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Recent Gas News/GasBuddy Blog

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Audi to abandon CVTs?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Cellphone Bans Don't Reduce Accidents, Research Finds

Aol Autos -- Common sense says that talking on a cellphone while driving is not a particularly safe thing to do. But recent studies have found banning cellphone use while behind the wheel is not leading to a decrease in accidents.
 (go to article)

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Whose Oil Will Quench China’s Thirst?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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2014 Ford Fiesta SFE Test Drive

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

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As Australia Repeals Carbon Tax, India Doubles Down on Coal

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

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

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

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Oil train derails; cars retain cargo

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

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

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

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

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

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Gasoline Margins Hit 5-Year, Second-Quarter Low

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

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

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

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Oil futures stall as investors eye gasoline inventories

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

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

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

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

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BNSF train carrying North Dakota oil derails in Seattle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Prius Claims World Record: 581 mpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Falling gasoline prices may stay lower through summer

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel -- A lack of severe weather and no unscheduled refinery shutdowns have combined to give Milwaukee drivers some good news: Gasoline prices are down about 30 cents from last month's average and 20 cents from last year's average, experts said Wednesday.

And more good news: Nationally, drivers could see these lower prices for the rest of the summer.

"I do believe we have seen our peak price for this year, and prices may hold at the mid-$3 gallon range in Milwaukee for the next month or two," said Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy. "Theoretically, if refinery infrastructure and production of oil is stable, in October or November we could see prices around $3.20 to $3.40 (per gallon)."

The average national price for regular unleaded gasoline has steadily declined after peaki  (go to article)

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Man run over by own truck during road rage

AOL Inc. -- GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- A man in Florida apparently got a dose of road rage karma when police say he was run over by his own pickup truck after getting out to bang on another driver's window.

It happened Tuesday evening in Gainesville, Florida.

The Gainesville Sun reports 48-year-old Joseph Carl had been drinking and drove into a vehicle stopped at a red light. He got out of his truck without putting it in park and began banging on the window of a woman's car. When the frightened woman drove away, there was nothing holding his truck in place.

The truck rolled into Carl. A police report says he was taken to the hospital where he was treated for fractures in his hand and foot.

He's charged with DUI and DUI property damage. It isn't known whether he's obtained a lawyer.
 (go to article)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Venezuela state oil company evaluates offers to buy Citgo -media

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

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

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

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

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Electric Cars Equal Gasoline Cost Of Just 75 Cents A Gallon

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

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

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

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

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

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

Losing a parent at just six years of age is unimaginable. You may vaguely remember some of the wonderful memories from that brief time spent together, but the pain surely never goes away. I imagine you cling to those memories dearly, grasping hold of them and praying that over time you won't forget.
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Tomorrow’s Fastest Cars Could Be Covered in Morphable Skins

Wired -- Wrinkles aren’t usually an aspect of the future that gets people excited. But fast cars are. And someday we might have cars that can accelerate more quickly, and efficiently, by morphing their surface texture through the mechanics of wrinkling.

Speed-enhancing body wrinkles on your Tesla are still years away, but researchers at MIT have created what could be the first step: a ball with morphable surface texture. They were able to get their creation, which they call a smorph (short for smart morphable surface), to wrinkle into a dimpled pattern similar to a golf ball’s, with similar aerodynamic properties.

Smorphs are sort of like raisins. As the soft inside of a grape dries out, the stiffer skin can’t shrink with it. Instead, it develops wrinkles to conform around the reduced volume.  (go to article)

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How to power California with wind, water and sun

Science Daily -- New Stanford research outlines the path to a possible future for California in which renewable energy creates a healthier environment, generates jobs and stabilizes energy prices.
Imagine a smog-free Los Angeles, where electric cars ply silent freeways, solar panels blanket rooftops and power plants run on heat from beneath the Earth, from howling winds and from the blazing desert sun.
A new Stanford study finds that it is technically and economically feasible to convert California's all-purpose energy infrastructure to one powered by clean, renewable energy. Published in Energy, the plan shows the way to a sustainable, inexpensive and reliable energy supply in California that could create tens of thousands of jobs and save billions of dollars in pollution-related health costs.
"If impleme  (go to article)

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Oil falls on worries about U.S. gasoline demand

AP -- Wholesale gasoline fell 2 cents to $2.84 a gallon.

The price of oil fell near $102 a barrel Thursday, erasing gains from the day before.
Benchmark U.S. crude for September delivery dropped $1.05 to $102.07 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Wednesday, the Nymex contract gained 73 cents after the Energy Department reported a far larger drop in U.S. crude inventories than what analysts had expected.
Brent crude for September delivery, a benchmark for international oils, fell 96 cents to $107.07 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
The price of oil has stayed above $100 a barrel after a civilian jetliner was shot out of the sky last week over a part of eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists and as Israel’s invasion of the Gaza Strip added to risks of instabili  (go to article)

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Biden uses white board to push for highway funding (With Video)

The Hill -- Vice President Joe Biden used the White House's "white board" to push for a long-term extension of federal transportation funding on Wednesday.

Congress is considering a $10.9 billion temporary extension of road and transit funding that would run out next month otherwise. The measure would carry transportation funding to May 2015.

Biden said in a video that was posted on the White House website that he was glad lawmakers were likely going to prevent a transportation funding bankruptcy, but he argued for a longer solution.

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Toyota goes from hybrids to hydrogen

poughkeepsie journal -- Rocket science long dismissed as too impractical and expensive for everyday cars is getting a push into the mainstream by Toyota, the world's top-selling automaker.

Buoyed by its success with electric-gasoline hybrids, Toyota is betting that drivers will embrace hydrogen fuel cells, an even cleaner technology that runs on the energy created by an electrochemical reaction when oxygen in the air combines with hydrogen stored as fuel.  (go to article)

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If emissions regulations hurt Australia, why do Democrats want them for America?

Washington Examiner -- Australia and the United States: Two different countries, two different governing political ideologies, and two differing strategies when it comes to energy and the environment.

As President Obama was using colorful graphics to drum up support for his new carbon emission capping agenda, Conservative Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott was acting on his promise to repeal his nation's carbon tax.

Australia's tax on emissions was intended to create a disincentive to emitting large amounts of carbon dioxide, but Abbott asserted that the carbon tax was hurting the Australian economy. After successfully getting the regulations repealed, the carbon tax officially ended July 17, retroactive to July 1.

Australia's Department  (go to article)

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2015 Ford F-150 Makes 325 Horsepower With 2.7 Liter EcoBoost

GAS 2 -- Arguably one of the most important vehicles of the next year, the 2015 Ford F-150 has wholly embraced lightweight aluminum and small turbocharged engines in an effort to boost fuel economy. Headlining the 2015 F-150’s powertrain lineup is a new 2.7 liter EcoBoost V6 that Ford says will make 325 horsepower and 375 ft-lbs of torque. On top of that, the new F-150 loses more than 700 pounds compared with the outgoing model, thanks to that aluminum body.

Though Ford isn’t specifying exact weight numbers yet, if you subtract 700 pounds from most 2014 models, you end up well under the 5,000 pound mark. The current range of 2014 F-150 pickups range in weight from 4,685 to just over 5,900 pounds, so a 700+ pound diet is pretty substantial. In fact, the new F-150 might weigh less than 1,000 pounds  (go to article)

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US senator expects 2014 RFS volumes to go up, following meeting with Obama adviser

Platts -- Following a meeting with President Barack Obama's top energy adviser, Minnesota Senator Al Franken on Thursday said he believes the EPA will raise its biofuels blending targets when it finalizes the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard.

"We are hoping for and we definitely believe we're going to get higher numbers than in the preliminary rule, and we hope they're significantly higher," Franken said on a conference call with reporters.

Franken and eight other Democratic senators met with Obama adviser John Podesta to discuss the biodiesel mandate within the 2014 RFS, though Franken said ethanol issues came up, as well.

The EPA announced its preliminary 2014 RFS rule in November, proposing for the first time a cut in the overall biofuels blending mandate, much to the consternation of ethanol and  (go to article)

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Reduced Pipeline Flow from Canada Leads to Large Cushing Draw

Genscape -- Inventory levels at the key Cushing, OK, storage hub took another nose dive for the week ending July 18, decreasing just shy of one million barrels according to Genscape’s Cushing inventory report. Cushing storage has been in a destocking pattern since the beginning of 2014 with the completion of TransCanada’s 700,000 bpd Gulf Coast pipeline. While the large draw leaves the market wondering how much more Cushing can drain out, the draw was expected by those looking at the pipeline flow balances surrounding the hub.

The Cushing leg of the Keystone pipeline was a major contributor to this decrease, delivering approximately 593,000 barrels less than it did the previous week.” The Keystone line brings Canadian crude from Hardisty, Alberta, with delivery to Patoka, IL, and Cushing, OK. Flow of  (go to article)

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Technology plays key role in transportation

Washington Times -- One example of the intersection between technology and transportation that has received a lot of media coverage is autonomous vehicle technology. Multiple companies and universities are working on driverless cars, and several of these vehicles have made their way to Washington, DC in recent months to demonstrate how much the technology has advanced.

The potential safety benefits of these types of advancements are impossible to ignore. Reducing the human error factor, the cause of an estimated 9 out of every 10 crashes, could have a dramatic impact on the more than 33,000 annual traffic fatalities and the $871 billion in associated economic costs and societal harms of accidents.  (go to article)

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Opposition, new safety rules to test the oil by rail model

Mining.com -- Growing opposition to an oil by rail terminal in Washington state is threatening to shoot California gasoline prices —already the highest in the US— up the roof as local refineries will be forced to buy more foreign oil transported by cargo ships as opposed to crude from local sources.  (go to article)

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Pregnant Woman In Labor Blocked From Crossing Street By Obama

HOLLYWOOD LIFE -- Awful! When a pregnant woman asked the LAPD to cross a closed street so that she could get to a hospital, they told her absolutely not — because Barack Obama’s motorcade was moments away from passing through. Not cool.
A Los Angeles woman and her husband tried to cross the street so that they could get to Cedars Sinai Medical Center when the Los Angeles Police Department stopped them. The street the couple were trying to cross was blocked off because President Barack Obama’s motorcade was scheduled to pass through, and the LAPD would not take two minutes to help the woman in labor cross the street before the POTUS drove through. Do YOU think she should have been able to cross?Pregnant Woman Blocked From Crossing The Street While In Labor
This is not going to help Obama’s approval ratin  (go to article)

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DOT proposes stricter oil train safety rules

Poliitco -- HOU
13 Top 4th
OAK

BOS
0-8 Final
TOR

SF
1-2 Final
PHI

TEX
2-4 Final
NYY

TONIGHT:
MIA
6:10 PM
ATL

SD
7:05 PM
CHC

CWS
7:10 PM
MIN

CLE
7:10 PM
KC

NYM
7:10 PM
MIL

DET
9:05 PM
LAA

BAL
9:10 PM
SEA
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Court says electricity customers can be charged to help finance FutureGen clean-coal plant

Associated Press -- CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Illinois regulators can force electricity customers to help pay for the $1.6 billion FutureGen clean-coal project, a state appeals court said in a ruling Tuesday.

The 2-1 decision handed down by the Illinois Appellate Court OKs a state plan to charge electricity customers an estimated $1 to $1.40 a month to help pay for the long-delayed project
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Micro-units help D.C. renters live to the max

Washington Post -- One thing developers say can charm renters into a micro-unit: vibrant communities.

Williams has found that the tight spaces in studios at the Harper lend themselves to a tight-knit community in the common areas, making renters less likely to worry about their small square footage.

Williams already made friends with her neighbors, and hung out with a couple of them on a Friday night. She and one other tenant even co-hosted a meet-and-greet on the building’s roof recently.  (go to article)

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Red Wings Generously Agree To Accept Huge Sums Of Money From Public

Deadspin -- You might remember the uproar over the arena deal—which includes $284.5 million in public investment—when it was originally announced last summer. Isn't this a terrible idea for a city wading through bankruptcy proceedings, people asked? (Yes, it is.) Couldn't those tax dollars be better spent on other infrastructure improvements in the area instead of lining the pockets of a wealthy pizza magnate? (Yes, they could have.)  (go to article)

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Why Doesn't The Sunshine State Use More Solar Energy?

WUSF News -- As far as solar energy goes, the Sunshine State is third in the country for potential -- and 18th in actual installation.In Florida, there’s no financial assistance for installing solar panels on your roof. Solar energy users can only take a federal tax credit.Florida Power and Light powers the state using mostly natural gas. Out of all the energy FPL provides, only 0.06 percent comes from solar energy.
 (go to article)

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Why Oklahoma’s Wind Energy Future Could Be Shaped by Osage County

State Impact Oklahoma -- Oklahoma is moving up the national ranks in wind-generated electricity. But as wind farms expand into northeastern Oklahoma, developers are facing a team of unlikely allies: Oil interests and environmentalists. But as StateImpact’s Joe Wertz reports, the wind farm fight in Osage County could affect the whole state.  (go to article)

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GM Made This Bizarre 20-Foot-Tall Vehicle to Predict the Future

Wired -- In 1940, General Motors wanted to wow the American public with its vision of the future. To showcase those ideas, it designed one of the strangest automobiles you’ll ever see. The GM Futurliner resembles an RV. It weighs 30,000 pounds, has a top speed of 38 mph, and is as tall as a two-story house. Now, one of the nine Futurliners still in existence is going up for auction, and it’s expected to fetch a hefty sum.

The automaker used the funky ride as part of a traveling show called the “Parade of Progress.” At towns and cities around the U.S., GM employees would show off novel inventions like the jet engine, radar, television, and microwave. For the tour that started at the 1939 New York World’s Fair, GM created the Futurliner, which carried animated exhibits like “Miracles of Heat and Col  (go to article)

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EPA Funds Environmental Health Research for Tribal Communities

EPA -- WASHINGTON – To identify and reduce tribal health risks associated with climate change, indoor wood smoke exposure, environmental asthma, waterborne diseases, and other unique tribal concerns, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is awarding tribal environmental health research grants to six groups, including universities and tribes.?
“We're working together to help tribal communities combat the threats from climate change, and reduce environmental and public health risks,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “After more than a decade of funding this research, which addresses the unique needs of American Indian and Alaska Native communities, we have important data, tools, products and knowledge available to help communities determine a path forward to take action on climate change  (go to article)

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Nissan Leaf $5,500 Battery Replacement Loses Money, Company Admits

Yahoo Autos -- Last month, electric-car owners finally learned the price of a replacement battery pack for the Nissan Leaf: a surprisingly low $5,500 after the old pack is traded in.

Many advocates and Leaf owners promptly seized on the price to "prove" that Nissan could now build batteries for less than $250 per kilowatt-hour.

Not so fast, please: Nissan has now confirmed to Green Car Reports that it subsidizes that price.

In light of the Leaf battery replacement price of $5,500, we asked the company to comment on its costs for producing electric-car batteries--which, predictably, it wouldn't do.

"As you can imagine," wrote Jeff Kuhlman, Nissan's vice president of global communications, "we don’t share those figures for competitive reasons."

But regarding the replacement price, Kuhlman was quite cl  (go to article)

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Car seat sensors able to tell if you're falling asleep

Hearst Electronic Products -- Here’s another thing we could put into our new, future smart cars: seats integrated with sensors that can tell from your heart rate if you’re too tired to drive a car. Technology like that would help us avoid car accidents and other incidents on the road, which is why a team from the UK is looking into it. The seats are a project by the UK’s Nottingham Trent University, who wants to develop an electrocardiogram (ECG) they can embed into a driver’s seat, one that will be able to monitor the driver’s heart rate. From this, the car would determine if that driver is too tired to actually drive the car, something that would definitely improve safety conditions.  (go to article)

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Audi gives the A7 TDI a boost with "competition" model

GIZMAG -- Do you like the look of the diesel Audi A7, but think it isn't quick enough? Audi may just have the car for you. The A7 Sportback 3.0 TDI competition is a more powerful version of the standard A7 3.0 TDI, with special styling cues to celebrate 25 years of Audi's TDI technology.  (go to article)

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Acura NSX Catches Fire During Nurburgring Testing

Yahoo Autos -- Not good. Not good at all. The very same Honda/Acura NSX that we showed you running the Nurburging yesterday, has caught fire and ended its life at the side of the race track.  (go to article)

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Adding a Teen Driver Leads to 79% Higher Car Insurance Costs

GasBuddy Blog -- Adding a teenage driver to a married couple's car insurance policy leads to a 79% higher average annual premium, according to a new insuranceQuotes.com report. Teenage males (+92%) are much more expensive to insure than teenage females (+67%). The good news is that the premium increases decline each year, from 96% for 16-year-olds to 58% for 19-year-olds.The most expensive state to insure a teenage driver is New Hampshire, where the average premium spikes by 111%. The Granite State is one of seven states where premiums more than double after adding a teen driver to the policy. The others are Rhode Island (+107%), Maine (+107%), Wyoming (+106%), Connecticut (+102%), Illinois (+101%) and Oregon (+101%)....  (go to article)

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U.S. Refiners to Ship Most Fuel to Europe Since November

Bloomberg -- Traders booked the most tankers in eight months to ship diesel and heating oil to Europe from the U.S. Gulf, where refining is surging as a consequence of America’s rising crude production.

Oil companies either booked or plan to charter 16 tankers to transport cargoes on the route for loading during the next two weeks, according to the survey of six people involved in the trade yesterday. That compares with nine last week and is the highest count since Nov. 6.

The highest U.S. oil production in more than two decades means Gulf Coast refineries are processing close to the most fuel ever. A ban on exporting most crude means the nation’s plants can tap cheaper supplies than their European counterparts. Tankers taking those refined fuels across the Atlantic Ocean are earning the most for the  (go to article)

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U.S. sells first condensate to Asia in at least 40 years

Reuters -- South Korea and Japan have purchased the first condensate, or ultra-light oil, from the United States since the easing of a 40-year-old ban on U.S. crude oil exports, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Thursday...

"If the U.S. wants its allies to be less dependent on the likes of Russia and Iran, it has to show some willingness to step up as a supplier instead of keeping the bounty from shale production within its own market."

South Korean oil refiner GS Caltex has bought a condensate cargo to be loaded in late July, three industry sources with knowledge of the matter said. They declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter.

The cargo was marketed by Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co Ltd, which had bought it from Enterprise Product Partners.  (go to article)

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Industry Vows to Fight U.S. City’s Ban on Canadian Oil Sands

Oilprice.com -- The council voted 6-1 on July 21 against allowing the use of the 236-mile Portland-Montreal Pipe Line to ship the Canadian oil to South Portland for export  (go to article)

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Industry pans feds’ plan for gas exports

Fuel Fix -- The Obama administration says its new plan for vetting proposals to sell liquefied natural gas overseas is aimed at streamlining the review process, but energy companies and aspiring exporters say the government’s approach could have the opposite effect.  (go to article)

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Feds propose rules for oil train tank cars

The Spokesman Review -- WASHINGTON – Responding to a series of fiery train crashes, the government proposed rules Wednesday that would phase out tens of thousands of older tank cars that carry increasing quantities of crude oil and other highly flammable liquids through America’s towns and cities.

But many details were put off until later as regulators struggle to balance safety against the economic benefits of a fracking boom that has sharply increased U.S. oil production. Among the issues: What type of tank cars will replace those being phased out, how fast will they be allowed to travel and what kind of braking systems will they need?

Accident investigators have complained for decades that older tank cars, known as DOT-111s, are too easily punctured or ruptured, spilling their contents when derailed.  (go to article)

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GM’s profit plunges 83% on recall costs

FORTUNE -- Results include charges for the establishment of a victims’ compensation fund.

General Motors said Thursday its second-quarter profit plunged 83% due to the cost of numerous recalls and the expected cost of a compensation fund for those killed or injured by a faulty ignition switch linked to at least 13 deaths.

The automaker said its net income in the quarter fell to $200 million, compared with $1.2 billion in the same period a year earlier.

The quarter included charges for the establishment of a victims’ compensation fund, which GM said could cost the company as much as $600 million, as well as an additional $874 million for the cost of repairing the nearly 30 million cars it has recalled so far this year.  (go to article)

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