by natural gas because of the possibility of a gas leak that increases the risk of a fire, the automaker said on Thursday.
GM said it knows of no fires, crashes or injuries related to this issue.  (go to article)

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Police: Man caused $14K damage by doing doughnuts

Associated Press -- Police say a Pennsylvania man caused more than $14,000 damage to several other vehicles when he took a dare to do a "doughnut" with his pickup truck in a bar parking lot.

Police say 35-year-old Brett Whitmire's truck kicked up damaging stones as it spun in a tight circle in the parking lot of the Beer Garden in Washington Township on Aug. 18.
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IRS won't, or can't, reveal how many plug-in vehicle tax credits are left

Autoblog Green -- One of the benefits of driving a plug-in vehicle these days is a federal tax credit worth up to $7,500. Officially called IRC 30D, this credit is intended to make the high cost of new EVs sting less for early adopters. Of course, free government money doesn't last forever, and when the tax credit law was first passed in as part of the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008, lawmakers built in a phase out. [...]

The IRS has set up a page that is supposed to help buyers figure out how much time is left for plug-in vehicle buyers to get a tax credit, and it tracks individual automaker sales figures. Trouble is, it's a complete mess. There are years' worth of data that the IRS is not making available to the public. Or perhaps some of it's the automakers' fault.  (go to article)

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Is bigger better? Demand soars for trucks, SUVs

CNBC -- In more than three decades on the job, Scott Adams has never seen his Jeep showroom as busy as it's been this summer.

"We can't keep Jeeps in stock," said Adams, who owns two auto dealerships outside of Kansas City, Missouri. "Once we get 'em, we sell 'em almost immediately."

Welcome to the renaissance of America's love affair with sport utility vehicles. These big vehicles that were blasted during the recession as gas-guzzling behemoths are now the hottest movers in showrooms. In fact, demand for SUVs, crossover utility vehicles and pickups is so strong, trucks are now outselling cars in the U.S.  (go to article)

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Like It or Not, Most Urban Freeways Are Here to Stay

The Atlantic -- So it is that nearly a third of the interstate system consists of stretches through our cities, in the form of loops, spurs and freeways. So it is that American motorists drive nearly twice as many miles on urban interstates as they do the lengthier rural legs. So it is that every metropolis in the country has reorganized itself around these roads, and that they've shaped where we live and work, how we shop, what we eat, and how we pass our time.

And so it is, too, that as the system's roughly 14,000 city miles approach the end of their life expectancy, we'll figure out ways to raise the money to rebuild them, rather than tear them down. Because with precious few exceptions, our cities need their interstates the way organs need arteries.  (go to article)

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Most Alaskans to Get Nearly $1,900 in Oil Money

ABC News -- It's a highly anticipated day of the year in Alaska, when residents learn how much money they'll receive from the state's oil-wealth savings account — a payout people receive just for living in The Last Frontier.

This year's share of nearly $1,900 is the sweetest since the Great Recession and the third-richest ever.

Gov. Sean Parnell announced the amount of the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend with great fanfare Wednesday. "This is all good news for Alaskans," he said at an Anchorage press conference.

The $1,884 payout to be distributed Oct. 2 is more than double the amount of last year's $900 checks but short of the record payout of $2,069 in 2008.

— WHO QUALIFIES? The dividends are distributed annually to men, women and children who sign up for it after living in the state for at least  (go to article)

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Just how oil rich is Scotland?

Washington Post -- Can an independent Scotland live high off its oil and gas reserves?

Nationalists, who are hoping Scots vote Thursday to break ties with the United Kingdom, say that an independent Scotland would have so much oil that it could set up a sovereign wealth fund like Norway's fabulously rich fund -- and still pay for free education, boost pensions and keep taxes low. But many oil and gas experts -- including some of the biggest global oil and gas companies -- have warned that Scotland might not be quite as well off as that.

Here's the independence view: A Scottish government-led group of industry leaders in 2012 published an Oil & Gas Strategy article, which estimated that there are up to 24 billion barrels of oil and gas reserves that could be recovered. The group said that the reserves -- "a  (go to article)

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Toyota recalling 20,000 late-model vehicles on potential fuel leak

Reuters -- Toyota Motor Corp said on Thursday it will recall about 20,000 vehicles worldwide for possible fuel leaks.

Most of the affected vehicles are in the United States but were also shipped to other countries, Toyota said.
 (go to article)

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