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Oil ‘super spike’ is coming

Yahoo Finance -- Another bad day for traders bullish on energy as WTI crude oil slid 2%, hitting its lowest level since January. Across the pond Brent crude traded at its lowest level in almost 14th months.

From the heady days of mid-2008 when it traded at nearly $150 a barrel, crude oil has had quite a rocky ride. After sliding down to the $30s and rallying back around $120, crude has settled in around the $90 to $110 range for the past two years.

Commodity traders and analysts have wondered why oil hasn’t gone higher. Geopolitical tensions abound across the world; the Middle East seemingly hasn’t been this unstable in years.

In fact, some believe the commodity could actually go lower. Blake Morrow posits that with North American production rising, vehicles becoming more efficient, and crude oil’s inab  (go to article)

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Obama’s Numbers (July 2014 Update)

factcheck.org -- Highlights from our latest update:

Under the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans have signed up for private health insurance and for Medicaid — though exactly how many remains unclear.
All job losses during the great recession have been erased, but long-term joblessness remains much higher than when Obama first took office.
Corporate profits and stock prices continue to set records, while workers’ wages remain stagnant and the home ownership rate continues to decline.
The number of food-stamp recipients has retreated from the record high of 2012; fewer beneficiaries have been added under Obama than were added under George W. Bush.
Under Obama, federal spending has risen more slowly than the rate of inflation. But the total debt owed to the public has nearly doub  (go to article)

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Was a Recalled Car Fixed? Answer Is Now a Click Away

New York Times -- A new online search tool allows consumers to type in a vehicle identification number, or VIN, to check on whether recall repairs have been completed on a specific car, truck or motorcycle. The service, which began Wednesday, is available on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website or the sites of individual automakers.

The free search tool lets consumers quickly learn whether a vehicle they are considering for purchase has a safety problem that has not been addressed. Recalled vehicles can be repaired without charge at franchised dealers.

This is the first time consumers will be able to use a VIN on the safety agency’s site to determine whether a recall issue has been addressed on a particular car. The service will also be available on N.H.T.S.A.'s Safercar app ...  (go to article)

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Biker crashes into car, lands standing on its roof

foxnews -- watch video. pretty amazing  (go to article)

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Injection Well Earthquakes Feel Weaker Than Natural Ones, New Study Suggests

StateImpact Oklahoma -- While a growing chorus of scientific research has linked Oklahoma’s recent spike in earthquake activity to oil and gas industry disposal wells, a new study suggests such artificial earthquakes are less intense than naturally occurring temblors.

The peer-reviewed paper appears in the October 2014 edition of the Bulletin of the
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Researchers Hack Into Michigan’s Traffic Lights

MIT-Security flaws in a system of networked stoplights point to looming problems -- Ever get lucky enough to hit three or four green lights in a row on your way home from work? It turns out it might not be so hard to make that happen all the time.

With permission from a local road agency, researchers in Michigan hacked into nearly 100 wirelessly networked traffic lights, highlighting security issues that they say are likely to pervade networked traffic infrastructure around the country. More than 40 states currently use such systems to keep traffic flowing as efficiently as possible, helping to reduce emissions and delays.

The team, led by University of Michigan computer scientist J. Alex Halderman, found three major weaknesses in the traffic light system: unencrypted wireless connections, the use of default usernames and passwords that could be found online, and a...  (go to article)

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Hawthorne mayor wants cops to wear cameras

ABC news -- Hawthorne Mayor Chris Brown is calling for all police officers to wear cameras, saying it's time to take action to protect the people of his city.

The move comes following the controversial police killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

"In light of recent events, it is clear the safety of our civilians and uniformed officers is not guaranteed," Brown said in a statement posted on Twitter. "I am simply not willing to gamble with a single life, or the wrongful accusation of upstanding officers."

This is still only a proposal, but Brown says he wants to do everything possible to make sure all uniformed police officers will be equipped with body cameras.

In Hawthorne, motorcycle traffic officers are already equipped with a helmet-mounted cameras that provide an officer  (go to article)

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EIA: Crude inventories see hefty drop, gasoline inventories rise

GasBuddy Blog -- The Energy Information Administration released its weekly report on the status of petroleum inventories in the United States today. 
Here are some highlights:

CRUDE INVENTORIES:
Crude oil inventories decreased by 4.5 million barrels to a total of 362.5 million barrels. At 362.5 million barrels, inventories are 3.5 million barrels above last year (1.0%) and are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year.

GASOLINE INVENTORIES:
Gasoline inventories increased by 0.6 million barrels to 213.3 million barrels. At 213.3 million barrels, inventories are down 5.1 million barrels, or 2.3% lower than one year ago. Here's how individual regions and their gasoline inventory fared last week: East Coast (+0.6mb); Midwest (-0.4mb); Gulf Coast (+0.2mb); Rockies (+0.0mb); and West Coast (+0.1mb). It is important to note which regions saw increases/decreases as this information likely drives prices up (in the cas  (go to article)

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Survey shows county teens still speed, text, drive drunk

SoMd News -- In the mid-2000s, Charles County saw an outbreak of teens dying in car accidents, prompting the Charles County Sheriff’s Office to scramble to beef up its efforts to reduce traffic fatalities.

The sheriff’s office launched the We Care program in 2008, an educational partnership between the agency and Charles County’s public high schools, which continues today. The curriculum and activities vary from year to year, each year chosen by a group of students who have a better idea of what will appeal to their peers.  (go to article)

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Pump and Pay: Buy lotto tickets at the gas pump

ABC -- The California Lottery wants to make it easier for you to play for a chance at those massive jackpots. Now you can buy tickets at the pump at certain gas stations. The pilot program is designed to make playing the lottery "a real gas."

For most people a trip to the gas station means pulling out your card so they can pay at the pump -- but with their card out already, California Lottery officials are hoping they'll play the lottery at the pump.

The lottery folks say they're just trying to make things easier for all of us.  (go to article)

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Eight-Year Car Loans Fuel Canada Sales Over Debt Warnings

Bloomberg -- Kelly Collins chose to stretch out the loan on her new red Dodge Journey for an extra year because she wanted lower monthly payments, an increasingly common practice in debt-laden Canada.

“They were really good about letting me customize,” said Collins, who opted to move beyond a five-year term after being given the option to speed repayment if she has extra cash.

The average term of a light-vehicle loan in Canada is 69 months, close to a peak of 72 months set in the third quarter of 2013, according to data from marketing information company J.D. Power. The borrowing adds to signs Canadians are continuing to buy big-ticket items and tuning out warnings about unsustainable debt growth.  (go to article)

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Entrepreneur lights up LEDs to improve car safety

USA Today -- For anyone interested in cars, it was hard not to notice Michael Haas.

The entrepreneur had secured a parking spot for his black Jaguar XK on one of this resort town's busiest streets at the height of Monterey Car Week. He staked out the space for 12 hours to attract attention for his new invention: a row of sequential amber LED lights on car doors that blink in unison with the turn signals as an extra, yet stylish, safety measure.

The exposure seemed to be working. People walking along Delores Street pointed and whispered. Passengers in passing cars, from Ferraris to SUVs, craned to get a better look at the gleaming car with the fancy lights.

Haas, who runs limousine and design services from his base in Tiburon, Calif., is pouring a lot of attention into what he calls the ...  (go to article)

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Investigators fault Canadian auditors in 2013 oil train explosion

The Hill -- A Canadian watchdog agency faulted government officials for not properly auditing the railway company involved in a major July 2013 oil train explosion in Quebec.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada said Tuesday disasters similar to the Lac-Megantic derailment could happen again if auditors don’t improve their practices, Reuters reported.

The explosion killed 47 and brought new attention to trains carrying massive amounts of crude oil, setting off new government and private-sector efforts to improve the safety of oil trains in both Canada and the United States.
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Refracking brings 'vintage' oil and gas wells to life

Reuters -- A fracking boom isn't enough for U.S. oil and gas producers – they're now starting the re-fracking boom.

The oil industry, however, says the effects of fracking are known and don't pose a danger.

"Hydraulic fracturing is a safe, proven technology that has been used for over 60 years to increase production of oil and natural gas – changing America's energy trajectory from scarcity to abundance," said Zachary Cikanek, a spokesman for the American Petroleum Institute in Washington.
 (go to article)

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U.S. hedge funds hunting for value in Canada’s oil patch

Financial Post -- Hedge funds, mostly American, seem to have their fingerprints all over the Canadian oil patch these days

They are hunting for value in the Canadian sector, where stocks are on the rebound after lagging their U.S. counterparts for years

“The energy space has underperformed the broad index, and now all this hot money is flowing into Canada. And maybe they are late coming to the party and trying to make a quick buck

Orange Capital emerged Tue as the latest to take a position in a Canadian oil and gas company. Orange is now the company’s largest shareholder

Hedge funds are also trying to put their stamp on Arcan Resources, Penn West Petroleum, Atabasca Oil, Talisman Energy

Stock prices tend to jump when hedge funds move in. Whether they bring value beyond the initial bluster is debatable  (go to article)

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Prominent Lac-Mégantic citizen livid at lack of changes after train crash report

National Post -- Chair of TSB met Tue in Lac-Mégantic with townsfolk who lost family

Mr.Lafontaine, 66, came to ask questions

The derailment killed his son, his son’s wife, wife of his other son, and a longtime employee of his business, orphaned 2 of his grandchildren and left 3 others motherless

He drove a backhoe to help fight the fire. Then he became a clear and loud voice for the stricken town

Today trains run again through the heart of his town

He says Ottawa’s explanation of the disaster does not add up

“If the lead locomotive had a fire, why did he not leave another of the 4 running?

“Did they find the leak in the air hose that caused the air brakes to fail?

Officials asked him to sit down

“We would like people from QC to inspect trains that run through QC. The PM cannot ensure rail safety  (go to article)

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Honda sales hitting record pace

DISPATCH -- Honda is on track to hit record sales this year and makes no apologies for the conservative, retail sales-focused strategy that has kept mainstream vehicles such as the Accord and CR-V popular.

John Mendel, head of the American Honda Auto Division, said yesterday that he will protect Honda customers and the value of their vehicles by spending less than the competition on incentives, keeping fleet sales low and not participating in the jump in sub-prime and long-term loans.

“We are not going to take the risk of long-term financing,” Mendel told reporters in a conference call. “We will miss out on those customers if we have to.” Honda will not chase market share, which he said can lead to poor business decisions.

Mendel justifies the strategy with the latest Polk and IHS Automotive retail  (go to article)

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Millennials Move from Cars to SUVs – Just Like Their Parents

The Detroit Bureau -- Conventional wisdom would suggest that Millennials would rather sit at home playing videogames and texting, and if they do buy a car, they’re likely to opt for something small, preferably with a battery.

As is so often the case, however, the prevailing sentiment is wrong, as several new studies reveal. Not only are Millennials buying cars in ever-larger numbers, but they’re opting for roomy crossovers and sport-utility vehicles, much like their parents.

One likely explanation, according to Chris Travell, a vice president at Maritz Research, is that they want vehicles that can carry more of their stuff.

And, with the oldest of the generation now entering their early 30s, many are starting families — moving back to the suburbs Gen-Y had initially rejected – so they need to carry “stuff” f  (go to article)

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Federal lease sale to open waters on U.S.-Mexico border for drilling

The Times-Picayune -- The federal government on Wednesday plans to open 21 million acres off the coast of Texas for oil and gas drilling. It includes areas that are along the U.S. and Mexico nautical border and previously off limits to companies.

The sale is scheduled at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. It is the sixth under the Obama administration's current leasing plan, which extends through 2017.

The federal government has offered more than 60 million acres for development. It has generated more than $2.3 billion in bid revenues during previous sales under its five-year plan.

Oil and gas companies bid more than $872.1 million for tracts spanning more than 1.7 million acres in the central Gulf of Mexico during the most recent federal lease sale. That was in March.

Sales in the western gulf cov  (go to article)

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FDOT seeks way to alert wrong-way drivers

CBS Tampa Bay -- ..."There a software they're looking at that would notify our traffic management center, FHP right away and then there's also signage that we're looking at that have radar in them and they would start flashing or they would say wrong way," Carson said.

But she points out the common factor in all the incidents: Authorities report that the suspects in all cases were under the influence of either alcohol of drugs when they drove the wrong way.

So why not immobilize cars getting on the wrong way with something like tire spike?...  (go to article)

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Lac-Megantic oil train disaster inquiry finds string of safety failings

Guardian -- The weak safety culture of a now-defunct railway company and poor government oversight contributed to an oil train explosion that killed 47 people in Quebec in 2013, Canadian authorities have announced in their report on the disaster.

The Transportation Safety Board chairwoman, Wendy Tadros, said 18 factors played a role, including a rail company that cut corners and a Canadian regulator that did not do proper safety audits.

The safety board issued its report 13 months after a runaway train carrying 72 carloads of volatile oil from North Dakota derailed, hurtled down an incline and slammed into downtown Lac-Megantic, Quebec. Several train cars exploded and 40 buildings were leveled. The unattended train had been parked overnight on a rail line before it came loose...  (go to article)

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Michelin’s Clever New Tires Stay Just as Grippy as They Wear

Wired -- The more you drive on your tires, the more they wear down. After a while, the grooves that improve traction, particularly in the wet, wear away. Eventually, you either buy a new set or risk running off the road next time it rains. But thanks to some clever engineering, Michelin has made tires that don’t age the way they usually do. As the rubber wears off, new grooves emerge to keep you on the road.

Modern street tires have radial grooves—the ones that go around the circumference of the tire—that channel water so the rubber can make solid contact with the road. The more water that can be channeled, the more traction the tires have to do things like turn and stop the car. Typically, these grooves get shallower and less effective as the tire wears.  (go to article)

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Rail CEOs to Investors: "Bomb Trains" Safe At Almost Any Speed

Huff Post -- BNSF's announcement came merely a week after the Obama Administration announced its proposed regulations for trains carrying oil obtained via hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") from North Dakota's Bakken Shale basin.

The rail industry's position on speed limits for "bomb trains" is simple: they continuously claim velocity has nothing to do with oil-by-rail accidents or safety.
 (go to article)

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Pickens: Brent crude will be above $100 forever

CNBC -- Oil and gas entrepreneur T. Boone Pickens thinks international oil prices will stay high indefinitely—over $100 a barrel—despite recent declines in the futures market.  (go to article)

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Will EPA Kill Texas’ Energy Revolution?

The Houston Chronicle -- Texas and the entire country stand at an historical crossroad of two conflicting, incompatible forces. On one side is the game-changing upsurge in oil and gas production achieved through technological innovations first developed in Texas. On the other side is federal policy to supplant oil, natural gas and coal – now supplying over 80 percent of U.S. energy.

We have the transformative power of energy facing off with the coercive power of government. If not denied by political powers, the energy opportunities created by the shale revolution would confer multiple genuine benefits for human welfare and peace: jobs, increased income, rebirth of “made in America” manufacturing, national security and even the basis for geopolitical security in Europe – now perilously dependent on oil an  (go to article)

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Reason Foundation poll: Gas tax hike opposed by 85 percent

The Hill -- Eighty-five percent of U.S. residents are opposed to increasing the federal gas tax to help pay for new transportation projects, according to a poll released on Friday by the libertarian Reason Foundation.

Lawmakers spent most of the summer debating the idea of increasing the gas tax, currently at 18.4 cents per gallon, for the first time since 1993 as they scrambled to come up with a way to pay for a new round of transportation spending.

The Department of Transportation had said that its Highway Trust Fund, which is normally filled by revenue from the gas tax, would have run out of money if Congress had not acted to replenish it last month.
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Former transportation chief joins DC think tank

The Hill -- A former Transportation secretary who served under Ronald Reagan is joining a Washington, D.C., think tank that advocates for increased infrastructure spending.

Former Transportation Secretary James Burnley, the Reagan administration’s final infrastructure chief, has been appointed to the Eno Center for Transportation’s Board of Directors, the group announced on Thursday.

Eno Chairman Lillian Borrone said the group was eager to tap into Burnley’s knowledge of federal transportation issues.
 (go to article)

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WTI Oil Declines as September Contract Nears Expiration

bloomberg.com -- West Texas Intermediate oil tumbled to a seven-month low as investors sold September crude before expiration and purchased cheaper contracts for future delivery. Brent traded near the lowest level in almost 14 months.

September crude dropped 2 percent today while October decreased 1 percent. The front month’s premium over the next month narrowed from the widest since 2008. September WTI futures expire tomorrow. Brent plunged yesterday as Kurdish and Iraqi forces regained control of Iraq’s largest dam, stalling an advance by Islamic State militants.

“Nobody’s interested in taking crude for September delivery,” Bob Yawger, director of the futures division at Mizuho Securities USA Inc. in New York, said by phone. “If you don’t need the physical barrels, you are going to sell. The spread has  (go to article)

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Stretch of Ohio River Reopens After Fuel Oil Spill

ABC News -- A 15-mile stretch of the Ohio River closed after a fuel oil spill reopened to river traffic on Tuesday with some restrictions as containment and cleanup continued.

River traffic in that area must get Coast Guard clearance and maintain a safe speed, agency spokeswoman Lt. Katherine Cameron said. The area was closed to all traffic, including barges carrying commercial goods, after the spill from a Duke Energy power plant in New Richmond.

The spill at the W.C. Beckjord Station happened at about 11:15 p.m. Monday during a routine transfer of fuel oil from a larger tank to smaller ones and was stopped within about 15 minutes, Duke spokeswoman Sally Thelen said.

The spill at the plant 20 miles southeast of Cincinnati was considered medium-sized, a designation that applies to inland leaks betw  (go to article)

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Historic Old U.S. 27 Motor Tour to make stops in several Michigan cities, including Coldwater

MLive.com -- Craig Parrish is ready to to roll.

And he'll be bringing along a few hundred of his friends who make up the Historic Old U.S. 27 Motor Tour.

The five-day motor tour kicked off on Aug. 18 in Auburn, Indiana and then will head all the way up to Cheboygan along historic U.S. 27.

The tour stops tonight (Aug. 19) in Coldwater and then moves on to: DeWitt, St. Johns, Ithaca, Alma, St. Louis, Shepherd, Clare, Harrison, Grayling, Gaylord, Wolverine, Indian River and Cheboygan.

"We're excited to get back on the road after last year's success," said Craig Parrish, who coordinates the Old Historic U.S. 27 Motor Tour. "This is going to be a great event full of classic old-time nostalgia."

Classic cars participating in the tour will be on display at each tour stop.

Parrish, who checked in with ML  (go to article)

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GM's 200-Mile Electric Car For 2017: What We Know So Far

Green Car Reports -- The arrival of a moderately-priced battery electric car with a rated range of 200 miles will change the entire market for plug-in vehicles.

When that will happen, and from which maker, remains open--though the likely suspects are Nissan, Tesla, and General Motors, with BMW as a long-shot outsider.

With GM's then-CEO Dan Akerson having referred to a $30,000 200-mile battery-electric car several times last year, the rumor mills began to buzz.

But we haven't heard much lately about such a car, except for an interesting rumor last month: that it will actually be not a dedicated vehicle, but one model of the next Chevrolet Sonic subcompact to be launched in 2016 or 2017.

That news came via The Truth About Cars, and was not attributed to a named source. In discussions with the writer  (go to article)

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The most-stolen new and used cars In America

Forbes -- While those driving the flashiest sports cars and poshest luxury models are justifiably vigilant – if not downright obsessed – when it comes to protecting their precious rides, it’s actually the familiar family car that gets stolen far more frequently.

That’s according to the most recent “Hot Lists” of both new cars and vehicles from past model years compiled by the National Insurance Crime Board (NCIB) in Des Plaines, Ill.

You won’t see the likes of a Chevy Corvette or Mercedes-Benz SL on either list, but both contain models that would otherwise blend into a crowded parking lot like the Toyota Corolla and Nissan Altima sedans, and the Ford F-150 pickup truck. In fact, top-selling older cars are stolen far more often than brand new cars; such models are typically taken to so-called “chop  (go to article)

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Obama administration to require anti-collision tech on cars and trucks

NY Post -- A research report released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that the technology could eventually prevent 592,000 left-turn and intersection crashes a year, saving 1,083 lives. The agency said it will begin drafting rules to require the technology in new vehicles.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers praised the technology, but avoided commenting directly on the government’s intention to require the technology in new cars. Instead, both groups urged the Federal Communications Commission to preserve the 5.9 GHz radio frequency for vehicle-to-vehicle communications.  (go to article)

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Oil slumps 2% to lowest close since January

Market Watch By William Watts and Eric Yep -- NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — Crude-oil futures continued to drop Tuesday, with the U.S. benchmark closing below $95 a barrel for the first time since January as fading geopolitical fears leave traders to focus on a supply glut.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures for delivery in September CLU4, -1.67% dropped $1.93, or 2%, to close at $.94.48 a barrel, the lowest finish for a nearby futures contract since Jan. 17. October Brent crude LCOV4, -0.02% fell $1.93 to $101.46 a barrel.
“Market participants are more concerned about weak demand when the supply outlook remains generally comfortable despite all the ongoing geopolitical jitters,” said Andrey Kryuchenkov, strategist at VTB Capital.
“There is no shortage of oil at the moment; the conflict in Ukraine as well  (go to article)

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Lax safety, infrequent audits among 18 factors that led to Lac-Megantic disaster

Canadian Manufacturing -- Agency officials held a news conference in Lac-Megantic this morning to release the report

The TSB says MMA Railway had a weak safety culture and did not have a functioning system to manage risks

The agency is also pointing a finger in its final report at Transport Canada, saying the department did not audit MMA often and thoroughly enough to ensure it was effectively managing the risks in its operations

About 1/3 of the derailed tanker cars had large breaches which rapidly released vast quantities of highly volatile petroleum crude oil

Government and industry have continued to tighten rail regulations since the tragedy

Millions of dollars have been pledged to rebuild Lac-Megantic. The federal and QC governments will split the cost

People are still being treated for post-traumatic st  (go to article)

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Meet the Latest Electric Car Charging Station Menace: Copper Thieves

Transport Evolved -- You’ve heard of ICEing — the name given to the practice of parking an internal combustion engine vehicle in an electric car recharging space – not to mention outright vandalism of electric car charging stations. But what about electric vehicle charging station cable theft, a problem which not only renders electric car charging stations inoperable but also poses significant danger to those carrying it out?

According to electric vehicle owners in and around the city of Vancouver, British Columbia, a series of attacks on public level 2 charging stations has left them inoperable after thieves snipped off the several meters of electrical cord attached to each charging station with bolt cutters. In fact, the phenomenon is becoming fairly problematic for plug in owners ...  (go to article)

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Beacon Sees Alaska Storage Flywheels Portending Wider Use

Bloomberg -- Beacon Power LLC (BCONQ) predicts an Alaskan island’s use of its flywheels to store energy from a power plant will pave the way for more widespread application of the technology to help cut the use of fossil fuels.

Storing energy from intermittent renewable sources to let power plants run more evenly could be used in large projects as well as small, closed electricity systems known as microgrids, Chief Executive Officer Barry Brits said yesterday in an interview.

The 165-kilowatt flywheels project to store energy from TDX Power Inc.’s hybrid wind and diesel plant on Saint Paul Island in the Bering Sea will cut fuel use by 30 percent, Beacon, a Tyngsboro, Massachusetts-based company that was sold in bankruptcy in 2012, said today in a statement...  (go to article)

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Diesel prices reach another record-low for the year

Land Line Magazine -- The average price of a gallon of on-highway diesel decreased eight-tenths of a cent to $3.835 per gallon for the week ending Monday, Aug. 18. This replaces last week’s benchmark of lowest prices for the year.

Diesel price averages went down in nine of 10 regions in the U.S., according to the Energy Information Administration. The largest average decrease came in the Central Atlantic region, where prices at the pump went down by 1.4 cents per gallon. Prices went up two-tenths of a cent in the California region, the only increase in the nation.

Following are the average prices by region as reported by the EIA:
•U.S. – $3.835, down eight-tenths of a cent
•East Coast – $3.875, down 1.2 cents
•New England – $3.971, down 1.1 cents
•Central Atlantic – $3.960, down 1.4 cents
•Lowe  (go to article)

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NHTSA reminds motorists to be careful as school year begins

GasBuddy Blog -- NHTSA ImageAs a brand new school year begins, the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reminds parents, students and motorists to be alert and to put safety first in school zones and near school bus stops.School buses are the safest means of transportation for getting to and from school and keep an estimated 17.3 million cars off the roads every year. Even so, students need to be careful when entering the “school bus danger zone” – 10 feet in front, behind or on either side of the bus. In addition, motorists need to be alert and always stop for a school bus when flashing lights are illuminated....  (go to article)

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Oil spills into Ohio River from Duke Energy coal plant

Reuters -- Five thousand gallons of fuel oil spilled into the Ohio River on Monday night from a 60-year-old coal-fired power plant owned by Duke Energy, the company said on Tuesday.

The spill, which occurred during what Duke described in a statement as a "routine transfer of fuel oil" at its W.C. Beckjord plant in New Richmond, Ohio, took place at 11:15 p.m. and was stopped within fifteen minutes. It was not clear if the oil had been contained or if there was any impact on wildlife or drinking water.
 (go to article)

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Google's driverless cars designed to exceed speed limit

BBC.com -- Google's self-driving cars are programmed to exceed speed limits by up to 10mph (16km/h), according to the project's lead software engineer.
Dmitri Dolgov told Reuters that when surrounding vehicles were breaking the speed limit, going more slowly could actually present a danger, and the Google car would accelerate to keep up.
Google's driverless prototypes have been widely tested on roads in the US.
The UK will allow driverless cars on public roads from 2015.
Google first announced its driverless car division in 2010, and has been testing its technology in modified cars built by other manufacturers.
The cars have travelled on more than 300,000 miles of open road, mostly in California.
In May, the US tech firm said it would start building its own self-driving cars.
The bubble-shaped....  (go to article)

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Crooks in Ohio still preferred old trucks, cars in ’13

The Columbus Dispatch -- A vehicle produced 20 years ago is still popular with thieves.

The 1994 full-size Chevrolet pickup was the most common vehicle to be stolen in Ohio last year, according to a report released this morning by the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

It was the second straight year that this Chevy truck headed the list. The 2000 Dodge Caravan, which used to be at the top of the list, was second.

As is typically the case, the Ohio list is dominated by old cars, some that remain on the list for years. The newest vehicle is the 2004 Ford full-size pickup.

“It’s the same old, same old,” said Mary Bonelli, spokeswoman for the Ohio Insurance Institute. “ It’s the old cars.”  (go to article)

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Transportation Safety Board: No one person is to blame for Lac-Mégantic disaster

The Gazette -- Report names 18 factors that contributed to the explosion

The TSB made 2 new recommendations about rail safety in its long-awaited report on the disaster, released Tue

Transport Canada must take a more hands-on role when it comes to railway safety management systems, making sure that they not only exist, but that they are working and are effective

Canadian railways must also put in place physical defences to prevent runaways

"The tragedy in Lac-Mégantic was not caused by one single person, action or organization. The safety issues will take a concerted effort from regulators, railways, shippers, tank manufacturers and refiners in Canada and the U.S.

Last Jul 6, an unmanned train carrying 2M gal of crude barrelled into the downtown and exploded in a massive ball of flames, incinerating  (go to article)

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Oil-by-rail project for shut California refinery near approval

The News -- The first crude-by-rail project at a California refinery is likely to win approval next month after more than a year of scrutiny, the head of the Kern County planning division told Reuters, and it could help reopen the shuttered plant.

The facility at independent refiner Alon USA Energy Inc’s Bakersfield plant would increase crude offloading capacity to 140,000 barrels per day from its current 13,000 bpd and open up significant access to cheaper inland US and Canadian crudes.

Alon’s Bakersfield plant is in Kern County, home to about 65 percent of all California oil production, where crude has been produced for more than a century.

Alon shut the Bakersfield refinery in late 2012 because its reliance on more expensive imports and lack of access to other crudes without significant rail  (go to article)

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San Francisco Gets Fuel From Los Angeles as Gap Widens

Bloomberg -- Spot gasoline in San Francisco at the highest premium to Los Angeles in two weeks has opened an arbitrage for fuel to flow north.

Spot California-blend gasoline in the San Francisco Bay area gained 1 cent a gallon versus the same fuel in Los Angeles to a premium of 8 cents, its highest since Aug. 4, data compiled by Bloomberg at 4:43 p.m. New York time show. The fuel has averaged a discount of 1.55 cents a gallon this year.

“Some problem in the Bay is causing the differential to run backward,” David Hackett, president of energy consulting company Stillwater Associates in Irvine, California, said by telephone today. “While products normally flow from north to south, there seem to be refinery problems in the Bay. The unusual arbitrage to bring product from Los Angeles to the Bay is open.”
 (go to article)

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Solar Boom Driving First Global Panel Shortage Since 2006

Bloomberg -- The solar industry is facing a looming shortage of photovoltaic panels, reversing a two-year slump triggered by a global glut.  (go to article)

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Fracking Fluids More Toxic Than Previously Thought

OilPrice.com -- A new study of the fluids used in the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, shows that several of them may not be as safe as the energy industry says they are, and some are downright toxic.
 (go to article)

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WTI Crude Rises; Brent Close to 14-MONTH LOW

Bloomberg News -- ....supported by the restart of the Coffeyville, Kansas, refinery, and by the expectation of a draw in U.S. crude oil inventories....  (go to article)

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SFU grad uses Kickstarter campaign to fund Tron-like motorcycle helmet start-up

The Province - Vancouver -- A Vancouver engineering grad is blending his love of sports bikes and the sci-fi classic movie Tron to launch a product which might make him rich.

Thomas Plywaczewski, 25, said he came up with the idea for designing futuristic flashing trim for motorcycle helmets while he was an engineering physics student at Simon Fraser University. He was inspired by the film Tron: Legacy. He built his own design, and says it turned heads wherever he rode his bike around Vancouver. People started asking where they could get their own helmets. So instead of landing the first engineering job he could get after school — “I did about 30 interviews but I was picky,” he notes — Plywaczewski says he decided to pursue his passion.  (go to article)

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Oregon rejects Australian coal terminal for Columbia River

The Spokesman Review -- PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon state regulators have rejected a proposal for a coal terminal on the Columbia River that would be a conduit for exporting millions of tons of American coal a year to Asia.

The decision is a victory for tribal groups that said the terminal threatened their fishing.

An Australian company, Ambre Energy, proposed to have coal shipped by rail from Wyoming and Montana to the terminal at Boardman in northeast Oregon. There the coal would be loaded onto barges headed for another terminal nearer the mouth of the river and then exported.  (go to article)

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NHTSA Launches Annual Sobriety Campaign for Labor Day Weekend

GasBuddy Blog -- Let's hope, one day, that such public safety announcements won't be necessary.

Once again, the U.S. Dept. of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) joins with safety advocates and law enforcement officials to announce the Department's annual Labor Day Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over crackdown on drunk drivers. It begins mid-August.  With an average of one person losing their life every 51 minutes due to an alcohol-impaired driving crash, this year's announcement includes a special focus on both the personal and economic costs of drunk driving....  (go to article)

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