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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Safety Records Show Pipelines Best Method for Transporting Oil

The New American Magazine -- America’s energy needs are so enormous that more than 18 million barrels of crude per day course through more than 500,000 miles of pipelines, either from sites such as Bakken, or ports on the East and Gulf Coast importing oil from foreign sources. Enbridge Energy Partners, the largest importer of crude into the United States, runs more than 50,000 miles of pipeline and has moved 13 billion barrels through its system over the last 10 years. Its “incident” rate (to count as an “incident” it must involve an explosion or fire, a release of five or more gallons of crude oil, an injury requiring hospitalization, a fatality, or property damage in excess of $50,000) is a minuscule .0007 percent. Put another way, 99.9993 percent of its oil arrives at its destination without incident.  (read more)

Submitted 4 hours ago By:

Saudi Arabia raises stakes in oil war with steady production, price cut

The Washington Times -- Consumers are enjoying a break from high gas prices, which have fallen below $3 a gallon in many areas, but the drop has precipitated a cold war among oil producers that has all the intrigue, suspense and looming destruction of a Tom Clancy novel.

Premium crude prices since June have plunged by 25 percent, landing Wednesday at levels near $80 a barrel in New York. That makes it painful or uneconomic for producers in Russia, Venezuela and Iran, for the pioneering shale oil drillers in America’s heartland and for Canada’s oil sands extractors.

The key player in the unfolding drama is Saudi Arabia. Despite uncomfortably low prices even for the wealthy kingdom, Saudis last week made it clear that they will not curb oil production in an effort to stabilize the market.

 (read more)

Submitted 3 hours ago By:

Hydrogen Cars to Benefit from Coconut Kernels

AutoEvolution -- The problem with fuel cell cars is that the hydrogen they need to create electricity on board is quite expensive to store safely. Thus a lot more money needs to be invested into the infrastructure, with tougher and safer materials being required. Luckily, the same fruit that many believe it’s the fruit of life comes with the answer.

Coconut is considered by many as being one of the best fruits nature could share with us; it’s offering both a solid food and a hydrating liquid, comes with saturated fats but good HDL cholesterol, prevents cardiovascular diseases, helps with the metabolism, destroys numerous viruses/bacteria/fungi, contains a high level of electrolytes to restore the body energy and can also be a good material to store hydrogen.
Who would have thought coconuts and cars will  (read more)

Submitted 4 hours ago By:

As Oil Prices Fall, Global Tensions Rise

FOX BUSINESS -- Bullish and bearish forces are slugging it out in the oil complex and something has to give. On one hand, Russia seemed to move the goalpost on an expected gas deal with Ukraine while the European Central bank is leaking stories that they may be in the market to buy cooperate bonds in an effort to thwart deflationary forces that have plagued the Eurozone.

The sharp drop in oil prices as well as an economic slowdown in Europe, in particular Germany, is creating tension between Prince Al Waleed bin Talal, and Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi that seemed to reach a fever pitch on the Opening Bell with Maria Bartiromo. For oil today it is about supply and demand but it is also about the rising specter of deflation. The Consumer Price Index and the Energy Information Administration will be...  (read more)

Submitted 4 hours ago By:

Mini Cooper gas mileage overstated, U.S. regulator says

CBC -- The U.S. government has told BMW to reduce the gas mileage estimates on the window stickers on four of its Mini Cooper models after an audit found the figures were overstated.

The discrepancy, which varies from one to four miles per gallon depending on model, was discovered in testing at the Environmental Protection Agency's lab in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the agency said in a statement Wednesday.

The reductions affect the 2014 Mini Cooper three-door and Mini Cooper three-door S models with manual and automatic transmissions. The biggest discrepancy was in highway mileage, but city and combined mileages also must be reduced.  (read more)

Submitted 2 hours ago By:

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Here's why credit and debit cards with chips are safer.... -- CLEVELAND, Ohio -- These three letters might be unknown to you now, but that is likely to change soon: EMV.

EMV is shorthand for the technology that will make credit and debit cards safer in the future. EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa, which collaborated to adopt cards with more secure technology two decades ago.

EMV cards are also known as chip cards, because they contain computer chips that are used to authenticate each transaction.

The technology has been thrust into the news in the last 10 months, ever since Target's disastrous retail breach that exposed 40 million credit and debit card numbers to hackers.  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:

Warming Earth heading for hottest year on record

Yahoo - AP -- Earth is on pace to tie or even break the mark for the hottest year on record, federal meteorologists say.
That's because global heat records have kept falling in 2014, with September the latest example.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Monday that last month the globe averaged 60.3 degrees Fahrenheit (15.72 degrees Celsius). That was the hottest September in 135 years of record keeping.
It was the fourth monthly record set this year, along with May, June and August.
NASA, which measures temperatures slightly differently, had already determined that September was record-warm.
The first nine months of 2014 have a global average temperature of 58.72 degrees (14.78 degrees Celsius), tying with 1998 for the warmest first nine months on record,
 (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:

Ford cuts price of Focus Electric again

Detroit News -- For the second time in two years, Ford Motor Co. has cut the price of its Focus Electric car in the hopes of boosting sales.

The starting price for the vehicle has dropped $6,000 to $29,995, including shipping and delivery. The new price went into effect Oct. 13 for all remaining 2014 model-year Focus Electrics, as well as upcoming 2015 model-year cars, the Dearborn automaker said. Ford reduced its price by $4,000 last year.

“We hope by reducing the price we’re giving customers another reason to consider the Focus,” said spokesman Aaron Miller, adding it puts the electric car at a “very competitive price point.”

Focus Electric represents a small fraction of total Focus sales.

Through September, Ford sold a little more than 1,500 Focus Electrics and is on pace to have its best-selling  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:

WTI Crude Oil Seen Supported Near $75 a Barrel

Bloomberg -- West Texas Intermediate crude oil will find support around $75 a barrel should it break through $80 on a sustained basis, according to Auerbach Grayson & Co.

“We’re still keeping an eye on $80,” Richard Ross, global technical strategist at the New York-based brokerage firm, said yesterday. Below that level is a lot of support in the $75-to-$76 area, he said.

Prices have tumbled more 20 percent from their June peak, meeting a common definition of a bear market, as Iraqi output continued to flow despite conflict in the north of the country and production increased in Libya and the U.S. At the same time, forecasts for global oil demand growth have been reduced by the International Energy Agency.  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:

IHS examines Islamic State's oil wealth

UPI-IS generating more than $2 million per day from oil. -- Oil is fueling the war chest for the group calling itself the Islamic State by more than $2 million per day, a study from consultant group IHS said.

A report from IHS Energy found IS, known also as the Islamic State in the Levant, is able to finance itself through a black market for oil.

"Oil fuels ISIL's war machine, notably including the military vehicles vital to its movements and fighting capabilities," analysis e-mailed Monday to UPI found. "Oil directly finances ISIL's myriad activities and encourages the activities of middlemen who sell, transport and export the oil and thus have a vested interest in ISIL."

IHS estimates the oil production controlled by IS is worth an estimated $800 million per year.

A U.S.-led air offensive against IS has targeted oil installations in Syria...  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Consumer Reports sheds light on 'secret warranties' that may cover costly repairs

GasBuddy Blog -- Consumer Reports found car owners can save a significant amount of money if their vehicle qualifies for what carmakers typically call service actions or customer service campaigns—effectively secret or hidden warranties that are rarely announced to the public.Two examples: Owners of 2006 to 2009 Honda Civics may qualify for a free engine block, or even a whole new engine, if their car has been leaking coolant from a crack in the block. Chrysler minivan owners may notice that the front wheel bearings on models from 2008 to 2010 are subject to premature wear, so dealers will replace them for free during a vehicle’s first five years or 90,000 miles.Consumer Reports found these “secret warranties” usually originate when automakers discover that some component or system in a given model is failing at a greater rate than expected. They learn about the problems from numerous sources, including complaints to their customer-service departments and reports from dealers. Other tip-offs are an unu  (read more)

Submitted Oct 21, 2014 By:

It Looked Like a Stabbing, but Takata Air Bag Was the Killer

The New York Times -- ORLANDO, Fla. — Hien Tran lay dying in intensive care this month after a car accident, as detectives searched for clues about the apparent stab wounds in her neck.

An unlikely breakthrough arrived in the mail a week after she died from her injuries. It was a letter from Honda urging her to get her red Accord fixed, because of faulty air bags that could explode.

“The air bag,” said Tina Tran, the victim’s twin sister. “They said it was the air bag.”

Ms. Tran became at least the third death associated with the mushrooming recalls of vehicles containing defective air bags made by Takata, a Japanese auto supplier. More than 14 million vehicles from 11 automakers that contain the air bags have been recalled worldwide.  (read more)

Submitted Oct 21, 2014 By:

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  (read more)

Submitted Oct 21, 2014 By:

Michigan politicians attempt to keep Tesla out of state

GasBuddy Blog -- Michigan is the latest state to join several others that are interested in derailing consumers from buying electric cars directly from Tesla, the California-based automaker that has won praise for its vehicles.

HB 5606, a bill on Governor Rick Snyder's desk awaiting a possible signature or veto contains language that would bar Tesla's direct sales method and instead require franchised dealers, possibly adding thousands to the cost of each vehicle sold.

General Motors issued a statement supporting HB 5606, a bill that saw its language adjusted sneakily to target Tesla, and was passed 38-0 in Michigan's Senate on October 2, then passed by Michigan's House 106-1 with the new language.

It has several Michigan based businesses very concerned as suppliers to Tesla, such as Inteva Products, who sent a letter to the governor opposing any legislation that prevents Tesla from direct sales, said Karen Manardo, global m  (read more)

Submitted Oct 21, 2014 By:

Studies: Parents set bad examples for driving teens via USA Today -- Parents often subscribe to a "do as I say, not as I do" mentality. But studies show parents are unknowingly sabotaging their teen drivers by not practicing what they preach.

Since it's National Teen Driver Safety Week, here are four examples:

Texting and Driving. Parents figuratively beat teens over the head with the "never text and drive" message, yet many do it on a regular basis. A 2012 study by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions found 91% of teens reported seeing their parents talk on cellphones while driving. Some 59% witnessed their parents sending a text while driving.

Talking on cellphones. Ninety percent of teens say they've talked on cellphones while driving, and 78% admitted to sending text messages while driving. Parents tell teens to ...  (read more)

Submitted Oct 21, 2014 By:

Monday, October 20, 2014

U.S. Oil Imports Reach Lowest September Level in 18 Years

Bloomberg -- U.S. imports of crude oil fell last month to the lowest level for September in 18 years as domestic production increased, the American Petroleum Institute said.

Shipments of crude averaged 7.39 million barrels a day, down 6.7 percent from a year earlier, the industry-funded group said today in a monthly report. Production rose to 8.8 million barrels a day, the highest level for the month in 29 years.

“The gap between U.S. petroleum production and demand continued to trend higher last month,” John Felmy, chief economist at the API in Washington, said in the report.

Total petroleum imports, including crude oil and fuels, slumped 16 percent from a year earlier to 8.4 million barrels a day, the lowest level since February 1995.  (read more)

Submitted Oct 20, 2014 By:

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  (read more)

Submitted Oct 20, 2014 By:

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...  (read more)

Submitted Oct 20, 2014 By:

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  (read more)

Submitted Oct 20, 2014 By:

Tesla Model S -- is it a car or an iPad?

Pioneer press -- Is the Tesla a car or an iPad?

That's the question engineers at the IHS automotive research firm posed as they dissected one of the electric car company's pricey Model S sedans.

They found that the design, components and manufacturing process that went into the car's infotainment and instrumentation systems have more in common with a tablet or smartphone than they do with a conventional automobile.

"It's like looking at the components from the latest mobile device from an Apple iPad or Samsung Galaxy product," said Andrew Rassweiler, senior director for materials and cost benchmarking at IHS.

He said the electronic architecture of the sporty electric car is dramatically different from the approach of other automakers and their parts suppliers.  (read more)

Submitted Oct 20, 2014 By:

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Slumping price of oil has Iran worried about paying its bills

Los Angeles Times -- Iranian officials are expressing new worry over the global oil price slump which is threatening the country’s budget and could undermine its strategy in international nuclear negotiations.

As recently as Tuesday Iran’s oil ministry was speaking confidently despite the 20% global price decline, insisting that it wouldn’t affect the budget. Deputy Oil Minister Rokneddin Javadi said the decrease would be “short lived” an oil ministry information service said.

But Iranian President Hassan Rouhani clearly concerned, has directed the oil ministry to seek a meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries cartel next month to discuss propping up the price, Iranian news agencies are reporting.

Crude oil has fallen from over $100 a barrel in spring to under $85 a barrel. About 75%...  (read more)

Submitted Oct 19, 2014 By:

Canadian Coast Guard tows Russian ship that was drifting in rough seas off of B.C. coast

THE TORONTO SUN -- The captain of a Russian container ship adrift off the coast of B.C. was in hospital while efforts continued Saturday to tow the vessel away.

The Simushir, carrying hydro carbon and mining materials, approximately 400 metric tonnes of bunker fuel and 50 metric tonnes of diesel, was travelling between Washington and Russia when it lost power around 11 p.m. Thursday, the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre said.

It was floating about 16 km off Haida Gwaii, prompting Haida Nation President Peter Lantin to express his concern that it would hit ground and cause an oil spill.

Canadian Coast Guard vessel Gordon Reid reached the ship, but two tow lines came detached before crews successfully attached a third tow line around 6:30 p.m. Friday and began towing it in a westerly direction.

 (read more)

Submitted Oct 19, 2014 By:

Car runs for a 100 years without refueling -- If your car was powered by thorium, you would never need to refuel it. The vehicle would burn out long before the chemical did. The thorium would last so long, in fact, it would probably outlive you. That’s why a company called Laser Power Systems has created a concept for a thorium-powered car engine. The element is radioactive, and the team uses bits of it to build a laserbeam that heats water, produces steam, and powers an energy-producing turbine.Thorium is one of the most dense materials on the planet. A small sample of it packs 20 million times more energy than a similarly-sized sample of coal, making it an ideal energy source.  (read more)

Submitted Oct 19, 2014 By:

If Cheap Oil Prices Are Good for the Economy, Why Is the Stock Market Down?

The Motley Fool -- Almost every American knows that cheap oil should lead to cheaper gas, and that it should also lead to cheaper goods at stores. And with many people still feeling the pinch of the recession as wage stagnation remains a problem, seeing your dollars go a little farther is a good thing.

However, since the price of oil started falling in mid-June, the stock market has also trended down.
 (read more)

Submitted Oct 19, 2014 By:

One block in Minneapolis, 8,100 parking tickets

Star tribune -- Jim Crue figures that every day, he shoos away unwitting motorists trying to park on this permit-only street in Uptown Minneapolis. Parking enforcement will certainly get them, he warns.

“They’re ruthless,” said Crue, who moved into his apartment at 3100 Girard Av. S. a few months ago. “It’s a huge source of frustration for everybody.”

As Crue spoke last week, traffic control agents zipped past in a white vehicle. “See?” Crue pointed. “They just circle around all day long.”

What started as a concession to a neighborhood’s demands to take back its street has turned into a ticket windfall for the city, at $42 a pop.

A Star Tribune examination of nearly 400,000 parking tickets issued in Minneapolis puts a bull’s-eye on this short stretch in Uptown for generating 8,100 citations, nearly al  (read more)

Submitted Oct 19, 2014 By: