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WTI Crude Declines After U.S. Gasoline Supplies Rise

Bloomberg -- West Texas Intermediate declined after inventories of gasoline expanded for a third week in the U.S., the world’s largest oil consumer. Brent fell in London.

Futures decreased as much as 0.4 percent in New York after rising 0.7 percent yesterday. Gasoline stockpiles expanded by 3.38 million barrels, compared with a projected gain of 1 million, according to an Energy Information Administration report yesterday. Crude stockpiles at Cushing, Oklahoma, the biggest U.S. oil-storage hub, dropped by 1.45 million barrels to 18.8 million, the least since November 2008, the report showed.

“High refinery runs in the U.S. are translating into a gasoline stock build as we are starting to look at the end of the gasoline season,” Olivier Jakob, managing director at Petromatrix GmbH in Zug, Switzerland,  (go to article)

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Let Our Oil and Gas Go

New York Times -- AS a young reporter covering energy for The New York Times, I saw firsthand the distortions and inefficiencies caused by the web of regulations that followed the Arab oil embargo of 1973-74, and the resulting surge in gasoline prices.

So I shared in the frisson of excitement last month when the Commerce Department cleared two Texas companies to export an ultralight, processed form of oil called condensate. It seemed like a step toward relaxing the ban on the export of crude oil, the biggest stricture remaining from the ’70s energy crisis.

But then the Obama administration quickly insisted that the Commerce Department, in narrowing the definition of crude oil so that condensate could be exported, was not about to lift the ban more widely. “There has been no change to our policy on crude  (go to article)

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DOT proposes tougher oil-train safety rules

USA Today -- Spurred by a boom in oil-carrying trains and several recent tragic accidents, the Obama administration proposed stricter rules Wednesday for tank cars that transport flammable fuels.

The long-awaited proposal will require the phaseout, within two years, of tens of thousands of tank cars unless they are retrofitted to meet new safety standards. It will also require speed limits, better braking and testing of volatile liquids, including oil.

"We need a new world order on how this stuff moves," Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx told reporters in announcing the rules. "More crude is being shipped by rail than ever before."

Foxx said DOT tests have found that oil produced in North Dakota's Bakken shale region, compared to other crudes, "is on the high end of volatility" and  (go to article)

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Biden busts out the whiteboard to give lawmakers a history lesson

Yahoo! News -- A new video posted to YouTube on Wednesday features the vice president in front of a whiteboard giving viewers a lesson on America's infrastructure — specifically, the country's crumbling roads and bridges.

"The first national road was built in the early 1800s," Biden's lesson began. "In 1808, there was a guy named DeWitt Clinton who was the governor of New York. He said, 'I'm going to build a thing called the Erie Canal.' He built it from New York all the way up to Buffalo."

"The project," Biden said, "generated hundreds of millions of dollars in investments over time all along that route.

"Then along came 1863 in the middle of the Civil War when a Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, knew America had to be united, and that was the way to do it: a transcontinental railroad".  (go to article)

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Hydrogen fueled vehicles: Their future is closer than you think

GasBuddy Blog -- To the 48% of consumers who think that hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are at least a decade away, the auto industry is saying, “Welcome to the year 2024!” In May, Hyundai Motor Co. began leasing a fuel-cell version of its Tucson sport-utility vehicle in California — the first mass- produced fuel cell vehicle to be sold in the United States. Other automakers plan to introduce their vehicles beginning next year. To support the sale — or leasing — of these new vehicles, the California Energy Commission announced in May that it is investing $46.6 million to help develop the hydrogen fueling infrastructure in the state.  This latest investment will add 28 stations to the nine in operation and 17 under development in the state, according to USA Today. ...  (go to article)

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Obama administration unveils stronger safety rules for oil trains

The Hill -- The Obama administration on Wednesday unveiled strict rules for railway safety largely aimed at safeguarding shipments of crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken shale formation.  (go to article)

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After the Guy on the Right Goes Up in Flames, Watch the Guy on the Left Make Everything Worse

The Blaze -- Following a twist on age-old fire safety advice, one man stopped, hopped (into his car) and rolled (away).

But he neglected another piece of age-old fire safety advice: don’t go ripping apart gas lines.

A video uploaded to LiveLeak on Wednesday purports to show disaster unfolding at a gas station in Muscat, Oman.

Two individuals on scooters stop to fill up, but as one of them appears to kick start his scooter, the vehicle erupts in flames.  (go to article)

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Popular used hybrids at a glance

Chronicle Herald -- It started with the automatic transmission, again with the fuel injector, and most recently, with the hybrid car: shoppers skeptical of new technologies wondered how they’d be to live with after some years and miles of service under their belts.

Hybrids have their disbelievers, especially in the used-car market. How long will the batteries last? Will the complicated network of wiring and modules and electric motors cause issues as the vehicle ages? Will resale values stay strong if hybrid cars don’t catch on any further than they already have?

Thankfully, and largely due to the extensive research and development put into hybrid models ahead of their launch, many used hybrid models appear to be safe bets.

Here’s a look at some of the common used hybrid cars in the used market today.
 (go to article)

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Brazil Fines Ex-Petrobras Executives $792 Million on Refinery

Bloomberg -- Brazil’s audit court fined four former top officials of Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PETR4), including ex-Chief Executive Officer Jose Sergio Gabrielli, a combined $792 million for mismanagement in the purchase of a U.S. refinery.

The National Accounts Tribunal, which oversees public spending, fined Gabrielli and former heads of refining, production and international business units, Augusto Nardes, the president of the court known as TCU, said today in Brasilia after a ruling. The executives of the state-run company allegedly mismanaged public funds in the purchase of a 100,000-barrels-a-day refinery in Pasadena, Texas, according to the ruling, which orders the executives to pay the money back to Petrobras, as the state-controlled oil producer is known.

 (go to article)

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Chart: Russia Is Insanely Dependent on Oil and Gas Money

NEW REPUBLIC -- As the United States and Europe prepare to impose tougher sanctions on Russia, it’s worth remembering just how dependent that country is on energy exports. This is a double-edged sword: The dependence gives the world significant leverage to inflict economic damage on the Kremlin, but Europe’s reliance on Russian energy exports puts their economies at risk if they follow through on that threat.

Consider: In 2013, the United States exported more than $1.5 trillion of goods. Of those, just $137 billion were either crude oil or petroleum products. (Due to the Energy Department's slow approval process, the U.S. has a de facto ban on natural gas exports.) In Russia, on the other hand the export of crude oil, petroleum products and natural gas made up more than two-thirds of their total exportS:  (go to article)

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2015 Porsche Cayenne Debuts With E-Hybrid Powertrain

AutoGuide.com -- The 2015 Porsche Cayenne has officially been unveiled with new styling and more performance.

Sporting a sharper design, the 2015 Cayenne will be offered in four variants in the U.S.: Cayenne Diesel, Cayenne S, Cayenne Turbo and Cayenne S E-Hybrid, which is the first plug-in hybrid in the premium SUV segment. It gets an entirely new front end along with air blades, which are air fins located on the right and left of the vehicle’s front end that help guide air to the intercoolers for cooling. Standard on the Diesel, S and S E-Hybrid models will be Bi-Xenon headlights equipped with “hovering” four-point LED daytime running lights. On the Cayenne Turbo, high-performance LED headlights will be standard along with the Porsche Dynamic Light System (PDLS).  (go to article)

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After legal challenge, Maine utility regulators again OK $333 million partnership between Emera, Fir

Bangor Daily News -- That partnership first approved in 2012 involves Emera Inc. subsidiary Northeast Wind taking a 49 percent stake in the company JV Holdco, which would have ownership of certain First Wind projects. The Ontario-based Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp. would also have a stake in those projects.

The renewed approval stands to bolster First Wind’s financing for projects in the state. As an indication of concern over the impact the court’s ruling would have on First Wind’s projects, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection asked the company to again file documentation proving it had access to money required for developing, maintaining and decommissioning its projects.

Opponents of the partnership wrote in briefs filed with the PUC that a partnership between an Emera entity and First W  (go to article)

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130 Environmental Groups Call For An End To Capitalism

The Daily Caller -- Environmentalists have declared that global warming can’t be stopped without ending the “hegemonic capitalist system,” saying that cap-and-trade systems and conservation efforts are “false solutions.”

“The structural causes of climate change are linked to the current capitalist hegemonic system,” reads the final draft of the Margarita Declaration, presented at a conference including about 130 environmental groups.

“To combat climate change it is necessary to change the system,” the declaration adds.

Environmental activists met in the oil producing, socialist country of Venezuela as part of a United Nations-backed event to increase civil engagement in the lead up to a major climate conference.

But environmentalists surprised U.N. officials by offering up a declaration that not only seek  (go to article)

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Industry wants green light for smart cars

The Hill -- Advocates of “smart” cars say federal regulators must listen more closely to developers’ concerns to allow emerging technologies to hit the roadways.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) has been encouraging the development of so-called "connected vehicles" that can use technology to communicate with other cars and even infrastructure like traffic lights to improve mobility for drivers.

But Intelligent Car Coalition Executive Director Catherine McCullough said Tuesday at a Tech in Policy event hosted by The Hill that the technology could be deployed more effectively if regulators listened better to industry.  (go to article)

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Redesigned 2015 Toyota Yaris promises some needed improvements

ConsumerReports.org -- The redesigned 2015 Yaris will continue to be offered in 3- and 5-door liftback versions, and beneath the fresh skin, Toyota claims it has addressed several shortcomings in the outgoing model. Notably, Toyota has retuned suspension and added sound insulation to make the subcompact quieter.  (go to article)

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Industry poll says Americans want more oil production, support offshore drilling

Fuel Fix -- Americans overwhelmingly want the U.S. to produce more domestic oil and natural gas, but few believe the federal government is doing enough to encourage such activity, according to an industry-backed survey released Wednesday.  (go to article)

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Oil gains on sharp drop in U.S. supplies

Fuel Fix -- The price of oil rose Wednesday after the government reported that U.S. oil supplies rose more than expected.  (go to article)

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U.S. Refineries Running at Record Levels

EIA -- Refinery inputs hit a record-high 16.8 million barrels per day for the week ending July 11, eclipsing the previous record from summer 2005 and more than 280,000 bbl/d higher than a year ago.

Refinery gross inputs in the Midwest have been higher than the five-year range since late April. In most years, Midwest receipts of motor gasoline from the Gulf Coast increase during the summer. However, because of recent and planned changes to pipeline infrastructure that have altered the types of products moved, along with the reversal of another line, less gasoline is expected to enter the Midwest from the Gulf Coast this summer, increasing the incentive for in-region gasoline production.

According to EIA's refinery capacity report,the Midwest has 275,000 bbl per calendar day (7.9%) more operating  (go to article)

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New US rail regs could cause tank car shortage, imperil production

Platts -- New rail safety regulations proposed Wednesday by the Obama administration could cause a shortage in compliant tank cars, potentially shutting in or stranding production, officials in the oil and ethanol industries warned.

Tank car manufacturers had previously said that it could take up to 10 years to fully phase out DOT-111s, as they already face year-long backorders for new builds. Tank cars are in high demand as it is, amid booming domestic crude and ethanol production, industry sources have said.

"I think the idea that you're going to basically phase out 70% of the country's tank-car fleet over a 24-month period is perhaps a bit fanciful," said Chris Tucker, senior managing director of FTI Consulting, which has several clients in the oil and gas industry. "I think more likely you'll  (go to article)

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Porsche, Jaguar Audi top new J.D. Power study

USA Today -- Porsche, Jaguar and Audi are the brands that seem to delight new buyers the most, says a new study released Wednesday by J.D. Power and Associates.

Porsche has led the U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout study, or APEAL, for 10 years. Basically, the study judges which models and brands that buyers find most gratifying and appealing in 77 categories. In the new survey, Hyundai is the top mainstream brand.  (go to article)

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Porsche, Hyundai stand out in latest J.D. Power study

Detroit Free Press -- Hyundai ranked highest among mainstream automakers while Porsche ranked highest overall in a J.D. Power study released Wednesday that measures how much car buyers like their new cars.

Hyundai also was the top-ranked brand in another J.D. Power study earlier this year that measured quality during the first 90 days of ownership.

The APEAL Study, now in its 19th year, measures automotive performance, execution and layout by asking owners to evaluate their vehicle across 77 attributes, which combine into an overall APEAL score that is measured on a 1,000-point scale.

Porsche scored 882, followed by Jaguar with 862, Audi with 858, Land Rover with 853 and BMW with 849.

Lincoln was the top-ranked domestic brand with a score of 835 followed by Cadillac at 826.

Hyundai, ranked 13th overall,  (go to article)

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GM rolls out 2015 vehicles with wireless hotspots

Detroit Free Press -- Now that General Motors has become the first major automaker to sell vehicles with wireless Internet access, the true test starts: How well will it work?

Phil Abram, GM chief infotainment officer, said today the automaker conducted “extensive testing” with service provider AT&T to ensure the new 4G LTE-equipped vehicles work seamlessly.

“This is not a science project for General Motors,” Abram said. “The breadth in which we are doing this … is a recognition that this connectivity is a universal need.”

The 4G technology — which requires a monthly subscription ranging from $5 to $50 depending on the data package or one-time annual payments ranging up to $200 — will be offered on more than 30 models for the 2015 model year.

The services — which is already available on the Chevrolet Malibu  (go to article)

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Continental offers cheaper head-up displays for cars

CNET -- Head-up displays, a technology that got its start overlaying useful information onto pilots' windscreens, is something of a rarity in cars. But a technology from auto-industry supplier Continental makes it cheaper and, the company hopes, more widely used.

The earlier HUDs with the more sophisticated mirrors cost about €1,000 euros (which converts to $1,346, AU$1,425 or £788). The German company didn't detail the combiner HUD price, but did say it was cheaper and is aiming for the "broadest possible use."  (go to article)

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Puncture-Prone Rail Cars May Be Phased Out in Two Years

Bloomberg News -- The Obama administration proposed phasing out older tank cars tied to a deadly derailment a year ago and lowering speed limits as part of a set of new rules intended to reduce the risks of hauling crude oil by rail.

The proposal, which follows a series of fiery accidents, also would require improved braking systems and testing of oil before being loaded as well as thicker tanker walls, according to Transportation Department statement today. The rule applies to shipments of corn-based ethanol as well as oil.

“Today’s proposal represents our most significant progress yet in developing and enforcing new rules to ensure that all flammable liquids, including Bakken crude and ethanol, are transported safely,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in Washington.  (go to article)

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Oil futures rise on supply concerns

Market Watch -- SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Crude-oil futures rose Wednesday after a U.S. government report showed a larger-than-expected decline in U.S. inventories.

Crude oil for September delivery CLU4 +0.59% , the new front-month contract, rose 73 cents, or 0.7%, to settle at $103.12 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil futures have been up for four of the latest six sessions.

The contract had traded around $102.57 a barrel before the Energy Information Administration said crude inventories declined 4 million barrels in the week ended July 18, more than the 2.6-million-barrel drop that analysts polled by Platts had expected.

The EIA said gasoline supplies added 3.4 million barrels in the week, while distillates, which include heating oil, increased 1.6 million barrels. The analysts  (go to article)

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Sponge breakthrough could expand range of electric vehicles

FierceEnergy -- Through research funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) has developed a porous, sponge-like nanomaterial made of silicon that could help lithium-ion batteries run longer by giving the batteries' electrodes the space they need to expand without breaking.  (go to article)

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Chevy Cruze Diesel Caught in Game of Catch Up

Ward's Auto -- The optional 2.0L 4-cyl. turbodiesel engine for the Chevrolet Cruze was one of the most eagerly anticipated arrivals of the ’14 model year and it lived up to the hype on the performance front, winning a 2014 Ward’s 10 Best Engines award, but has sputtered on the showroom floor.

The Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel has accounted for 5,974 deliveries since its launch one year ago, according to WardsAuto data. That’s a scant 2.0% of the compact sedan’s powertrain mix and miles behind the 10% target former Chevrolet sales chief Don Johnson proclaimed during a media event for it last year.

The Cruze diesel also badly trails its chief rival, the Volkswagen Jetta TDI. Over the same period, the Jetta diesel has racked up 46,409 deliveries, and the engine accounts for 26.7% of its mix.
 (go to article)

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Add Tuscaloosa Marine Shale to the U.S. Oil Bonanza

GasBuddy Blog -- Yet another Gulf Coast oil play may have the potential to yield millions of barrels of high quality crude oil… but don’t look for it in Alabama.  The Tuscaloosa Marine Shale holds an estimated 7 to 9 million barrels of light sweet crude spanning across a large slice of mid-Louisiana and extends into counties in southwest Mississippi.  LSU research says the TMS is deposited in a marine environment that existed across the Gulf Coast region approximately 90 million years ago. So why is it blossoming now? ...  (go to article)

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Six new GM recalls of 717,950 vehicles

USA Today -- General Motors announced six more recalls today, totalling 717,950 newer-model U.S. vehicles for a variety of defects.

That brings the number of GM recalls this year to 60, totaling 26.41 million vehicles.
 (go to article)

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Cost vs. Carbon: Should You Buy an Electric Car?

Yahoo! Tech -- We were driving a 2014 Cadillac ELR luxury coupe, about to enter the freeway, ZZ Top’s “I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide” booming through the speakers.

“Watch this,” my wife said. She tapped her foot ever so slightly on the accelerator. We zoomed from 40 to 85 mph in a heartbeat. I gripped the door handle tighter as she weaved around cars on Highway 13, laughing maniacally.

When she reluctantly relinquished the wheel, I understood why. This is not your daddy’s Caddy. As with most electric cars, the ELR’s acceleration was instantaneous — think the Millennium Falcon with wheels. It hugged the curves like it was never going to see them again. Driving the thing, I alternated between giddy exhilaration and sheer terror.

“Are electric motors awesome, or what?”  (go to article)

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Students Build Record-Breaking Solar Electric Car

Engineering.com -- Sunswift, a team of engineering students from the University of New South Wales, designed and built a car that holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest solar-powered vehicle. In 2011, that car reached a top speed of 88 km/h (55 mph). The team hopes that its newest vehicle, eVe, will break a 20-year-old electric vehicle record for the highest average speed over a 500 km (310 mi) distance. The current record is 73 km/h (45 mph), and the Sunswift team is confident that eVe can beat that by a comfortable margin. For the record attempt on July 23, 2014, the car will only use a fully charged battery bank without help from its solar panels.  (go to article)

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Hydrogen Production - Current Technology

Energy.Gov -- The development of clean, sustainable, and cost-competitive hydrogen production processes is key to a viable future clean energy economy. Hydrogen production technologies fall into three general categories: thermal processes, electrolytic processes, and photolytic processes.

Thermal Processes

Some thermal processes use the energy in various resources, such as natural gas, coal, or biomass, to release hydrogen, which is part of their molecular structure. In other processes, heat, in combination with closed-chemical cycles, produces hydrogen from feedstocks such as water—these are known as "thermochemical" processes.
•Reforming of Natural Gas
•Gasification of Coal
•Gasification of Biomass
•Reforming of Renewable Liquid Fuels
 (go to article)

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HyperSolar Stresses Need for "Greener" Hydrogen Fuel Production Solutions

The Wall Street Journal -- SANTA BARBARA, CA--(Marketwired - July 22, 2014) - HyperSolar, Inc. (OTCQB: HYSR), the developer of a breakthrough technology to produce renewable hydrogen using sunlight and water, discussed today the importance of understanding how hydrogen fuel is produced and implemented into hydrogen fueling station infrastructure.

Recent product rollout announcements from auto manufacturers including Hyundai and Toyota, partnerships between Plug Power and brands like Walmart and Ace Hardware, and California's recent investment and commitment to building 100 hydrogen fueling stations - have sparked widespread support and analysis of the hydrogen fuel cell industry. However, as HyperSolar is quick to note, there is uncertainty from the public and private sectors as to where the hydrogen is produced t  (go to article)

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Should the U.S. Implement a New 'Value-Added Carbon Tax' to Replenish the Federal Highway Trust Fund

The Energy Collective -- The Federal Highway Trust Fund (HTF) provides revenue to enable States’ to maintain and upgrade many U.S.-wide highway and road systems. The primary source of HTF revenues come from Federal excise taxes on petroleum gasoline and diesel on-road motor fuels  (go to article)

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Odds of dying in an auto accident depends on where you live.

Autoblog -- Motorists in Massachusetts and Washington DC can breathe easier on their afternoon commutes today. Their chances of dying in a traffic accident are the lowest in the nation. Drivers in West Virginia, South Carolina and North Dakota, on the other hand, may want to be especially vigilant. They're collectively navigating some of the deadliest roads in the United States.

Your odds of dying in a traffic accident depend a lot on where you live. Michael Sivak, a researcher at the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute, has analyzed federal traffic data, and found a wide disparity in the fatality rates across individual US states and the District of Columbia.
 (go to article)

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TransCanada: Northern Courier oilsands pipeline gets green light from regulator

The Canadian Press | The Canadian Press -- CALGARY - TransCanada Corp. says its $800-million Northern Courier pipeline proposal has been given the green light by the Alberta Energy Regulator.

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2015 Volkswagen e-Golf Vs. Golf TDI: Back-To-Back Test Drive

Green Car Reports -- With the introduction of the 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf late this year, VW will be the only automaker to offer (in the U.S.) both diesel and all-electric versions of the same model in the U.S. While we expected to plan a back-to-back drive of these two models at some point, we didn’t expect it to come so soon. At a ride-and-drive event called Drive Revolution, organized in part by yours truly this past week, we convinced Volkswagen to bring both models -- both as four-door hatchbacks, both the same color.

Although the e-Golf doesn’t arrive in U.S. spec until November or so, and our test car was Euro-spec, aside from headlamps, taillamps, trim pieces, and of course some unseen elements like airbags, the two models were very close in appearance and equipment.

Subjectively, how does the e-G  (go to article)

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EIA: Crude inventories sag again, but gasoline supply bounces higher

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

CRUDE INVENTORIES:
Crude oil inventories decreased by 4.0 million barrels to a total of 371.1 million barrels. At 371.1 million barrels, inventories are 6.9 million barrels above last year (1.9%) and are in the upper half of the average range for this time of year.

GASOLINE INVENTORIES:
Gasoline inventories increased by 3.4 million barrels to 217.9 million barrels. At 217.9 million barrels, inventories are down 4.8 million barrels, or 2.2% lower than one year ago. Here's how individual regions and their gasoline inventory fared last week: East Coast (-0.4mb); Midwest (+0.1mb); Gulf Coast (+2.6mb); Rockies (N/C); and West Coast (+0.9mb). It is important to note which regions saw increases/decreases as this information likely drives pri  (go to article)

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2015 Chrysler 200 Among Vehicles Recalled for Possible Shock Problem

Edmunds -- Chrysler is recalling approximately 21,000 vehicles, including the 2015 Chrysler 200 sedan, to inspect, and, if necessary, replace the shocks or struts, the automaker said on Tuesday.

Certain 2014 Ram 1500 pickup trucks and 2015 Jeep Cherokee SUVs are also included in the recall. The vehicles were built within a 16-day period ending on June 6, 2014.
 (go to article)

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Obama administration to unveil stricter fuel regulations for trains: WSJ

Reuters -- (Reuters) - The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to announce new regulations related to more stringent safety standards on trains carrying flammable fuels on Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported citing a source on Capitol Hill familiar with the process.

Reuters had earlier reported that the Obama administration was due to unveil a suite of safety reforms that would rewrite standards conceived long before the rise of the shale oil renaissance.

The rules are expected to be announced on Wednesday morning by U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx,  (go to article)

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2015 Ford F-150 weight loss secrets revealed

FOX News -- The 2015 F-150 is a bigger loser than expected.

Ford has revealed that the new aluminum-bodied pickup will weigh up to 732 pounds less than the outgoing model, beating the 700-pound estimate that was first announced at the Detroit Auto Show in January.

The weight differential will vary by model, but will be at least 625 pounds across the board.  (go to article)

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10 best cars for older drivers

Consumer Reports -- Many seniors begin having limitations long before they lose their driving ability. Age takes its toll on flexibility and vision, meaning many older drivers experience an increased challenge simply getting in and out of their vehicles and being able to see out properly.

Despite the huge, growing market, automakers have been somewhat hit or miss in designing cars that are friendlier for seniors. Some are designing controls with larger buttons and more readable labeling. For drivers who find it difficult to turn their heads, features such as rear-backup cameras, blind-spot-detection systems, small convex mirrors added to a car’s regular side mirrors, and cross-­traffic alerts that detect passing cars in the rear when backing up help increase visibility and awareness of surrounding cars.  (go to article)

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U.S. Oil Futures Rise on Falling Cushing Inventories

Bloomberg -- est Texas Intermediate oil rose after an industry report showed stockpiles at Cushing, Oklahoma, the contract’s delivery point, tumbled. Brent gained as fighting intensified in eastern Ukraine.

Supplies at the hub fell by 1.4 million barrels last week, the American Petroleum Institute was said to have reported yesterday. The Energy Information Administration, the Energy Department’s statistical arm, will release its U.S. inventory data today. Separatists shot down two Ukrainian fighter jets in the same region where Malaysian Air flight MH17 was destroyed, the government said. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry flew to Israel in pursuit of a truce in Gaza.

“If today’s EIA Cushing number replicates what the API had it will fire things up quite a bit,” said Bob Yawger, director of the f  (go to article)

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Local Speedway gas station caught overcharging for gas

WCPO TV -- All of us have suspected at some point that a gas station overcharged us on a fill-up.

But the State of Kentucky confirms it found two faulty gas pumps at a Speedway gas station on US 42 in Florence, a problem that came to light only after a video about it went viral.  (go to article)

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Self-Driving Cars Will Mean More Traffic

Bloomberg Businessweek -- A future based on driverless cars could mean big changes to the way cities are shaped. Given that there are plenty of things wrong with our relationship to cars today, it’s tempting to fantasize about how much better things would be be once self-driving vehicles become the norm.

But things could get worse, too.

“U.S. history shows that anytime you make driving easier, there seems to be this inexhaustible desire to live further from things,” said Ken Laberteaux, the senior principal scientist for Toyota’s North American team, in an interview with Bloomberg at the Automated Vehicles Symposium in San Francisco last week. “The pattern we’ve seen for a century is people turn more speed into more travel, rather than maybe saying, ‘I’m going to use my reduced travel time by spending more time  (go to article)

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New Hampshire driver stops to help ducklings, gets $100 ticket

Fox News -- A New Hampshire woman who called police after stopping in a highway median to help some stranded ducklings plans to fight a $100 ticket.

Hallie Bibeau of Newfields tells WMUR-TV she was driving east on Route 101 on Friday when she had to slam on her brakes to avoid hitting the ducklings. She says their mother and several of the ducklings were hit by a car. The mother died.

"I could hear them peeping, and I looked over the right hand side of the road, and I saw that their mom had been hit and was dead on the side, so I couldn't just continue on," she said. She told WMUR.com that while she waited, she saw a few of them "try to go to the westbound lane and got run over, and it was terrible to see."

The 33-year-old Bibeau called 911, got out of her car and captured the two surviving ...  (go to article)

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25 General Motors Cars Coming Your Way Soon

The cheat sheet -- General Motors (NYSE:GM) has been hard at work over the last couple of years revamping its trucks and SUVs, which collectively represent its most lucrative profit generators across its vast lineup. But starting next year, GM will be giving its mainstream car divisions some attention, according to Automotive News.

“Once the Colorado and Canyon mid-sized pickups hit showrooms this fall, Chevrolet and GMC will have churned out new generations of every pickup and SUV in their lineups in about 15 months,” the site said. This includes the Chevy and GMC variants of the Sierra pickup, the 1500, the Suburban, the Tahoe, the Yukon, and Yukon XL; and, of course, the aforementioned Canyon and Colorado, which will be returning after a three-year sabbatical.

It’s now time for GM’s best selling vehicle  (go to article)

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Toyota reveals fuel-cell vehicle sedan

MarketWatch -- Toyota introduced its fuel-cell vehicle, the FCV, in Japan recently, with production sheet metal and a coat of medium blue metallic paint. It will go on sale in Japan by next April, with a launch in the U.S. and Europe by the summer 2015.

The sedan will cost the equivalent of about $69,000 in Japan, but U.S. and European prices haven’t been decided yet. (It will almost definitely be less than that.) Toyota also says it will reveal specs and sales targets later this year.

In January, Toyota told us that a fully fueled FCV can power a house for a week or drive about 300 miles without refueling. It also said the new sedan will get to 60 mph in about 10 seconds.

Hydrogen, which fuels the FCV, is promising not only because it burns clean but also because it can be produced sustainably ...  (go to article)

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Oil prices under pressure ahead of supply data

MarketWatch -- Crude prices dipped both in Asian and in European trading on Wednesday, as investors watched for key supply data and developments out of the Ukraine and Gaza.

Light, sweet crude futures for September — the new front-month contract — fell 27 cents, or 0.3%, to $102.12 a barrel in electronic trading. On Tuesday, futures for August delivery eased 17 cents to settle at $104.42 a barrel.

Investors are waiting on fresh data from the Energy Information Administration on Wednesday, which is expected to show a fall in crude inventories. Analysts polled by Platts expect the data to show a decline by 2.6 million barrels in the week ended July 18.

Ahead of that data, late Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute said crude-oil inventories declined 600,000 barrels in the week ended July 18, ...  (go to article)

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Michigan auto supplier to build 2 new plants; could make parts for new Camaro

MLIVE -- WALKER, MI — A West Michigan automotive supplier is building two large manufacturing facilities in Michigan and economic dealmakers expect at least one of them to supply a General Motors plant slotted for production of the next generation Chevrolet Camaro.  (go to article)

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Chrysler Recalls Up to 800,000 Jeeps Over Ignition-Switch Problems

Time -- Around 800,000 older Chrysler Jeeps could be affected by a recall due to a problem with the ignition switch, the company said in a statement Tuesday.

The company said it is aware of one reported accident associated with the defect, but no injuries.

The recall will affect a still-undetermined number of model year 2006-2007 Jeep Commanders and 2005-2007 Jeep Grand Cherokees. In vehicles affected by the problem, contact with a driver’s knee or other outside force can move the ignition switch from on to off, causing the engine to stall and cutting power brakes and power steering.

The company said that around 792,000 vehicles could have faulty switches, including 659,900 in the U.S. and others in Mexico, Canada, and elsewhere.  (go to article)

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