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Recent Gas News/GasBuddy Blog

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Washington State Traffic Forecast Finally Recognizes Reality

Sightline Daily -- There are two reasons why this forecast is such a refreshing change. First, it reflects the growing empirical evidence of a long-term slowdown in the growth of vehicle travel, evident on major roads in Washington, for Washington State roads as a whole, for the US, and for much of the industrialized world.

Second, even if the forecast is wrong, assuming that traffic won’t grow much is the most fiscally prudent way to plan a transportation budget.  (go to article)

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IHS examines Islamic State's oil wealth

UPI-IS generating more than $2 million per day from oil. -- Oil is fueling the war chest for the group calling itself the Islamic State by more than $2 million per day, a study from consultant group IHS said.

A report from IHS Energy found IS, known also as the Islamic State in the Levant, is able to finance itself through a black market for oil.

"Oil fuels ISIL's war machine, notably including the military vehicles vital to its movements and fighting capabilities," analysis e-mailed Monday to UPI found. "Oil directly finances ISIL's myriad activities and encourages the activities of middlemen who sell, transport and export the oil and thus have a vested interest in ISIL."

IHS estimates the oil production controlled by IS is worth an estimated $800 million per year.

A U.S.-led air offensive against IS has targeted oil installations in Syria...  (go to article)

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EIA: Consumers spending less on energy

UPI-Efficient vehicles, changing fuels means lower consumer expense. -- Better fuel efficiencies and a change in fuels used for home heating means most people are spending less on energy than before, the U.S. Energy Department said.

"Because electricity and transportation spending accounts for more than two-thirds of consumer energy expenditures, increasing vehicle fuel efficiencies and changing fuels used for home heating have contributed to lower consumer energy expenditures relative to disposable income," the department's Energy Information Administration said Tuesday.

Edmunds.com said the average new vehicle sold in January got 24.9 miles per gallon of gasoline, an increase of nearly 5 mpg from October 2007. The number of consumers using natural gas has increased more than 3 percent from 2007.

 (go to article)

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Here's why credit and debit cards with chips are safer....

cleveland.com -- CLEVELAND, Ohio -- These three letters might be unknown to you now, but that is likely to change soon: EMV.

EMV is shorthand for the technology that will make credit and debit cards safer in the future. EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa, which collaborated to adopt cards with more secure technology two decades ago.

EMV cards are also known as chip cards, because they contain computer chips that are used to authenticate each transaction.

The technology has been thrust into the news in the last 10 months, ever since Target's disastrous retail breach that exposed 40 million credit and debit card numbers to hackers.  (go to article)

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GM's embattled chief lawyer to retire

Detroit free press -- Michael Millikin, General Motors general counsel, will retire early next year, about a year after the company's costly delayed recall of 2.6 million cars equipped with defective ignition switches that have been tied to 27 fatalities.

The 66-year-old lawyer worked for GM for 38 years, the last five as its top attorney.

The company said it would conduct an "external search" for a replacement.

Millikin's leadership came under scrutiny when former U.S. prosecutor Anton Valukas delivered a comprehensive investigation revealing that Millikin did not know about the ignition switch defect until February. Valukas revealed that lawyers were allowed to settle lawsuits for up to $5 million without his approval.
 (go to article)

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Russia, Ukraine Edge Closer to Natural-Gas Deal

WallStreetJournal -- KIEV, Ukraine—Russia and Ukraine have reached a preliminary agreement on a price for winter gas supplies, officials from both countries said, moving closer to a deal that would ease concerns that the countries’ dispute could disrupt supplies to Europe via Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said in a televised interview on Saturday that Ukraine had agreed on a price of $385 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas until the end of March. “Ukraine will have gas, Ukraine will have heating,” he said.

Russian and Ukrainian officials said they hadn’t reached a final agreement. A deal appeared close after a meeting in Berlin three weeks ago, but the agreement on price appears to indicate they are inching toward completing a deal.

Russia cut off supplies in June, demanding Ukraine pay a debt th  (go to article)

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Warming Earth heading for hottest year on record

Yahoo - AP -- Earth is on pace to tie or even break the mark for the hottest year on record, federal meteorologists say.
That's because global heat records have kept falling in 2014, with September the latest example.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Monday that last month the globe averaged 60.3 degrees Fahrenheit (15.72 degrees Celsius). That was the hottest September in 135 years of record keeping.
It was the fourth monthly record set this year, along with May, June and August.
NASA, which measures temperatures slightly differently, had already determined that September was record-warm.
The first nine months of 2014 have a global average temperature of 58.72 degrees (14.78 degrees Celsius), tying with 1998 for the warmest first nine months on record,
 (go to article)

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The real reason gas prices are falling

FoxNews -- American workers and motorists got some badly-needed relief this week when the price of oil plunged to its lowest level in years. The oil price has fallen by about 20 to 25 percent since its peak back in June of $105 a barrel. This is translating to lower prices at the pump with many states now below $3 a gallon.

At present levels, these Already the lower oil and gas prices are the equivalent of a $70 to 200 billion cost saving to American consumers and businesses. That's $70 to 200 billion a year we don't have to send to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other foreign nations. Now that's an economic stimulus par excellence.

There are many global reasons why gas prices are falling, but the major one isn't being widely reported. America has become in the last several years an energy-producing powe  (go to article)

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2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat can hit 204 mph

FoxNews -- Dodge has unleashed its insane Hellcat Hemi V8 on the Charger sedan, and taking the kids to school may never be the same.  (go to article)

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5 Reasons Oil Is Not Rising

msn.com -- The old oil bull market, the one where oil went to $140 per barrel, now feels like ancient history. Oil prices have recently been challenging lows not seen since 2012. Continuously rising oil prices not only translate to higher prices at the pump but also to higher prices of goods because of the increased production and transportation costs. But now the economy is dealing with steadily falling oil prices in recent months, which can contribute to deflation — itself a source of concern.  (go to article)

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Alaska’s Oil Piles Up at Port as Barrels Wait for a Ride

bloomberg.com -- Stockpiles of oil from Alaska’s North Slope have surged to a five-year seasonal high as tanker maintenance slows loadings, forcing the grade to trade at a discount to U.S. crude for the first time since 2010.

Inventories at the Valdez terminal, the northernmost ice-free port in North America and the loading point for Alaskan oil, have averaged 4.38 million barrels this month, the most for October since 2009, data posted on the Alaska Revenue Department’s website show. Tanker repairs have shrunk the pool of vessels available, terminal operator Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. said.

The trapped stocks threaten to further cut prices for oil from the North Slope, once the most prolific crude-producing region in the nation, as refiners on the U.S. West Coast turn elsewhere for supplies. Californi  (go to article)

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The Price of Hybrid and Electric Cars Is Plummeting. Here’s Why

times.com/money -- USA Today just reported that Ford is cutting the sticker price of the fully battery-powered plug-in Focus Electric by a flat $6,000. That’s on top of a $4,000 price reduction on the same vehicle a year ago. The new sticker price is $29,995 including shipping—but not including federal tax credits of up to $7,500 and state incentives that might effectively knock another $2,500 off the amount buyers pay.
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Supplier of Faulty Air Bags Sees Stock Plummet

Toyota Announces a U.S. Recall Over Faulty Passenger-Side Airbags

NBC News Freelancer Declared Free of Ebola NBC News

'Marked Man': What Will Prison Be Like for Oscar Pistorius? NBC News

Ebola Action: Feds Funnel Arrivals From West Africa NBC News

Obviously, Ford wouldn’t be instituting such dramatic price cuts if the Focus Electric  (go to article)

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Halliburton, Baker Hughes buy more sand, railcars as demand piles up

Yahoo -- Oct 21 (Reuters) - As fracking accelerates in North American shale fields, oilfield services providers Halliburton Co and Baker Hughes Inc are stockpiling sand to protect themselves against rising costs and are buying more railcars to transport the haul.

Halliburton, the world's largest provider of fracking services, is more than doubling its railcar fleet and capacity for sand terminals - where sand is stored and transferred to truck from rail. It had about 3,500 railcars under management as of June 30.

Baker Hughes, the world's No.3 oilfield services provider, said at the Barclays CEO Energy Power conference last month that it had "significantly" increased the number of its railcars and is buying more sand under contract, which helps buffer it against price rises.Companies are pumping  (go to article)

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Environmental Issues Become a Force in Political Advertising

NY Times -- WASHINGTON — In Michigan, an ad attacking Terri Lynn Land, the Republican candidate for the United States Senate, opens with a shot of rising brown floodwaters as a woman says: “We see it every day in Michigan. Climate change. So why is Terri Lynn Land ignoring the science?”

In Colorado, an ad for Cory Gardner, another Republican candidate for Senate, shows him in a checked shirt and hiking boots, standing in front of a field of wind turbines as he discusses his support for green energy.

And in Kentucky, a spot for the Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, depicts him flanked by coal miners as a woman intones, “The person fighting for our coal jobs is Mitch McConnell.”  (go to article)

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British Columbia sets new LNG tax at 3.5%, lower than originally proposed

Financial Post -- 2 weeks before an industry-imposed deadline, BC government unveiled a new, three-tiered tax targeting the province’s nascent LNG industry

But industry players said they are unsure the changes go far enough to allow the sector be competitive with other global jurisdictions

The Liquefied Natural Gas Income Tax Act introduced Tue would tax an LNG project at a rate of 1.5% when production begins, rising to 3.5% after capital costs are recovered. That rate will rise to 5% after Jan 1, 2037 — when the government expects the LNG industry will be well established within the province

In Feb, BC floated the idea of a two-tiered tax system rising to 7%

“BC is a high-cost environment; for these projects to be economically viable, the LNG tax must be considered in conjunction with the overall fisca  (go to article)

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Consumer energy expenditures are roughly 5% of disposable income, below long-term average

EIA -- Total U.S. household energy consumption expenditures have generally declined relative to disposable income since 1960, although during periods of high energy prices, consumers devote increasing shares of their income to energy. Energy expenditures ranged between 4% and 8% of disposable income since 1960. Consumer energy expenditures today are a lower percentage of disposable income than the average from 1960 to present (5.5% average).

Consumer energy expenditures as a percent of disposable income in 2013 remain lower than the average since the 1960s, even though consumer energy prices grew faster than inflation over that period. Because electricity and transportation spending accounts for more than two-thirds of consumer energy expenditures, increasing vehicle fuel efficiencies and changi  (go to article)

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Low Gas Prices: An Explanation.

KLTV Tyler Texas -- TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

Gas prices are low right now. In Tyler on Monday, you could get a gallon of fuel for just $2.76. In the past month, prices have dropped by $0.30. There are a lot of things that contribute to what we pay at the pump.

Doctor Harold Doty of UT Tyler says the main thing pushing prices down is the current price of crude oil. Crude oil sold Monday for $82.75 a barrel. That's down from recent highs as much as $110 a barrel. There are several reasons crude oil is so low; the main reason is oversupply.

“The United States is now beginning to produce enough oil that OPEC and the Saudis can't control the price of oil anymore,” Doty explains. Additional global issues include a possible recession in the Euro Zone and relatively calm conditions in the middle eastern countries that p  (go to article)

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Tesla just lost its fight for direct sales in Michigan

washngtonpost.com -- Tesla just lost its fight to sell electric cars in the auto industry's backyard.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder doubled down Tuesday on a state prohibition against letting Tesla sell its vehicles directly to consumers, a policy battle that's playing out in a number of states around the country. Saying he was open to more discussion about the matter, Snyder nevertheless signed HB 5606, a bill that effectively reinforces the power of auto dealers at the expense of challengers like Elon Musk.

Michigan currently requires car manufacturers to sell their vehicles through franchised dealerships, according to the governor's office.

"Based on our research," said Snyder, "[HB 5606] doesn't change current law at all. It merely strengthens existing language, and it had very strong legislative support."
 (go to article)

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Court says not so fast with those red-light camera tickets

Fox News/Watchdog.org -- MIAMI — Big changes could be coming to cities with red-light cameras after a Florida District Court of Appeals judge said it’s illegal for camera operators to issue citations to drivers.

The program works like this: Cameras installed at traffic signals snap photos and are examined by the camera’s owner — not law enforcement — to determine whether a violation occurred. A citation is sent to the alleged violator. The driver has 60 days to appeal the ticket before it’s converted into a fine, just like any other citation issued by law enforcement officers.

 (go to article)

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Chrysler exec: Giving vehicle ‘a soul’ next big thing

Detroit News -- Two letters are helping shape the future of the automotive industry, according to Chrysler Group LLC’s head of design Ralph Gilles.

“UI,” also known as user interface or how people interact with their vehicles, is driving the way automakers design new vehicles and the technologies within them, he said.

“The car keeps reinventing itself,” said Gilles, Chrysler senior vice president of product design, during a speech Tuesday morning at the 2014 SAE Convergence in Detroit. “What we try to do at Chrysler is make cars as soulful as humanly possible, and now the interesting thing is giving the car a soul is becoming the next big thing.”

In the automotive industry, giving the vehicle a “soul” was traditionally done through design. While still true with today’s cars and trucks, new technologies  (go to article)

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Michigan politicians attempt to keep Tesla out of state

GasBuddy Blog -- Michigan is the latest state to join several others that are interested in derailing consumers from buying electric cars directly from Tesla, the California-based automaker that has won praise for its vehicles.

HB 5606, a bill on Governor Rick Snyder's desk awaiting a possible signature or veto contains language that would bar Tesla's direct sales method and instead require franchised dealers, possibly adding thousands to the cost of each vehicle sold.

General Motors issued a statement supporting HB 5606, a bill that saw its language adjusted sneakily to target Tesla, and was passed 38-0 in Michigan's Senate on October 2, then passed by Michigan's House 106-1 with the new language.

It has several Michigan based businesses very concerned as suppliers to Tesla, such as Inteva Products, who sent a letter to the governor opposing any legislation that prevents Tesla from direct sales, said Karen Manardo, global m  (go to article)

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Oil prices hold near $86 on China oil demand rise

CNBC -- Brent crude oil held near $86 a barrel on Tuesday on news of robust Chinese oil demand, although gains were capped by oversupply and concerns over the health of the rest of the global economy.

Implied oil demand in the world's largest energy consumer jumped 6.2 percent in September from August to 10.3 million barrels per day, the highest since February.

China's factory output also beat expectations, rising 8 percent in September from a year earlier and boosting hopes of a strengthening recovery.

Data on Tuesday showed China's economy expanded by 7.3 percent in the third quarter, above forecasts but its slowest pace since the global financial crisis.

"Oil is up in reaction to the Chinese demand figures," said Tamas Varga, analyst at London brokerage PVM Oil Associates.  (go to article)

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Oil company CEO dies in Moscow jet collision with snowplow driven by drunk driver

FOXNEWS -- The head of French oil giant Total SA was killed at a Moscow airport when his corporate jet collided with a snowplow whose driver was drunk, Russian investigators said Tuesday.

Total confirmed "with deep regret and sadness" that Chairman and CEO Christophe de Margerie died in the crash at Moscow's Vnukovo airport.

The three other people on board, all of them French crew members, also died when the French-made Dassault Falcon 50 hit the snowplow on takeoff at 11:57 p.m. Monday. The plane crashed onto the runway and burst into flames, investigators said.

The driver, who airport officials said was not hurt, was operating the snowplow under the influence of alcohol, said Vladimir Markin, spokesman for the Investigative Committee, Russia's main investigative agency.

De Margerie, 63, was...  (go to article)

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Move over, humans, the robocars are coming

Washington Post -- The numbers of fatalities caused by robotic cars will be a tiny fraction of the millions that humans have caused, after all. And if political leaders and lawyers in the United States try to stop progress, other countries will still adopt the new technologies; they are unstoppable. We may just end up playing catch-up with the rest of the world.

The big advantage that self-driving cars will have is that they don’t need the safeguards and controls that humans do. They can communicate with each other to negotiate right of way and speed, warn each other of traffic hazards, and see in the dark — so they don’t need blinding high-beams. The real risks for robotic cars are the hazards that unpredictable humans create. That is why we will need to get humans out of the drivers’ seats.  (go to article)

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Terrorist Ideology Blamed in Canada Car Attack

Associated Press -- A man who was shot and killed by police after he struck two members of the Canadian military with his car was "clearly linked to terrorist ideology," officials said Tuesday.

One of two soldiers hit by a car in a city near Montreal died from his injuries.

Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney called the attack a "terrible act of violence against our country, against our military and against our values" and "clearly linked to terrorist ideology."
 (go to article)

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NC Attorney General Proposes Cameras On All Buses

WFMY -- North Carolina attorney general Roy Cooper has proposed equipping all state public school buses with specialized camera technology.

Cooper issued the idea Monday, during National School Bus Safety Week. He proposed funding the proposal through a statute in the state's Constitution, which allows public schools to receive civil penalties paid by school zone violators.
 (go to article)

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Toyota widens air bag recall, warns passengers

USA Today -- Toyota said Monday it's re-notifying owners of about 218,000 previously recalled vehicles with front air bags supplied by Takata, and adding 28,515 vehicles in high-humidity areas to the recall.

The Takata bags can malfunction and blow shrapnel into front passengers' chests and faces.

And, for the first time, the automaker is warning those owners not to carry front-seat passengers until the air bags are fixed. In fact, Toyota considers the Takata passenger bags so dangerous that dealers are being told to shut off the passenger bags if an owner comes in for recall repairs but parts aren't yet available.

In those cases, dealers will attach a warning label to the glove box door. Safety belts continue to work when air bags are shut off.  (go to article)

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How Renewable Energy Could Leave You Mired in Blackouts

Motley Fool -- There are plenty of things to like about renewable power sources like solar and wind. However, these sources, on a large scale, are relatively new to the U.S. electric grid. That has major implications that utilities may not be ready to deal with. And that risks leaving you without power and, thus, in the dark.

Zig zag
You likely know all about the benefits of solar and wind. The biggest ones being no emissions from burning fossil fuels and minimal costs once they are installed since they are powered by nature. (snip)

However, if you get so caught up in the upside of renewable power you might lose sight of the downside. And there are some pretty notable negatives that have big implications for a U.S. power system that hasn't been designed to handle intermittent power.  (go to article)

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Brent Crude Rises as China’s Growth Exceeds Estimates

Bloomberg -- (7am EDT) Brent crude rose for the third time in four sessions as China’s economic growth beat analysts’ estimates, increasing demand for oil. West Texas Intermediate also climbed.

Futures climbed as much as 1.1 percent in London. China’s gross domestic product rose 7.3 percent in the July-September period from a year earlier, the statistics bureau said today in Beijing. While that exceeded the 7.2 percent median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of analysts, it was also the slowest expansion since the first quarter of 2009. The country’s oil demand increased by 7.1 percent in September, more than double the growth rate in August, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Oil is paring its collapse into a bear market as banks including BNP Paribas SA and Bank of America Corp. predict  (go to article)

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It Looked Like a Stabbing, but Takata Air Bag Was the Killer

The New York Times -- ORLANDO, Fla. — Hien Tran lay dying in intensive care this month after a car accident, as detectives searched for clues about the apparent stab wounds in her neck.

An unlikely breakthrough arrived in the mail a week after she died from her injuries. It was a letter from Honda urging her to get her red Accord fixed, because of faulty air bags that could explode.

“The air bag,” said Tina Tran, the victim’s twin sister. “They said it was the air bag.”

Ms. Tran became at least the third death associated with the mushrooming recalls of vehicles containing defective air bags made by Takata, a Japanese auto supplier. More than 14 million vehicles from 11 automakers that contain the air bags have been recalled worldwide.  (go to article)

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Studies: Parents set bad examples for driving teens

Cars.com via USA Today -- Parents often subscribe to a "do as I say, not as I do" mentality. But studies show parents are unknowingly sabotaging their teen drivers by not practicing what they preach.

Since it's National Teen Driver Safety Week, here are four examples:

Texting and Driving. Parents figuratively beat teens over the head with the "never text and drive" message, yet many do it on a regular basis. A 2012 study by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions found 91% of teens reported seeing their parents talk on cellphones while driving. Some 59% witnessed their parents sending a text while driving.

Talking on cellphones. Ninety percent of teens say they've talked on cellphones while driving, and 78% admitted to sending text messages while driving. Parents tell teens to ...  (go to article)

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China data supports oil, but bearish sentiment persists

MarketWatch -- Crude-oil futures found some temporary support in Asian trade Tuesday after China’s economic data came in slightly better than expected.
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China’s third-quarter gross domestic product rose 7.3% compared to a year earlier, topping market expectations of a 7.2% growth, but lower than the 7.5% growth seen in the second quarter. Its industrial output growth accelerated 8.0% in September from a year earlier, compared to 6.9% in August.

“With higher industrial production, we may see increase in crude demand coming from China moving forward. This likely gives some upward push to crude prices but global crude demand should still remain weak and is likely to persist in the coming quarter,” analyst Daniel Ang at Philips Futures said.

Oil markets will shift focus to weekly U.S. inventory data.  (go to article)

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Consumer Reports sheds light on 'secret warranties' that may cover costly repairs

GasBuddy Blog -- Consumer Reports found car owners can save a significant amount of money if their vehicle qualifies for what carmakers typically call service actions or customer service campaigns—effectively secret or hidden warranties that are rarely announced to the public.Two examples: Owners of 2006 to 2009 Honda Civics may qualify for a free engine block, or even a whole new engine, if their car has been leaking coolant from a crack in the block. Chrysler minivan owners may notice that the front wheel bearings on models from 2008 to 2010 are subject to premature wear, so dealers will replace them for free during a vehicle’s first five years or 90,000 miles.Consumer Reports found these “secret warranties” usually originate when automakers discover that some component or system in a given model is failing at a greater rate than expected. They learn about the problems from numerous sources, including complaints to their customer-service departments and reports from dealers. Other tip-offs are an unu  (go to article)

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Youngstown area has cheapest gas in state

WYTV -- YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Youngstown has the cheapest gas in the state, according to AAA.

While prices are up a few cents to start the work week, gas is still the cheapest it has been in two years.

A gallon of regular gas was averaging $3.07 in Monday’s survey from auto club AAA, the Oil Price Information Service and WEX Inc. That’s 3 cents more than a week ago, but 15 cents less than last month at this time.

Ohio’s average is lower than the national average, which was $3.10 Monday. That’s a dime less than a week ago and about a quarter less than a month ago.

Among Ohio’s metropolitan areas, the Youngstown area has the lowest average at about $2.89 per gallon.

Analysts say gas prices will likely remain low amid decreased demand and lower crude oil prices.  (go to article)

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Ohio gas prices nudge higher

WKYC.com -- COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Gas prices in Ohio are up a few cents to start the work week.

A gallon of regular gas was averaging $3.07 in Monday's survey from auto club AAA, the Oil Price Information Service and WEX Inc. That's 3 cents more than a week ago, but 15 cents less than last month at this time.

Ohio's average is lower than the national average, which was $3.10 Monday. That's a dime less than a week ago and about a quarter less than a month ago.  (go to article)

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Boat captain tortured by Nigerian pirates sues Chevron, Edison Chouest over attack, website reports

The Times-Picayune -- An oil and gas supply boat captain who was kidnapped and tortured by Nigerian pirates last year is suing Chevron USA and Edison Chouest Offshore for failing to take safety measures that could have prevented the attack Courthouse News Service reports.

The report says Wren Thomas who captained Edison Chouest's C-Retriever vessel, which was tasked with supporting Chevron drilling activity offshore Nigeria, filed suit Oct. 16 against both companies in Harris County Texas.

Edison Chouest is based in Cut Off and provides supply boats to support offshore oil and gas operations worldwide.

Thomas accuses Chevron and Edison Chouest of ignoring multiple death threats he reported receiving over the supply boat's radio and for failing to replace the boat's radio communications system with a safer...  (go to article)

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Crude imports from Persian Gulf to USGC set to rise in November

Platts -- Imports of crude from the Persian Gulf into the US Gulf Coast look set to rise in November, an analysis of Platts cFlow ship-tracking software data showed Monday.

During the first half of November, 14 ships are expected to enter the USGC from the Persian Gulf, up from 11 ships for all of October, and 11 ships for all of September.

US imports from Saudi Arabia have been on the decline in recent months, as US refiners have been backing out imports in favor of growing North American production.

However, Motiva - a joint venture between Shell and Saudi Aramco - has been a steady buyer of Saudi Arabian crude, mostly into its 600,000 b/d Port Arthur refinery, but also into its 230,000 b/d Convent, Louisiana refinery.

It's possible the increase in shipments from the Persian Gulf during the fi  (go to article)

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A year later, cleanup still going for ND oil spill

AP via Yahoo Finance -- One year after a pipeline rupture flooded a wheat field in northwestern North Dakota with more than 20,000 barrels of crude, Tesoro Corp. is still working around the clock cleaning up the oil spill — one of the largest to happen onshore in U.S. history.

Cleanup costs have soared from the company's original estimate of $4 million to a forecast of more than $20 million, and it may be at least another year before work is completed, the company and state officials said. The oil-sopped parcel of land, about the size of seven football fields, is no longer usable for planting at present.

"It's a big cleanup and it's become part of our life," farmer Steve Jensen said Monday. "The ground is still saturated with oil. And they're out there seven days a week, 24 hours a day."

Jensen discovered the  (go to article)

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Why Self-Driving Cars Will Change Retirement

Wall Street Journal -- When it comes to advances in technology, young adults are often the first to embrace change. But it’s the 50-plus crowd that could end up as early adopters of a coming revolution in transportation: self-driving cars.

Most major auto makers already are testing such vehicles. In May, Google , the Mountain View, Calif., search giant, which has pioneered the self-driving idea, unveiled its latest prototype car—with no steering wheel, and no accelerator or brake pedals.

But some major areas, he says, could see “robocars” (his preferred word) in wide use by 2020 or so—and older adults, in particular, may reap the early benefits.

“The realities of life just take mobility away from people as they get older,” Mr. Templeton says. “A solution to that problem is going to be highly welcomed.”  (go to article)

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Time to Fill 'Er Up.

Greensboro, NC, News & Record. -- F or the first time in nearly four years, drivers in the Piedmont are paying less than $3 for a gallon of gas.
Average gas prices in the Tarheel state have dropped by 15 cents per gallon in the past month and 64 cents in the past six months, according to AAA Carolinas.

Analysts attribute the drop in prices to increased domestic oil production coupled with a slackening in demand.
“There is not a glut, but there is a perceived overabundance of oil,” said Gary Harris, executive director of the trade group North Carolina Petroleum and Convenience Marketers.
Tiffany Wright, public relations manager for AAA Carolinas, said she anticipates prices to continue falling through the holidays.
“It’s basically supply and demand,” she said. “We’re making a lot (of oil), but we also drive less in the...  (go to article)

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Club for Growth: Kill the federal gas tax

The Hill -- The federal gas tax should be eliminated, the leader of the conservative group Club for Growth said Monday.

''Not only is raising the gas tax misguided, but we should not even have a federal gas tax to begin with because it finances a program that is inherently broken,’’ former Rep. Chris Chocola (R-Ind.), the group's president, wrote in an op-ed for USA Today.

The federal gas tax goes toward the Highway Trust Fund, which Congress recently extended through May 2015. The fund subsidizes transportation projects.

Chocola argued the fund is ''outdated,'' and the revenue from gas payments should be kept at the state and local levels, rather than sent to Washington.
 (go to article)

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Dems call for better auto recall system

The Hill -- Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) told regulators that the regional vehicle recall system is flawed and putting drivers at risk.

Markey and Blumenthal wrote a letter the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on Wednesday. They said exploding airbags made by Takata was a prime example of how the “patchwork” recall system is failing.

“Regional recalls that treat cars and trucks like they never leave their home makes no sense as a policy to protect American families,” the senators wrote. “We believe that this practice risks the safety of those whose cars may not be registered in the states in which the recalls occur.”
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Cell phone found in hand of man, 22, killed in crash

Detroit Free Press -- A 22-year-old man killed in an I-75 crash southwest of Detroit this morning was found with a cell phone in his hand, police said.

Joe Ryan Contreras of South Rockwood drove a 2012 Chevrolet Sonic northbound into the back of a semi truck shortly before 12:05 a.m. near Dix-Toledo Road in Brownstown Township, according to a news release from Michigan State Police.

“There were no skid marks observed at the scene, and alcohol was not a factor,” according to the news release.

It’s unknown why the car drove into the semi, but the cell phone was found in Contreras’ hand after the vehicles were separated, state police report.

The crash is under investigation.  (go to article)

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Consumer Advisory: Vehicle Owners with Defective Airbags Urged to Take Immediate Action

NHTSA -- WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration urges owners of certain Toyota, Honda, Mazda, BMW, Nissan, and General Motors vehicles to act immediately on recall notices to replace defective Takata airbags. The message comes with urgency, especially for owners of vehicles affected by the regional recalls in the following areas: Florida, Puerto Rico, Guam, Saipan, American Samoa, Virgin Islands and Hawaii.

Consumers that are uncertain whether their vehicle is impacted by the Takata recalls, or any other recall, can check on www.safercar.gov/vinlookup. On the site, consumers can search by their vehicle identification number (VIN) to confirm whether their individual vehicle has an open recall that needs to be addressed.  (go to article)

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US DOE looking at changes to SPR amid US crude production growth

Platts -- The Energy Department will conduct a comprehensive review of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which could result in changes to the size, location and even the composition of the crude it contains in light of changes in the US and world oil markets, according to an agency letter released Monday.

DOE is in the initial stages of this review which will look at what the "optimal configuration and capabilities" of the SPR should be, Christopher Smith, a principal deputy assistant secretary with DOE's Office of Fossil Energy, wrote in a letter dated September 17.

The DOE review is expected to examine the type of crude kept in the SPR as production of light US oil continues to climb and may look at whether the SPR is best positioned along the Gulf Coast as US energy infrastructure shifted with t  (go to article)

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Oilpatch faces project cancellations with crude at $82

CBC.ca -- The falling price of oil will likely result in a round of project cancellations and disappointing results in the Canadian oilpatch, analysts say.

As oil companies bring in third quarter earnings, starting toward the end of this week, they’re facing oil priced at just above $80, down about 20 per cent since June of this year.

Falling oil prices spell trouble for Canada's oil sands and pipelines
Loonie oil prices could fall much further: Don Pittis

Today West Texas Intermediate oil contracts seem to have stabilized at $82.71 US a barrel, down four cents on the day. That’s up from the lows below $80 set last week. Western Canada Select, the price received by many Canadian oil producers, is at $69.10.

“When the price falls to where it is now, certainly a lot of crude oil producers  (go to article)

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5 reasons why gasoline prices will drop

BankRate -- Next time you fill up, don't be surprised if you leave the gas station with a few more dollars in your pocket. Gasoline prices have been falling for months, and they should continue to decline throughout the rest of 2013.

The national average, which has held stubbornly above $3 per gallon since 2010, may finally dip below that mark before next year, according to an October forecast by energy information service GasBuddy.com. If it goes that low, it'll be a discount of about 76 cents per gallon from July, when the national average hit a summer peak of $3.75 per gallon.

That's a lot more than pocket change. Combined with a decline in driving this winter, lower gasoline prices could help American drivers save $13.1 billion in the fourth quarter, according to Bankrate's analysis of governmen  (go to article)

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In Texas, Toll Roads Proliferate---and a Backlash Builds

The Wall Street Journal -- Toll roads are experiencing a growth spurt around the U.S. as states strapped for cash look to relieve traffic congestion without raising taxes.

But a political backlash is rising in Texas, one of the states that most aggressively encouraged toll-road construction, as residents realize that many major urban freeways are increasingly no longer free.
 (go to article)

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How Cheap Oil Could Become a Real Problem for Airlines

Bloomburg -- Oil futures have been on a torrid plunge in recent weeks, touching lows below $80 per barrel. Great news for airlines, right? Maybe not.

For roughly the past 35 years, inexpensive jet fuel has routinely served as a siren call to airline executives. Cheap fuel spurs more flights and wild grabs for whatever business looks attainable in the travel market. Marginal routes become profitable with lower fuel prices, which, in turn, bolsters the argument that new flights can boost revenues with little cost. Cheap fuel also lets an airline experiment more radically with flight schedules in the bid to swipe market share from rivals.

“If it keeps trending lower, it totally changes the economics of the industry again,” says Seth Kaplan, managing partner of Airline Weekly, an industry journal. With o  (go to article)

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Groups wade in to double Maryland's 'clean power' goal

The Baltimore Sun -- Activists waded into Baltimore's harbor Friday to launch a campaign for an increase Maryland's commitment to "clean" electricity from wind, solar and other forms of renewable energy.

Leaders of the environmental, labor and other groups stood hip-deep at Canton Waterfront Park to dramatize the threat that rising sea level from climate change poses to coastal communities like Baltmore. A broad coalition, including religious, public health and businesses groups, has formed to press Maryland lawmakers to double the state's mandated goal of getting 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2022. Their goal: 40 percent by 2025. Only about 8 percent of the electricity generated in Maryland now comes from renewable sources, with the bulk of that attributable to hydropower. Of the r  (go to article)

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All Hess gas stations to be rebranded as Speedway, says report

SILIVE -- STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Marking the completion of Marathon Petroleum Speedway's $2.82 billion purchase of all Hess retail operations, is the rebranding of each gas station, according to Fox Business.  (go to article)

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