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Autumn gas prices expected to hit a 4-year low

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

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

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

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

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How Italian Ferrari could become an American company

The Globe and Mail -- A couple of years ago, Lapo Elkann, the car-nut grandson of the late Fiat patriarch Gianni Agnelli, was outraged that Volkswagen had agreed to buy Ducati, the Italian motorcycle company best known for its lean, testosterone-laden road missiles. In a text message to me, he said, “Ducati has to stay Italian” (I had interviewed him not long before about other matters).

Elkann toyed with the idea of bidding for Ducati to keep its bloodline pure but couldn’t compete with Europe’s largest car maker. Ducati is now a brand within Volkswagen’s Audi marque.  (go to article)

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Volvo Canada won’t be at Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver auto shows

The Globe and Mail --
Volvo as a corporation is determined to change the traditional means of doing business in the automotive industry. Some of its dealers may have to be convinced.

Volvo Canada made it known late last week that it would not participate in Canada’s three most prominent auto shows in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. But on Wednesday, Jason Campbell, general manager of the Canadian International Auto Show (CIAS), messaged that Volvo would indeed be part of the Toronto show in February: “This marketplace and marketing platform are too important for manufacturers and their retailers to ignore,” he wrote in an e-mail.  (go to article)

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Fuel prices fall below $3 in Akron-area gasoline price war

Akron Beacon Journal -- A price war along Waterloo and Manchester roads sent prices Wednesday at stations below $3 for a gallon of regular gasoline, a low not seen in a long time.

The Circle K and BP stations at opposite corners of West Waterloo and Manchester roads lowered prices to $2.99.9 a gallon late Wednesday afternoon, according to a website that relies on motorists to report pump prices.

Those and other stations in that area were selling gasoline for $3.01.9 earlier in the day.

“It should be every day, as far as I see it,” said James Fites, an Alliance resident, as he filled a pickup truck at the Sheetz store at West Waterloo Road and South Main Street.

He still wasn’t happy with the cost, though.

“As far as I’m concerned, it is a rip-off,” Fites said.  (go to article)

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Al Gore's Climate Calculations Prove Wrong — Again

TheNewAmerican -- Five years ago at a UN Conference on Climate Change, Al Gore predicted that, global warming having reached such an unbridled pitch, the North Pole might be completely ice-free during the summer of 2014. This climate change crusader had made the same claim when he accepted the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. Was he right? Let's take a look.

The Danish Meteorological Institute's (DMI) Centre for Ocean and Ice closely monitors Arctic sea ice extent and publishes a monthly plot on its website. According to DMI, 2014 is the second summer in a row that the ice cap has expanded. Data from the U.S. National Snow & Ice Data Center (NSIDC) agrees, showing 2014's summer ice well within the average range for the years 1961-2010. In fact, NSIDC's website points out an ice extent decline rate of "slightly less  (go to article)

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Gasoline Hits 2-Year High as Repairs Seen Cutting Supply

Bloomberg -- Gasoline in the U.S. Gulf Coast spot market surged to the highest level in almost two years on speculation that refinery repairs are shrinking available supplies.

Conventional, 85-octane gasoline blendstock, or CBOB, gained 2.25 cents to a premium of 1.25 cents a gallon versus futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest level since October 2012, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Refiners including Exxon Mobil and Marathon Petroleum were said to be performing repairs at plants in the Gulf.

The increase in the Gulf, the nation’s biggest refining hub, threatens to reduce deliveries north to markets in Chicago, the U.S. Midcontinent and New York Harbor. CBOB was at the highest level in the Gulf versus Chicago since July.

“There have been a number of scheduled and unschedu  (go to article)

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Continental Resources unveils new Springer Shale play in Oklahoma

Platts -- Continental Resources unveiled results of the Springer Shale on Thursday, a new Oklahoma oil play that could help boost the state's already growing production to levels not seen in decades.

The Springer, chiefly sited in Grady and parts of Garvin counties at 12,500-foot depths, is yielding top-notch initial output rates and economic returns, company managers said Thursday in webcast remarks during Continental's 2014 Analyst Day in Oklahoma City.

The company's results in the Springer, combined with its own and the industry's mounting production at the South Central Oklahoma Oil Play and output from other formations in the state's subsoil, is adding to Oklahoma's already mounting production of 345,000 b/d in June, according to US Energy Information Administration data.

"Oklahoma could pot  (go to article)

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Nuclear reactor design for North Anna receives federal approval

The Richmond Times Dispatch -- Dominion Virginia Power’s proposal to build a third unit at its North Anna nuclear power station has received a boost with federal certification of a new reactor design. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy’s Economic Simplified Boiling-Water Reactor design for use in the United States. The GE-Hitachi system is the Virginia utility’s choice for its proposed North Anna 3 reactor at the Louisa County power plant. “We are pleased that GE-Hitachi has achieved this milestone in obtaining NRC certification for its … reactor design,” said David A. Christian, CEO of Dominion Generation. “North Anna 3 is an important part of our strategy to maintain a diverse supply of electrical generation for our customers and at the same time lower our overall carbon footprint  (go to article)

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Obama to tout U.S. climate plan at U.N. summit

The Baltimore Sun -- President Barack Obama will highlight strides the United States has made on climate change when he addresses a major U.N. climate summit next week, senior administration officials said on Thursday. About 120 heads of state and government, in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, are expected to attend the summit on Tuesday hosted by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. The summit, an effort to move global leaders closer to an ambitious climate deal due to be finalized next year, will allow the United States "to showcase actions we are taking across the government and across the country," said John Podesta, a senior Obama adviser. Podesta said that although the leaders of China and India, the major emerging economies, will skip the summit Obama has bilateral meetings with them sc  (go to article)

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Trucking, highway industries send letter to Congress pleading for ‘robust,’ long-term highway fundin

The Trucker -- Trucking industry lobbyists, transportation officials, equipment manufacturers and a host of other concerned businessmen and women sent a letter to Capitol Hill today urging that congressmen pass a “robust” long-term highway funding bill before May of next year when funding runs out, and protesting the “devolution” of the federal-aid program.

The letter called funding under the Transportation Empowerment Act or TEA “ill-conceived,” and stated that “by stripping away most federal funding for surface transportation projects” it would “virtually eliminate the federal government’s constitutionally mandated role in promoting interstate commerce.”

By 2019, it said, financing for the federal aid highway program will have dwindled by 80 percent, from $45 billion to less than $8 billion.

 (go to article)

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MIT-bred technology would let cars help each other avoid traffic jams

PC World -- Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology used virtual tokens, cellphones and vehicle-to-vehicle wireless LANs to build a system for allocating the limited space available on major thoroughfares. It doesn’t require any physical infrastructure, such as tollbooths, so it could be implemented quickly almost anywhere, they said.

Instead of using cameras or electronic tollbooths by the roadway to detect cars passing a certain point, the MIT system, called RoadRunner, is based on GPS (Global Positioning System) information from the driver’s cellphone in each car. As more cars get connected to the Internet, the system may be able to go into the car itself, according to Jason Gao, a graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science who developed the system with Profe  (go to article)

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Here's How ISIS Is Wrecking Iraq's Oil Industry

Reuters -- A member from the oil police force stands guard at Zubair oilfield in Basra, southeast of Baghdad June 18, 2014.

The Islamic State has taken over several oil-producing areas in Iraq and Syria, raising fears that the group could leverage its hydrocarbon wealth to the point of economic self-sufficiency. A Washington Post article today complicates that picture: ISIS is indeed producing between 25,000 and 40,000 barrels of oil a day, less than East Timor and Cameroon but about as much as Poland, Germany, or New Zealand. However, its oil is of poor quality, and ISIS is likely having trouble transporting it.

According to the report by Steven Mufson, ISIS is only capable of moving its oil by truck, suggesting that the group hasn't mastered the use of northern Iraq's oil pipeline system. And the  (go to article)

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If You Drive Less Than 9,480 Miles Per Year, It's Cheaper To Take An Uber Everywhere Than To Own A C

Business Insider -- The math is pretty complicated, but it turns out that if you drive less than 9,481 miles per year, it's cheaper to take UberX everywhere you go than it is to own a mid-sized car.

There are two catches:

You have to use UberX instead of regular Uber. No town cars for you.
You have to use half your time in the back of the car doing work.

Kyle Hill, the founder of a startup called HomeHero, did the complicated math.

Citing, AAA, he says the average cost of driving a mid-sized car 13,476 miles per year is $8,876.

( 13,476 miles is how many miles the average American drives per year.)

The costs break down like this:

Payments / depreciation ($4,260)
Fuel costs ($2,130)
Interest ($976)
Insurance ($887)
Maintenance and repairs ($355)
Registration and taxes ($  (go to article)

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GM recalling natural gas-powered vans due to possible leak

Reuters -- General Motors Co will recall about 3,200 vans powered by natural gas because of the possibility of a gas leak that increases the risk of a fire, the automaker said on Thursday.
GM said it knows of no fires, crashes or injuries related to this issue.  (go to article)

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Police: Man caused $14K damage by doing doughnuts

Associated Press -- Police say a Pennsylvania man caused more than $14,000 damage to several other vehicles when he took a dare to do a "doughnut" with his pickup truck in a bar parking lot.

Police say 35-year-old Brett Whitmire's truck kicked up damaging stones as it spun in a tight circle in the parking lot of the Beer Garden in Washington Township on Aug. 18.
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IRS won't, or can't, reveal how many plug-in vehicle tax credits are left

Autoblog Green -- One of the benefits of driving a plug-in vehicle these days is a federal tax credit worth up to $7,500. Officially called IRC 30D, this credit is intended to make the high cost of new EVs sting less for early adopters. Of course, free government money doesn't last forever, and when the tax credit law was first passed in as part of the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008, lawmakers built in a phase out. [...]

The IRS has set up a page that is supposed to help buyers figure out how much time is left for plug-in vehicle buyers to get a tax credit, and it tracks individual automaker sales figures. Trouble is, it's a complete mess. There are years' worth of data that the IRS is not making available to the public. Or perhaps some of it's the automakers' fault.  (go to article)

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Is bigger better? Demand soars for trucks, SUVs

CNBC -- In more than three decades on the job, Scott Adams has never seen his Jeep showroom as busy as it's been this summer.

"We can't keep Jeeps in stock," said Adams, who owns two auto dealerships outside of Kansas City, Missouri. "Once we get 'em, we sell 'em almost immediately."

Welcome to the renaissance of America's love affair with sport utility vehicles. These big vehicles that were blasted during the recession as gas-guzzling behemoths are now the hottest movers in showrooms. In fact, demand for SUVs, crossover utility vehicles and pickups is so strong, trucks are now outselling cars in the U.S.  (go to article)

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Global shift to mass transit could save more than $100 trillion and 1,700 megatons of CO2

UC Davis -- ore than $100 trillion in public and private spending could be saved between now and 2050 if the world expands public transportation, walking and cycling in cities, according to a new report released by the University of California, Davis, and the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy. Additionally, reductions in carbon dioxide emissions reaching 1,700 megatons per year in 2050 could be achieved if this shift occurs.  (go to article)

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Like It or Not, Most Urban Freeways Are Here to Stay

The Atlantic -- So it is that nearly a third of the interstate system consists of stretches through our cities, in the form of loops, spurs and freeways. So it is that American motorists drive nearly twice as many miles on urban interstates as they do the lengthier rural legs. So it is that every metropolis in the country has reorganized itself around these roads, and that they've shaped where we live and work, how we shop, what we eat, and how we pass our time.

And so it is, too, that as the system's roughly 14,000 city miles approach the end of their life expectancy, we'll figure out ways to raise the money to rebuild them, rather than tear them down. Because with precious few exceptions, our cities need their interstates the way organs need arteries.  (go to article)

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Most Alaskans to Get Nearly $1,900 in Oil Money

ABC News -- It's a highly anticipated day of the year in Alaska, when residents learn how much money they'll receive from the state's oil-wealth savings account — a payout people receive just for living in The Last Frontier.

This year's share of nearly $1,900 is the sweetest since the Great Recession and the third-richest ever.

Gov. Sean Parnell announced the amount of the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend with great fanfare Wednesday. "This is all good news for Alaskans," he said at an Anchorage press conference.

The $1,884 payout to be distributed Oct. 2 is more than double the amount of last year's $900 checks but short of the record payout of $2,069 in 2008.

— WHO QUALIFIES? The dividends are distributed annually to men, women and children who sign up for it after living in the state for at least  (go to article)

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Just how oil rich is Scotland?

Washington Post -- Can an independent Scotland live high off its oil and gas reserves?

Nationalists, who are hoping Scots vote Thursday to break ties with the United Kingdom, say that an independent Scotland would have so much oil that it could set up a sovereign wealth fund like Norway's fabulously rich fund -- and still pay for free education, boost pensions and keep taxes low. But many oil and gas experts -- including some of the biggest global oil and gas companies -- have warned that Scotland might not be quite as well off as that.

Here's the independence view: A Scottish government-led group of industry leaders in 2012 published an Oil & Gas Strategy article, which estimated that there are up to 24 billion barrels of oil and gas reserves that could be recovered. The group said that the reserves -- "a  (go to article)

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Toyota recalling 20,000 late-model vehicles on potential fuel leak

Reuters -- Toyota Motor Corp said on Thursday it will recall about 20,000 vehicles worldwide for possible fuel leaks.

Most of the affected vehicles are in the United States but were also shipped to other countries, Toyota said.
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Exclusive: U.S. considering options if oil export ban challenged

Reuters -- (Reuters) - Obama administration officials are concerned about the legality of a ban on oil exports and have begun discussing how to deal with potential challenges from nations that want to buy U.S. crude, two sources said.

Officials in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the National Security Council have each held internal talks about potential free-trade challenges from South Korea and NATO allies, two sources familiar with the matter said.

The internal discussions, which are still at a preliminary stage, are the clearest sign yet that the Obama administration is weighing options for easing the contentious export ban, a move that could dramatically alter global oil trading flows and boost revenues for U.S. producers currently limited to selling their crude domestically.

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Two Big Trends Will Fuel The Renewable Energy Boom For Years Read more: http://www.businessinsider.

Business Insider -- The renewable energy revolution is happening faster than many expected.

According to recent report from Citi Research, renewables will continue their market share grabs from coal and gas for two reasons.

First, renewables are rapidly becoming cost-effective, and second, environmental restrictions are becoming an increasingly high hurdle.

Renewables Are Getting Cheaper
Thanks to tech advances, the cost of renewables is finally dropping to affordable levels, which is allowing them to proliferate, according to Citi.

"Costs for solar and wind energy are falling rapidly, with learning rates of around 30% for solar and 7.4% for wind," the report states.

Wind power has already achieved cost parity with the most expensive coal power plants in Europe (slightly above $80/MWh), and by the end of  (go to article)

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Outrage Over Guardrail Crashes Tied to Lost Limbs, Deaths

ABC News -- Faced with widespread news reports of lost limbs and painful deaths tied to highway guardrails that have pierced vehicles, federal officials are backing a nationwide study of whether guardrails are as safe in reality as they appear to be in crash tests.  (go to article)

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New Hydrogen Production Method Could Help Store Renewable Energy

Huffington Post -- Scientists at Scotland's University of Glasgow say they've found a new way to produce hydrogen from clean, renewable energy sources.  (go to article)

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Laval driver to fight speeding ticket after attempted chihuahua rescue

The Gazette -- A Laval couple plan to contest a ticket they received last Sun for speeding on a service road. The husband was driving 67 in a 45mph zone while his wife performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on their pet chihuahua, which was in cardiac arrest

The incident happened at 10:25AM on the service road of A-440. A cruiser pulled the car over for speeding and the occupants told the officer they were frantic to get the dog to the veterinarian. The officer escorted them to the vet’s clinic, where unfortunately the dog died. The driver was then given a $258 ticket and 3 pts off his permit

Constable said that as a dog owner he completely understands, but as a police officer, the safety of the public has to come first. “I have a dog too, but as a cop we have to draw the line somewhere  (go to article)

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Thief robs Gatineau gas bar, then returns for more

The Gazette -- It was déja-vu all over again for a Petro Canada clerk in the Gatineau when the same man robbed the gas bar twice in 3 hrs

The thief was picked up by Gatineau police early Wed in a bar not far from the place he had robbed. He was known to police

The action began at 9:30PM Tue when the 45-yr-old suspect first went to the gas bar on Gréber Blvd, passed the clerk a note demanding the cash in the till, took the money and fled in a black truck

The clerk called police and gave them a description of the robber

At 12:30AM, the same man returned to the gas station and used the same means to get more money from the clerk. Police were again called and they seemed to know where to find the man, in a local bar. The truck was found parked at the man’s home

The man has prior arrests of a similar nat  (go to article)

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California Surpasses 100,000 Plug-in Car Sales

GasBuddy Blog -- California sped past a major mile-marker recently – selling more than 100,000 plug-in cars since the market started in 2010, according to the California Plug-In Electric Vehicle Collaborative.Electric vehicle sales have risen steadily over the last several years – and this new milestone drives California closer to achieving Gov. Brown's goal of 1.5 million electric cars on the road by 2025."California's plug-in electric vehicle market is ramping up, and we expect to see significant growth over the next ten years as customers realize how economical and convenient they are," said California Plug-In Electric Vehicle Collaborative Executive Director Christine Kehoe....  (go to article)

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Home> Technology Self-Driving Cars Now Need a Permit in California

Associated Press -- Associated Press

Computer-driven cars have been testing their skills on California roads for more than four years — but until now, the Department of Motor Vehicles wasn't sure just how many were rolling around.
That changed Tuesday, when the agency required self-driving cars to be registered and issued testing permits that let three companies dispatch 29 vehicles onto freeways and into neighborhoods — with a human behind the wheel in case the onboard equipment makes a bad decision.
These may be the cars of the future, but for now they represent a tiny fraction of California's approximately 32 million registered vehicles.  (go to article)

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U.S. auto regulators defend role in GM recall after report

Reuters -- Federal auto safety regulators came under scrutiny in a Senate hearing on Tuesday for their role in General Motors' failure to promptly report and recall cars with defective parts that led to at least 19 deaths. A report released by a House committee earlier on Tuesday said officials at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration repeatedly failed to identify the potential problems with the faulty ignition switches and could have acted more quickly to catch the problem. Senator Claire McCaskill, who chaired Tuesday's hearing, criticized the auto regulator for not pushing hard enough for information from GM by issuing subpoenas. "That reflects obviously on an agency that is perhaps more interested in singing kumbaya with the manufacturers than being a cop on the beat," McCaskill said  (go to article)

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Hyundai Motor's record $10 billion bid for trophy property alarms investors

Reuters -- Hyundai Motor Group will pay a record $10 billion for the site of its new headquarters in Seoul's high-end Gangnam district, out-bidding Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS) and sparking investor concerns that it is wasting cash on a trophy property. The conglomerate smashed the previous record auction price for a single plot of land in South Korea with its 10.55 trillion won ($10.14 billion) bid, more than triple the appraisal value. It would be the highest price by far for a single piece of land in Asia since the global financial crisis, according to CBRE Research, topping the $3.6 billion paid last year by Hong Kong's Sun Hung Kai Properties (0016.HK) for a site in a commercial district in Shanghai. Investors and analysts expressed alarm at the price that Hyundai was willing to pay fo  (go to article)

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Return of the $3 Gallon? U.S Gas Prices Are Falling Fast

Bloomberg -- The national average price of regular unleaded, now at $3.38 a gallon, is down 8 percent from the end of June. Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at GasBuddy.com, thinks this year will bring the cheapest autumn gasoline prices since 2010. Last year drivers spent $40 billion at the pump in September, and Kloza thinks that bill will be at least $2 billion lower in 2014. The savings at the pump should help stimulate consumer spending in other parts of the economy.  (go to article)

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Natural-Gas Vehicles: Honda, Chevy Are 'Neglected Stepchild' Among Green Cars

Green Car Reports -- Diesels seem likely to gain U.S. market share in light trucks and SUVs, hybrids are at least holding their own, and of course sales of plug-in electric cars are rising steadily.

Wait...are we missing a green-car technology?

As an article in The Los Angeles Times points out, natural-gas powered passenger vehicles remain the "neglected stepchild" among vehicles with alternative powertrains.

Under two different model names, Honda has now been selling its Civic compact sedan with a natural-gas option in certain states for almost 15 years.

Sales have remained stubbornly between 1,000 and 3,000, and the cars continue to be bought primarily by fleet buyers who can refuel them at centralized natural-gas fueling stations that they own and operate.

The article in the Los Angeles Times  (go to article)

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Crude Oil Prices Skid as Refining Slows

24/7 Wall St -- The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its weekly petroleum status report Wednesday morning. U.S. commercial crude inventories increased by 3.7 million barrels last week, maintaining a total U.S. commercial crude inventory to 362.3 million barrels, and they have moved to the upper half of the five-year range for this time of the year.
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Vehicles That Can Get You 200,000 Miles

AOL Autos -- Americans drive a lot. Collectively, we put an average of 13,476 miles on our cars each year, according to the Department of Transportation. Because of this, a vehicle's ability to travel long distances without major problems is a huge aspect to take into consideration when it comes time to purchase a new one.

iSeeCars.com, a website that aggregates 30 million used car listings from all around the country, recently looked for all of the vehicles housed on its website from 1981-2010 that have more than 200,000 miles on the odometer in order to see which models are really going the distance for their owners. The findings, which list the 12 models with the highest percentage of 200,000-mile travelers, are quite interesting. Only one car made the list, the Honda Accord.  (go to article)

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46 years later, owner to get stolen Jaguar back

Associated Press -- Forty-six years ago Ivan Schneider, successful Manhattan lawyer, bought himself the Jaguar convertible that would feature in a most unusual tale of unrequited love.

It was the first (and "prettiest") of many luxury cars he would own, his companion on fast drives — and the only one that was ever stolen.
 (go to article)

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OPEC Supply Risks Mount as Biggest Libyan Field Is Halted

Bloomberg -- A reduction in OPEC crude output deepened as Libya’s biggest producing oilfield stopped pumping amid supply cuts from Saudi Arabia and potential disruptions to Nigerian exports.

Libya halted the Sharara oilfield as a precaution after a rocket attack on the connected Zawiya refinery three days ago, closing down about 30 percent of national output. In Africa’s largest oil producer, state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. was in talks yesterday to prevent a strike that threatened to disrupt exports. Saudi Arabia told the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries that in August it made the deepest production cut in 18 months.

Brent crude futures declined 14 percent in the past three months, falling to a two-year low of $96.21 a barrel on Sept. 15. Global oil demand growth is ...  (go to article)

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Audi gets first permit to test self-driving cars on California roads

LA Times -- Think twice next time you tailgate that new Audi in front of you; there might not be a human driving it.

Audi announced Tuesday that it is the first automaker to get a permit from the state of California to test self-driving cars on public roads. New state regulations took effect the same day specifically allowing such testing for the first time in California, per a law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2012.

“Audi is a driving force behind the research taking automated driving from science fiction to pre-production readiness,” Scott Keogh, president of Audi of America, said in a statement. “Obtaining the first permit issued by the state of California shows that we intend to remain the leader in this vital technology frontier.”  (go to article)

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Another tracking device via your OBD2 port and smartphone

Boston Globe -- I’ve been testing one that is actually more than an app. Automatic is a $99 piece of hardware that plugs into the digital interface found in most vehicles made since 1996. This little dongle uses a Bluetooth radio signal to connect with an app running on an iPhone. It’s a handy way to keep constant tabs on your driving habits. It can also tell you why the car’s “check engine” light just came on. And it has a built-in crash sensor that can call for a rescue if you’re in an accident.

About that digital interface — it’s called an OBD II port. It’s a plug mounted beneath the steering wheel, where the guy at the garage plugs in his computer to test your car during a state-mandated inspection. But the port has other uses. The auto insurer Progressive offers a plug-in device called Snapshot that  (go to article)

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A Radar Gun that Catches Driver Texting Is in Development

Auto Evolution -- ComSonics, a Virginia-based company, is developing a radar gun-like device with which police officers will be able to detect drivers who are texting. The gadget uses the telltale radio frequencies that emit from a vehicle when someone inside is using a cellphone.

According to Malcolm McIntyre of ComSonics, the technology of the new radar is similar to what cable repairmen use to find where a cable is damaged, from a rodent, for instance. They basically look for frequencies leaking in a transmission, McIntyre said.

According to the source, a text message emits different frequencies to phone call and data transfer, that can be distinguished by the device the tech company is working at.

..The only problem is whether engineers will find a way to identify who's phone was being used or they  (go to article)

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Brakes Slipping? Screeching? Grinding? Don't Delay Repairs

GasBuddy Blog -- Don't put off the small stuff because it almost always becomes a big problem later. Automotive News advises that if you think there's a problem, you need to get it checked.  NOW. Many service stations such as Midas will perform a basic brake check to determine the extent of any problems. If you hear any brake noise such as screeching, squeaking or grinding, you should immediately have your brakes checked.Worn out brake pads, calipers and drums might be the issue, but it could also be a problem with your master cylinder, individual wheel cylinders or simply a lack of fluid. Here's a rundown from the minor problems to the major ones, and their costs: ...  (go to article)

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Do distracted driving laws cover smartwatches?

Canadian Press -- It's up to the police to decide, says ON's Transportation Ministry

We're not sure yet, says a spokesman for ON's provincial police force

Although numerous smartwatches have hit the market in the last couple of years, it's expected Apple's simply named Watch will really kick start interest in the devices when it's released in early 2015

That delay buys authorities some time to figure out whether current distracted driving legislation already covers the new class of devices

"There's nothing illegal about looking at your watch to see what time it is, but if you're consumed by the functions of the watch [that's different]

Ticket will come down to police interpretation

Some features available on the device may be permitted under the province's distracted driving provisions, while others w  (go to article)

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Police remove shale gas supporter from anti-shale event

CBC-Angry man worried about losing job attends Anti-Shale Gas Alliance news conference in Moncton -- Police had to be called to an anti-shale gas news conference in Moncton on Wednesday morning to deal with an angry man.

Jim Emberger, a spokesperson for the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance, says the man arrived before the scheduled event and began shouting and pushing people around because he is afraid of losing his job if there is a ban on fracking in the province.

Police officers had to remove the man, said Emberger.

Emberger says his group is concerned that politicians running in the provincial election don't understand all of the facts regarding their concerns about hydraulic-fracturing.

As a result, New Brunswickers who are looking for the facts about shale gas aren't getting them from the current political debate and they're being misled, he said.

 (go to article)

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U.S. crude output surges to highest since ' 86 on shale boom

worldoil.com -- U.S. crude production climbed to the highest level in more than 28 years last week as the shale boom moved the country closer to energy independence.

Output rose 248,000 bpd to 8.838 million, the most since March 1986, according to Energy Information Administration data. The combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing has unlocked supplies from shale formations in the central U.S., including the Bakken in North Dakota and the Eagle Ford in Texas.

“The shale boom hasn’t run its course yet,” Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research in Winchester, Massachusetts, said by phone. “The U.S. is in a good and improving position as far as oil supply is concerned.”
 (go to article)

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A System to Cut City Traffic That Just Might Work

Wired -- Traffic sucks. Congestion is bad for the environment, health (see: Beijing), and maybe most importantly, our sanity. One solution gaining in popularity amongst urban governments is the congestion charging scheme, in which drivers pay a toll to enter designated downtown areas. London, Stockholm, and Milan all have such systems in place, and New York came close to trying it out in 2007. Those efforts are all whippersnappers compared to Singapore’s program, which was introduced in 1975. Over the past few decades, the city-state has upgraded the system, which now uses radio transmitters to detect cars entering designated areas.

But two MIT researchers think they’ve got a better way of doing things. They’ve tested out a new method—and won an award doing it  (go to article)

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Federal study of Pennsylvania fracking site finds no water pollution

The Times-Picayune-AP -- The final report from a landmark federal study on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, found no evidence that chemicals or brine water from the gas drilling process moved upward to contaminate drinking water at a site in western Pennsylvania.

The Department of Energy report, released Monday, was the first time an energy company allowed independent monitoring of a drilling site during the fracking process and for 18 months afterward. After those months of monitoring, researchers found that the chemical-laced fluids used to free gas stayed about 5,000 feet below drinking water supplies.

Scientists used tracer fluids, seismic monitoring and other tests to look for problems, and created the most detailed public report to date about how fracking affects adjacent rock structures.

 (go to article)

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Engineers develop algorithms to switch out and recharge battery modules in electric cars

Science Daily -- Imagine being able to switch out the batteries in electric cars just like you switch out batteries in a photo camera or flashlight. A team of engineers at the University of California, San Diego, are trying to accomplish just that, in partnership with a local San Diego engineering company.
Rather than swapping out the whole battery, which is cumbersome and requires large, heavy equipment, engineers plan to swap out and recharge smaller units within the battery, known as modules. They named the project Modular Battery Exchange and Active Management, or M-BEAM for short.
Engineers have already purchased and converted a car, a 2002 four-door Volkswagen Golf. They also built all the modules for one of the two battery packs they plan to use and are now looking for sponsors for their project, in  (go to article)

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Electric vehicles are getting cleaner, group says

Fuel Fix -- As the U.S. shifts away from coal-fired power plants and electric vehicles get more efficient, most Americans now live in regions where electric vehicles produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions than the most efficient hybrid cars, according to a new analysis.

While touted as more environmentally friendly options, electric vehicles have been criticized for contributing to the carbon footprint by relying on electricity generated in many cases from coal-fired power plants.

Related: Electric vehicles’ carbon footprint depends on the state

However, recent changes in electricity markets combined with technological improvements to electric vehicles led the Union of Concerned Scientists this week to conclude that electric vehicles are getting cleaner. In a new report out this week, the nonprofit  (go to article)

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Six Reasons Why the United Nations Should Not Intervene on Fossil Fuel Use (A Response to the Misgui

Forbes -- Tens of thousands of protesters will be swarming New York this Sunday to encourage the United Nations to call for drastic cuts for fossil fuels. They think they are doing the moral thing in encouraging the UN to oppose the use of coal, oil, and natural gas.

In fact they’re supporting policies that would cut billions of lives short. Literally. Before anyone picks up a protest sign or petitions the UN, they should know these six facts about fossil fuels and human life.  (go to article)

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Charge your phone using ‘urine-tricity’

CNBC -- Waste not, want not, the saying goes, and researchers at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory are turning something we all produce – urine – into clean electricity, or 'urine-tricity'.
It sounds outlandish, but earlier this year, at the Reinvent the Toilet Fair in New Delhi, India – co-hosted by the Indian Department of Biotechnology and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – the team exhibited a functional urinal that was able to charge a phone using just urine, a world first.
 (go to article)

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