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Recent Gas News/GasBuddy Blog

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Boat captain tortured by Nigerian pirates sues Chevron, Edison Chouest over attack, website reports

The Times-Picayune -- An oil and gas supply boat captain who was kidnapped and tortured by Nigerian pirates last year is suing Chevron USA and Edison Chouest Offshore for failing to take safety measures that could have prevented the attack Courthouse News Service reports.

The report says Wren Thomas who captained Edison Chouest's C-Retriever vessel, which was tasked with supporting Chevron drilling activity offshore Nigeria, filed suit Oct. 16 against both companies in Harris County Texas.

Edison Chouest is based in Cut Off and provides supply boats to support offshore oil and gas operations worldwide.

Thomas accuses Chevron and Edison Chouest of ignoring multiple death threats he reported receiving over the supply boat's radio and for failing to replace the boat's radio communications system with a safer...  (go to article)

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Crude imports from Persian Gulf to USGC set to rise in November

Platts -- Imports of crude from the Persian Gulf into the US Gulf Coast look set to rise in November, an analysis of Platts cFlow ship-tracking software data showed Monday.

During the first half of November, 14 ships are expected to enter the USGC from the Persian Gulf, up from 11 ships for all of October, and 11 ships for all of September.

US imports from Saudi Arabia have been on the decline in recent months, as US refiners have been backing out imports in favor of growing North American production.

However, Motiva - a joint venture between Shell and Saudi Aramco - has been a steady buyer of Saudi Arabian crude, mostly into its 600,000 b/d Port Arthur refinery, but also into its 230,000 b/d Convent, Louisiana refinery.

It's possible the increase in shipments from the Persian Gulf during the fi  (go to article)

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New tracers help identify fracking fluids, improving shale gas wastewater treatment

WaterWorld -- Scientists at Duke University have recently developed new geochemical tracers that can identify hydraulic fracturing (fracking) flowback fluids that have been spilled or released into the environment. The tracers, which were created by a team of U.S. and French researchers, have been field-tested at a spill site in West Virginia and downstream from an oil and gas brine wastewater treatment plant in Pennsylvania.

"This gives us new forensic tools to detect if 'frac fluids' are escaping into our water supply and what risks, if any, they might pose," said Duke University geochemist Avner Vengosh, who co-led the research. "By characterizing the isotopic and geochemical fingerprints of enriched boron and lithium in flowback water from hydraulic fracturing, we can now track the presence of...  (go to article)

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A year later, cleanup still going for ND oil spill

AP via Yahoo Finance -- One year after a pipeline rupture flooded a wheat field in northwestern North Dakota with more than 20,000 barrels of crude, Tesoro Corp. is still working around the clock cleaning up the oil spill — one of the largest to happen onshore in U.S. history.

Cleanup costs have soared from the company's original estimate of $4 million to a forecast of more than $20 million, and it may be at least another year before work is completed, the company and state officials said. The oil-sopped parcel of land, about the size of seven football fields, is no longer usable for planting at present.

"It's a big cleanup and it's become part of our life," farmer Steve Jensen said Monday. "The ground is still saturated with oil. And they're out there seven days a week, 24 hours a day."

Jensen discovered the  (go to article)

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Ford's Driving Skills for Life lets drivers experience the dangers of distracted driving in a contro

Driving.ca -- I find texting and driving a lot harder than driving drunk. Those studies are right

A program perfected in the U.S. and now being brought to Canada, allows newly licensed teen drivers the chance to break a whole bunch of laws under the watchful eye of trained professionals. On a recent day at Brampton’s Power Centre, Ford transformed the parking lot into 4 test areas: space and speed management, hazard recognition and vehicle handling, distracted driving and impaired driving

With instructors in the passenger seat, young drivers were soon doing burnouts in a 2014 Mustang, smacking over cones as they texted behind the wheel, and crazily looping their way around a course while wearing goggles that simulate being drunk

There was a preponderance of males in attendance

The appeal of the prog  (go to article)

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Charges laid after birds killed in flare at LNG facility in New Brunswick

Canadian Manufacturing -- 7,500 migrating birds were killed in Sep 2013 when they flew into a flare burning at the Canaport LNG plant

The facility in Saint John, NB, faces 2 charges under the federal Migratory Birds Convention Act that prevent anyone from depositing a substance harmful to migratory birds

Canaport also faces a charge under the federal Species at Risk Act

Canaport learned of the charges last week and a court appearance is set for Jan. 21 in provincial court

“We’ve co-operated with the authorities throughout the investigation process and complied with all the requests for information, spokesperson said

The company was burning off excess gas at the facility

Changes to equipment to reduce the amount of flaring have since been completed and there have been no further incidents
 (go to article)

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Xcel completes largest pipeline project in 20 years

fierceenergy.com -- Xcel Energy has begun operation of the Cherokee Natural Gas Pipeline -- a 34-mile natural gas pipeline that will provide a new, cleaner fuel source for its Cherokee Generating Station in north Denver under Colorado's historic Clean Air Clean Jobs Act.

The utility spent more than three years and $110 million designing, planning, constructing and testing the natural gas pipeline, which will eventually provide fuel for a new, state-of-the-art, 569 MW natural gas facility set to go into service in spring 2015. The pipeline will also provide fuel for an existing 352 MW unit when it switches to natural gas from coal in 2017. Xcel Energy has retired two generating units at the Cherokee plant, with a third unit to be retired next year.  (go to article)

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Capitalizing on clean energy climate potential in NC

fierceenergy.com -- North Carolina ranks 4th in the nation for installed solar capacity, ahead of even Nevada and Hawaii, according to a Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) report. National and regional experts in clean energy recently discussed how to continue North Carolina's momentum in wind and solar development.

Renewable energy resources like solar and wind are reshaping the state's energy landscape. In 2013 alone, $787 million was invested in in solar projects in the state, according to SEIA. That being said, enormous untapped wind potential exists off North Carolina's coast.

(snip)

"The solar and wind industries have already brought thousands of jobs to our state. There's enormous potential to grow the state's economy without polluting our beautiful mountains, Piedmont or coast."  (go to article)

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Man-Powered Watercraft from Kickstarter Going for World Speed Record [Video]

AutoEvolution -- We heard London wants to build a £600-million ($956 million) floating pathway for bicycles on the river Thames to fight against rush-hour traffic. Well, that’s a bit costly, reason why we raise you this Kickstarter project that might become reality some time soon after it breaks a record (to prove it's worthy) - the one and only one-manned human powered watercraft set to go faster than 34 km/h (21.1 mph), basically a water bicycle.

A team of students from the University of Sherbrooke, Canada, is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to aid them with a new hydrofoil system that’s set to break the current record held by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) regarding one-manned human powered watercraft by traveling at a speed of 37 km/h (22.9 mph).

Hydrofoil what?

 (go to article)

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Why Self-Driving Cars Will Change Retirement

Wall Street Journal -- When it comes to advances in technology, young adults are often the first to embrace change. But it’s the 50-plus crowd that could end up as early adopters of a coming revolution in transportation: self-driving cars.

Most major auto makers already are testing such vehicles. In May, Google , the Mountain View, Calif., search giant, which has pioneered the self-driving idea, unveiled its latest prototype car—with no steering wheel, and no accelerator or brake pedals.

But some major areas, he says, could see “robocars” (his preferred word) in wide use by 2020 or so—and older adults, in particular, may reap the early benefits.

“The realities of life just take mobility away from people as they get older,” Mr. Templeton says. “A solution to that problem is going to be highly welcomed.”  (go to article)

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Qualcomm: Cars of the future will see around corners

Techno Buffalo -- Imagine a future where cars are self-aware and can virtually detect other cars or even pedestrians around corners all in the name of safety. That’s exactly what the brilliant minds at Qualcomm hope to deliver in cars in the next few years.

Surely today’s automobiles are already smarter than the ones driven on roads a decade ago. Cars today are enabled with navigation, Bluetooth and cameras that will detect speed and even trigger cars to stop to prevent collisions. And we’ll soon see cars outfitted with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto that will deliver even more timely information (with hopefully fewer distractions) to the driver. Tesla just announced enhancements coming to its Model S (and future cars) that include self-driving capability. But in the eyes of Qualcomm that technology is  (go to article)

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Time to Fill 'Er Up.

Greensboro, NC, News & Record. -- F or the first time in nearly four years, drivers in the Piedmont are paying less than $3 for a gallon of gas.
Average gas prices in the Tarheel state have dropped by 15 cents per gallon in the past month and 64 cents in the past six months, according to AAA Carolinas.

Analysts attribute the drop in prices to increased domestic oil production coupled with a slackening in demand.
“There is not a glut, but there is a perceived overabundance of oil,” said Gary Harris, executive director of the trade group North Carolina Petroleum and Convenience Marketers.
Tiffany Wright, public relations manager for AAA Carolinas, said she anticipates prices to continue falling through the holidays.
“It’s basically supply and demand,” she said. “We’re making a lot (of oil), but we also drive less in the...  (go to article)

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Club for Growth: Kill the federal gas tax

The Hill -- The federal gas tax should be eliminated, the leader of the conservative group Club for Growth said Monday.

''Not only is raising the gas tax misguided, but we should not even have a federal gas tax to begin with because it finances a program that is inherently broken,’’ former Rep. Chris Chocola (R-Ind.), the group's president, wrote in an op-ed for USA Today.

The federal gas tax goes toward the Highway Trust Fund, which Congress recently extended through May 2015. The fund subsidizes transportation projects.

Chocola argued the fund is ''outdated,'' and the revenue from gas payments should be kept at the state and local levels, rather than sent to Washington.
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Dems call for better auto recall system

The Hill -- Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) told regulators that the regional vehicle recall system is flawed and putting drivers at risk.

Markey and Blumenthal wrote a letter the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on Wednesday. They said exploding airbags made by Takata was a prime example of how the “patchwork” recall system is failing.

“Regional recalls that treat cars and trucks like they never leave their home makes no sense as a policy to protect American families,” the senators wrote. “We believe that this practice risks the safety of those whose cars may not be registered in the states in which the recalls occur.”
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Cell phone found in hand of man, 22, killed in crash

Detroit Free Press -- A 22-year-old man killed in an I-75 crash southwest of Detroit this morning was found with a cell phone in his hand, police said.

Joe Ryan Contreras of South Rockwood drove a 2012 Chevrolet Sonic northbound into the back of a semi truck shortly before 12:05 a.m. near Dix-Toledo Road in Brownstown Township, according to a news release from Michigan State Police.

“There were no skid marks observed at the scene, and alcohol was not a factor,” according to the news release.

It’s unknown why the car drove into the semi, but the cell phone was found in Contreras’ hand after the vehicles were separated, state police report.

The crash is under investigation.  (go to article)

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Consumer Advisory: Vehicle Owners with Defective Airbags Urged to Take Immediate Action

NHTSA -- WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration urges owners of certain Toyota, Honda, Mazda, BMW, Nissan, and General Motors vehicles to act immediately on recall notices to replace defective Takata airbags. The message comes with urgency, especially for owners of vehicles affected by the regional recalls in the following areas: Florida, Puerto Rico, Guam, Saipan, American Samoa, Virgin Islands and Hawaii.

Consumers that are uncertain whether their vehicle is impacted by the Takata recalls, or any other recall, can check on www.safercar.gov/vinlookup. On the site, consumers can search by their vehicle identification number (VIN) to confirm whether their individual vehicle has an open recall that needs to be addressed.  (go to article)

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US DOE looking at changes to SPR amid US crude production growth

Platts -- The Energy Department will conduct a comprehensive review of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which could result in changes to the size, location and even the composition of the crude it contains in light of changes in the US and world oil markets, according to an agency letter released Monday.

DOE is in the initial stages of this review which will look at what the "optimal configuration and capabilities" of the SPR should be, Christopher Smith, a principal deputy assistant secretary with DOE's Office of Fossil Energy, wrote in a letter dated September 17.

The DOE review is expected to examine the type of crude kept in the SPR as production of light US oil continues to climb and may look at whether the SPR is best positioned along the Gulf Coast as US energy infrastructure shifted with t  (go to article)

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Oilpatch faces project cancellations with crude at $82

CBC.ca -- The falling price of oil will likely result in a round of project cancellations and disappointing results in the Canadian oilpatch, analysts say.

As oil companies bring in third quarter earnings, starting toward the end of this week, they’re facing oil priced at just above $80, down about 20 per cent since June of this year.

Falling oil prices spell trouble for Canada's oil sands and pipelines
Loonie oil prices could fall much further: Don Pittis

Today West Texas Intermediate oil contracts seem to have stabilized at $82.71 US a barrel, down four cents on the day. That’s up from the lows below $80 set last week. Western Canada Select, the price received by many Canadian oil producers, is at $69.10.

“When the price falls to where it is now, certainly a lot of crude oil producers  (go to article)

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Coal Miners Rally Against Obama EPA, Silent On Grimes

DaileyCaller -- Coal miners came out in force this week to protest Obama administration regulations that could force hundreds of coal plants and coal mines to shut down in the coming years.

The United Mine Workers of America was quick to lambast Obama’s global warming agenda, but have stayed silent on news that Kentucky’s Democratic Senate candidate may not actually support the coal industry.

Project Veritas, a group started by video journalist James O’Keefe, released undercover video footage showing supporters and staffers of Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes saying her support for coal was less than sincere.

UMWA did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment about its support for Grimes in light of the newly released videos.

Grimes has gone to g  (go to article)

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5 reasons why gasoline prices will drop

BankRate -- Next time you fill up, don't be surprised if you leave the gas station with a few more dollars in your pocket. Gasoline prices have been falling for months, and they should continue to decline throughout the rest of 2013.

The national average, which has held stubbornly above $3 per gallon since 2010, may finally dip below that mark before next year, according to an October forecast by energy information service GasBuddy.com. If it goes that low, it'll be a discount of about 76 cents per gallon from July, when the national average hit a summer peak of $3.75 per gallon.

That's a lot more than pocket change. Combined with a decline in driving this winter, lower gasoline prices could help American drivers save $13.1 billion in the fourth quarter, according to Bankrate's analysis of governmen  (go to article)

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In Texas, Toll Roads Proliferate---and a Backlash Builds

The Wall Street Journal -- Toll roads are experiencing a growth spurt around the U.S. as states strapped for cash look to relieve traffic congestion without raising taxes.

But a political backlash is rising in Texas, one of the states that most aggressively encouraged toll-road construction, as residents realize that many major urban freeways are increasingly no longer free.
 (go to article)

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How Cheap Oil Could Become a Real Problem for Airlines

Bloomburg -- Oil futures have been on a torrid plunge in recent weeks, touching lows below $80 per barrel. Great news for airlines, right? Maybe not.

For roughly the past 35 years, inexpensive jet fuel has routinely served as a siren call to airline executives. Cheap fuel spurs more flights and wild grabs for whatever business looks attainable in the travel market. Marginal routes become profitable with lower fuel prices, which, in turn, bolsters the argument that new flights can boost revenues with little cost. Cheap fuel also lets an airline experiment more radically with flight schedules in the bid to swipe market share from rivals.

“If it keeps trending lower, it totally changes the economics of the industry again,” says Seth Kaplan, managing partner of Airline Weekly, an industry journal. With o  (go to article)

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Groups wade in to double Maryland's 'clean power' goal

The Baltimore Sun -- Activists waded into Baltimore's harbor Friday to launch a campaign for an increase Maryland's commitment to "clean" electricity from wind, solar and other forms of renewable energy.

Leaders of the environmental, labor and other groups stood hip-deep at Canton Waterfront Park to dramatize the threat that rising sea level from climate change poses to coastal communities like Baltmore. A broad coalition, including religious, public health and businesses groups, has formed to press Maryland lawmakers to double the state's mandated goal of getting 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2022. Their goal: 40 percent by 2025. Only about 8 percent of the electricity generated in Maryland now comes from renewable sources, with the bulk of that attributable to hydropower. Of the r  (go to article)

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Plant May 'Open the Door From Natural Gas to Gasoline'

Downstream Today -- The ability to manufacture 16,500 barrels per day of gasoline may not seem like a big deal in the world of refining. After all, daily gasoline consumption in the United States alone approaches 9 million barrels, according to the U.S. EIA. Nevertheless, a Texas company believes the way that it will manufacture its gasoline will be a big deal indeed – particularly in North America.

Houston-based ZeoGas LLC, which calls itself a "little start-up," is working with some big-name partners to build the first methanol-to-gasoline (MTG) plant in North America. The MTG plant, which will be located on the U.S. Gulf Coast, will be designed to convert 165 million standard cubic feet into 16,500 barrels per day of sulfur-free, ultra-low benzene gasoline per day. ZeoGas is developing the plant with tech  (go to article)

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All Hess gas stations to be rebranded as Speedway, says report

SILIVE -- STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Marking the completion of Marathon Petroleum Speedway's $2.82 billion purchase of all Hess retail operations, is the rebranding of each gas station, according to Fox Business.  (go to article)

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Motor Trend names 2015 Honda CR-V its SUV of the Year

GasBuddy Blog -- The 2015 Honda CR-V has won Motor Trend's award for Sport/Utility Vehicle of the Year.The CR-V claims the title with a long list of vehicle enhancements for 2015, including its improved fuel economy and uncompromised driving dynamics, thanks to the inclusion of Honda's Earth Dreams Technology™ powertrain, the launch of an all-new Touring trim, the debut of Honda Sensing™ safety and driver assistive technologies. Motor Trend editor-in-chief Ed Loh, said, "The 2015 Honda CR-V impressed our judges with its extensive list of delightful design and thoughtful engineering improvements. Our editors were especially impressed by Honda's responsive and efficient continuously-variable transmission and sophisticated safety systems – particularly the smart and seamlessly integrated Lane Keeping Assist system. Efficient, practical, and a joy to drive; the 2015 Honda CR-V does virtually everything well."...  (go to article)

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Canada facing competition in energy markets

Canadian Manufacturing -- Federal Natural Resources Minister said time is of the essence for Canada to get its oil and gas to markets because other countries are getting into the game

Russia is spending a lot on exploration, while England, Poland and Romania are also sitting on a large supply of shale gas, and they’re looking to be energy powers as well

He is looking at 2017-18 as a medium-range goal to get Canada’s energy to overseas markets

The U.S. has been told that while it is Canada’s top trading partner, Canada is also looking to sell its products elsewhere

Canada is working aggressively to make sure proposed pipelines meet stringent standards for reliability and safety

“45,000 mi of federally regulated pipeline has a 99.999 safety record and we’re building on that

TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline re  (go to article)

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Small-scale, low-carbon generation now produces one-quarter of world electricity

RMI Outlet -- In a cover story and article 14 years ago about the emergent disruption of utilities, The Economist’s Vijay Vaitheeswaran coined the umbrella term “micropower” to mean sources of electricity that are relatively small, modular, mass-producible, quick-to-deploy, and hence rapidly scalable—the opposite of cathedral-like power plants that cost billions of dollars and take about a decade to license and build. His term combined two kinds of micropower: renewables other than big hydroelectric dams, and cogeneration of electricity together with useful heat in factories or buildings (also known as combined-heat-and-power, or CHP).

Besides being cost-competitive and rapidly scalable, why does micropower matter? First, as explained below, its operation releases little or no carbon. Second,  (go to article)

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New Des Moines train port could disrupt freight market

The Des Moines Register -- A new train port in Des Moines could reshape the freight transport market locally, according to a study presented to Des Moines City Council this morning.

The transloading facility would serve numerous area businesses within a 150- to 200-mile region by transferring loads of commodities and goods from trucks to train cars, according to a report from the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization.
 (go to article)

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Car Review Roundup: How the top-selling CUVs stack up

Driving.ca -- There are so many offerings in the very competitive CUV market, but here are how the top six selling models stack up.

The time of year is coming where we’ve driven nearly all 2014 model year cars and all cars that have been updated for 2015, so we are pretty equipped to tell you which cars are worthy of your attention.

Canadians love crossovers. Hitting that precious middle ground of being affordable, practical and more fun and fuel-efficient than full-sized SUVs, CUVs also win hearts for their all-wheel-drive availability.

Because there are just so many CUVs on the market today, we’re going to take a look at the top six selling crossovers in Canada and how they compare to each other. Here they are, starting with the most popular seller and working their way down from there:
 (go to article)

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Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT to live on through 2015

Driving.ca -- Earlier this year, Chrysler lumped its SRT performance division back into the Dodge brand as part of the company’s five-year outlook. While that meant the Viper became a Dodge vehicle once again, it spelled uncertainty for the high-performance variants of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Chrysler 300.

A new report from Automotive News suggests the future of the non-Dodge SRT models is now a little more certain — dealers can continue placing orders for the Grand Cherokee SRT through the 2015 model year. For the 2016 model year, a source within Chrysler says the Grand Cherokee SRT will likely be renamed to Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, but the decision hasn’t been made final just yet.

As for the Chrysler 300 SRT, it will live on as a right-hand-drive vehicle in a handful of markets across the globe  (go to article)

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Making Los Angeles streets ‘great,’ ending pedestrian deaths are Mayor Eric Garcetti and LADOT’s goa

LA Daily News -- “Our streets are our largest public asset,” Garcetti wrote in a forward to the report. “They occupy 15 percent of Los Angeles’ total land area and serve as our city’s circulation system. We need them to also foster community by providing places to gather and enjoy.

“This strategic plan has my full support and reflects my belief that we can provide prosperity for both current residents and future generations through smart investment, strong management and forward-thinking policies.  (go to article)

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Oil Workers Earning $179,000 Expose Norway to Crude Crash

Bloomberg -- Norway, where oil helped create one of the world's most stable and prosperous societies, is among the most exposed to falling crude prices.

Though the blessings of energy wealth have hardly turned to a curse, the industry's labor costs, which saw the average offshore worker earn $179,000 last year, threaten to curb investment in new projects as oil tumbles.

Oil's slump has wide implications for the Scandinavian country that serves as a model of social-democratic enterprise and sober policy making. Oil and gas activity accounts for almost a quarter of the economy and fills the coffers of the world's largest sovereign wealth fund that stands at more than $840 billion and owns about 1.3 percent of the world's publicly traded companies.  (go to article)

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Lower prices benefit drivers,hurt province.

brandon sun -- BRANDON -- Tumbling pump prices have drivers racing to the gas stations, but what's good for the consumer may hurt the provincial government's budget and trip up oil development in southwest Manitoba.
Online price trackers show Manitoba had the second-lowest fuel prices across the country. On average, they were at 113.9 cents a litre on the weekend.
On Sunday, prices in Winnipeg averaged 109 cents per litre. That was less than a cent higher than Alberta's average.
It's a welcome change from mid-summer high of $1.28 average.
But there's a flipside to lower gas prices.
"If there's a slowdown in activity or a slowdown in the market price of oil, I think it'll affect the province's royalty rates," said Fletcher Baragar, a University of Manitoba economics professor.
"It'll depend critically on  (go to article)

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Lower oil prices are unambiguously good

CNBC -- Steep stock market corrections often create shrouds of pessimism that do bad things to people's brainpower. And one of the absolutely stupidest things I have heard in recent weeks is that the recent drop in oil prices is bad. You heard me right. Serious people on financial television are saying lower oil prices are a signal of worldwide economic collapse. Here at home that translates to recession, deflation, a profits collapse, and rising unemployment.  (go to article)

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Will Cheap Oil Choke the Russian Economy?

Bloomberg Business Week -- Among the many threats facing Russia’s economy, cheap oil could be the biggest of all. Crude prices have fallen more than 23 percent since June, depressing the ruble and knocking a potentially gaping hole in the national budget, which draws 45 percent of revenues from oil taxes.

The Kremlin warned today that it will have to dig deeply into reserves if oil prices and the ruble exchange rate remain at current levels. Covering budget shortfalls over the next three years could deplete half of a $74 billion reserve fund the government created to guard against energy price fluctuations, First Deputy Finance Minister Tatyana Nesterenko told the RIA Novosti news agency. Russia’s draft budget for 2015 is based on $100-a-barrel oil, but crude is now trading at about $88, the lowest since December 2  (go to article)

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Why deflation is so scary

Yahoo Finance -- If the price of a car or an iPhone drops, that’s usually good news for consumers. So it might be puzzling that investors and economists suddenly seem freaked out about the possibility of deflation, or a sustained drop in the level of all prices, on average.

Deflation was a concern back in 2010 and it’s a fresh worry now as oil prices plunge, the stock market wavers and consumers put spending plans on hold.

The paradox of deflation is that falling prices on a few items can generally be good for consumers, leaving more money in their pockets for other things. But falling prices on too many things can have ruinous effects on the economy that are hard to reverse. Japan suffered nearly two decades of deflation starting in the early 1990s, and deflation helped prolong the Great Depression in t  (go to article)

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EPA To Tighten Gas-Mileage Test Rules, Audit More Ratings From Carmakers

Green Car Reports -- The EPA plans to audit more of the gas-mileage test data submitted by carmakers, and tighten its rules for that testing, after fuel-economy ratings on almost 20 recent models proved to be too high and had to be reduced.

The move follows the highly publicized rollbacks of gas-mileage ratings over the last two years by Ford, Hyundai, and Kia.
A dozen and a half models sold by the three makers were affected; their payments to buyers of those cars totaled hundreds of millions of dollars.

As reported Saturday in industry trade journal Automotive News (subscription required), the Federal agency will make a number of changes for 2015:
•Issued revised guidelines on its "coast-down" test
•Continue more aggressive auditing of data submitted by automakers
•Potentially require some makers to ver  (go to article)

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Pumping for change: 'The Oracle of Oil' T. Boone Pickens on low gas prices and keeping it that way

Yahoo News -- In spite of a U.S.-led bombing campaign against ISIS in the Middle East, oil prices have dropped below $3 a gallon across much of the country in recent months. It’s an uncommon confluence of events that billionaire oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens said wouldn’t have been possible a decade ago. “If this had been 10 years ago … you would've had oil up $50 a barrel,” Pickens, who has been dubbed “The Oracle of Oil” for his uncanny knack for predicting oil prices, told “Power Players” in a recent interview conducted at the Concordia Summit in New York City. It’s quite a shift from just a few years ago in 2008, when gas prices across the country spiked to as much as $4 and $5 a gallon. And the reason for the change, Pickens said, has to do with a growth in U.S. oil production. “The United States has  (go to article)

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8 Tips and Misconceptions About Warming Your Car in the Winter

Autos Cheat Sheet -- Winter is on its way. For those in the northern climes, that time of year when temperatures dive into the 30s and 40s at night only to surge back to the 60s and 70s during the day carry with it the exodus to the nearest garages to have their tires changed over, so as not to get caught out in the first snowstorms on summer slicks. The introduction of winter also means some frigid mornings, and for those who are up and out of the house as the early sun begins to creep over the horizon, getting in your car can be a thoroughly unpleasant experience. Traditionally, the go-to remedy to alleviate such discomfort has been to run the vehicle for a few minutes prior to setting off, but that approach has drawn some criticisms for its potential side effects. Esquire magazine outlined some of the issue  (go to article)

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Hedge Funds Say Oil Is Going to $0

Motely Fool -- Supply and demand are what typically fuel oil prices. However, market fundamentals aren't the only factors at play. Speculators, like hedge funds and other big money investors, play a role in the price of oil as well. They can push it up past market fundamentals or, as they have recently, cause it to plunge -- the latest dip sent global oil benchmark Brent down 25% to around $85 per barrel, and U.S. oil benchmark WTI even lower.  (go to article)

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Does your car have a secret warranty?

ABC 13 Eye Witness News -- HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Nothing's more frustrating to a car owner than discovering peeling paint or a leaking sunroof on a car that's not so old. Having to make expensive, post-warranty repairs can leave you feeling ripped off. But Consumer Reports says you might be able to get your car fixed for free, if you know the secret.

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National average falls closer to $3/gal mark

GasBuddy Blog -- Another week, another drop at pumps across the country. The national average fell another 9.3 cents a gallon in the last week, and stands at its lowest since February of 2011.The national average again saw a hefty decline over the last week, and we now stand a mere dime away from seeing prices nationally average under $3/gallon.Looking back, the national average stands now at its lowest point since January 18, 2011, and by the end of this week, it could stand at its lowest since late 2010. Every day, Americans are spending over $100 million less on their gasoline purchases than they did a year ago, some of which will be injected back into the economy in other forms, and with the economic concerns taking shape lately, it could help jolt things back in the right direction. I still do believe that the national average will break the $3/gallon mark by around Election Day- the timing is ironic, considering the drop has nothing to do with Election Day and everything to do with current o  (go to article)

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Valley's undocumented gear up for driver's licenses

Fresno Bee -- Graciela Iniguez guesses she has spent $12,000 on traffic tickets and vehicle impound fees since she started driving 20 years ago.

As an undocumented immigrant from Jalisco, Mexico, Iniguez drives without a license. But that's soon to change.

Starting Jan. 1, California residents who can't prove they are in United States legally will be allowed to obtain driver's licenses under Assembly Bill 60, which Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law last year.

"This law is going to benefit us so much," she said. "Thank God, now we won't have to be afraid to drive."

Iniguez, who lives in Fresno, said she drives out of necessity. The single mother works full time at the meat market Carniceria La Hacienda in Fresno. She said buses are too unreliable and, even if she opted to use public transportation,  (go to article)

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Falling gasoline prices make alternative-fuel vehicles a tougher sell

Automotive News -- For a sign of the challenges in selling fuel efficiency as a virtue, Tanner Hulette need only look at the signs near his dealership advertising gasoline for $2.70 a gallon.

Hulette, general manager of Mechanicsville Toyota near Richmond, Va., said he's seeing higher demand for pickups and SUVs, and less interest in the Prius hybrid. The store's year-to-date light-truck sales are up 5 percent while car sales are down 5 percent.

"The floor traffic is dictated by what's going on with fuel," Hulette said. "If we didn't have SUVs and light trucks right now we'd definitely be feeling some pain."

The national average price of gasoline hit $3.14 per gallon last Friday, the lowest level since at least February 2011, after falling 10 cents per gallon last week alone, the fastest rate of decline  (go to article)

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Is the oil price fall more than just a coincidence?

CNBC -- The recent drop in oil prices could be due to more than just lower demand, according to some analysts, who have suggested that the U.S. could be deliberately manipulating the market to hurt Russia at a time of geopolitical stress.
Related Stories

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[video] Commodities tomorrow: Oil plunge continues CNBC
Putin Loses His Best Friend: Expensive Oil Bloomberg

Patrick Legland, the global head of research at Societe Generale, conceded that he had no in depth knowledge of the situation but claimed that it was an "interesting coincidence" that the two events were happening at the same time.

"Is it lower  (go to article)

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Jeep's Cherokee is carving its niche among SUVs

Detroit News -- The Jeep that wasn't "Jeep enough" is finding its place atop the brand's lineup a year after driving into dealerships.

The Cherokee, which many Jeep enthusiasts criticized due to its non-boxy design and sleek headlamps, led the SUV brand's sales in September and is carving a place for itself in the midsize sport utility and crossover vehicle segment.

"People are blown away with the whole package," Jeep marketing director Jim Morrison said in a recent phone interview. "We're getting a lot of new, conquest buyers out of imports and domestics."

Chrysler has sold about 154,000 Cherokees since the vehicle started arriving in U.S. showrooms in late October 2013, including an average of more than 14,200 per month this year. It is on pace to top 170,000 U.S. sales in 2014, which would put it  (go to article)

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Hedge Funds Cut Bullish Bets on Crude as Prices Tumble

Bloomberg -- Plunging oil prices spurred hedge funds to cut bullish wagers by the most in six weeks, losing confidence in the willingness of producers to constrict supply.

Money managers cut net-long positions in West Texas Intermediate by 8.1 percent in the week ended Oct. 14. Short positions jumped to the highest level in 22 months, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show.

WTI tumbled 8.8 percent this month as U.S. production expanded to a 29-year high. That added to signs of a global supply glut just as the International Energy Agency cut its forecast for demand growth. Crude is now trading in a bear market, underpinned by speculation that OPEC members are favoring market share over prices.

“The price action this week is a reflection of the positioning,” John Kilduff, a partner at ...  (go to article)

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Why Tesla Didn't Release A Fully Driverless Car

Huffington Post -- The world wasn't ready for a driverless car. And neither was Tesla.

CEO Elon Musk disappointed some people -- at least on Wall Street -- on Thursday when he unveiled exactly what everyone was expecting at a product launch event outside Los Angeles. Tesla rolled out a super-fast, all-wheel drive “D” line of Model S sedans, which come equipped with a limited autopilot function.

With the new release, Tesla caught up the competition -- rather than leapfrogging over it. Rivals Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar have already released functions that allow their luxury sedans to park and stay within the lines of the road autonomously.

It’s not that Tesla couldn’t have zoomed ahead of its fellow carmakers. It has the technology -- just last week, Musk told CNN that Teslas could be 90 percent “capable of a  (go to article)

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You won’t get a bang out of Chevron’s use of Apple Pay

SFGATE -- To the list of big retailers accepting Apple’s new mobile payment system, add America’s second-largest oil company — Chevron Corp.

Chevron and Texaco stations will soon accept Apple Pay, the new service that lets consumers pay with their mobile phones rather than credit or debit cards. Chevron, which bought Texaco in 2001, plans to roll out the service to 3,000 stations before the holiday season with another 5,000 to follow.

“Initially Apple Pay payments will be made in the store, but we are working along with Apple Pay on developing the technology out at the fuel dispensers as well” said Chevron spokesman Braden Reddall.

But wait. Haven’t we often heard that we shouldn’t use cell phones while pumping gas? Something about a fire hazard?

The idea that mobile phones sometimes ignite...  (go to article)

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A brave view in an uncertain world: Why Canada’s energy boom remains on course despite sliding price

Financial Post -- With oil prices skidding near 4-yr lows and Canadian energy shares feeling the pain, it’s hard to stay optimistic. But a new report by HSBC Global Research argues Canada’s oil and gas boom remains on course

The unprecedented boom in capital spending in Canada’s natural resources sector is here to stay, with major projects currently under way or planned in the next decade worth $675B

Global oil price and market gyrations lately added to many Canadian worries — whether proposed pipelines are moving ahead; whether First Nations could stand in the way; whether fiscal terms, environmental legislation, political agendas could weaken the economic case

"We expect U.S. imports of oil from Canada to continue to rise

The oil price downturn could curtail spending in the short term as producers ada  (go to article)

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