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Less fun at the pump: Gas prices stop freefall

CNBC -- It looks like the steep slide in gasoline prices is over, at least for now.

The sharp drop in crude prices since last summer has brought down the prices of gasoline across the country, saving consumers billions of dollars when they fill up at the pump. Last month, gas prices fell to their lowest level in five years, to a national average of $2.03 a gallon, according to AAA.
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Harold Hamm: Saudis view US oil as economic threat

CNBC -- Billionaire oilman Harold Hamm told CNBC on Friday that OPEC has been trying for decades through price wars to crush U.S. crude production. "Sometimes they're successful. This time we hope they're not," he said.

The American shale oil boom is viewed by Saudi Arabia as an economic threat, the founder and chief of Continental Resources said in a "Squawk Box" interview. "I think the Saudis have made up their mind they're not going to bear the brunt of a cut, so they force everybody else to do it."
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Union, Shell discuss meeting on US refinery strike - sources

Yahoo -- HOUSTON (Reuters) - The United Steelworkers union (USW) and representatives for several U.S. refineries discussed on Thursday a possible resumption of face-to-face negotiations to settle a 26-day strike, two people familiar with the discussions told Reuters.No talks expected this week in U.S. refinery strike - sources Reuters
U.S. refinery strike affects one-fifth of national capacity Reuters
Shell says labour talks not broken off, contrary to media report Reuters
Shell says no agreement in U.S. refinery strike talks Reuters
U.S. refinery strike widening to include largest refinery Reuters
No date had been set as of Thursday for resuming direct meetings with Shell Oil Co, which is representing the refiners, the sources said.

About 6,550 USW members were on strike at 15 plants, includin  (go to article)

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There’s more to oil’s plunge than record-high supplies

Market Watch -- Some blamed crude-oil’s decline Thursday on the record-high supplies in the U.S. But there is a little more to it than that.

True, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported on Wednesday a seventh straight weekly climb in crude inventories to their “highest level for this time of year in at least the last 80 years.”

But prices for crude that day on the New York Mercantile Exchange actually rallied by 3.5%, with analysts considering whether prices have bottomed and fretting over the declines in petroleum-product stockpiles.

On Thursday, April crude CLJ5, +2.01% on Nymex lost 5.5% to settle at $48.17 a barrel, its lowest settlement in nearly a month.

So why did prices fall?

The short answer is the dollar. The ICE U.S. dollar index DXY, +0.09% rallied to its highest level sin  (go to article)

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The Remarkable Drop in Car Commuting to Downtown Seattle

Streetsblog -- The rate of solo car commuting to downtown Seattle was 50 percent in 2000. Now it’s down to 31 percent, report the Downtown Seattle Association and Commute Seattle.  (go to article)

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Saudis’ Oil Price War Is Paying Off

Bloomberg News -- Three months after Saudi Arabia made clear it was going to let oil prices keep tumbling, the strategy is showing signs of working.

U.S. drillers are idling rigs at a record pace, gutting investment plans and laying off thousands of workers.

Those steps highlight how the Saudi-led OPEC decision on Nov. 27 to maintain output levels and protect its market share is having the desired effect -- pushing prices down so far that they threaten to curb output in the U.S. and other non-OPEC countries. Saudi Arabia, the most powerful member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, will maintain that tack when the group next meets in June, according to some of the world’s biggest banks.  (go to article)

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2 llamas stop traffic, evade authorities in Phoenix-area retirement community; 1 lassoed

FoxNews -- SUN CITY, Ariz. – Two quick-footed llamas dashed in and out of traffic in retirement community near Phoenix.

Television footage showed a large, white llama and a smaller, black llama darting through the streets of Sun City during the lunch hour. Cars and golf carts stopped in their tracks because of the wayward livestock.

The animals galloped along the sidewalk, through manicured yards and along street medians.

The llamas thwarted numerous attempts by Maricopa County Sheriff's deputies and bystanders to round them up. The smaller, black llama was eventually lassoed.

It was unknown if the llamas were anyone's pets.
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U.S. Oil Discount Poised for Record Widening as Supplies Surge

Bloomberg -- Bloomberg) -- U.S. crude’s discount to European prices headed for a record widening in dollar terms this month as prices at $50 a barrel failed to slow the nation’s fastest oil output in more than three decades.

West Texas Intermediate traded for $12.32 a barrel less than the North Sea benchmark, Brent, as supplies expand at the U.S. storage hub in Cushing, Oklahoma. The spread expanded by $7.57 a barrel this month. U.S. crude inventories grew to the highest level in weekly data that started August 1982, according to the Energy Information Administration. Brent headed for its biggest monthly gain since 2009.

“Rising Cushing stocks, which are approaching tank tops, are driving the spread,” Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst at consultants Energy Aspects Ltd. in London, said by e-mail.  (go to article)

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Why oil prices move up and down so much

Marketplace -- On Wednesday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that oil inventories are at historic highs — we’re running out of places to put the stuff. So, why, did oil prices… rise? And then, why did they fall again the next day?

A lot of factors can move the price of oil day to day, and they may or may not have anything to do with where the market is heading long term.

For instance, traders were not surprised when U.S. crude inventories hit a new high. And that is why prices went up, says Walter Zimmerman, chief technical analyst for United-ICAP.

"There’s an old proverb," Zimmerman says. "What everybody knows, is already in the price."

In other words, Wednesday's opening price of oil already included a discount for the over-supply that everybody expected to see.  (go to article)

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US finds more oil storage beyond refineries, tanks

Bloomberg -- It looks like there’s more space to store oil in the US than previously thought.

The Energy Information Administration pegged crude storage capacity at refineries and tank farms in the US at 521 million bbl at the end of September. With inventories rising 8.4 million bbl last week to a record 434 million, it may appear at first glance like supplies from the shale boom are on a collision course with tank tops.

Not so, says the EIA. The weekly storage numbers include a few sources that aren’t included in the capacity report, such as crude in pipelines and at well sites, that can add up to more than 100 million bbl.

“We still have a way to go before we can consider ourselves to be full,” Rob Merriam, the EIA’s manager of petroleum supply statistics in Washington, said by phone. “Once you c  (go to article)

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US refiners may seek Jones Act waiver amid strike, Torrance explosion

Platts -- An ongoing labor strike and an explosion at a major California facility may compel West Coast refiners to seek a Jones Act waiver from the Obama administration, arguing that the region could soon face gasoline shortages, sources said this week.

While the application process is confidential, government sources said that no company has formally applied for a Jones Act waiver. But market and legal sources said ExxonMobil is considering such a request amid climbing prices and supply shortages.

The Jones Act has made it "virtually impossible" and "excessively costly" to move oil to and from the West Coast, a Center for Strategic and International Studies report published Thursday said.

One refining industry lobbyist said there is already a shortage of US-flagged vessels, a situation that cou  (go to article)

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Jeep SUV has best resale value of any vehicle in Canada

The Globe & Mail -- Note to readers: More of a Canadian interest article

The Jeep Wrangler claimed top honours for best resale value in Canada by percentage, as announced Wednesday by Canadian Black Book (CBB), the country’s largest publisher of wholesale used-vehicle prices.  (go to article)

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Lawmakers push to repeal part of ethanol mandate

Des Moines Register -- A bipartisan bill in the Senate would repeal a key part of the country's ethanol mandate requiring that a specific amount of the fuel be made from corn.

The bill, introduced Thursday by Sens. Pat Toomey, R-Pa. and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., is the latest attempt to overhaul the Renewable Fuel Standard -- a law that requires refiners to buy alternative fuels made from corn, soybeans and other products to reduce the country's dependence on foreign energy. A similar measure to strip out corn was proposed earlier this year as part of the Keystone XL pipeline debate but it never came up for a vote.

Critics of the mandate, including the American Petroleum Institute, argue lawmakers were too aggressive in setting the blending levels in 2007.  (go to article)

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Is a plug-in hybrid really the best of both driving worlds?

The Globe & Mail -- When you’re a busy working mom, sometimes things fall through the cracks. A school form goes unsigned. A phone gets left behind. A few weeks ago, I even drove to work without the plug for the electric car I was testing.  (go to article)

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Feds push car firms to fix safety defects before renting or selling

GasBuddy Blog --
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony FoxxU.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator Mark Rosekind joined elected officials, representatives from the rental car industry, and consumer safety advocates in calling on Congress to pass legislation that would require rental car agencies and used car dealers to fix safety defects before renting or selling vehicles subject to a recall.
JThe GROW AMERICA Act includes provisions that would require rental car agencies to remedy any safety defects under recall before renting a vehicle, and require used car dealers to do the same before selling a vehicle. Under current law, new cars must be fixed before sale. However, no similar federal provision exists for rental car agencies or used car dealers. In Richmond, major rental car agencies as well as a leading consumer group joined the department’s call for legislation to ensure rental cars with safety recalls are repaired before a consumer  (go to article)

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State Lawmakers Set To Discuss Recent Rise In Gas Prices

KCBS-2/KCAL-9 News -- If you’re curious why gas prices keep going up, you’re not alone.
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CBS-2? has learned that state lawmakers plan to take a closer look at price hikes and refinery safety during two hearings scheduled for next month.  (go to article)

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Ohio oil well output doubles in a year; natural gas triples

ohio.com(AP) -- Oil production has more than doubled and production of natural gas has tripled in Ohio in one year, bolstering arguments by the administration of Gov. John Kasich that the industry is thriving enough to sustain a tax increase.

Statistics released Wednesday by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources showed more than 3.5 million barrels of oil and 164 billion cubic feet of natural gas were produced during the last three months of 2014. During the same quarter in 2013, Ohio wells produced 1.4 million barrels of oil and 43 billion cubic feet of natural gas.

The increase was fueled by a building boom of wells.
During this week’s State of the State address, the Republican governor dismissed claims by the oil-and-gas industry that they’d be devastated by his proposed tax increase.

“The pros

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North Dakota House endorses change to oil and gas production tax distribution formula

therepublic.com(AP) -- The North Dakota House voted Thursday to revamp a formula used to distribute oil and gas production tax revenue, a move aimed at giving more funding to communities to help pay for the consequences of oil development.

In its final action before the Legislature's mid-session break, the House voted 70-18 to amend the formula that would give more funding to counties, cities, schools and townships in and around western North Dakota's oil patch.

The legislation is less than what has been proposed Gov. Jack Dalrymple and sought by leaders in the region. The bill, expected to be the most debated of the session, now heads to the Senate. Its final version will be decided by a conference committee of three House members and three senators, with the negotiated legislation subject to more House and

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Badge On Board

Las Vegas Review Journal -- The passenger seat of a semitrailer offers an exceptional view into the cab of passing vehicles.

Elevated above Las Vegas motorists on the 215 Beltway, Nevada Highway Patrol Sgt. Michael Cooke said he spotted 48 drivers who were violating the law Wednesday.

As part of NHP’s “Badge on Board” campaign, Cooke said, troopers work together, targeting dangerous drivers on valley freeways by hunting them down in the most unsuspecting, unmarked police vehicle — an 18-wheeler.  (go to article)

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The Natural Gas Myth

Forbes -- There’s a pernicious argument being made against energy efficiency, and it goes like this. Last winter was one of the warmest on record, so people had to spend less to heat their homes and businesses. That, combined with a “drilling binge ” in shale gas and new production, made for record low natural gas in prices in April, at less than $2 per million British thermal units (MMBtu). This phenomenon has boosted the U.S. economy to the tune of more than $100 billion annually, by one estimate. With such low prices, the thinking goes, investments in alternative energy and energy efficiency don’t make sense.  (go to article)

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Natural gas futures fall despite frigid temperatures

FuelFix -- HOUSTON — Not even powerful cold could save natural gas prices.

Traders sent the price down on the fuel’s benchmark futures contract on bearish inventory data, despite chilling temperatures and a winter front that has blanketed much of the country in snow. The next-month futures contract for Henry Hub natural gas fell by 13 cents, or about 4.6 percent, to $2.731 per million British thermal unit in early trading Thursday.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s weekly report on natural gas inventories showed a higher-than-normal withdraw of natural gas for the week ending Feb. 20, but even that strong draw didn’t measure up to analysts’ expectations.  (go to article)

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Top US Shale Player (EOG Resources) Redirects Strategy To Prepare For The Rebound

oilpro.com -- Leading US shale player EOG Resources has been forced to drastically reckon with falling oil prices.

In its 3Q14 earnings statement in November, EOG said it did not intend to reduce operations even with falling oil prices. But with today's announcement of a 40% cut to its 2015 capex, its plan to add no new drilling rigs this year, hydraulically frac 45% fewer wells, and its expectation of flat production compared to last year, EOG has redirected its strategy to prepare itself to vigorously respond to a rebound in the oil price.

...  (go to article)

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Strike Now Includes The Largest Refinery In The US

oilpro.com -- As the largest oil worker strike in 35 years rolled over into its 20th day on Saturday at 12:00am, United Steelworkers Union (USW) members at the largest refinery in the US gave notice of a walkout.

Shortly following the cessation of another round of unproductive talks between the USW and oil company representatives ended Friday night, the union notified Motiva Enterprises (a joint venture between Shell Oil and Saudi Refining) of a strike by its members at the company's refinery in Port Arthur, Texas, which has a capacity of 600,250 bpd.

The USW said in a statement emailed to Oilpro Friday night (February 20) that it is also giving notices of strikes to start in 24 hours at Motiva's refineries in Norco and Convent, Louisiana, and the Shell chemical plant in Norco....  (go to article)

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Leak at BP refinery in Whiting 2nd malfunction this week

WISH-TV8-AP -- A BP refinery in northwest Indiana has seen its second major malfunction in three days.

The Times of Munster reports a leak happened at a pipe still Wednesday morning at the Whiting refinery. The unit accounts for roughly one-quarter of the refinery’s production capacity.

A BP spokesman says it’s unclear how long repairs will take, but that the refinery is still making gasoline and other fuels. The facility is the largest in the Midwest.

Massive flames also shot up through flare stacks Monday. The BP spokesman says nobody was hurt and that production had been restored.

About 1,100 union workers have been on strike at the plant since early February. Those workers make up more than half of the refinery’s workforce.  (go to article)

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Gas prices volatile, but not due to strike

Springfield News-Sun -- A month-long U.S. refinery strike has spread to Ohio, but analysts said it should have little short-term affect on local gas prices or convenience store chains like Speedway.

The issue is something analysts says they will keep an eye on if the dispute between the United Steelworkers Union International and the refineries continues long-term, said Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst for Gasbuddy.com.

“It could become a point of nervousness for the market the longer this goes on, obviously the bigger situation it becomes,” DeHaan said. “But so far there’s not really an impact at the pump yet.”

Earlier this week, members of the United Steelworkers Local 1-346 demonstrated outside the Marathon Petroleum Corp. offices in Findlay, Ohio, according to information on the group’s...  (go to article)

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Ford’s F-150 Helps Rescue Aluminum From Commodities’ Bear

Bloomberg -- Ford Motor Co. is helping to pull aluminum from the bear markets afflicting most commodities by adding to an increase in industrial use.

The company is hiring workers to expand production of its F-150 pickup after a switch to an aluminum body helped spur demand that has exceeded the company’s plans. As auto use increases, U.S. consumption of the metal will rise about 7 percent in 2015 from 2014 to 5.38 million tons, the highest since 2006, according to Morgan Stanley.

Even as the Bloomberg Commodity Index trades near a 12-year low, aluminum prices are up almost 2 percent in the past 12 months, the biggest gain behind cattle. Ford’s move to go with the lightweight metal that helps to improve fuel mileage is a “line in the sand” for carmakers, Michelle Krebs, senior analyst at AutoTrader  (go to article)

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Carmakers Find That Turbos Are a Powerful Path to Fuel Efficiency

The New York Times -- EVEN as electric cars stall with Americans, another fuel-saving technology is revolutionizing the morning commute: the turbocharger.

Once mostly the province of expensive sports and luxury cars, turbochargers are proliferating in everything from budget compacts to burly pickup trucks. As automakers scramble to lift their average fuel economy to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 — the target set by the Environmental Protection Agency — turbochargers have become a key to unlocking higher mileage without sacrificing the performance consumers demand.

In the process, analysts say, their efficiency has had the unintended effect of helping slow the broader adoption of alternative-fuel vehicles.

How does it work? A turbocharger essentially reuses hot exhaust gases — energy that would otherwise...  (go to article)

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Tracks back open after Fayette train disaster

Charleston Gazette - MOUNT CARBON, W.Va. -- The railway is back open and the state of emergency is over 11 days after a CSX oil train derailed and exploded in Fayette Cty
“Rail operations have resumed with caution as workers continue cleanup activities at the site
Gov.Tomblin also he lifted the state of emergency for Fayette and Kanawha Cties
The response team installed a 500-ft retaining wall between the railway and the Kanawha R to keep pollutants from getting into the river. Crews built an access road from the work area to WV 61
Crews will now begin removing contaminated soil from the site
97,000 gal of an oil-water mixture will be taken to an oil recycling facility in SW PA. 172,000 gal of crude oil have been recovered from the crippled rail cars
Air monitoring in the Mt Carbon has stopped, as 40,000 air samples showed no impact  (go to article)

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Gasoline begins annual price rise despite cheaper crude

Houston Chronicle -- Houston motorists are paying more than $2 per gallon for gasoline again, as seasonal factors begin counteracting lower crude prices that have brought joy at the pump and grief to the oil capital's chief industry.

The average price for regular in Houston on Tuesday was $2.11, up from $1.83 just a month ago, according to data from AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report. Nationally, the price of gasoline has advanced for 29 consecutive days to an average of $2.31.

Gasoline was more than a dollar higher this time last year, though, and the money saved has padded consumers' wallets even while oil companies spend less and lay off employees.

Gasoline prices typically rise as warmer weather approaches because refineries shut down for scheduled maintenance, reducing supplies on the market. Refineries als  (go to article)

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Buy a new car? Are you crazy?

USA Today -- People shopping for new cars should stop, right now, and think about it, Consumer Reports says, though it does not say so quite as bluntly.

"Buying a new car might be a lousy financial move," warns the widely consulted publication, which posted its comprehensive annual auto report online Tuesday and mails its April auto issue print magazine to subscribers next week. The April issue hits newsstands March 5.

The overriding reason: You're about to spend a lot more than you think and more than you probably need to.  (go to article)

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Continental 'Cloud-To-Car' Navigation Boosts Fuel Efficiency By 3 Percent

Green Car Reports -- Carmakers are working to optimize virtually ever part of new models for fuel efficiency. Soon, that may even include the navigation system.

German automotive supplier Continental claims its Dynamic Electronic Horizon (eHorizon) system can do just that, using real-time information.

The company unveiled an advanced version of its system--which uses cloud connectivity--at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last month.

It hopes to use this cloud-to-car arrangement to allow the majority of vehicles to "talk" to each other in the near future, according to industry trade journal Wards Auto.  (go to article)

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Lower gasoline prices dampen U.S. consumer inflation

Reuters -- U.S. consumer prices fell over the past year for the first time since 2009 as gasoline prices continued to tumble, which could allow a cautious Federal Reserve more room to hold off on raising interest rates.

Other data on Thursday showed a rebound in business investment spending plans and a steadily firming labor market, suggesting the move into deflation territory would be brief. In addition, gasoline prices have been rising in recent weeks.

"We believe the Fed will wait until September before achieving liftoff on interest rates and, even then, the process of normalization will move at a glacial pace," said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial in Chicago.

The Labor Department said its Consumer Price Index fell 0.1 percent in the 12 months through January, the first declin  (go to article)

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Global equities fall as oil sinks...

Reuters -- Global equities dipped on Thursday as investor enthusiasm was dampened by a pullback in oil prices related to rising inventories, while the dollar rose as economic data drove expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates.

The U.S. S&P 500 ended down, led by an 1.8 percent drop in energy shares. Brent crude settled down 2.6 percent and U.S. crude fell 5.5 percent.

The Nasdaq was a bright spot in U.S. equities, rising on news of a technology deal as it drew closer to its lifetime peak, hit in 2000.

U.S. consumer prices fell in the 12 months through January, the first such decline since 2009 as gasoline prices continued to tumble, but core prices, which exclude volatile items such as food and gasoline, rose more than expected.  (go to article)

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Toyota Camry Hybrid Battery: Electrician Spent $10, Not $4,000, To Fix

Yahoo Autos -- Who said modern cars are too complicated to work on at home?

Some hybrid cars have been on the road for more than a decade now, but every vehicle needs some kind of maintenance eventually.

Faced with a potentially expensive bill, one Toyota Camry Hybrid owner took matters into his own hands, fixing the car's battery pack himself.

The repair cost about $10, but would have cost $4,400 if done by a dealer, the owner, Imgur user scoodidabop explained in a post.

The owner worked as an electrician with his father, so when his Toyota dealer said the entire pack would have to be replaced, he decided to try repairing it instead.

The hybrid battery pack contain 34 copper connectors that link its nickel-metal-hydride cells together, and they were all corroded. The cells were actually fine, but t  (go to article)

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U.S. Tells Canada Its Climate Goal May Affect Keystone Decision

Bloomberg -- - U.S. climate negotiators have told their Canadian counterparts that Canada’s plan to cut carbon emissions could be one of the factors that President Barack Obama weighs as he considers whether to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, a U.S. official said.
The U.S. hasn’t suggested it might approve the $8 billion proposed project in exchange for climate commitments, the official said. Canada is developing a proposal as part of United Nations-sponsored talks aimed at cutting carbon emissions that governments were encouraged to submit by next month.
The notion that there’s any linkage between Canada’s UN goals and the president’s decision on the pipeline is patently false, said another U.S official familiar with the issue. There is a longstanding process for determining these projects, and the  (go to article)

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US crude settles down 5.5%, at $48.17 a barrel

CNBC --
Ample global supply and increasing U.S. commercial inventories weighed on U.S. crude prices on Thursday after expectations for better demand going forward lifted prices a day earlier, traders and analysts said.
U.S. crude settled 5.5 percent lower, or $2.82, at $48.17 a barrel, following a more than 3 percent gain in the previous session.

Brent losses were tempered by expectations for improving global demand and geopolitical concerns about energy supplies from Libya and Russia.

Benchmark Brent crude fell $1.60 to $60 a barrel, after hitting a session peak of $62.63. On Wednesday, Brent surged 5 percent.

Earlier, Brent's premium to U.S. crude increased to $12.06 intraday on Thursday, the widest since January 2014.  (go to article)

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MDOT plans 'dynamic shoulders' as part of $76 million U.S. 23 overhaul

MLive -- The Michigan Department of Transportation is seeking public comment on a plan developed to help relieve rush hour traffic on U.S. 23 north of Ann Arbor.

The $76 million project will include the implementation of an active traffic management system that will use "dynamic shoulders" to open additional lanes of traffic. The plan also calls for the replacement of four bridges that do not meet state standards and general maintenance on more than 10 miles of highway from the U.S. 23 and M-14 interchange to Silver Lake Road north of Whitmore Lake.

The biggest change for motorists will be the traffic management system that will open the interior shoulders of the road to help relieve rush-hour traffic. During peak morning hours, the left shoulder of southbound U.S. 23 will be opened to vehicles  (go to article)

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Residents to lawmakers: No tolls

Connecticutt Post -- Residents across the state, and especially in southwestern Connecticut, resoundingly told a legislative committee Wednesday they don't want highway tolls on the borders.

"This is a nightmare for me," said Andrew Burke, a Greenwich business owner. "It will add traffic locally from toll dodgers and add daily expenses for deliveries."

Joseph Jowdy, a Danbury resident, called tolls a tax that would hurt the state's economy.

"No border tolls," he said. "This is a tax on commuters. It will affect everything, including real estate sales."

A public hearing before the General Assembly's Transportation Committee on a bill to authorize electronic tolls at the state's borders prompted more than 500 people to file opinions -- mostly opposed -- through the committee's website.

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NYC trucker accused of avoiding toll with device inspired by James Bond

Reuters -- A trucker accused of using a James Bond-style retractable bumper to evade a $95 toll on the George Washington Bridge has been charged with using burglary tools, police said on Thursday.

Hauling a load of candy across the bridge toward New York City on Wednesday, Pablo Ortega flipped a switch on his dashboard as he approached the toll gates over the Hudson River. That engaged a device that tilted up the truck's bumper and attached license plate, said Joseph Pentangelo, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police.
 (go to article)

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Gas Prices to Spike Across U.S. During Next Two Weeks

GasBuddy Blog -- The transition from ‘winter blend’ to ‘summer blend’ gasoline always brings increases in retail gasoline prices, but nothing you’ve seen over the past year is likely to match what GasBuddy anticipates over the next two to three weeks.“Wednesday brought a big price rally in gasoline markets and gasoline wholesalers are seeing huge increases,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy. “Wholesale prices today alone have increased coast to coast from 10 to 27 cents per gallon; and when you add that on top of the increases that occurred earlier this month, it’s inevitable that retail prices will climb aggressively in weeks ahead.”...  (go to article)

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GM cutting production at two North American car plants: source

Reuters -- DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Co is cutting production at two of its North American car plants as supplies of vehicles including the Chevrolet Sonic and Buick Regal rise, a person familiar with the company's plans said on Wednesday.

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Ford adding 400 jobs at Oakville, Ont., plant to produce new Edge crossover SUV

The Canadian Press -- OAKVILLE, Ont. - Ford Motor Co. says it will add 400 new jobs at its assembly plant in Oakville, Ont. where production of the new Ford Edge crossover SUV is set to launch.

Ford has said last October that 1,000 jobs would be added at the facility by the end of 2014 to build the redesigned Edge.

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New Jersey hearing draws opponents to PennEast pipeline

The Associated Press -- EWING, N.J. (AP) - Opponents of a proposed 114-mile pipeline that would carry natural gas from northeast Pennsylvania to New Jersey outnumbered supporters during a hearing in Mercer County.

Wednesday's meeting in Ewing examined the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's environmental impact assessment of the proposed PennEast pipeline.

The Times of Trenton (http://bit.ly/18oG0jt ) reports some people asked the agency to locate the pipeline along existing rights of way. Others feared the pipeline would threaten the environment and future land preservation. Many questioned the need for the project.
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Saudi Aramco cancels rig contract

UPI --

HOUSTON, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- U.S. rig company Hercules Offshore said Thursday one of its drilling contracts with the main oil company in Saudi Arabia was terminated.

Saudi Aramco cancelled a contract to lease the Hercules 261 rig, effective March 27. The company said it's been in talks with the Saudi oil company to reduce the day rates for two other rigs, Hercules 262 and Hercules 266.

"The company has not received a notice of termination from Saudi Aramco with respect to these rigs," Hercules said in a statement.

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Are oil producers running out of closet space?

CNBC -- Oil supply running ahead of demand hasn't just pressured prices, it's also filling up storage space, potentially pushing crude toward another leg down.

"We're going to see pretty fast inventory builds over the next few weeks," Francisco Blanch, head of commodity research at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, told CNBC Wednesday, noting that global supply is running around 1.4 million barrels a day above demand.

"If you run out of space, prices tend to react a lot more violently to adjust that supply and demand imbalance and that's what we expect over the next few weeks," he said, forecasting both WTI and Brent will fall toward $30 a barrel. Prices settled at $50.99 and $61.97, respectively, on Wednesday. He cited fresh American Petroleum Institute (API) data which showed U.S. crude  (go to article)

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14-year-old hacks connected cars with $15 worth of electronics parts

Yahoo -- A 14-year-old boy has stunned the automotive industry by showing how to hack into connected cars with apparent ease.

Armed with only $15 of simple electronics gear he bought from RadioShack, the boy was easily able to unlock and start a connected car. The make of vehicle that was breached has not been revealed, but it is said to be one of the larger brands.

The news has been described as a “pivot moment” in car security, and is of great concern to the automotive industry, which is investing heavily in designing and building connected and even self-driving cars. Such vehicles will inevitably become the norm in the coming years as people look for safer driving experiences – with their cars connected to local infrastructure such as traffic signals and emergency services – but security conce  (go to article)

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Rock slide injures 1 on U.S. Highway 6 in Clear Creek Canyon

Denver Post -- A rock slide on Tuesday damaged at least one vehicle, injured one person and forced the closure of U.S. Highway 6 through Clear Creek Canyon for about three hours, according to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office.  (go to article)

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Gas prices are rising across Canada — and will likely jump further

Global News -- Canadian motorists across most of the country have dealt with frigid driving conditions for the past several weeks, and are now confronting another biting reality as a result: higher gas prices.

A brutally cold February has meaningfully dented gas production at U.S. refineries that make gasoline destined for Canada or influence the price for gas that is, experts said Tuesday.

Even as oil prices remain low at below $50 barrel (U.S.), wholesale North American petroleum prices have risen sharply since late January, filtering through to retail pump prices. Average Canadian retail gasoline prices bottomed out at 91.3 cents a litre on Jan. 20, according to Natural Resources Canada. Since then, they’ve climbed about 13 per cent (see chart below).  (go to article)

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Concrete falls from aging Gardiner Expressway, shatters windshield

Global News -- TORONTO – Chunks of concrete seem to have fallen from the Gardiner Expressway on Tuesday, damaging a person’s car, breaking the windshield and sending pieces of glass into the vehicle’s interior.Ali Siddiqi and his mother were stopped in separate vehicles at the intersection of Lower Spadina Ave. and Lake Shore Blvd. West Tuesday evening. Suddenly, Siddiqi heard a noise that he thought was a car accident.

“While we waited, I just heard a loud bang, and I thought two cars had actually got into an accident because it was substantially shocking, the noise that it made,” he said. “Then I looked back in the rear-view mirror and her windshield had all just come totally smashed in. The glass was everywhere.”
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Shell shelves plan for tar sands project in face of low oil prices

The Guardian -- Shell has shelved plans for a major new tar sands mine in Canada, the largest project yet to fall victim to low oil prices.

The company has withdrawn its application for the 200,000-barrel-per-day (bpd) Pierre River project and will instead concentrate on boosting the profitability of its existing 255,000-bpd oil sands operations.

“The Pierre River Mine remains a very long-term opportunity for us, but it’s not currently a priority,” said Lorraine Mitchelmore, president of Shell’s Canada. “Our current focus is on making our heavy oil business as economically and environmentally competitive as possible.”

Oil sands extraction is controversial because of its high carbon footprint compared to conventional crude. Furthermore, a series of analyses have found that the world’s fossil fuel ...  (go to article)

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Car Owners Fed Up With Failing Auto Tech

NBCNEWS -- This is for the scores of vehicle owners who are tired of not being able to get their in-car communication systems to work: You are not alone in your frustration.

A new study found that in-car connectivity and communication systems are twice as likely to break down three years after a driver buys a new car than they are during the first three months they own that vehicle.

"Bluetooth and voice recognition systems not working are the top two problems vehicle owners are reporting after three years of having their cars," said Renee Stephens, vice president of U.S. Automotive for J.D. Power. "They are tired of this technology not working in their cars."

J.D. Power's annual Vehicle Dependability Study, released Wednesday, found that 55 percent of drivers surveyed about their 3-year-old vehicl  (go to article)

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