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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Alternative energy failures abroad should serve as a warning

Your Houston News --
At $3.65 a gallon, gas is already expensive enough. Now imagine paying an additional "carbon tax" every time you fill up.

That's what a new report from the United Nations has recommended. To combat global climate change, the United Nations has urged governments everywhere to institute a carbon tax or cap-and-trade system to disincentive fossil fuel use.

But Germany went down a similar road almost 15 years ago. And in April, they announced a plan to scrap their green efforts. U.S. lawmakers should take note and reject the UN's push for energy policies that have already proven economically disastrous abroad.

Back in 2000, the German government implemented an "energy transformation" plan in an effort to speed up the nation's conversion to green energy. The costs hav  (read more)

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Gas Prices Don’t Reflect Record Levels Of U.S. Refinery Output

Oil Prices ,com -- The price of gasoline in the United States will remain fairly static for the immediate future, even though refineries are working at record levels because of the surge in oil production.

 (read more)

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IEA: $80 Billion In Power Wasted By Connected 'Things'

Forbes -- Once upon a time, you used to hear a lot about the “vampire power” load that televisions, monitors, desktops and other electronics equipment consume while in standby mode.  (read more)

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UN takes aim at Islamist oil grab in Syria, Iraq

The Peninsula -- UNITED NATIONS, United States: The UN Security Council yesterday backed a Russian initiative to bar trade in oil with Islamists in Iraq and Syria.

The 15-nation Council warned in a joint statement that buying oil from groups such as the Islamic State and Jabhat Al-Nusra fighting in Iraq and Syria could lead to sanctions.

“Such engagement constitutes financial support for terrorists and may lead to further sanctions listings,” the council said.

Russia presented the statement in late June, seeking to clamp down on middle-men who are selling the oil from Islamist-controlled areas.

Islamic groups such as ISIL, which rebranded itself as the Islamic State and Al-Nusra have seized oilfields and pipelines to bankroll their offensives.

The council said control of oil facilities “could...  (read more)

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SUVs & Crossovers: Now More Popular Than Sedans

GasBuddy Blog -- Image from...fullcarsreview.comSUVs and crossover vehicles have overtaken sedans as the most popular vehicle body style in the U.S., according to a study from IHS Automotive.
SUVs and crossovers now account for 36.5 percent of the new vehicle market versus 35.4 percent for sedans, according to IHS' analysis of new vehicle retail registrations. Consumers appreciate the SUVs' higher seating position, higher ground clearance, more interior space and towing capacity, the study said.  So are we sacrificing fuel efficiency for comfort? ...  (read more)

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Oregon Jeep Crash Caused by 3-year-old Boy

AutoEvolution -- Just in case you need more proof that you should never leave young children unattended and you should always set your parking brake, check out this story. KPTV Fox 12 reports that a 3-year-old Oregon boy was the cause of a crash this week that left a Jeep Wrangler embedded into the side of a house. And no, we’re not talking about a Power Wheels Jeep.

Left unattended by a relative who was watching him, the boy managed to get out of the house and crawl into a Jeep Wrangler owned by his aunt. A police officer had actually noticed the boy playing in the Jeep, and he was able to find the woman who was supposed to be watching him and issued her a ticket. At the time, the boy claims his babysitter was sleeping, but the relative says she had been in the bathroom.

Either way, the police were  (read more)

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There's A U.S. Energy Boom, No Thanks To Obama

Investors Business Daily -- It would be easy to look at the dramatic 35% increase in America's oil and natural gas production since President Obama took office and think the administration deserves much of the credit. But the energy boom has happened in spite of him.

Production could have been even greater if the administration embraced America's new energy superpower status instead of being so hostile to the development of our fossil fuel resources.

Since Obama took office, oil and gas production has soared on private and state land, for which he deserves little or no credit. Meanwhile, production on federal lands has dropped sharply due to a cutback in leasing of deepwater areas for energy development.

The U.S. government leases less than 2.2% of the energy-rich Outer Continental Shelf, and less than 6% of feder  (read more)

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The New Technology That Can Save You Hundreds On Gas

Money -- Over the years, one urban fuel-efficiency myth has been pervasive—that you’ll save gas by letting your car idle rather than shutting the engine off when, say, waiting at the curb for someone running into a store. Popular Mechanics, AAA, and others have busted this myth, pointing out that a vehicle gets negative miles per gallon while idle. The consensus advice now is that if you car is stopped for more than a minute, the smart move is to turn the engine off.

The arrival of auto stop-start, a technology most often seen in hybrids, does this work for you, and not only if you’re idle for minute or more. The technology has slowly been spreading beyond hybrids to a few vehicles powered by traditional internal combustion engines, and new research from AAA indicates that this is a good thing.  (read more)

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‘Finally,’ a Light Bulb That Exceeds Gov’t Standards, Gives Off an Incandescent Glow and Costs Less

THEBLAZE -- While you might ruefully consider LED or CFL lighting technologies, Gizmodo recently featured another option that could be a good middle ground between the government’s standards and the traditional look to which many have become accustomed.

Gizmodo described Finally as “an efficient, affordable bulb using technology Nikola Tesla once patented,” which is a form of “drastically miniaturized induction light.”

The company calls Finally the “only energy-efficient light bulb [that] shines just like the incandescent you grew up with.”

The makers of Finally explained on their website that instead of looking toward solid state lighting, it “stepped back in time to revisit induction, a lighting system that was developed at the same time as incandescent.” Induction lighting can be found in wareho  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:

US exports help Germany increase coal, pollution

AP -- LUENEN, Germany (AP) — One of Germany's newest coal-fired power plants rises here from the banks of a 100-year-old canal that once shipped coal mined from the Ruhr Valley to the world.

Now the coal comes the other way.

The 750-megawatt Trianel Kohlekraftwerk Luenen GmbH & Co. power plant relies completely on coal imports, about half from the U.S. Soon, all of Germany's coal-fired power plants will be dependent on imports, with the country expected to halt coal mining in 2018 when government subsidies end.

Coal mining's demise in Germany comes as the country is experiencing a resurgence in coal-fired power, one which the U.S. increasingly has helped supply. U.S. exports of power plant-grade coal to Germany have more than doubled since 2008. In 2013, Germany ranked fifth, behind the Unite  (read more)

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Florida Driver Caught Napping at Red Light [Video]

AutoEvolution -- Between texting, eating and whatever else people think they should be doing behind the wheel these days, driving can be pretty exhausting. Just ask the rider of this motorcycle who got stuck behind a sleepy driver at a traffic light, and he managed to catch the whole thing on his helmet camera.

While riding somewhere in Florida, YouTube user Jonathon Brady ends up stopped behind an orange Chevrolet HHR waiting to turn left at a red light. After the light turns green and the car doesn’t move, he does what any of us would do: honk the horn in hopes of getting the driver’s attention.

That doesn’t work however and the car remains stopped at the green light with its brake lights on, so the rider pulls up alongside the car to get a closer look. While doing so, another motorist has taken no  (read more)

Submitted Jul 27, 2014 By:

Germany’s $412 Billion Green Energy Plan Meets Harsh Reality

The Daily Caller -- Germany has been rapidly increasing its green energy production but hasn’t gotten the results it planned.

The Switzerland-based FAA Financial Advisory AG looked at the consequences of Germany’s “Energiewende” and found that the $412 billion effort did “not provide net savings to consumers, but rather a net increase in costs to consumers and other stakeholders.”

“Over the last decade, well-intentioned policymakers in Germany and other European countries have created renewable energy policies that have slowly revealed themselves to be unsustainable, resulting in profound, unintended consequences for all industry stakeholders,” reads FAA’s report which was prepared for the Edison Electric Institute and other European groups.

“Accordingly, the United States and other countries should carefu  (read more)

Submitted Jul 27, 2014 By:

Most beautiful American cars of all time

MSN -- We like to think our cars are good-looking, and some of them really are. However, there's a big difference between a pretty car and a timeless design that transcends mere automotive beauty to be considered a work of art. With that in mind, we combed through history to identify the 15 most beautiful American cars. You'll notice that only one late-model car makes this list. We wanted to include newer cars as well, but cars of the past few decades didn't measure up, and today's cars have yet to pass the test of time. Take a look and let us know if we missed any.  (read more)

Submitted Jul 27, 2014 By:

Obama Proposes Lower Safety Standards to Haul Oil by Trains Than by Ships

Breitbart -- The White House has chosen to propose safety regulations that will be far inferior for shipping domestically produced crude oil by railroads to refineries in the U.S. than exporting the same crude oil to foreign refineries by ships.

The Administration says it wants to phase out “old tank cars,” enforce lower speed limits, require better brakes, and try rerouting trains around populated areas. Each of these steps may provide small incremental improvements, but as I reported on June 25th (“Obama Executive Order Allows U.S. Crude Oil Exports for First Time in Decades”), the White House just set mandates that require all domestically produced crude oil exported by tanker ships to first be degassed before loading.  (read more)

Submitted Jul 27, 2014 By:

Robert Rubin: How ignoring climate change could sink the U.S. economy

Washington Post -- Good economic decisions require good data. And to get good data, we must account for all relevant variables. But we’re not doing this when it comes to climate change — and that means we’re making decisions based on a flawed picture of future risks. While we can’t define future climate-change risks with precision, they should be included in economic policy, fiscal and business decisions because of their potential magnitude.

The scientific community is all but unanimous in its agreement that climate change is a serious threat. According to Gallup, nearly 60 percent of Americans believe that global warming is caused by human activity. Still, for many people, the effects of climate change seem like a future problem — something that falls by the wayside as we tackle what seem like more immedia  (read more)

Submitted Jul 27, 2014 By:

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Can Letting Trucks Drive Faster Make Roads Safer?

Wired -- When it comes to reducing traffic deaths, one common-sense move is reducing the speed limit. There’s clear evidence that an increase in speed leads to an increase in crashes, and the likelihood of surviving a crash drops as speed goes up. Cutting the speed limit has the extra upsides of reducing emissions and encouraging people to get out of their cars entirely and take mass transit. Yet Britain is raising the speed limit for trucks on some highways, and it expects to save lives.

It seems counterintuitive, but there’s solid reasoning behind the change. The country’s Department for Transport says allowing trucks to drive 50 mph on single carriageway roads (what we in the states call two-lane highways) will limit congestion and reduce overtaking.  (read more)

Submitted Jul 26, 2014 By:

Kurdish oil tanker near Texas signals US policy change

Anadolu Agency -- A tanker fueled with Kurdish oil is two days away from reaching a U.S. port, might signal a change in the U.S.' position towards Iraq, say experts.

A ship, the United Kalavrvt, loaded with oil from Iraqi Kurdistan which left the Turkish port of Ceyhan in June is just two days away from reaching Texas' Galveston port, despite U.S.' long standing position against Kurdish oil sales without Iraqi central government's consent.

Experts told Anadolu Agency this is a sign of a change in U.S.' position in favor of Iraqi Kurds.

The Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL) and its allies have splintered the Iraqi government's control of the country when they seized Iraq's second-largest city Mosul and its surrounding area on June 10. As they seized the Baiji refinery - the largest oil refinery...  (read more)

Submitted Jul 26, 2014 By:

Five Fatal Flaws of Solar Energy

American Thinker -- The sun is the most important energy source on Earth. Solar energy powers the growth of all trees, grasses, herbs, crops and algae; it creates the clouds and powers the storms; it is the source of all hydro, photo-voltaic (PV), solar-thermal, bio-mass, and wind energy. Over geological time, it also creates coal.

PV solar panels are useful in remote locations and for some portable applications. With enough panels and batteries, standalone solar can even power homes.

But solar energy has five fatal flaws for supplying 24/7 grid power.

Firstly, sunshine at any spot is always intermittent and often unreliable. Solar panels can deliver significant energy only from 9am to 3pm – a maximum of 25% of each day. Solar can often help supply the hot afternoon demand for air conditioning, but de  (read more)

Submitted Jul 26, 2014 By:

What's behind the spike in pump prices where you are?

NBC News -- With more Americans hitting the road as the summer driving season kicks off, they’re paying a lot more attention to the price of gasoline at the pump.

After a sharp jump in May, the average U.S. price of a gallon of regular gasoline has dropped two cents over the past three weeks to $3.64, according to the Lundberg Survey of fuel prices released Sunday.

But after prices spiked much higher than that average in several parts of the country, a lot of drivers are wondering why they're suddenly shelling out more to fill up.

As usual, there are number of forces at work – from refinery outages to spot shortages. And any time prices spike, many drivers suspect that someone may be rigging the market. Are they right?

Gasoline prices are all over the place. Why are prices so different from one pl  (read more)

Submitted Jul 26, 2014 By:

ExxonMobil considers massive expansion at Beaumont, TX refinery: 800,000 barrels per day

GasBuddy Blog -- Image From ..beaumontenterprise.comExxonMobil is weighing a possible multi-billion dollar expansion of its 344,000 barrel per day Beaumont, Tex. refinery that could make it the largest in the U.S. by 2020, Reuters reports. The potential expansion to 700K-800K bbl/day in total refinery capacity at Beaumont, which would surpass Motiva's 600K-plus bbl/day Port Arthur refinery. Exxon Mobil is focusing on the possible addition of a third crude distillation unit at the refinery, and its size would determine how much capacity would increase; the plans also would include replacing four coking unit drums and adding two new coker drums. The drums turn residual crude oil into petroleum coke, a coal substitute....  (read more)

Submitted Jul 26, 2014 By:

Friday, July 25, 2014

Man run over by own truck during road rage

AOL Inc. -- GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- A man in Florida apparently got a dose of road rage karma when police say he was run over by his own pickup truck after getting out to bang on another driver's window.

It happened Tuesday evening in Gainesville, Florida.

The Gainesville Sun reports 48-year-old Joseph Carl had been drinking and drove into a vehicle stopped at a red light. He got out of his truck without putting it in park and began banging on the window of a woman's car. When the frightened woman drove away, there was nothing holding his truck in place.

The truck rolled into Carl. A police report says he was taken to the hospital where he was treated for fractures in his hand and foot.

He's charged with DUI and DUI property damage. It isn't known whether he's obtained a lawyer.
 (read more)

Submitted Jul 25, 2014 By:

Oil falls on worries about U.S. gasoline demand

AP -- Wholesale gasoline fell 2 cents to $2.84 a gallon.

The price of oil fell near $102 a barrel Thursday, erasing gains from the day before.
Benchmark U.S. crude for September delivery dropped $1.05 to $102.07 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Wednesday, the Nymex contract gained 73 cents after the Energy Department reported a far larger drop in U.S. crude inventories than what analysts had expected.
Brent crude for September delivery, a benchmark for international oils, fell 96 cents to $107.07 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
The price of oil has stayed above $100 a barrel after a civilian jetliner was shot out of the sky last week over a part of eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists and as Israel’s invasion of the Gaza Strip added to risks of instabili  (read more)

Submitted Jul 25, 2014 By:

If emissions regulations hurt Australia, why do Democrats want them for America?

Washington Examiner -- Australia and the United States: Two different countries, two different governing political ideologies, and two differing strategies when it comes to energy and the environment.

As President Obama was using colorful graphics to drum up support for his new carbon emission capping agenda, Conservative Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott was acting on his promise to repeal his nation's carbon tax.

Australia's tax on emissions was intended to create a disincentive to emitting large amounts of carbon dioxide, but Abbott asserted that the carbon tax was hurting the Australian economy. After successfully getting the regulations repealed, the carbon tax officially ended July 17, retroactive to July 1.

Australia's Department  (read more)

Submitted Jul 25, 2014 By:

How to power California with wind, water and sun

Science Daily -- New Stanford research outlines the path to a possible future for California in which renewable energy creates a healthier environment, generates jobs and stabilizes energy prices.
Imagine a smog-free Los Angeles, where electric cars ply silent freeways, solar panels blanket rooftops and power plants run on heat from beneath the Earth, from howling winds and from the blazing desert sun.
A new Stanford study finds that it is technically and economically feasible to convert California's all-purpose energy infrastructure to one powered by clean, renewable energy. Published in Energy, the plan shows the way to a sustainable, inexpensive and reliable energy supply in California that could create tens of thousands of jobs and save billions of dollars in pollution-related health costs.
"If impleme  (read more)

Submitted Jul 25, 2014 By:

Falling gasoline prices may stay lower through summer

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel -- A lack of severe weather and no unscheduled refinery shutdowns have combined to give Milwaukee drivers some good news: Gasoline prices are down about 30 cents from last month's average and 20 cents from last year's average, experts said Wednesday.

And more good news: Nationally, drivers could see these lower prices for the rest of the summer.

"I do believe we have seen our peak price for this year, and prices may hold at the mid-$3 gallon range in Milwaukee for the next month or two," said Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy. "Theoretically, if refinery infrastructure and production of oil is stable, in October or November we could see prices around $3.20 to $3.40 (per gallon)."

The average national price for regular unleaded gasoline has steadily declined after peaki  (read more)

Submitted Jul 25, 2014 By: