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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.

 (go to article)

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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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Watch what markets don't do as world politics turns nasty

Reuters -- (Reuters) - Like so much in the investment world of late, it's what financial markets are not doing right now that is most intriguing.

Over the course of the past month, conflicts, superpower standoffs and economic sanctions have flared in Iraq and Syria, Israel and Gaza, Ukraine and Russia. All are at least potential threats to world energy supplies, if not globalized business links and supply chains.

What's more, a September referendum looms on the potential breakup of the world's sixth largest economy as Scots vote on secession from the rest of the United Kingdom.
Yet the world's main financial markets have barely blinked.
Crude oil prices gyrated briefly on the upsurge in the Iraq/Syria violence but net moves have been slight to non-existent. At around $108 per barrel, Brent crude...  (go to article)

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Lawsuit expected after vote to ban tar sands oil

Hearst Newspapers, LLC -- SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The president of the Maine Energy Marketers Association says zoning changes intended to keep tar sands oil out of South Portland will likely be challenged in court.

The City Council voted 6-1 Monday night on a series of changes that effectively prevent any attempt to bring the oil from western Canada through a pipeline into the city.

Tom Hardison from the Portland Pipe Line said councilors bowed to "extremists" and described the zoning changes as a "job-killing ordinance." Jamie Py, president of the energy group, said Tuesday that a lawsuit is the most likely way to challenge the action.
 (go to article)

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Enbridge mulls Midwest rail terminal to ease pipeline congestion

REUTERS -- Canada's largest pipeline company Enbridge Inc may build a 140,000 barrel per day unit train unloading terminal in Pontiac, Illinois, to relieve congestion on its crude oil export network.

The terminal would be able to handle two unit trains a day and could be in service by the first quarter of 2016, according to a filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Pontiac is the origin of Enbridge's new 600,000 bpd Flanagan South pipeline to Cushing, Oklahoma, and the rail terminal would allow shippers to bypass congestion on pipelines in the Canadian portion of Enbridge's export network.

Enbridge Energy Partners LP, the company's U.S. arm, is also petitioning to build a new receipt point on the network, known as the Lakehead system, at Flanagan Illinois, which would allow crude...  (go to article)

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Who said electric cars have no personality? Zelectric VW Beetle aims to break that stigma

NY Daily News -- What happens when you combine the most iconic vehicle design of all time with modern electric engine technology? You get the Zelectric Beetle: proof that electric cars can have as much style and grace as anything else on the road.

Californian inventor David Benardo has created a truly special car, capable of 110 miles and infinite smiles on one charge. Combining classic style and electric efficiency, Benardo’s electric Beetle conversion project aims to change the way we view electric cars

In theory, it’s quite a simple idea: take an iconic and beloved classic car, remove the outdated engine, and fit it with a modern electric motor that’s reliable and zero-emission.  (go to article)

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South Portland, Maine, votes against crude oil export

CBC-City council opposes exporting Alberta oil from its shipyard -- The city of South Portland, Maine, has voted to block oil companies from using the city’s port to export crude bitumen from Alberta.

South Portland moves to block Alberta bitumen from reaching its port

After a long debate on Monday evening, South Portland councillors voted to amend a zoning bylaw to prohibit the bulk loading of crude oil onto marine tank vessels within the city and its port.

Enbridge's Line 9 reversal project, which would send Alberta crude eastward to be refined at the Suncor refinery in Montreal, does not officially include plans for the South Portland region.

But some members of the South Portland administration are concerned that Alberta crude could eventually make its way south, to be loaded onto tankers and exported from the city's port.
 (go to article)

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2 Investigators: Safety Officials Want Electronic Logs For Truck Drivers

CBS -- A truck driver charged in a crash that killed four people Monday on I-55 has been accused by prosecutors of falsifying his log books.

CBS 2 Investigator Pam Zekman reports the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is proposing a new rule that would require all trucks to have electronic logging devices, one way the agency hopes to prevent the kind of horrific accident that happened again Monday.

Federal rules limit truckers from driving more than 11 of the 14 consecutive hours they work. They have to take a ten hour break before driving again.  (go to article)

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Geopolitical tensions seen keeping oil prices high

AP -- Wholesale gasoline fell 1 cent to $2.88 a gallon.
The price of oil fell slightly Tuesday but experts see geopolitical tensions preventing any significant short-term declines.

U.S. benchmark crude for August delivery fell 17 cents to $104.42 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The more heavily traded September contract slipped 47 cents to $102.39.

Brent crude for September delivery, a benchmark for international oils, dropped 35 cents to $107.33 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

Fighting between the Israeli military and Palestinian militants in Gaza has added to the risk of instability in the oil-rich Middle East just as tensions have intensified between the West and Russia, a major oil and gas producer, over the Ukraine crisis.

European leaders are considering tougher sa  (go to article)

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Many teenage drivers hitting the road alone

Boston Globe -- Sam Koufman waited 16½ years to be 16½. Then he waited two months for an appointment for his road test. Then, on the morning of the test, he waited what felt like forever for his mother to get back from jogging. Then he waited an hour in traffic as they made their way to the Registry of Motor Vehicles in Lawrence. Then he waited in the Registry line, which is not a good line to be in if you feel like you cannot wait any longer.

Then, suddenly, all the waiting was over. He made it to the front of the line, went out for his road test with the state examiner, and after a few minutes of driving and one decent parallel parking job, the victory was his. Sam Koufman had his driver’s license, “which is like the biggest freedom in the entire world.”

 (go to article)

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Why It Took So Long for the World’s Fiercest Supercars to Go Hybrid

Wired -- Bugatti’s next car will be a hybrid. It’s not surprising that the proud manufacturer of the Veyron Super Sport, the king of all excessive automobiles, is taking a route that makes most people think of the dinky eco-mobiles and their self-satisfied owners. It’s surprising that it has taken it this long to do so.

The luxury auto brand is following a trend that has been established over just the past few years: Today’s supercars are powered by batteries as well as internal combustion engines. The leading examples are the Porsche 918, the McLaren P1, and the Ferrari LaFerrari. At near or over $1 million a pop, each uses a hybrid powertrain.

It’s obvious why. Improving fuel economy may not matter to people who pay annual gas bills with the change under their sofa cushions.  (go to article)

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Lower sticker price keeps gasoline vehicles competitive with alternatives

Fuel Fix -- Improvements in fuel efficiency have helped make standard gasoline vehicles more competitive against hybrids, electric vehicles and other alternative-fuel vehicles, giving consumers more bang for their buck, a new report finds.

Gasoline-powered cars and trucks are cheaper than those using alternative energy. But even though they are traveling farther on a single tank of gasoline, in part because of new federal mandates to reduce emissions, the prices of those rides aren’t expected to increase dramatically, the U.S. Energy Information Administration projected in a brief released Tuesday.

Midsize passenger cars, for example, will see their fuel economies improve from 35 to 53 miles per gallon by 2025, but the average price should rise only slightly from $25,000 to $27,000 during the same  (go to article)

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Reason Foundation backs Obama on tolls for highway projects

The Hill -- The Reason Foundation, a libertarian think tank, is finding rare agreement with President Obama over his support for expanding tolls to help pay for new transportation projects.

“While there are a lot of things to disagree with in the president's transportation plans, the most sensible long-term solution for the Interstate Highway System is actually coming from the Obama administration, which is calling for allowing states to use toll revenue to finance the reconstruction of aging Interstate highways,” the foundation wrote in a blog post.

Obama included language in the $302 billion transportation plan he sent to Congress this spring, the Grow America Act, that would allow states to request permission to add tolls to existing highway lanes.
 (go to article)

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Foxx: Temporary highway funding insufficient

The Hill -- Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said Monday that a temporary extension of road and transit funding that Congress is considering will not provide enough money to fully address the nation's infrastructure problems.

Lawmakers are working on a measure that would appropriate nearly $11 billion to extend transportation funding that is running out now until May 2015.

But the measure is hardly cause for celebration, Foxx said Monday during a speech at the National Press Club in Washington.

"Even if we get a patch, even if we get 20 more patches, roads in Rhode Island are going to get worse," Foxx said while singling out a state he visited during a recent bus tour to see incomplete transportation projects.

"And Rhode Island is not alone."
 (go to article)

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USGC, Midwest CBOB dip on oversupply, high refinery runs, weak demand

Platts -- US Gulf Coast CBOB dipped Tuesday to its lowest assessed spot price since summer-RVP assessments began April 1 in the cash market, with Midwest CBOB and suboctane reaching lows not seen for several months.

Platts assessed Gulf Coast CBOB at 9 RVP (A2) at $2.6117/gal. That's not only the lowest of 2014, but also the lowest since the assessment of $2.5786/gal on July 2, 2013.

A US products trader said the Gulf Coast market has ample blendstock.

"With these refinery runs as high as they are, it's getting hard for people to find a home for some of this gasoline," he said. "Add to that, the export market has not looked as healthy in the last month as it usually does. "Plus I am hearing from folks around the Southeast that demand is disappointing at a sales level. It's been slammed since the  (go to article)

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Study reveals public misperceptions about local transportation issues

MN Transportation Research -- Aging roads and bridges, increased traffic and persistently constrained revenues put local road systems in peril, but the public is largely unaware of the pressures facing their communities.
Researchers found that even elected officials are unaware of the gap in funding needed to keep the road system going — in part because county engineers have been creative in a period of dwindling resources, and the cost of deferred maintenance has not been immediately visible.
There are multiple challenges to road system sustainability, including rising construction costs, declining tax revenues, heavier agricultural and industrial equipment and rising public expectations.
The project revealed widespread confusion about local road system issues. For example, many participants erroneously believed that  (go to article)

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CBCNN viewers split on treating drowsy drivers as drunk

CBC News -- A Quebec coroner's report recommends that driving while drowsy be subject to the same heavy fines and penalties usually reserved for people who drive under the influence of alcohol. But the CBC Community was divided on whether this is a good idea

5 farm workers died in 2011 on their way home from work when their van crashed into a school bus

Do made 2 recommendations based on a 3-yr investigation into a Feb 2011 collision that killed 5 men in Lanaudière

¦Heighten the awareness campaign by QC's automobile insurance board about the dangers of driving while fatigued
¦Post signs along QC's highways reminding drivers to stop for rest breaks and warning them about the deadly risk of driving while drowsy

116 people die while driving each yr owing to fatigue and nearly 10,000 more are injured  (go to article)

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