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NHTSA: DUI under influence of marijuana and Rx drugs is on the rise

GasBuddy Blog -- Image From AZmarijuana.comFirst, the good news...
The latest study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on driving behavior says drunk driving has declined.

Unfortunately, the bad news is that the frequency of DUI involving marijuana and/or prescription drugs is on the increase. 

In a voluntary survey on alcohol and drug use, 8 percent of drivers had alcohol in their system on weekend nights, the Post said. That's compared to 20 percent of drivers who admitted to having drugs in their system, the newspaper said. ...  (go to article)

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LyondellBasell accuses Steelworkers of threatening returning workers

FuelFix -- LyondellBasell announced Tuesday that it has filed an unfair labor practice charge against the United Steelworkers union, alleging that union representatives have made threats against employees who have returned to work and have used abusive language in social media.

The company also contends it has witnessed threatening behavior at the gates of its Houston refinery as employees arrive to work, according to a letter to employees from Kevin Brown, executive vice president of global manufacturing, refining, global engineering services and global projects. The company filed the charge with the National Labor Relations Board.

“This action by the USW is extremely disappointing and the impact it has on individuals and families is saddening,” Brown said.
 (go to article)

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Student teams rev their engines for Shell Eco-marathon in Motor City

fuel fix -- University of Houston engineering seniors Roberto Guerra and Alberth Chavez have a big job this weekend.

Flanked by their crew of local high school students and the 60-pound steel frame of a bullet-shaped car at Houston City Hall on Wednesday, they said they’re planning to test out the car’s methane-fueled engine that could, if all goes smoothly, get the equivalent of 200 to 300 miles to the gallon.

Getting it right would bring them one step closer to the Shell Eco-marathon in Detroit next month, a fuel-efficiency competition that will draw more than 1,000 college and high school students from around the United States and from Brazil Guatemala Mexico and Canada.

They’ll see who can get the most out of their souped-up vehicles using compressed natural gas, biofuels gasoline and diesel.  (go to article)

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Steelworkers strike: More labor board charges filed

FuelFix -- The National Right to Work Foundation announced Wednesday that three employees at LyondellBasell filed unfair labor practice charges against the United Steelworkers Union.

The charges allege that union officials from Steelworkers Local 13-227 are harassing workers who are going back to work. The charges were filed Monday with the National Labor Relations Board, according to the foundation that is providing free legal help.

The foundation accused an unnamed local union official of making threats toward workers who continue to work during the strike. The group also alleges that union officials have allowed a union Facebook page to threaten union-represented employees who have gone back to work along with those who may be considering it.
 (go to article)

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Refinery Strike: Tesoro Blames Steelworkers, Nurses, Occupy, Environmentalists For Calif. Baseball W

IBTimes -- Spring is coming soon, but baseball season in the San Francisco Bay Area has been disrupted.

Oil giant Tesoro is locking out 600 youth baseball players from practicing on 15 fields located next to its refinery in Martinez, California. As part of a nationwide work stoppage involving some 7,000 workers, the Martinez workers have been on strike since Feb. 2, with regular pickets from the United Steelworkers and their allies protesting health and safety conditions.

“It’s for the safety of the kids and the parents and spectators that would have to cross picket lines,” Tesoro spokeswoman Patricia Deutsche explained to the local press. “We just don’t have to expose them to any negative interactions.”

In another interview, Deutsche specifically mentioned the threat of outside agitators from...  (go to article)

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Oil prices are about to blow a hole in corporate accounting

Bloomburg -- There’s one place in the world where oil is still $95 a barrel. On paper.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission requires drillers to calculate the value of their oil reserves every year using average prices from the first trading days in each of the previous 12 months. Because oil didn’t start its free fall to about $45 till after the OPEC meeting in late November, companies in their latest regulatory filings used $95 a barrel to figure out how much oil they could profitably produce and what it’s worth. Of the 12 days that went into the fourth- quarter average, crude was above $90 a barrel on 10 of them.

So Continental Resources Inc., led by billionaire Harold Hamm, reported last month that the present value of its oil and gas operations increased 13 percent last year to $22.8 bil.  (go to article)

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Environmentalists file suit over California oil refinery project

Reuters -- Environmentalists in California filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against Contra Costa County over its approval last month of a plan to increase propane recovery at Phillips 66's Rodeo refinery, saying the environmental review did not take into account the broader impact of the project.

In early February, the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors approved the company's request to modify its 78,000 barrel-per-day refinery, located on the San Francisco Bay.

In the lawsuit filed by Communities for a Better Environment (CBE) against the supervisors and Phillips 66, the plaintiffs argue the Propane Recovery Project would require a switch to new oil feedstocks.

That could pave the way for Phillips to bring crude oil, possibly Canadian tar sands crude, by rail to its refinery in Santa Maria before it i  (go to article)

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U.S. petroleum product exports reach record high in 2014

EIA -- EIA’s December Petroleum Supply Monthly data show that exports of noncrude petroleum products from the United States averaged 3.8 million barrels per day (bbl/d) in 2014, an increase of 347,000 bbl/d from 2013, and a new record high. Increased exports of motor gasoline and hydrocarbon gas liquids (HGL), including propane and butane, were the main contributors to the trend, while exports of distillate decreased.

Record-high U.S. refinery runs, which averaged 16.1 million bbl/d in 2014, and increased global demand for petroleum products allowed U.S. petroleum product exports to increase for the 13th consecutive year. U.S. exports are mostly sent to nearby markets in Central America and South America, which grew year-over-year by 172,000 bbl/d (15%), followed by exports to Canada and Mexico,  (go to article)

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MARKET WATCH: NYMEX, Brent crude prices settle higher on Saudi oil hike

Oil & Gas Journal -- Oil prices rose on the New York and London markets Mar. 3 after Saudi Arabia raised the official price for its oil by $1/bbl for US delivery and $1.40/bbl for delivery to Asia, suggesting firm demand. Crude prices also supported by news about more unrest in Libya targeting an oil field.
US light, sweet crude prices closed slightly above $50/bbl Mar. 3 after trading in a somewhat limited range while awaiting the weekly inventory report from the Energy Information Administration for the week ended Feb. 27, which showed supplies built again to remain at record levels.  (go to article)

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Exxon CEO: Get used to lower oil prices

Yahoo Finance -- NEW YORK (AP) -- Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson expects the price of oil to remain low over the next two years because of ample global supplies and relatively weak economic growth.

"People need to kinda settle in for a while," Tillerson said at the company's annual investor conference in New York.

In a presentation to investors outlining its business plans through 2017, Exxon assumes a price of $55 a barrel for global crude. That's $5 below where Brent crude, the most important global benchmark, traded on Wednesday. It's about half of what Brent averaged between 2011 and the middle of last year.

The price of oil plunged in the second half of 2014 when it became apparent that production was outpacing global demand. The rise in U.S. production last year of 1.5 million barrels per day was t  (go to article)

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Bill Could Change Passing Laws On N.C. Roads

WFMY-TV -- If you've ever been stuck behind a slow moving vehicle on a two-lane highway in North Carolina, state lawmakers want to help you.

Representatives from the N.C. General Assembly have announced H.B. 60, the Passing Slow Moving Vehicles bill.

The bill is "an act to allow the driver of a vehicle to overtake and pass slower moving vehicles on portions of the highway which are marked by signs, markers, or markings placed by the Department of Transportation stating or clearly indicating that passing should not be attempted."  (go to article)

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Saudi Arabia: Don't blame us for oil's big plunge

CNN Money -- Saudi Arabia isn't a fan of the "conspiracy theories" surrounding the kingdom's oil policies.
Oil took a massive plunge from over $100 a barrel in July to under $50 in January. Saudi Arabia's refusal to cut production, especially when oil hit around $70 at Thanksgiving, raised eyebrows about the country's motives.
In the past, Saudi Arabia would respond to a supply glut like the current one by pumping less oil.
Energy analysts began to speculate that the Saudis were trying to kill off the North American shale revolution. Some shale operations are no longer profitable when oil falls below $50.
Theories claiming OPEC has a "war on shale" and that OPEC is dying are wrong, Saudi oil minister Ali al-Naimi said in a speech on Wednesday in Berlin.
"OPEC and Saudi Arabia have yet again been ma  (go to article)

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Ram to expand its compressed natural gas pickup options

Detroit Free Press -- FCA US said Wednesday its Ram truck brand will expand its compressed natural gas offerings to include regular cab and two-wheel-drive versions of its Ram 2500 pickups, giving its mostly commercial customers more options for the fuel-efficient trucks.

Currently, Ram offers compressed natural gas, or CNG, trucks only in crew cab and four-wheel-drive configurations with a long bed. The new configurations will be available by the end of 2015.

FCA US, the company previously known as Chrysler, is the only manufacturer in North America to offer a factory-built CNG pickup and has been selling them for three years. Last year, the automaker sold about 1,000 CNG pickups.

The CNG-only range is 301 miles on the highway, while the backup supply of gasoline extends the range to 966 total miles.  (go to article)

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Senate fails to override Obama's veto of pipeline bill

CBS News -- WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican-controlled Senate has failed to override President Barack Obama's veto of a bill approving the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

The 62-37 vote Wednesday was the latest chapter in the fight between the GOP-led Congress and the White House over energy policy. It was the first of many possible veto showdowns to come in Obama's final term.

Proponents of the bill have said since its introduction that they didn't have the vote of two-thirds of the Senate needed to override Obama's veto.

The $8-billion pipeline would transport oil harvested from Canada's tar sands to pipelines linked to Gulf Coast refineries. Obama said that the bill circumvented the well-established process for approving cross-border pipelines, which must be determined to be in the national interest.  (go to article)

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CME Group to launch new physical crude storage contract

Reuters -- The CME Group Inc will launch a physically delivered crude oil storage futures contract in the U.S. Gulf Coast at the end of March that traders say may be timely given record levels of stockpiles nationwide.

Under the agreement, each futures contract represents the right to store 1,000 barrels of crude at LOOP LLC's Clovelly Hub in Louisiana. The new contract will begin trading on March 29, for trade day March 30, pending regulatory approval.

There are 7 million barrels of storage available for the contract, according to Terry Coleman, a spokesman for LOOP.

The move comes after the U.S. crude oil contract flipped into a contango late last year, opening up a key trading opportunity for traders to buy oil today and sell higher later. Meanwhile, the physical Gulf Coast crude oil complex is  (go to article)

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For California, low gas prices are a fleeting memory

GasBuddy Blog -- Nowhere in the U.S. is the springtime rise of gasoline prices steeper than what is found in sunny California.  In practically no time California's average price of gas will reach $3.50 per gal., and it was just a month ago that it was below $2.50.
Let's take a look at why.  Drivers in Los Angeles are paying an average of $3.54 a gallon to fuel up, more than any of the other 443 metropolitan areas tracked by GasBuddy.Most of the increase came last week, including when the local price surged 14.3 cents Friday from Thursday in the second-largest jump since GasBuddy began keeping track seven years ago. For the week that ended Monday, West Coast gas prices jumped a record 37.2 cents a gallon, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. ...  (go to article)

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U.S. Gulf to Receive Flood of Oil From Midwest as Glut Grows

Bloomberg -- The flood of oil inundating the U.S. Midwest is about to cascade down to the Gulf Coast.
Bulging inventories at tanks in Cushing, Oklahoma, the country’s biggest storage hub and delivery point for U.S. benchmark futures, has made oil there the cheapest in more than a year compared with crude in Louisiana.

Traders have more incentive to move crude to the Gulf as the price difference widens enough to cover the cost of transport. The Gulf Coast will be a more attractive destination as storage space in Cushing fills up and becomes more expensive, according to Genscape Inc.

“We’re reaching a rebalancing point here,” said Carl Larry, head of oil and gas for Frost & Sullivan LP in Houston. “We’ve had a huge build of supplies in Cushing, and out of necessity it’s going to start coming to the Gul  (go to article)

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Studies explore concerns about natural-gas production and health

TheDallasMorningNews -- Dogs serve as living recorders of toxic exposure. Cattle have trouble breeding. People report headaches, dizziness, difficulty breathing and a raft of other ills.

Those are a few of the findings in a new suite of academic studies on natural-gas production and health being published Tuesday.

People’s and animals’ troubles subside, one study found, when they move away from places where companies are producing natural gas with unconventional methods — that is, hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the process already used on tens of thousands of wells in North Texas.

The research, mostly by university scientists, centers mostly on another region where gas production has moved into established communities, the Marcellus Shale field in Pennsylvania. But it explores the same questions that arise  (go to article)

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California gas prices jump $1 in one month

LA Times -- lifornia gas prices have shot up about $1 a gallon in the last month as oil refineries have been idled by a labor strike and an explosion.

That's made gasoline much more expensive here than anywhere else in the nation — an average of $3.44 for a gallon of regular as of 7 a.m. Wednesday, according to price-tracker GasBuddy.com. Hawaii is the only other state with an average price above $3 a gallon.

Drivers in Los Angeles are paying an average of $3.54 a gallon to fuel up, more than any of the other 443 metropolitan areas tracked by GasBuddy.  (go to article)

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Crude inventories at their highest level in decades after another build

Fuel Fix -- HOUSTON — Commercial crude oil inventories grew by another large margin last week, driving down the price of oil in early trading Wednesday.

Stores of crude grew by 10.3 million barrels in the week ending Feb. 27. The gain far surpassed the forecast build of 3.9 million barrels, according to a survey of eight analysts compiled by Bloomberg.

Shortly after the report was released, traders bid down the benchmark futures contract for crude by 79 cents or 1.56 percent. The drop in early trading erased an about 2 percent gain made on Tuesday and brought the next-month contract for West Texas Intermediate to $49.73.

On Tuesday, preliminary data from the American Petroleum Institute pointed toward a 2.9 million barrel gain in stocks– less bearish than reports registered in the past weeks.  (go to article)

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Ford-Tonka dump truck a huge 'toy'

USA Today -- Ford Motor says it teamed with toy maker Tonka for a really big "toy" truck -- a full-size, fully functional, diesel-power, F-750 dump truck.

Ford will exhibit it at the National Equipment Association Work Truck show in Indianapolis Wednesday, then take it on tour of other work-truck and equipment shows.

"The people at Geneva (Motor Show this week) will wish they were here instead," quipped Ford's chief truck spokesman, Mike Levine.
The Mighty Ford Tonka dump truck is real -- hauls up to 17,000 pounds in the dump box, he says. Power is from a 6.7-liter diesel V-8 rated up to 330 horsepower, 725 pounds-feet of torque.

But it's a promotional item only, to draw attention to the new-design, 2016 F-650 and F-750 trucks.

Ford plans to build no more -- even though some business owners might p  (go to article)

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Is the sudden spike in gas prices really justified or just gouging?

Seattle - My Northwest -- The average price of a gallon of regular unleaded has climbed to $2.93 in the Seattle area. That's 35 cents more than just a week ago, 60 cents higher than just a month ago.

It's been a rude awakening for all of us enjoying record low prices in recent days.

At the Juanita Firs 76 station in Kirkland, owner Dan Amundsen is used to the price of gas of starting to rise this time of year.

"Just about every year for I don't know how long, this is the season when the price goes up," says Amundsen.

Jennifer Cook at AAA of Washington says it's fairly predictable.

"Spring time is when refineries slow down their production and switch from summer fuel blends to summer fuel blends, which are more expensive to produce. But during that time they slow their production, which puts pressure on supply,  (go to article)

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Where Gas Prices Shot Up Nearly $1 Per Gallon in One Month

Time -- Everyone is paying more at the pump lately. But California drivers have seen gas prices soar at an unbelievably fast pace.

In mid-January 2015, the national average for regular gasoline was $2.03 per gallon, and there seemed to be a strong possibility that gas stations would average under $2 nationally within weeks, or even days. Instead, that period marked what appears to be the bottoming out of the cheap gas era. After four months of consistently plummeting fuel costs, drivers began seeing gas prices inch up steadily—and then spike very recently.

Over the past week, the national average has crept up 2¢ daily, from $2.33 to $2.47 as of Monday, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. AAA data indicates that gas prices have risen 35 days in a row, for a total rise of 39¢  (go to article)

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Resale Prices Tumble on Electric Cars

Wall Street Journal -- Nissan Motor Co. ’s Leaf electric car has been a big seller for Atlanta car dealer Pat Hoban over the past three years, thanks to its low monthly lease price. But as those car leases are beginning to expire amid cheap gasoline, the vehicle is becoming a bit of a headache.

Mr. Hoban expects between 100 and 150 of the leased vehicles to be returned to his Capitol City Nissan dealership on a monthly basis over the next two years as their leases expire. The problem: used Leafs aren’t attracting much demand.  (go to article)

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More Steelworkers Cross Picket Lines as Refinery Strike Drags on

BloombergBusiness -- Royal Dutch Shell Plc said more than 20 percent of about 800 union workers at its Deer Park refinery in Texas have crossed picket lines, undermining a strike that has entered its second month.

Workers also have begun returning to their jobs at refineries owned by Motiva Enterprises LLC, a joint venture between Shell and Saudi Arabian Oil Co., said Kelly Op De Weegh, a Motiva spokeswoman. LyondellBasell Industries NV and Tesoro Corp., two other refinery owners affected by the strike, are seeing a growing number of employees coming back to work, according to spokespersons for the companies who wouldn’t provide a specific estimate.

“We have had workers return at all three of our sites,” said Destin Singleton, a spokeswoman for Tesoro Corp.

The Steelworkers said only a small fraction of...  (go to article)

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Crude inventories surge again, West Coast gasoline inventories rise

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

Here are some highlights:

CRUDE INVENTORIES:
Crude oil inventories increased by 10.3 million barrels to a total of 444.4 million barrels. At 444.4 million barrels, inventories are 80.6 million barrels above last year (22.1%) and are well above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year.

GASOLINE INVENTORIES:
Gasoline inventories increased by 0.1 million barrels to 240.1 million barrels. At 240.1 million barrels, inventories are up 11.1 million barrels, or 4.8% higher than one year ago. Here's how individual regions and their gasoline inventory fared last week: East Coast (-2.0mb); Midwest (+0.7mb); Gulf Coast (+1.2mb); Rockies (+0.1mb); and West Coast (+0.2mb). It is important to note which regions saw increases/decreases as this information likely drive  (go to article)

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Saudi Arabia pledges to pump as much oil as its customers need

Bloomberg -- Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest crude exporter, pledged to supply as much oil as its customers need and doesn’t anticipate any weakening in that demand.

The country won’t cut output unless customers refuse to buy its crude, Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi said in Berlin on Wednesday. That’s unlikely to happen because it is the world’s most reliable supplier, he said
 (go to article)

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‘Disappointed’ in union, Shell says it is hiring relief workers

Fuel Fix / Houston Chronicle -- In the first few weeks of the United Steelworkers union strike, managers stepped in at Shell Oil Co. to keep its refinery and chemical plant running.

As the strike enters its second month, Shell has been training “relief employees” to operate its Deer Park refinery as well as its Norco chemical plant in Louisiana, according to a letter to employees from Aamir Farid, manufacturing vice president, Americas.
 (go to article)

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Economists survey: Say goodbye to cheap gas?

Bankrate -- Loving today's cheap gasoline? Hating all the sharp turns on financial markets? Well, you may be out of luck on both counts. Fuel prices are likely to rise during the next 12 months, while financial markets will provide an even rockier ride for investors, according to the latest Bankrate Economic Indicator, a quarterly survey of top economists.

On average, the experts expect oil prices to rebound a bit from their recent low levels. "Excess inventories have depressed the current price, but once inventories have declined to more normal levels, the price should be somewhat higher than today," says William Poole, former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.  (go to article)

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Shell moves to business-as-usual plan for strike-impacted refineries

Oil & Gas Journal -- As the United Steelworkers union (USW) strike enters its fifth week, Royal Dutch Shell PLC, which serves as lead company for National Oil Bargaining (NOB) negotiations, is implementing a plan to return its strike-impacted sites to normal, full-rotation operations without the use of union workers.

The company will complete the process of returning operations to full rotation by midsummer at its 340,000-b/d Deer Park, Tex., refinery, using only Shell-trained operators, employees, and staff, according to Aamir Farid, Shell’s vice-president of manufacturing for the Americas.

The announcement came in a Mar. 2 letter to Shell staff informing them that the company was transitioning from contingency plans to business-as-normal operations at production sites affected by USW’s unfair labor practic  (go to article)

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Petrobras scandal takes Brazilian politicians to Supreme Court

Reuters -- BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil's top prosecutor asked the Federal Supreme Court on Tuesday to open investigations into politicians who allegedly benefited from a multibillion-dollar kickback scheme at state-run oil company Petrobras, a court official said on Tuesday.

The request for authorization to probe elected officials expands the country's biggest corruption scandal to the political realm, further rattling President Dilma Rousseff's administration at a time when it is already struggling to contain the economic fallout from the case.

The official, who asked not to be named because the case is still under secrecy provisions, said Prosecutor-General Rodrigo Janot asked the court to authorise 28 separate investigations into 54 people, many of whom are expected to be politicians.

 (go to article)

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U.S. consumer spending on fuel at a six-year low in January

Fuel Fix -- Plummeting gasoline prices helped U.S. consumers spend billions of dollars more on other goods and services in January, the Department of Commerce said this week.

Consumer spending fell 0.2 percent last month, only the second drop in the past year. But much of the decline can be attributed to falling prices at the pump, which are at their lowest since April 2009, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

January’s average price for a gallon of gasoline was $2.11, about $1.60 less than the 2014 high. After adjusting for inflation, consumer spending actually rose 0.3 percent.

According to the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, Americans spent 21 percent less on gasoline, electricity and  (go to article)

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Not Clearing The Snow Off Your Car Before Driving Could Cost You

NPR -- After weeks of winter storms, snow fatigue has set in across much of the country.

You may be tired of clearing ice and snow off your car, but that can be a safety hazard. And now you could face a fine in some states.

Mike Taylor of Elkins Park, Pa., says just this week he was behind a car on the Pennsylvania Turnpike when, "Snow on the roof blew off, hit my windshield, forced me to jiggle, and it was only because of the stability of the car and I slowed down that I didn't have an accident," Taylor says.

He couldn't see the license plate to report the driver. But it wouldn't have mattered anyway, because in Pennsylvania, police cite a driver only if flying snow or ice causes serious injury.

A proposed law would change that and allow officers to issue a ticket and a fine up to $75.  (go to article)

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$20 Oil Rears Its Ugly Head

Forbes -- As the petroleum industry enters the historically weak second quarter with US crude inventories at highs, the very real possibility that the price will drop sharply from current levels must be considered. Ed Morse of Citibank has suggested $20 is a possibility, and many others agree that a lower price could be in the cards, even if not that low.

It is always with repeating that oil prices, in the short run, can go almost anywhere, very low or very high, depending on market conditions and the thinking of traders. But at some point, real barrels dominate the equation, mostly when inventories are very low or very high. The latter case usually results in lower prices to the point where either OPEC acts or people start buying into the market, thinking the price has gone too low.  (go to article)

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Clock ticks toward North Dakota producers reaping up to $5.3 billion oil tax break

Reuters -- The clock is still ticking on a potential $5.3 billion, two-year tax break for North Dakota's oil industry after a state-calculated average of February's crude price fell below $52.59 per barrel last month.

The state waives its 6.5 percent oil extraction tax if the monthly price of benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude at the Cushing, Oklahoma, transport hub falls below an inflation-adjusted limit, set at $52.59 per barrel for 2015, for five consecutive months.

For February, the average calculated price was $50.86 per barrel, according to North Dakota Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger. The average was an increase from the January average of $47.98 per barrel.

The tax break kicks in if the average monthly price is below that $52.59 level for each of the next three months. If i  (go to article)

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New cars and trucks with the worst gas mileage

Market Watch -- Gasoline may be relatively cheap these days, but if you care about the environment as well as your wallet, rethink getting that Nissan Armada or Toyota Sequoia. These are just two of the 2015 cars that are “meanest” on the environment, according to The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, which offers an interactive database of all model year 2015 vehicles, along with each configuration’s fuel economy, health-related pollution impacts, and greenhouse gas emissions. This year’s environmental ratings for 2015 model vehicles includes a list of the greenest cars in the database, along with the cars that scored the worst. The site, greenercars.org, analyzes auto makers’ test results for fuel economy and emissions as reported to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Calif  (go to article)

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Here’s why Southern Nevada gasoline prices skyrocketed again

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL -- After Southern Nevada’s four-month honeymoon with reduced gasoline prices, motorists now have been hit with the perfect storm.

Refinery maintenance. Preparations to manufacture “summer blend” fuel. A refinery workers strike. Gasoline supply speculation. An explosion and fire at yet another refinery.

All of that happened in the past month and has resulted in gasoline prices skyrocketing from sub-$2-a-gallon to where it is now, $2.84 a gallon. At some Southern Nevada stations, the price per gallon has crept over the $3 line.

What’s worse, the average price of a gallon of gasoline in Las Vegas is 5 cents more than the statewide average.

The national average currently is $2.44 a gallon, 12 cents more than it was a week ago and 39 cents more than it was a month ago, according to GasBuddy.co  (go to article)

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The Price of Oil Is About to Blow a Hole in Corporate Accounting

Bloomberg -- Bloomberg) -- There’s one place in the world where oil is still $95 a barrel.

On paper.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission requires drillers to calculate the value of their oil reserves every year using average prices from the first trading days in each of the previous 12 months. Because oil didn’t start its freefall to about $45 till after the OPEC meeting in late November, companies in their latest regulatory filings used $95 a barrel to figure out how much oil they could profitably produce and what it’s worth. Of the 12 days that went into the fourth-quarter average, crude was above $90 a barrel on 10 of them.

So Continental Resources Inc., led by billionaire Harold Hamm, reported last month that the present value of its oil and gas operations increased 13 percent last year  (go to article)

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Billionaire Warren Buffett Says Keystone XL Oil Pipeline Delay Jeopardises Canada-US Relations

IBTimes -- If it were up to billionaire and business magnate Warren Buffett, the Keystone XL oil pipeline project would have been approved for construction years ago. But since he is not the president of the U.S. he cautioned that furthering delaying the project that will traverse between Canada and the U.S. could jeopardise relations between the two allies.

In an interview with CNBC, Buffett said Mr Obama’s vetoing the legislation that could have fast tracked the project was like saying no as a whole to Canada itself. “Canada’s been a terrific partner for us over the decades and it is wrong for us to thumb our nose at them,” Buffett said.

The proposed $8-billion, 1,200-mile Keystone XL oil pipeline project had been on the table of the vetting process in the U.S. for over six years now. Mr Obama...  (go to article)

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Speed limit increase stalls in committee

Cedar Rapids Gazette -- DES MOINES — A bill seeking to raise the speed limit to 75 mph on rural interstate highways in Iowa got pulled to the side of the road in committee Tuesday and apparently parked in the legislative process.

Sen. Jeff Danielson, D-Waterloo, requested that the Senate Transportation Committee defer on Senate File 213 to give him more time to consider a measure that was speeding through the legislative process.

“I have been supportive of this concept in the past,” said Danielson, who noted he sponsored and was floor manager of a 2005 bill that raised Iowa's interstate speed limit from 65 to 70 mph. However, he told fellow committee members “I am not at this moment prepared on this committee — don't feel comfortable that I've done enough homework and due diligence on this to vote on this one w  (go to article)

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Steelworkers’ local reminds strikebreakers of their union oath

fuel fix -- The United Steelworkers union local in Pasadena accused its members who have crossed the picket line of personal greed and asked them to remember the unity pledge they took when they joined the union.

“It should be thought of and remembered that these Strikebreakers have thought of no one but their own situation and how to easiest remedy it short term,” says a letter which will be distributed to members of Steelworkers Local 13-227 in Pasadena. The union represents workers at LyondellBasell’s refinery.

The local union reminded its members about the initiation oath they took that included a promise to abide by the laws of the union, including “I will cease work when authorized and approved by the organization to do so.”

The union is responding to reports that some workers have crossed...  (go to article)

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Consumer Alert: Beware of Skimmers at the Gas Pump

WCTV -- TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In just the past two months, inspectors with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services have removed eight credit card skimmers from gas station pumps across the state. These skimmers are used to steal the credit card information from consumers, and the thieves then use the card information to make purchases in someone else’s name. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services works to protect consumers from fraud and scams, and this week, March 1-7, is National Consumer Protection Week.

“Consumers should be aware of potential scams and be careful when they are pumping gas or using their credit cards over the phone or Internet,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam.

Here’s what consumers should do to avoid skimmers at gas stat  (go to article)

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US running out of room to store oil

Times Bulletin -- NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. has so much crude that it is running out of places to put it, and that could drive oil and gasoline prices even lower in the coming months.

For the past seven weeks, the United States has been producing and importing an average of 1 million more barrels of oil every day than it is consuming. That extra crude is flowing into storage tanks, especially at the country’s main trading hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, pushing U.S. supplies to their highest point in at least 80 years, the Energy Department reported last week.

If this keeps up, storage tanks could approach their operational limits, known in the industry as “tank tops,” by mid-April and send the price of crude — and probably gasoline, too — plummeting.

“The fact of the matter is we are running out of storage cap  (go to article)

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Oil export bans creating market glut that could strangle U.S. boom, CEO warns

The Washington Times -- An emerging glut in U.S. oil markets is one more reason the U.S. government should lift long-standing bans of exporting oil to foreign customers, the head of one of the country’s biggest energy giants said Tuesday.

Ryan Lance, the chairman and CEO of ConocoPhillips, told a U.S. Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Tuesday that the U.S. is in the midst of an energy renaissance, but that to keep the oil boom hitting on all cylinders, the country will need to start exporting surplus barrels of crude.

Rising domestic production has already borne economic fruits for many Americans, he noted. The U.S. oil and natural gas industry now supports 9.8 million domestic jobs and has contributed more than 8 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product. In addition, those who work in the oil industry have a m  (go to article)

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Saudi Arabia ups official oil prices amid signs of stronger demand

Reuters -- Saudi Arabia raised the official selling prices (OSPs) for its oil deliveries to Asia and the United States on Tuesday, in the latest signal OPEC's largest exporter is seeing signs of stronger demand.

The Kingdom raised all U.S.-bound crude prices by $1 a barrel and hiked extra-light crude oil to Asia by $1.40 a barrel, in a vote of confidence oil demand is growing in two of its biggest markets following the price crash since June.

While the increase was largely anticipated by traders amid other signs of robust demand, it bolsters the impression Saudi Arabia is comfortable with the rebound in Brent crude to around $60 a barrel after hitting a six-year low of $45 in January.

Saudi Arabia and other OPEC members sharply cut OSPs in 2014 as the group decided to fight fast-growing U.S. shale  (go to article)

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Brent holds above $60 after Saudi price hikes

Reuters -- Reuters) - Brent held above $60 a barrel on Wednesday supported by a hike in Saudi crude prices and strikes on oil facilities in Libya.

In a move widely seen as a vote of confidence by Saudi Arabia in demand recovery, the OPEC kingpin raised the official selling prices (OSPs) for its oil deliveries to Asia and the United States on Tuesday.

"This is a sign that prices have bottomed out because it means Saudi is confident in raising prices without being afraid of losing market share," said Tony Nunan, a risk manager at Mitsubishi Corp in Tokyo.

In the past seven weeks, Brent crude LCOc1 rose from a six-year low to hold above $60 a barrel despite continued concerns about global oversupply.

The April Brent contract was down 30 cents at $60.72 by 0302 GMT, after rising 2.5 percent on Tuesda  (go to article)

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ICS Courier to stop using vans with Alberta plates in Toronto after racking up more than $600K in fi

Financial Post -- The time-sensitive business of express courier package delivery is made that much more complicated, and expensive, when drivers have to pay for parking in the crowded core of downtown Toronto. Slap a set of out-of-province licence plates on, however, and suddenly a delivery van can rack up parking violations with impunity, since the city’s tickets are unenforceable outside ON
At least, that used to be the case. ICS Courier, a division of Montreal-based TransForce, which also owns Canpar and Loomis couriers, said Tue it is stopping the practice of operating courier vans with AB plates in downtown Toronto
Toronto Police said that its top out-of-province “scoff” an ICS van: a white Mercedes Sprinter with AB plates, that has racked up 612 parking tickets in the past year, accumulating $33,400  (go to article)

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Oil moves higher, pushing Canadian dollar above 80 cents

CBC News -- Oil prices rose Tue after Saudi Arabia boosted the price of its output to Asian and U.S. buyers and as fighting threatened oilfields in Libya
Still, some analysts say crude could fall to $20 because of continued oversupply
WTI was up 74c to $50.32 this afternoon, while Brent was up $1.51 to $61.06 at the close of trading
The oil-sensitive Canadian $ rose by 1/3c to 80.05 US cents
Both Brent and WTI oil were recovering from a steep plunge in prices Mon, proof that oil markets remain volatile
Saudi Arabia’s Aramco surprised markets last Nov by slashing its prices in the U.S. in a bid to compete against the domestic production boom
It has made repeated price cuts to retain market share in the face of a worldwide glut of oil and slowdown in demand, but on Tue, it changed direction
Aramco annou  (go to article)

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Crude exports in spotlight as House leaders urge slow approach

Fuel Fix -- Perhaps the only certainty emerging from a House hearing on crude exports Tuesday was that the chamber will tackle the issue deliberately — and not with the haste some oil producers have urged.

House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders took pains to stress they will move carefully as they consider whether to loosen the nation’s 40-year-old ban on crude exports, for fear the change could hurt consumers and domestic refiners — or simply create the appearance of harm.

“Congress needs to be aware of all of the impacts before considering any modifications to energy policy,” said House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., suggesting lawmakers should use the same “careful and deliberative approach” previously applied to liquefied natural gas exports. “We again are undertaking a t  (go to article)

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Canadian Oil Imports to U.S. Gulf Rise on Pipeline Startups

Reuters -- The December startup of two major pipelines that move Canadian heavy crude to the United States helped increase U.S. Gulf Coast imports more than 12 percent from November, U.S. government data showed just days after President Barack Obama vetoed the Keystone XL pipeline.

The relatively swift uptick in Canadian oil arriving at the Gulf Coast, home to nearly half of U.S. refining capacity, follows the opening of two connecting lines that link Canada to U.S. tropical waters: Enbridge Inc's 600,000 barrels per day Illinois-to-Oklahoma Flanagan South pipeline, and Enterprise Products Partners' 450,000 bpd Oklahoma-to-Texas Seaway Twin.

According to the latest available data, total Canadian shipments to the United States rose 14 percent in December to 3.32 million bpd from November.

Mor  (go to article)

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Here's the Latest Sign the Oil-Price Plunge Is Hitting the Job Market

bloomberg.com -- As investors prepare for the release of the February U.S. employment data on Friday, we're getting more inklings of how the shakeout in the oil industry will impact the jobs market, and it doesn't look great: Demand for workers in energy-related occupations is plunging.
Online help-wanted ads for jobs involved in the extraction of oil and gas -- derrick operators, wellhead pumpers, roustabouts and the like -- declined 42 percent in the two months through January as oil prices cratered, according to data compiled by the Conference Board and Wanted Technologies. Occupations in the industry that have higher education requirements, such as petroleum engineers, geoscientists and technicians, also saw demand for their services collapse, with ads dropping 38 percent, Gad Levanon and his fellow r  (go to article)

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