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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...  (go to article)

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Longmont’s Fracking Ban Tossed as Colorado Vote Looms

Bloomberg -- A fracking ban in the city of Longmont, Colorado, was thrown out by a judge amid petition drives to hold a statewide vote in November on restricting oil and gas drilling that generate $30 billion a year.

Judge Dolores Mallard yesterday granted a request by the Colorado Oil & Gas Association to overturn a voter-approved ban on the use of fracking. Mallard rejected Longmont’s argument that the ban is legitimate because the fracking amounts to a purely local matter.

“The judge has invited us to seek the change we need either through the higher courts or the legislature,” Bruce Baizel, director of Earthworks Energy Program, a group that supported the ban, said in an e-mailed statement. “We fully intend to pursue the former on appeal while the latter underscores the need for the citizens...  (go to article)

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Coal bankruptcy highlights pain from cheap gas, tight regulation

Sun Herald -- The coal business, after fueling the Industrial Revolution and powering U.S. growth for much of the past century, is now beset by a glut of cheap natural gas and tighter regulation.James River Coal Co. in many ways epitomizes these ills. After filing for bankruptcy almost four months ago with plans to sell its business, the Richmond, Va.-based company has delayed an auction twice without announcing a buyer.Lower prices, rising competition and oversupply have taken their toll on coal, cutting profits and pushing a number of companies to the brink of insolvency.

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Summer Heat Causing Flat Tires for North Texans

NBCFDW -- Things you can expect to see while driving in North Texas this summer include more construction, more law enforcement patrols and more stranded motorists changing a flat tire.

Arlington driver Arash Ghoreyshi's trip home from the airport was ruined Friday evening by a flat tire on State Highway 360.

"It really sucks. It's, like, hot! I was wearing a long-sleeve shirt, because I was coming from Seattle," said Ghoreyshi.  (go to article)

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Biofuels are included in latest U.S. Navy fuel procurement

EIA -- Recently the Department of Defense (DoD) released its annual procurement for bulk fuels to be delivered to its facilities in the eastern and inland United States and Gulf Coast. For the first time, this procurement requests military-specification diesel fuel and jet fuel that are blended with biofuels. The biofuels components, however, are optional and will only be accepted if certain cost and performance requirements are met. A similar procurement for the Rocky Mountain and West Coast regions is expected to be released later this year.
The U.S. Navy's interest in biofuels is part of its goal to generate 50% of its energy from alternative sources by 2020: nuclear energy, electricity from renewable sources, and biofuels. The Navy currently sources about 17% of its energy supplies from renew  (go to article)

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U.S. oil trades around $102 a barrel

AP -- Wholesale gasoline rose 2.9 cents to $2.87 a gallon.
The price of oil traded around $102 a barrel on Friday, nearly unchanged, as worries over supplies and geopolitical tensions eased.
Oil prices had slipped Thursday after spiking earlier in the week on lower U.S. inventories and tensions in Ukraine and the Middle East.
Benchmark U.S. crude for September delivery rose 2 cents to $102.09 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Thursday, the Nymex contract had dropped $1.05 to close at $102.07.
Lower-than-expected U.S. crude inventories in a weekly Energy Department report had driven prices up on Wednesday, but expectations of stronger growth in demand were later countered as gasoline supplies were nearly three times larger than predicted.
Brent crude, a benchmark for international  (go to article)

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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.  (go to article)

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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  (go to article)

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Energy boom makes oil a surprising safe haven

msn.com -- The idea of US crude being a shelter from turmoil abroad may not be as far fetched as it seems.
The U.S. -- and the global economy -- may have a new safe haven asset: the growing American oil bounty.
The sociopolitical upheaval in places like Iraq, Libya and Venezuela has kept oil prices propped up at more than $100 per barrel, underscoring the unstable nature of many oil-producing nations.
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EPA's Water Contamination Investigation Halted In Texas After Range Resources Protest

Huff Post Gren -- WEATHERFORD, Texas (AP) — When a man in a Fort Worth suburb reported his family's drinking water had begun "bubbling" like champagne, the federal government sounded an alarm: An oil company may have tainted their wells while drilling for natural gas.  (go to article)

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Big Polluters Cry Wolf Over EPA Plan to Protect Health and Fight Climate Change

Huff Post -- Next week the Environmental Protection Agency will host four public hearings on its plan to reduce climate change pollution from power plants. The speakers list is already filling up. Physicians will outline the health hazards linked to climate change.  (go to article)

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German Utilities Bail Out Electric Grid at Wind’s Mercy

bloomberg.com -- Germany’s push toward renewable energy is causing so many drops and surges from wind and solar power that the government is paying more utilities than ever to help stabilize the country’s electricity grid.

Twenty power companies including Germany’s biggest utilities, EON SE and RWE AG, now get fees for pledging to add or cut electricity within seconds to keep the power system stable, double the number in September, according to data from the nation’s four grid operators. Utilities that sign up to the 800 million-euro ($1.1 billion) balancing market can be paid as much as 400 times wholesale electricity prices, the data show.

Germany’s drive to almost double power output from renewables by 2035 has seen one operator reporting five times as many potential disruptions as four years ago, rai  (go to article)

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State orders Enbridge to fix pipeline through Mackinac straits

MPR -- Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and the state Department of Environmental Quality have sent a warning letter to Enbridge Energy. It says the company has to do a better job of securing an oil pipeline that runs through the Straits of Mackinac.

“We just want to make sure that this pipeline’s going to be safe," said Dan Wyant, director of the DEQ. He says a leak in the pipeline would have implications throughout the Great Lakes.  (go to article)

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Climate Models Overestimated Global Warming For The Last 55 Years

The Daily Caller -- Climate models relied upon by scientists and governments may be greatly overstating the warming that has occurred since the late 1950s, argues a paper analyzing the discrepancies between modeled and observed temperatures.

The paper, which was published in the journal Environmetrics, found that observed temperatures differed greatly from modeled temperatures in the tropical lower troposphere and mid-troposphere.

“Over the 55-years from 1958 to 2012, climate models not only significantly over-predict observed warming in the tropical troposphere, but they represent it in a fundamentally different way than is observed,” says Ross McKitrick, economist with the University of Guelph in Canada and co-author of the study.  (go to article)

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Listening devices found at Ford HQ; recently fired engineer investigated

The Detroit News -- The FBI searched Ford Motor Co.’s world headquarters while investigating one of the automaker’s engineers and seized listening devices, computers and financial records, according to search warrants obtained by The News on Thursday.

A lawyer for the mechanical engineer said Ford’s security team feared she was stealing trade secrets by hiding secret recording devices in conference rooms at the Dearborn automaker’s headquarters, nicknamed the Glass House.

Court records that would explain why the FBI had probable cause to search Ford and the engineer’s home are sealed in federal court. The government’s lawyer on the case, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Tukel, heads the National Security Unit in Detroit, successfully prosecuted underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab...
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Jacksonville car dealer gives woman refund in pennies

First Coast News -- JACKSONVILLE, FL-- Irena Mujakovic purchased a 2003 Saab from Holiday Motors in January. She now regrets her decision.

[She had transmission problems and was sold a warranty that didn't cover labor, but wasn't told that. It broke again.]

She filed a complaint with the DMV's district office. The state agency investigated and told the dealer to give her a refund. [...]

This week when she went to pick up her refund, she was surprised. She said the dealer had two bags of coins and some dollar bills.

"There were some one dollar bills, but mostly pennies, like two full bags," she said. [...]

When asked if the coins are retaliation for her complaint, he said business has been slow, that he's pulling money to give her a refund, that it is what it is.

"I am doing what DMV asked me to do."  (go to article)

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Maine City Council Votes To Keep Tar Sands Out Of Its Port

NPR -- Can one small port city make a difference? South Portland, home to an oil tanker facility that has long received crude from abroad, has blocked the owner from exporting tar sands crude and hopes to spur other cities to act.

The city council of South Portland (pop. 25,000) voted 6-1 on July 21 to pass the Clear Skies Ordinance [PDF] that "prohibits the bulk loading of crude oil onto marine tank vessels," said Mayor Jerry Jalbert. Susan Sharon, deputy news director of Maine Public Broadcasting, reports on the story for NPR in addition to MPBN.  (go to article)

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Arizona Residents Ditching Cars, Taking Transit

Streetsblog USA -- Between 2005 and 2012, the average number of miles driven by each Arizona resident declined 10.5 percent, according to PIRG. They are now driving fewer miles per capita than they did in 1994. These trends closely track national driving declines, and show the phenomenon isn’t limited to compact coastal metro areas.

In notoriously sprawling Phoenix, people are starting to ditch their cars. Between 2006 and 2011, the share of households with two or more vehicles decreased 2.9 percent, PIRG reports. And the total number of cars and trucks on the state’s roads is dropping, even as the population grows. Between 2007 and 2012, the number of registered vehicles in Arizona declined 4 percent.  (go to article)

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Hydrogen fuel production may need to be cleaner

Hydrogen Fuel News -- HyperSolar, a developer of hybrid technology that produces hydrogen from sunlight, is beginning to stress the importance of environmentally friendly hydrogen production solutions. Hydrogen is quickly becoming a contender as one of the most widely used energy sources of the modern world. The auto industry is beginning to commercialize vehicles equipped with fuel cells and these energy systems are now seeing more use in the residential sector as well. As fuel cells become more common, the efficient and “green” production of hydrogen fuel is becoming more important.  (go to article)

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CHP 'lane splitting' guidelines taken down

Sanjose Mercury News -- The California Highway Patrol has taken down safety guidelines for a sometimes criticized but legal driving maneuver in which motorcyclists pass stopped traffic by driving between lanes.  (go to article)

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9 Hybrid Sedans With 5-Star Safety Ratings for 2015

Wallstreet Cheatsheet -- Since fuel economy and safety routinely top the list of priorities of auto consumers, hybrid sedans have an obvious appeal for American families. Unlike the variable factors involved with mpg ratings, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has a rigorous battery of crash tests automakers must pass to get themselves a five-star safety rating posted on Safercar.gov.

For cars to receive an overall score of five stars, the vehicle must receive a perfect five stars in at least one of the three tests (frontal crash, side crash, and rollover) while receiving at least four out of five stars in the other two tests. Among 2015 model-year vehicles tested by the NHTSA, only one hybrid sedan scored a perfect five stars, while five notched perfect ratings in two tests...  (go to article)

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The downside of low-end luxury cars

Yahoo! Autos -- This spring, Irene Yaymadjian, a graduate student in Studio City, Calif., decided she was ready to trade up from her sporty Mini Cooper. “I wanted a nice car but something that won’t put you under,” she says. A few years ago, a Honda, Toyota, or a used luxury car might have made her shortlist. But after looking at the CLA, the entry-level model Mercedes introduced last year, Yaymadjian settled on an Audi A3, another recent arrival in the low-end luxury market. Yaymadjian, 29, paid $38,000 for her car, just a little more than she would have paid for a high-end Honda Accord or Ford Fusion.

That sounds like a win for Audi, but wooing younger drivers on a budget has a downside. The market’s getting crowded, and luxury carmakers risk tarnishing their brands by courting comparisons.  (go to article)

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Baby dies after being left in hot car in Kansas

Associated Press -- Police have arrested the foster parent of a 10-month-old girl who died after being left inside a hot car in Wichita, Kansas.

Lt. Todd Ojile said Friday the 29-year-old man was booked on suspicion of aggravated endangerment but has not been charged.

Ojile says the man had "somehow forgotten" leaving the girl in the back seat after picking her up from the baby sitter late Thursday afternoon. He went inside the house with a 5-year-old child but left the baby strapped in the car seat outside.
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6 cars that need to be revived

Yahoo! Autos -- The rumors are constantly flooding into our inboxes of cars X, Y and Z being revived with hybrid powertrains, all-wheel drive and a bunch of other claims that no one can really back up. But can you blame them? Of course I’d like to see a new Supra with 500 horsepower, or an RX-7 with twin-rotaries and a six-speed. For the most part though, we take these rumors with a grain of salt.

The fun part of it, really, is thinking about your favorite childhood cars coming back to life. Those icons of your generation living on in a new form. That being said, here’s six that we think need a new chance at life.

DeLorean DMC-12
Lancia Stratos
Mazda RX-7
Pontiac Fiero
Toyota Supra
TVR Sagaris  (go to article)

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Understanding the Ups and Downs of Gas Prices - Going Beyond the Pump

GasBuddy Blog -- Do you ever wonder why the price at your nearest gas station changes from day to day? With summer season in full swing, people across the U.S. are packing up their cars and taking off for vacations, contending with fluctuating fuel prices at gas pumps along the way. In fact, U.S. travelers just paid the highest Fourth of July weekend gas prices since 2008. But what goes into determining the price of gasoline? Who makes those decisions, and when do they get passed on to you, the driver? To understand, you need to consider the whole story....  (go to article)

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California courts Tesla for its battery 'Gigafactory'

USA Today -- California's Legislature has another bill on deck that could bolster its chances of becoming home to Tesla Motor's giant battery plant, and the up to 6,500 jobs it could create.

It already passed another measure earlier this month that could property tax credits for Tesla to locate its $4-billion to $5-billion battery "Gigafactory" in California, and Gov. Edmund G. "Jerry" Brown signed it into law.  (go to article)

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Volvo’s New SUV Stops You From Making Risky Left-Hand Turns

Wired -- Turning left while driving can be stressful. You’re headed into traffic, with other cars blocking your view of what’s ahead. Mistiming your move can lead to a potentially catastrophic crash. That’s why Volvo—which wants to eliminate fatalities and injuries in its cars by 2020—built its new XC90 SUV to automatically apply the brakes if the driver turns in front of an oncoming car.

Cars have had crash detection systems for a while now, but this is the first time sensors and software have been applied to the left-turn scenario (it also works when you’re going right, so English and Japanese drivers need not worry).

The feature is obviously valuable for city driving, and is also meant to prevent accidents at high-speed intersections where cars have little time to brake or swerve to avoid an i  (go to article)

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EPA’s new rules would clear the air near oil refineries: Editorial

Daily Breeze -- Oil refineries in the South Bay and Long Beach are likely to be facing some tough and long-needed restrictions that will help residents breathe a little easier. It’s too bad it took a lawsuit to get there.

Last week the Environmental Protection Agency held a public hearing in Wilmington — home to three major refineries — on proposed regulations that would cut the level of pollutants refineries can emit by 25 percent and expand monitoring of toxic air pollutants.

The proposed regulations on the country’s 149 refineries only came after pro-environmental groups Earthjustice and the Environmental Integrity Project, on behalf of several local groups, sued the agency in 2012 for failing to update its toxic air emissions and monitoring rules intended to protect public health. Be glad they did.  (go to article)

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Exxon weighs expansion of Beaumont, Texas, refinery

Reuters -- Exxon Mobil is weighing a possible multibillion-dollar expansion of its 344,600 barrel-per-day Beaumont, Texas, refinery that could make it the nation’s largest by 2020, according to sources familiar with the company’s deliberations.

The deliberations at Exxon are focused on the possible addition of a third crude distillation unit, the sources said, and its size would determine how much capacity would increase.

Exxon has also made plans to replace four coking unit drums in 2015 and add two new coker drums in 2017 at the Beaumont refinery, the sources said. The drums turn residual crude oil into petroleum coke, a coal substitute.

The Exxon investment, if made, would bolster the U.S. Gulf Coast's position as a top exporter of fuels to the world at a time when U.S. demand for gasoline and  (go to article)

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Domestic oil production approaching refinery capacity

Bismarck Tribune -- An oversupply of crude oil in the United States isn’t something mentioned very often, if at all. But as a result of surging domestic production, that could be the case in the months ahead with light sweet crude oil production likely exceeding current refinery capacity for that class of crude in the near future.

Tight oil extraction in plays like the Bakken in North Dakota and Eagle Ford in Texas, have led to a renaissance in domestic oil production. The catch - U.S. refineries are nearing full capacity for light sweet crude oil processing - is that most facilities are configured to process heavy crudes instead.

As evidence, the continued buildup of supply of light sweet crude at the U.S. coast may be an indicator that refiners are nearing capacity to process U.S. shale oil at this time.  (go to article)

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The Hits Keep Coming: GM Recalls 718,000 U.S. Vehicles for Bolts, Welds, Lights, and Steering

Car and Driver -- Perhaps to spice up an otherwise mild week—excepting that Acura NSX prototype fire—General Motors has issued six recalls to fix loose bolts, poor welding, and other miscellaneous problems, bringing the automaker’s 2014 North American total to 60 actions.

The 717,949 cars in the U.S. are all from the 2011–2015 model years and bring the total affected U.S. vehicles this year to about 25.5 million—or more than nine times the number GM sold to Americans in 2013. No filings were made available yet by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Here’s the rundown:

On various models with power height-adjustable driver and passenger seats, a bolt can come undone causing the seat to detach from the power adjuster and “move up and down freely,” according to GM. This issue affects the 2011  (go to article)

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Audi to abandon CVTs?

Autoblog -- The continuously variable transmission is one of those technologies that seems to make a lot of sense on paper, but in reality, almost always numbs the driving experience. That's one reason why Audi, according to reports, is planning to phase them out.

One of the first automakers to implement use of the CVT, Audi mates CVTs to larger engines than many other manufacturers, which typically install them on scooters, hybrids and small-displacement hatchbacks. But the time of the Audi CVT (which it calls Multimatic) may be near its end as a report from Australia indicates that Ingolstadt is moving toward a two-gearbox lineup that does not include the rubber-band transmission.

Instead, Audi is said to be focusing its attention on ...  (go to article)

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GM recalls far from calamity for some dealers who find new customers, business

Reuters Via Yahoo News -- The news about deadly crashes linked to a faulty ignition switch, followed by wave upon wave of recalls, did not bode well for General Motors dealers earlier this year. It conjured visions of worried, frustrated drivers pouring onto lots like Raymond Chevrolet, outside of Chicago.

But according to Robbie Long, service director for the dealer and nearby Ray Chevrolet, what looked like "great adversity" has turned into an opportunity.

The hundreds of customers bringing old cars into the family-owned dealerships leave in clean cars with a bucket of goodies. Some drive home a newly purchased car.  (go to article)

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Cellphone Bans Don't Reduce Accidents, Research Finds

Aol Autos -- Common sense says that talking on a cellphone while driving is not a particularly safe thing to do. But recent studies have found banning cellphone use while behind the wheel is not leading to a decrease in accidents.
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Whose Oil Will Quench China’s Thirst?

Oilprice.com -- As the heir-in-waiting to the title of world’s largest economy, China finds itself in a strange position in terms of its oil consumption  (go to article)

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Franken: Obama administration may scale back cuts to ethanol, biodiesel quotas

Minneapolis Star Tribune -- Sen. Al Franken says the Obama administration may scale back projected cuts to ethanol and other renewable fuels production.

An Environmental Protection Agency proposal for renewable fuel standards would reduce by almost 3 billion gallons the amounts of ethanol and other biofuels blended into gasoline in 2014 than the law requires.

After discussing the proposal with a White House official on Thursday, Franken says he believes the EPA will reduce the size of cuts. He still expects an overall drop in renewable fuel quotas.

The EPA established those quotas after Congress passed energy legislation in 2007, aiming to reduce foreign oil demand and greenhouse gas emissions.

Minnesota is one of the nation's largest ethanol producers. Franken says there is no reason to curtail production ...  (go to article)

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2014 Ford Fiesta SFE Test Drive

fox -- Ford's first three-piston motor is a 1.0-liter turbocharged powerhouse with an aluminum block the company says is small enough to fit on a sheet of letter paper or in a piece of carry-on luggage, with room to spare. With it, Ford joins Smart, Mitsubishi and MINI in what’s quickly becoming the year of the three-cylinder.  (go to article)

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As Australia Repeals Carbon Tax, India Doubles Down on Coal

Tax Foundation -- Just as Australia repealed its debated carbon tax, India is intensifying its own taxation of non-renewable energy by doubling its coal tax from $0.83 to $1.67 per metric ton.

India estimates that the tax increase will generate $1.2 billion of additional revenues for its National Clean Energy Fund, which pays for renewable energy projects and environmental cleanup. Notably most of the funds will be devoted to meeting India’s goal of achieving 20,000MW of solar energy by 2022.

India also plans to invest in wind energy, new transmission corridors to distribute the renewable energy, clean energy research and a Ganges River cleanup project.
 (go to article)

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Oil train derails; cars retain cargo

The Spokesman Review -- SEATTLE – Nothing spilled when three tanker cars in an oil train from North Dakota derailed Thursday, but it alarmed environmentalists.

“This is a warning of how dangerous this could be,” said Kerry McHugh, communications director for the Washington Environmental Council.

She noted the train derailed near Puget Sound, under Seattle’s Magnolia Bridge, the main connection to one of the city’s neighborhoods.

“The potential for environmental damage, economic damage and the disruption of people’s lives is huge,” she said.

The train with 100 tanker cars of Bakken crude oil was heading for a refinery at Anacortes and pulling out of the Interbay rail yard at 5 mph when a locomotive and four cars derailed, said Gus Melonas, Burlington Northern Santa Fe spokesman.

 (go to article)

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Gasoline Margins Hit 5-Year, Second-Quarter Low

CSP Daily News -- National retail gasoline margins reached a five-year, second-quarter low this year. Retail fuel margins nationally for regular unleaded gasoline, while having improved in early July (trending toward a record high for the month), averaged 14% below year-ago levels and hit a five-year low for the three-month period ended June 30, according to a research report from Raymond James & Associates.

Regionally, fuel margins were generally weaker in the Southeast and Texas, which averaged 15% and 20% below year-ago levels respectively for the second quarter. The results "temper[ed] our calendar 2Q expectations for Murphy USA, CST Brands, The Pantry and Susser Holdings," the investment firm reported.

National retail fuel margins for regular unleaded gasoline have fallen below year-ago levels in  (go to article)

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Oil futures stall as investors eye gasoline inventories

MarketWatch -- Crude-oil futures moved in a narrow price range in Friday after dropping overnight on high stockpiles of gasoline in the U.S. and as markets await tighter sanctions against Russia.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures for delivery in September traded at $102.04 a barrel at 0607 GMT, down $0.03 in the Globex electronic session. September Brent crude on London’s ICE Futures exchange rose $0.14 to $107.21 a barrel.

Both the oil benchmarks lost almost a dollar each overnight, and Nymex crude has now settled lower for three of the past five sessions and Brent has been down for two of the past three sessions.

The real concern for U.S. crude-oil traders is that ample gasoline inventories and falling gasoline prices may prompt refiners to cut back on operating levels,  (go to article)

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BNSF train carrying North Dakota oil derails in Seattle

Reuters -- (Reuters) - A Burlington Northern Santa Fe train carrying crude oil derailed as it left a railyard in north Seattle on Thursday, but there were no reports of a spill or injuries, BNSF said in a statement.

Four railcars came off the tracks at around 2 a.m. PDT (0900 GMT), three of which were carrying crude oil, said BNSF, which is owned by Berkshire Hathaway. The train originated in North Dakota and was bound for Tesoro Corp's 120,000 barrel-per-day Anacortes oil refinery, 80 miles (129 km) north of the city, Tesoro confirmed.

The derailment comes at a pivotal moment for the booming crude-by-rail industry, which has come under intense scrutiny after a series of accidents over the past 18 months.  (go to article)

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US Oil Refineries Running At Record Levels Amid Domestic Supply Boom, But Pump Prices Will Still Hur

IBT -- U.S. refiners are processing oil at record levels this summer, thanks to the boom in North American energy production, expanding refinery capacity and falling operating costs. But all that extra gasoline doesn't mean less pain at the pump.

Refinery inputs totaled 16.8 million barrels of crude oil per day in each of the past two weeks, smashing the previous record from the summer of 2005, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), a federal statistics agency, said in its latest weekly petroleum report. Refineries produce motor fuels like gasoline and diesel as well as jet fuel, propane and petrochemical feedstocks, among other products.

“We’re pumping a lot of juice — these refineries are running hard,”  (go to article)

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Prius Claims World Record: 581 mpg

GasBuddy Blog -- It's no secret that one of the obstacles automakers must overcome to sell hybrids is the apprehension consumers have about driving range and how far they'll be able to go before refueling...

Now Toyota is bragging that its Prius plug-in hybrid hit the equivalent of 581 miles per gallon on Germany’s famous Nürburgring Grand Prix-style race track, known as the “The Green Hell” for its challenging curves and steep climbs in the forests 75 miles northwest of Frankfurt.  ...  (go to article)

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Lehr’s new outboard engines run on propane, not gasoline

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel -- These outboard engines won't cook burgers and brats, but they use the same fuel as a barbecue grill.

Lehr Inc., a Los Angeles company with its national sales and marketing office in Oshkosh, has made a few waves in the marine industry with outboards that can run on a propane canister used on a camp stove.

The outboard engine was invented in Wisconsin in the early 1900s, and it still has strong ties to the state through boating, Mercury Marine and the Evinrude brand based in Sturtevant.

Lehr says it has sold about 10,000 engines, a drop in the bucket compared with Fond du Lac-based Mercury Marine Inc., but the start-up company has gained sales through large r  (go to article)

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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  (go to article)

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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.
 (go to article)

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Russia threatens to hit British companies in 'retaliation' for sanctions

The Telegraph -- Russia has issued a threat to seize the assets of British companies including BP and Shell as a retaliation against David Cameron’s demand for tough sanctions.

In a mounting war of words, a senior diplomatic source claimed Moscow would “fight back” against any industry-wide EU sanctions by putting British companies working in Russia oil on the frontline.

“We want friendly relations. We will go along as far as we can. Then we will retaliate,” the figure said.

The official measures will include seizing the assets of British firms, adding: “BP and Shell have a lot of assets in Russia.”

The two firms have major partnerships with Russia energy firms Gazprom and Rosneft.

In March, senators loyal to Mr Putin proposed freezing the assets of European and American companies in Russia in...  (go to article)

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Venezuela state oil company evaluates offers to buy Citgo -media

Reuters -- Venezuela's state-run oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) is considering offers to buy its U.S. downstream subsidiary Citgo, industry research group Argus Media reported on its website on Thursday.

The government has received three separate offers to buy Citgo submitted through Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank, Argus said citing energy ministry officials.

"The offers are in the range of $10bn to $15bn for the Citgo assets, including three U.S. refineries with a combined nameplate crude processing capacity of 757,000 barrel per day (bpd), 48 products storage facilities, three wholly owned Citgo pipelines and stakes in six other U.S. pipelines."

PDV America, Inc., an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of PDVSA, owns the 427,800 bpd Lake Charles refinery in Louisiana,...  (go to article)

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Electric Cars Equal Gasoline Cost Of Just 75 Cents A Gallon

Yahoo Autos -- The last time you could buy a gallon of gasoline in the U.S. for 75 cents was around the late 1970s.

If you own an electric car today though, the price you're paying for electricity is equivalent to about 75 cents per gallon.

For comparison, the current average for gas prices in the U.S. is about $3.70 a gallon--almost five times as much.

So if you want to drive around like the last thirty-five years or so of gas price increases haven't happened, the message is simple: buy an electric car.
 (go to article)

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Teenage son discovers his deceased father's ghost car in Xbox rally game

Yahoo Autos -- "Moving" story brings commenters to tears

Losing a parent at just six years of age is unimaginable. You may vaguely remember some of the wonderful memories from that brief time spent together, but the pain surely never goes away. I imagine you cling to those memories dearly, grasping hold of them and praying that over time you won't forget.
 (go to article)

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