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Recent Gas News/GasBuddy Blog

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Privacy advocates take another hit in debate over access to license plate scanner data

AP / Fox News -- A California judge's ruling against a tech entrepreneur seeking access to records kept secret in government databases detailing the comings and goings of millions of cars in the San Diego area via license plate scans was the second legal setback within a month for privacy advocates.

An initial ruling issued Thursday upheld the right of authorities to block the public from viewing information collected on vehicles by networks of cameras on stoplights and police cars. A judge will hear arguments Friday in the case before the ruling becomes final.

The expanding databases are the subject of a broad debate pitting privacy rights against public safety concerns. A LA judge ruled last month that authorities there don't have to disclose records of the 3 million plates they scan each week.  (go to article)

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Cost of Keystone XL likely to jump 85%: TransCanada CEO

CBCnews -- TransCanada Corp. says costs for its long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline will likely balloon to as much as US$10 billion, up from US$5.4 billion.

CEO Russ Girling told the Wall Street Journal that the price tag could rise to a "number that gets you into the high single digits to a 10 number" as the project remains in limbo.

Company spokesman Shawn Howard has confirmed those remarks, adding the higher costs will be passed on to refiners and consumers in the end.

TransCanada is marking what it calls an "unfortunate milestone" for Keystone XL — six years precisely since it applied for a U.S. permit to build the pipeline.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported this week that U.S. hedge funds are eyeing a restructuring of TransCanada.  (go to article)

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In film on alternative car fuels, former Shell executive speaks out

Reuters -- Frustrated by what he describes as a lack of political courage, a former president of the U.S. unit of Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) takes centre stage in a new documentary film that makes the case for using alternative fuels in cars.

The movie, "PUMP," blames oil companies, and what is described as their obstructive tactics, as well as political inertia for preventing the widespread adoption of cheaper and cleaner fuels based on natural gas and alcohol in the United States, world's largest economy.

The former Shell executive, John Hofmeister, has devoted himself to criticizing what he describes as an unhealthy dependence on oil and the high price of gasoline faced by consumers at the pump.

"We have more oil and natural gas than we will ever need" in the United States, Hofmeister, who...  (go to article)

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Q&A: Tea Party star heads to Wisconsin to fight for solar

midwestenergy.com -- Debbie Dooley is not a tree-hugger – in fact she bills herself as a radical right-wing grandmother, and she is a founding member of the national Tea Party and a leader of the Atlanta Tea Party.

But Dooley is also an outspoken proponent of distributed solar generation and other forms of renewable distributed energy. Dooley will be the featured speaker next week at the Wisconsin Solar Energy Industries Association’s Solar Social Speakers series – as advocates in the state say solar is under attack by elected officials, regulators and major utilities.

While in Wisconsin, Dooley will also visit a farm using manure digesters – another form of distributed renewable energy that she thinks would be embraced by many farmers in her home state of Georgia.
 (go to article)

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LED lighting saving money and labor in hog country

midwestenergy.com -- Over the past few years, LED fixtures have taken over streetlights in cities and towns across the country. Next up: American agriculture, especially Midwestern hog-confinement operations.

In Washington County, Iowa, the bullseye of hog production in the state, LEDs “are coming on, and increasing in popularity exponentially,” said Jason Prochaska, owner of Sitler’s Supplies. Since his business began selling a combined LED fixture and bulb about 18 months ago, Prochaska said, “We’ve been doing a ton of projects. We’ve probably sold close to 10,000.”

And hog-confinement buildings, which are seemingly under perpetual construction in this part of the world, use a lot of electricity.  (go to article)

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Do Wind Turbines Need to be Aesthetically Pleasing?

energydigital.com -- Here is a tale of two turbines.

One is utilitarian—maximizing efficiency while scaling back style. The other is a work of art masquerading as an energy source. In the end, they ultimately serve the same purpose—or do they?

The first turbine is a project of French energy giant EDF. The squat new turbines have several blades, are smaller, and supposedly less obtrusive than traditional turbines. However, to quote The Telegraph, to move toward this style of turbine would mean “wind turbines [would] take a turn for the uglier.”

The turbines are set to go into a new farm at Fos-sur-Mer on the Mediterranean cost, close to Marseilles and will consist of 13 turbines. The 26 MW farm has the potential to power 60,000 homes and is set to begin operations in 2016.

..The U.S.’ first offshore wind f
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Loring Development Authority feeling the power of alternative energy

BDN -- LIMESTONE, Maine — On an old concrete parking lot next to a deserted building on the former Loring Air Force Base, there is something very exciting and environmentally friendly going on.

Every day, from sunrise to sundown, 720 state-of-the art solar panels mounted on 30 dual-axis tracking devices produce up to 200 kilowatt-hours of power for the Loring Development Authority.

Combined with another 216 fixed-mount panels that went on line in the fall of 2012, the arrays generate enough electricity to power 55 Maine homes and offset 250 tons of carbon annually.

“We have all the ingredients we needed for a successful large-scale solar project,” LDA President Carl Flora said. “We have a well-developed power infrastructure in place and a lot of wide open spaces. Loring is a big place and is  (go to article)

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New Traffic Radar Gun Will Detect When Drivers Are Texting

Yahoo Tech -- We’re all familiar with the radar guns that police use to catch and ticket speeding drivers. But the next stage of that technology is now poised to nab drivers who are engaged in a behavior that’s possibly even more dangerous: texting behind the wheel.

A Virginia-based company called ComSonics is developing a new type of radar gun that can actually detect whether text message radio frequencies are being emitted from passing cars. According to The Virginian-Pilot, ComSonics says the device is “close to production.”

Virginia is one of 44 U.S. states that has a ban on texting while driving.

As the topic of distracted driving continues to gain nationwide attention, ComSonics isn’t the only company attempting to create at technology designed to temper it.

Third-party apps for Android and iO  (go to article)

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Car recalls: Which brands rate best?

MSN Autos -- LONG ARTICLE

If you’ve been following the news, you’ll have noticed an unusual spike in the number of car-related recalls. The ball got rolling in March with General Motors’ recall some 6.26 million vehicles for ignition-related issues and subsequent grilling by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the American government branch responsible for automobile safety for failing to recall affected vehicles earlier. Then, Toyota was slapped with a landmark $1.2B fine in the United States for misleading consumers about defects. It promptly rolled out five recalls on many of its popular models totalling some 6.4 million cars, trucks, and crossovers.

That’s a lot of recalling – enough to make us wonder which car companies have the least recalls?  (go to article)

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IndyCar 2015: CFH Chooses Chevy Power

Gas2 -- It’s official: the newly-formed Carpenter-Fisher-Hartman unified IndyCar team will tackle the 2015 season of IndyCar racing with Chevrolet’s 675 HP ethanol power unit and aero kits urging them onward. Which, really, shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone.  (go to article)

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Trading Parking Lots for Affordable Housing

New York Times -- We are talking about citywide reform. If you add up all the street-level parking spaces on housing authority lots around town, you get more than 20.3 million square feet, well over half the size of Central Park. Mayors, of course, have known for ages about this public property gold mine. When the Bloomberg administration belatedly proposed letting private developers build market-rate towers on some of this public land to raise money for the housing authority, residents went ballistic.  (go to article)

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Mercedes Sets Up Cloud Firewall to Halt Car-Data Hacking

Bloomberg -- Mercedes-Benz, the world’s third-biggest maker of luxury vehicles, is using a cloud-computing setup to protect data as cars’ mobile links and software expand and the industry prepares for driverless travel.

Elements of the technology will include enabling people in a vehicle to control how much of their data is available to the outside world while they’re on the road, Christine Hohmann-Dennhardt, head of legal affairs at Mercedes parent Daimler AG (DAI), said today at a conference. Drivers will also have the option of erasing information automatically once they’ve left the auto.  (go to article)

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Too much carbon, too little time

The Baltimore Sun -- If increasingly extreme weather events around the world weren't alarming enough, the latest monitoring by the World Meteorological Organization shows last year was the worst ever for rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Their report released Tuesday demonstrates why efforts to curb climate change deserve to be a top priority for U.S. foreign policy. The WMO tracks not just the greenhouse gases emitted by power plants, motor vehicles, factories and other major contributors but what the net effect is on the atmosphere since a certain amount of carbon dioxide is naturally absorbed by plants and oceans. But Mother Nature clearly can't keep up with what man produces as the overall carbon levels reached a record high in 2013.Specifically, the WMO reports that CO2 was measured at 39  (go to article)

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5 reasons why Oregon, Washington gas prices are about to plummet toward $3 again

OregonLive -- After months of having to budget around the most expensive gas in the lower 48 states, Oregon and Washington drivers are about to see pump prices take a nosedive, according to economic forecasters.

In fact, on Friday, Tom Kloza, an analyst with the price-tracking site , sent out this tweet:Gusbuddy predicts gas will slide to $3 a gallon in 30 states over the next couple of months.

However, Oregon and Washington, which currently have the nation's third and fourth most expensive regular unleaded gasoline at $3.84 and $3.85, respectively, the average price will likely bottom out at about $3.15 and $3.25 a gallon, Kloza said.

"Fall is appropriately named for fuel prices," Kloza said in an interview with The Oregonian.

Yes, gas prices typically drop in October as the summer driving seaso  (go to article)

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First E85 ethanol gas station opens in Baltimore

The Baltimore Sun -- The first gas station in Baltimore to offer a type of ethanol gas called E85 opened recently on Frederick Avenue, the result of a partnership designed to help drivers who have flex-fuel vehicles. The station, A1 Auto Repair, at 3041 Frederick Avenue is offering the blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline that can be used in some 11 million vehicles in the nation. The fuel is designed to be better for the environment by reducing greenhouse emissions. Three Brothers/A1 Auto Repair and Protec Fuel, based in Boca Raton, Fla., worked together to offer the fuel at the station.  (go to article)

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Republican Senator Says 2015 Could Be Time For US Oil Export Bill

Reuters -- The top supporter in the U.S. Congress for reversing the 40-year ban on crude oil exports, Senator Lisa Murkowski from Alaska, said next year could be the time for a bill on lifting the restriction.

"I think it may be timely then," Senator Lisa Murkowski, the top Republican on the Senate Energy Committee, told reporters on Thursday when asked if next year would be a good time for legislation.

Lawmakers have avoided introducing a measure to lift the ban ahead of the Nov. 4 midterm elections amid concern that exporting oil could lead to higher gasoline prices. But the fuel prices are based on global markets and several recent studies from the Brookings Institute and other groups have shown that fuel prices would actually fall.

Murkowski has been issuing reports all year on the merits of l  (go to article)

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Chevron Seeking Buyer for Kapolei Oil Refinery in Hawaii

Bloomberg -- Chevron, the world’s third-largest oil producer by market value, is seeking a buyer for one of its smallest refineries, the Kapolei plant on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

The sale of the the 54,000-bpd Kapolei complex is part of a larger plan to divest $10 billion worth of assets over the next three years. Closing the plant would leave Hawaii with a single 93,500-bpd refinery, which Par Petroleum bought from Tesoro last year.

Chevron previously considered turning the Kapolei complex into a terminal. After a review three years ago, the company decided to continue to run it as a refinery. It’s Chevron’s fourth-smallest by capacity, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Selling the refinery in 2011 was “not as competitive” as improving its value, Michael Wirth, Chevron’s executive vice president  (go to article)

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Busting a myth about Oregon's Road Usage Charge Program

Oregon.Gov -- ODOT is first in the nation to create a per-mile charging system (thanks to Oregon’s 2013 Senate Bill 810) that will help fill the widening gap in transportation funding caused by a failing gas tax. The Road Usage Charge Program will assess a charge of 1.5 cents per mile for up to 5,000 cars and light commercial vehicles and issue a gas tax credit to those who volunteer to participate.  (go to article)

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U.S. judge orders discovery to begin in some GM ignition switch cases

Reuters -- A federal judge in Manhattan on Friday ordered discovery to begin for some cases filed against General Motors Co in connection with its recall of millions of cars for a faulty ignition switch.

U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman in the Southern District of New York said plaintiffs could begin requesting documents from the company related to accidents, injuries and lost vehicle value linked to the switch that allegedly occurred after GM emerged from bankruptcy in 2009.
 (go to article)

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This 1 chart exposes climate-science deniers

Marketwatch.com -- Yes, this one pie chart exposes the great science-deniers hoax. The first version of the chart came in 2012 based on research by geologist James Powell on DeSmogBlog, updated last year. Powell is a science author whose works include “The Inquisition of Climate Science.” A former college and museum president, Powell was a member of the National Science Board for 12 years, appointed by President Reagan and George H. W. Bush. Powell is the executive director of the National Physical Science Consortium.  (go to article)

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The 10 Funniest Moments in the Keystone XL Fight

Bloomberg Businessweek -- Six years ago today ... TransCanada first tendered its application to complete a $5.4 billion, 1,179-mile pipeline across the U.S.-Canada border ... to commemorate this, its keenly anticipated sixth anniversary, we offer a top-10 list of the most absurd moments in the Keystone fight so far.  (go to article)

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Fiat to suspend output at Italian plant as demand falls: union

Reuters -- Italian automaker Fiat (FIA.MI) will temporarily suspend production at its Pomigliano plant in southern Italy from Oct. 16-27 amid weak demand, a union representative said on Friday. After meeting with the company to approve the temporary layoff of workers for the time of the closure, Giuseppe Terracciano, secretary general for the Fim-Cisl union in Naples, said the measure was "necessary because of the slowdown in the market in view of the end of the year". Fiat confirmed the temporary suspension, but declined to give any further comment. Fiat often uses the state-backed temporary layoff schemes to avoid over-production by keeping workers at home when market demand is lower. The Pomigliano plant near Naples produces the Fiat Panda model. Some 1,950 of the plant's 4,500 workers have alread  (go to article)

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Moron Drives Off Flatbed Tow Truck To Avoid Parking Ticket

MotorAuthority -- The rules of the road are pretty simple, folks: don’t drive too fast, don’t park where you’re not supposed to, pay attention to the signs—those are the basics. Sometimes you break one of those rules. When you do, own up to it. Don’t do what this guy did. What did this guy do? He went out to find his car on the back of a flatbed tow truck for parking violations, climbed aboard, and backed straight off the vehicle—three-foot drop and all. The situation happened in the Walthamstow, East London area in the UK, according to the Daily Mail. Apart from the damage the car is sure to have suffered, the way the driver escaped from the tow truck—and, ultimately it seems, the ticket—was patently unsafe. A group of children were standing nearby when the motorized moron went flailing off the back of the  (go to article)

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Exxon Mobil puts Torrance, Calif, refinery up for sale - sources

Reuters -- Exxon Mobil Corp. has put its Torrance, California, refinery on the block, according to two people familiar with the matter, making it the latest big oil company to consider exiting the state amid tougher environmental standards.

"Torrance has been looked at extensively," said one of the people, who was not authorized to speak about the sale.
 (go to article)

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NOAA: Yet more global heat records fall in August

AP via Yahoo News -- The globe smashed more heat records last month, including Earth's hottest August and summer, federal meteorologists said Thursday.

May, June and August all set global heat records this year. Meteorologists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the average world temperature in August was 61.36 degrees Fahrenheit (16.35 degrees Celsius), breaking a record set in 1998.

Scientists at NASA, who calculate global temperature a tad differently, also found August as the hottest on record.

August was especially hot in the Pacific and Indian oceans and Africa, but cooler in parts of the United States, Europe and Australia. The world's oceans in August effectively tied June for the seas' all-time heat record.  (go to article)

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Elio: 3 wheels, 84 mpg, $6,800

CNN Money -- Elio Motors has created a prototype two-person vehicle built for efficient transportation. With a price tag of $6,800, it already has more than 15,000 pre-orders.

(VIDEO)  (go to article)

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Car Care Council releases update to free guide for motorists

GasBuddy Blog -- Have a car? Want to know how to best care for it? Well the Car Care Council recently updated its free guide for motorists. The 80-page guide, in color, offers 20 more pages of new information to help motorists be care care aware by better understanding the when, why, and how of caring for their vehicles.Available in English and Spanish, individual copies of the new Car Care Guide can be ordered free of charge by visiting the Car Care Council website at www.carcare.org/car-care-guide. The 80-page guide uses easy-to-understand everyday language rather than technical automotive jargon, fits easily in a glove box and covers the most common preventive maintenance occasions and procedures that should be performed to keep cars safe, dependable and efficient. It also includes descriptions of major vehicle systems and parts, and a list of questions to ask about maintenance or repair procedures. A car care checklist reminds motorists what vehicle systems need to be maintained and when servi  (go to article)

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18 best and worst plug-in electric and hybrids

Yahoo! Autos -- It's hard to believe, but the first mainstream plug-in electric vehicles offered for sale to the general public are just barely turning four years old. Model-year 2011 saw the introduction of the Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in hybrid, and the Nissan Leaf, a pure electric vehicle.

Now well into 2014, those two stalwarts continue to battle it out, but now they're part of an 18-car (and counting) field of contestants. New thinking has brought fresh ideas to market, and the head start the pioneers enjoyed is fading fast.

The new plug-in vehicle entries are nearly evenly split between pure electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. But which are the studs and which are the duds? We run them down from worst to first.

Your List May Vary  (go to article)

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Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative auction prices continue to rise

EIA -- September 3 marked the 25th auction of carbon dioxide (CO2) emission allowances by the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a cap-and-trade program covering nine states primarily in the northeastern United States. Allowance prices for this auction were $4.88, marking the third consecutive auction that prices were at or above $4 per short ton (st) of CO2.
RGGI held its first auction in 2008 and by mid-2010, allowances were selling at or near the price floor, or minimum allowable bid, where they remained for more than two years. This was caused in part by an unanticipated decline in natural gas prices, starting as far back as 2007, that had led to a decrease in CO2 emissions as natural gas displaced coal as a generation fuel in the Northeast. Emissions were well below the targets origi  (go to article)

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Panama Canal expansion will allow transit of larger ships with greater volumes

EIA -- Ships carrying crude oil and petroleum products are limited by size restrictions imposed by several of the main thoroughfares of maritime navigation: the Panama Canal, the Suez Canal, and the Strait of Malacca. These size restrictions provide another way to classify the large tankers that carry most of global crude oil and petroleum product trade.
The Panama Canal, an important route connecting the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, currently has a limited role in global crude and petroleum product transport. The canal's current size restrictions means smaller vessels, with capacities of approximately 400,000-550,000 barrels of light sweet crude oil, are the only ships that can safely pass through the canal. These ships are referred to as Panamax tankers, and their  (go to article)

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Cheap Oil and Expensive Oil Tankers: This Is Contango

Bloomberg -- During the last half of 2008, as the global economy ground to a halt, the price of oil fell from an all-time high of $145 a barrel to less than $40. A lot of people lost a lot of money. Just as in the stock market, though, the oil crash presented a chance to buy crude cheaper than it had been in years and might ever be again. If you had a place to store that cheap oil, you could make a lot of money when prices rebounded.  (go to article)

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Teen lights driver's armpit hair on fire, causes crash

USA Today -- A teenager crashed his sport-utility vehicle after a passenger used a lighter to set the hair in his armpit on fire, according to the Ada County Sheriff's Office.

The crash happened at 5:30 a.m. MT Sunday between Boise and the city of Nampa, Idaho, about 20 miles west. Tristan Myers, 18, was driving when his front-seat passenger, a 16-year-old boy, set Myers' armpit hair on fire, deputies said. The driver lost control of the Ford Bronco, rolling the vehicle.

Two girls in the backseat, ages 15 and 16, were thrown from the vehicle. Myers, his front-seat passenger, and a 17-year-old boy remained in the vehicle.

None of the teens was wearing a seat belt, deputies say.  (go to article)

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New Security Measure Targets Card Thieves at Gas Pumps

MoneyTalksNews -- ew anti-theft software is helping gas stations crack down on credit card fraud at the pump.

Pay-at-the-pump terminals at self-serve gas stations are the perfect place for thieves to rack up charges with stolen credit or debit cards. With no one to personally witness the transaction, thieves have little chance of getting caught.  (go to article)

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These Parking Meters Know If You're Driving a Gas-Guzzler

Business Week -- In Madrid, parking meters are joining the fight against air pollution. Starting July 1, newly installed “smart” meters in the Spanish capital will charge higher parking fees to vehicles that guzzle fuel or emit clouds of exhaust fumes.

After pulling into a parking space, drivers will be prompted to enter their license plate number on a keypad on the meter, which is networked into Spain’s vehicle-registration database. The meter then will set a parking rate based on the car’s age and model. Hybrids and other newer, fuel-efficient cars will get a discount of up to 20 percent, while older vehicles and diesel-powered models will pay a surcharge of as much as 20 percent, according to local press reports.

The system is the first of its kind in the world, Mayor Ana Botella says.  (go to article)

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Oil-Price Quirk Sends Crude Out to Sea

Wall St Journal -- Big oil companies and traders are stashing millions of barrels of crude on massive tankers bobbing in the ocean, in a bid to profit from a quirk in oil markets.

Instead of moving crude from one port to another, a growing number of tankers are serving as floating warehouses for companies including Sinopec Ltd. and Vitol Group, according to people with knowledge of their operations. Other companies such as Mercuria Energy Group are using the tankers to haul crude to on-shore storage facilities, these people said.

In a rare split, crude is cheaper in the spot market than in the futures market, where bets are made on where prices will be in the months ahead. By buying physical stocks of oil and immediately selling futures, traders can lock in a profit.

The storage trade isn't without its pi  (go to article)

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Crude oil futures edge lower on stronger dollar

Investing.com -- Crude oil futures were little changed on Friday, as the strength of the U.S. dollar continued to weigh on the commodity, while markets recovered Thursday's mixed U.S. economic reports on Thursday.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, U.S. crude oil for delivery in November traded at $91.83 a barrel during European afternoon trade, down 0.17%.

Prices tumbled 1.31% on Thursday to settle at $91.98.

Futures were likely to find support at $89.76 a barrel, the low from September 15 and resistance at $94.12, the high from September 16.

On Thursday, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said that its manufacturing index deteriorated to a three-month low of 22.5 in September from August’s reading of 28.0.
Analysts had expected the index to decline to 23.0 this month.

The data came after th  (go to article)

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Economic adviser for oil and gas industry defends 'fracking,' exploration boom

MLIVE -- GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Rayola Dougher, a senior economic adviser at the American Petroleum Institute, carries around printouts of her PowerPoint presentations showing how crude oil and natural gas production in the U.S. has soared in recent years.

Dougher also points to charts that show the domestic oil and gas boom has reduced home heating costs by $1,200 per household and saved Michigan school districts $49 million in heating bills. Dougher was in Grand Rapids to address the annual meeting of the Michigan Oil and Gas Association on Thursday, Sept. 18,

Her charts show how lower natural gas prices have created new jobs in the American manufacturing sector thanks to the energy boom, brought about largely by horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking" technologies.
 (go to article)

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Californians Face 'Hidden' Gas Tax in 2015

GasBuddy Blog -- California wants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020.  And in order to do that, it passed a law (AB 32) that will be the first of its kind in the U.S.  Beginning January 1, 2015, the penalty on carbon emissions will also apply to transportation fuels; to oil and gas.  That means if your car runs on gas or diesel, you’ll pay more. Exactly how much more?  Nobody knows.  Apparently state legislators felt compelled to approve the law first and do the math later.  They don’t believe they need to share the pesky details with the folks who elected them.  Based on input from various industry organizations and consumer groups, it’s estimated that the cap & trade ‘tax’ on carbon emissions has the potential to increase California’s retail gasoline prices from 16 cents to 76 cents per gallon.  Most expect at least a 15-cent increase beginning in 2015....  (go to article)

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TransCanada Corp could be target of activist U.S. hedge funds — including Daniel Loeb’s Third Point

Financial Post -- The company’s shares have been strong despite KXL’s continuing setbacks, and gained 3.31% on the breakup speculation to reach $60.81 in Toronto Thu

But several U.S. activist hedge funds are reviewing the Calgary-based pipeline and power company

Among them is Daniel Loeb’s Third Point, which has amassed a position during the past few months

Discussions about a potential breakup campaign are still in the early stages, but some of TransCanada’s largest shareholders have been contacted by hedge funds interested in shaking up one of N Am’s biggest pipeline companies

Hedge funds are increasingly eyeing energy infrastructure players because there is high demand for their assets

“The whole shale revolution has increased the need for logistics, and you can see a tremendous amount of value bein  (go to article)

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Cadillac’s Super Cruise Means Hands-Free Driving as Early as 2016

Wall St. Cheat Sheet -- Autonomous cars have been on many lips for some time now, and several companies have active programs to research and develop a system that is safe and capable enough to employ on a mass-market basis. Nissan, Google, Tesla, Ford, and even Toyota have all discussed self-driving cars at one point or another, and all have various efforts in varying degrees of completion to get its system to market. For General Motors (NYSE:GM), its autonomous — or more accurately, its semi-autonomous system known as ‘Super Cruise’ — will be making its debut on the 2017 Cadillac CTS.

“We are not doing this for the sake of the technology itself. We’re doing it because it’s what customers around the world want. Through technology and innovation, we will make driving safer,” CEO Mary Barra said in GM’s press...  (go to article)

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Pennsylvania DEP orders Range Resources to pay $4 million fine

AP.org -- Range Resources will pay penalties totaling $4.15 million to settle violations related to six Marcellus Shale gas drilling and fracking wastewater impoundments in Washington County that caused soil and groundwater contamination.

It’s the largest fine ever imposed against a Marcellus Shale gas drilling company, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection.

The consent order will result in the closing of five of the football-field-sized impoundments and require Range Resources to upgrade its operations at two others to meet more stringent, but as yet to be adopted, state standards.

..the problems at the drilling reservoirs, each capable of holding 13 million to 15 million gallons of drilling and fracking wastewater, have been well known for a long time and DEP enforcement  (go to article)

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No nuclear waste: Fuel of future produced at Russia's high-tech underground plant

RT -- Russia’s ‘Breakthrough’ energy project enables closed a nuclear fuel cycle and a future without radioactive waste. The first batch of MOX nuclear fuel has been manufactured for the world’s only NPP industrially power generating breeder reactors.

The first ten kilograms of the mixed-oxide fuel (MOX) - a mixture of plutonium and uranium dioxides (UO2 and PuO2), have been industrially produced by Russia’s nuclear monopoly, Rosatom, at the Mining & Chemical Combine (GKhK) in the Krasnoyarsk region.

A world first, tablets of the fuel of the future have been put on serial production and are destined for Russia’s next generation BN-800 breeder reactor (880 megawatts), currently undergoing tests at the Beloyarskaya nuclear power plant.

The production line, now undergoing start-up and adjustment  (go to article)

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DOE contractor agrees to replace failed Biomass Steam Plant at ORNL

Knoxville News Sentinel -- The U.S. Department of Energy has reached agreement with its energy-savings contractor to replace the failed Biomass Steam Plant at Oak Ridge National Laboratory with a new high-efficiency unit fueled by natural gas.

Johnny Moore, DOE’s on-site manager at ORNL, said the modified contract with Johnson Controls protects taxpayer interests and should provide a long-term solution to the lab’s steam needs.

“Our premise was we’ve got to have steam to deliver to the plant, and it was our goal to come up with a solution that was of least cost to the taxpayer,” Moore said in a telephone interview. He said he’s confident that the decision to switch to a natural gas system will prove successful.

DOE will contribute more than $5 million to Johnson Controls’ contract account to help offset some...  (go to article)

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New Orleans solar company attracts $40 million in financing, plans national expansion

nola.com -- Five years ago, entrepreneur Aaron Dirks was looking into installing solar panels on a Lower Garden District home he and his wife were renovating. He encountered a process that was both costly and complex.

Dirks, a self-described "tree-hugging Republican," had the time, money and interest to jump through the hoops. But he quickly realized many of the people who could benefit most from energy savings did not.

"The people and families that need it the most don't have time to fill out paperwork," Dirks said.

Dirks teamed with fellow entrepreneur Tom Neyhart in 2011 to start PosiGen, a New Orleans-based solar leasing and energy efficiency company that tailors services to low- and middle-income buyers.

PosiGen has grown quickly, employing 165 workers and installing more than 4,000 systems

 (go to article)

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Chevron first energy giant to meet new sustainable shale standards

AP -- Chevron has become the first energy company to meet a new set of voluntary shale gas drilling standards that aim to go beyond existing state laws in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, the Pittsburgh-based Center for Sustainable Shale announced Thursday.

The center is a partnership between major energy companies, environmental groups and charitable foundations. Its certification process consisted of an independent review of Chevron documents and 22 of its production sites in the three states.

The program is meant to work much like Underwriters Laboratories, which puts its familiar UL seal on electrical appliances. The review was conducted by Bureau Veritas, an international testing company that also handles the LEED review process for the U.S. Green Building Council.

Nigel Hearne, pre  (go to article)

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Maine regulators asked to decide whether to charge electricity ratepayers for natural gas expansion

BDN -- PORTLAND, Maine — The Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. has asked Maine regulators to make up their minds by the end of November about charging electricity ratepayers a new fee to pay for new natural gas capacity.

The company, owned by Houston-based energy company Kinder Morgan, on Thursday submitted to the Maine Public Utilities Commission a proposal outlining an offer for the state to buy capacity on its planned pipeline expansion through Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine.

The PUC is considering whether and to what extent it should use authority granted by the Legislature to purchase up to $1.5 billion in pipeline capacity over 20 years. The sweeping omnibus energy bill passed last year allows the state to commit to buy up to 200 million cubic feet of natural gas  (go to article)

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Navy showcasing energy innovation in mobile app

fierceenergy.com -- The U.S. military has been on the cutting edge of energy innovation with microgrid deployments and efforts to conserve energy. Now, the Navy has a new digital application that highlights its innovative efforts in energy conservation and behavior change.

Naval personnel are getting "the maximum warfighting punch" out of their energy efforts, according to the U.S. Navy, and the Energy Warrior application showcases their success.

The app also provides facts about worldwide energy use, U.S. oil production, and the Navy's ongoing energy projects, which support the Secretary of the Navy and Chief of Naval Operations energy goals.
 (go to article)

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Smartphone Movements Could Reveal Empty Parking Spots

Technology Review -- Researchers say “pocketsourcing” could let you find parking spots easily, without requiring cities to add spot sensors. Why It Matters

Cities are trying to find new ways to keep track of parking availability and reduce congestion.

 (go to article)

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Saudi Arabia could fight ISIS with oil — if it can bear the price

Finacial Post -- Saudi Arabia might end up doing more in the growing multilateral campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) than its muted response so far has suggested: Using its oil-market power to drive down the price of oil, which the insurgent group relies on to fund its Islamist rebellion.
While the industry is mindful of a disruption caused by a price collapse, companies are comforted by lower differentials between Canadian and U.S. crude
“What could Arab countries offer the West to help contain this threat? Lower oil prices,”  (go to article)

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Solar soldiers: U.S. to train veterans to install solar panels

CBS News -- The jobs training program is among a host of initiatives the White House says will cut carbon dioxide emissions by more than 300 million tons through 2030, plus save billions of dollars on energy bills for homeowners and businesses. It will launch this fall at one or more military bases and train a total of at least 50,000 workers, including veterans.  (go to article)

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Autumn gas prices expected to hit a 4-year low

CNBC -- The national average price for a gallon of regular gas, already down to $3.37, could drop another 20 cents-good news for consumers this fall ahead of the holiday shopping season, according to Gasbuddy.com.

Analysts say prices could fall to a range of $3.15 to $3.25, and that more than 30 states can expect prices under $3 a gallon.

Typically when gas prices fall, it has a positive impact on consumer spending. Gasbuddy says that due to the decline in prices consumers will spend $2.5 billion less on gas this fall than they did last year and that the money saved could trickle into other areas of the economy

Prices have fallen for a several reasons, the first of which includes seasonal factors. First, every fall the industry switches from its summer blend of gas, to the cheaper winter blend  (go to article)

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