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Gasoline begins annual price rise despite cheaper crude

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

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

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

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

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Buy a new car? Are you crazy?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Lower gasoline prices dampen U.S. consumer inflation

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

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

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

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

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Global equities fall as oil sinks...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Residents to lawmakers: No tolls

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

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

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

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

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

 (go to article)

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

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

Hauling a load of candy across the bridge toward New York City on Wednesday, Pablo Ortega flipped a switch on his dashboard as he approached the toll gates over the Hudson River. That engaged a device that tilted up the truck's bumper and attached license plate, said Joseph Pentangelo, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police.
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Gas Prices to Spike Across U.S. During Next Two Weeks

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

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GM cutting production at two North American car plants: source

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

 (go to article)

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

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

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

 (go to article)

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New Jersey hearing draws opponents to PennEast pipeline

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

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

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

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Saudi Aramco cancels rig contract

UPI --

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

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

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

 (go to article)

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Are oil producers running out of closet space?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Concrete falls from aging Gardiner Expressway, shatters windshield

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

“While we waited, I just heard a loud bang, and I thought two cars had actually got into an accident because it was substantially shocking, the noise that it made,” he said. “Then I looked back in the rear-view mirror and her windshield had all just come totally smashed in. The glass was everywhere.”
 (go to article)

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Shell shelves plan for tar sands project in face of low oil prices

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

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

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

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

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Car Owners Fed Up With Failing Auto Tech

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

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

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

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

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Oil rises above $62 after Saudi comments on demand

Reuters -- (Reuters) - Oil rose above $62 a barrel on Thursday as indications of a coming recovery in demand offset a further jump in U.S. crude stockpiles which underlined currently ample supplies.

Crude benchmarks in the U.S. and Europe posted their largest percentage gains in nearly two weeks on Wednesday, supported by remarks from Saudi Arabia's oil minister, Ali al-Naimi, and a slightly stronger-than-expected Chinese manufacturing survey.

Brent crude LCOc1 rose 71 cents to $62.34 by 5.23 a.m. ET, after jumping more than 5 percent on Wednesday. U.S. crude CLc1 fell 40 cents to $50.59, following a more than 3 percent gain in the previous session.

"The comments yesterday, the change of tone from Saudi Arabia, is still an element," said Olivier Jakob, analyst at Petromatrix, of Brent's gain. "The  (go to article)

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Consumer Reports announces 'best of class' cars for 2015

GasBuddy Blog -- Subaru Legacy: best mid-sized sedanWhat's the best car, period? Consumer Reports says it's the Tesla Model S. But, given that it starts at about $70,000 and can top $105,000 if you want the longest-range battery pack and all-wheel drive... most of us will need to consider other options.  Fortunately, there are outstanding vehicles to choose from and some of them may even be affordable. Subaru rates very highly here, with Subaru vehicles ranking #1 in 3 of 11 categories. Are you thinking of buying any of the cars on the list? ...  (go to article)

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Putin threatens Ukraine with gas cutoff

FuelFix.com -- MOSCOW — President Vladimir Putin warned Wednesday that Russia will cut gas supplies to Ukraine if it fails to pay in advance for future deliveries.

Putin said that Ukraine’s latest payment would be good only for another three to four days, warning that Russia will have to turn off the tap if Ukraine doesn’t remit payment quickly.

He did not announce a deadline, but warned that a cutoff may disrupt supplies to Europe.

Russian and Ukrainian gas officials may meet in Brussels later this week to discuss the situation.

Following a bruising dispute over prices and debt that raised fears of supply disruptions in Europe, Russia and Ukraine signed a deal in October requiring Kiev to pay in advance for gas shipments.  (go to article)

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Brent drops toward $61 as U.S. crude stocks rise

Reuters -- SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Brent crude fell toward $61 per barrel on Thursday, after a sharp rally in the previous session, as bulging U.S. crude stockpiles offset indications of a recovery in demand.

Oil prices on both sides of the Atlantic recorded their largest percentage gains in nearly two weeks at Wednesday's settlement, boosted by improved views on global oil demand from the Saudi oil minister and better-than-expected China data.  (go to article)

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Registration fees for alternative-fuel cars may skyrocket

The Salt Lake Tribune -- All passenger cars could see at least a $10 hike in yearly registration fees under legislation on its way to the Senate. Fees for electric, hybrid and natural-gas vehicles, meanwhile, would skyrocket by as much as $70 annually.

The Senate Transportation Committee voted 4-0 in support of SB231, which would generate an estimated $31 million or more a year for roads and clean-air projects.

Sen. Wayne Harper, R-Taylorsville, its sponsor, said registration fees for passenger vehicles now cost $43 a year. He is proposing to raise it at least to $53 for most vehicles.

But he said because alternative-fuel cars now largely escape gasoline taxes that help fund roads, he is proposing to greatly increase their registration fees — by up to 113 percent — to make up some of the difference.

Those fees  (go to article)

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Refinery strike and gas prices don’t mix… yet

WGNOabc -- A nationwide strike at U.S. oil refineries has reached Louisiana — impacting at least three plants and more than 850 workers. At the Shell Norco plant, the picket lines are up and there’s no sign of resolution.

United Steelworkers staff representative Brent Petit says he’s not sure how the plant is operating — or when there might be results from the negotiation table.

Tuesday afternoon, on Day 3 of the dispute, he said, “This is not about money. These are good-paying, well-paying jobs. But it doesn’t do any good to make a good salary if you’re not safe … You can’t work 500 or 600 thousand hours and not be tired.”

In an emailed statement to WGNO, Shell spokesman Ray Fisher said the USW is being “unreasonable” in demanding that Shell replace routine contractors with USW-...(VIDEO)  (go to article)

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Worse than salt, brine sprayed on roads will munch your car to pieces

Washington Post -- Your car — an investment second only to your home (unless you’ve paid college tuition) — is rotting out from under you.

You know why, and if you’re prudent you will line up at the carwash with everyone else after this weekend’s meteorological mayhem. But there’s something more insidious than the white salt caking your car from the window level on down.

Brine wants to eat through your car like a school of hungry piranhas, and more than 2 million gallons of the stuff has been sprayed on roads this winter in Northern Virginia, Maryland and the District.

Are you just too sick of winter to read another story about it? Before you go, there are some things you’ve got to know about brine:

?The reasons you should love brine are the reasons your car hates it.
 (go to article)

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Police: 75-vehicle pileup on I-95 largest chain-reaction crash in Maine

Bangor Daily News -- CARMEL, Maine — A combination of snow, speed and a busy morning commute Wednesday led to what may be the largest chain-reaction crash in state history.

Interstate 95 was shut down to northbound travel between Newport and Bangor for more than four hours after 75 vehicles slid, spun, slammed into each other and skidded off the snow-slickened highway.

“I’m absolutely shocked we don’t have any fatalities,” Maine State Police Lt. Sean Hashey, Troop E commander, said during a 2:30 p.m. press conference in Bangor shortly after the highway was reopened to traffic.

He said Hollywood movie makers could not have created a more disturbing scene.

“We had a lot of broken bones,” Hashey said later. “We had vehicles, literally, wedged together.”

Vehicles were heavily damaged in the collisions that st  (go to article)

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Striking refinery workers march along Main Street

THE COURIER -- The nationwide refinery workers’ strike came to downtown Findlay and Marathon Petroleum Corp. on Tuesday as 150 protesters marched and shouted for safer working conditions.

Over 70 striking workers from Marathon’s refinery in Catlettsburg, Kentucky, and over 50 strikers from the BP Toledo refinery were joined by other unionized workers in a rally and march along South Main Street. They braved subzero wind chills during the hour-long spectacle.

“Our numbers have been dwindling across the nation, and we just know this is a fight for safety,” said Dave Martin, a worker at Marathon’s Catlettsburg refinery and vice president of the United Steelworkers union local there. “It’s a fight for getting our refineries staffed like they should be, doing the things that should be done at our...(VIDEO)  (go to article)

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Trucker Ran for Life After Stranding Truck on Tracks

ABC News -- Oxnard, CA--A driver who abandoned his pickup truck on railroad tracks before a fiery crash with a commuter train made repeated attempts to get the vehicle off the rails and then ran for his life as the train approached. The crossing has been the site of many crashes.

Jose Alejandro Sanchez-Ramirez accidentally drove onto the tracks and made the situation worse by continuing forward in an attempt to get enough speed to get his wide pickup over the rails, attorney Ron Bamieh said. When that effort failed, he tried to push the truck and then fled before the impact.

Police said Ramirez was trying to turn right at an intersection just beyond the crossing, but he made the turn too soon, drove onto the tracks before the crossing arms came down and got stuck.

Other drivers have done the same  (go to article)

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http://www.nbcwashington.com/investigations/24-Million-in-Gas-Theft-by-Government-Workers-Reported-S

NBC Washington -- Federal workers have illegally purchased more than $2.4 million worth of gasoline since 2010 by swiping taxpayer-funded government fleet cards for gas they used in their personal cars.

A review of federal audits and court records by the News4 I-Team found about 260 cases of gas theft by government workers nationwide in the past five years, including several cases in the Washington, D.C.-area. Taxpayers have been fleeced in the process.

The U.S. General Services Administration, which oversees a federal government fleet of 150,000 automobiles, has distributed 590,385 gasoline purchase cards to federal employees and some D.C. municipal employees. In some of the cases reviewed by the News4 I-Team, low-ranking workers swiped their fleet cards, filled the tank of their personal cars or cars be  (go to article)

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After a Veto, Keystone Is Far From Dead

NBC News -- President Barack Obama might have vetoed the Keystone XL Pipeline, but the fight over the pipeline is far from over.

House Speaker John Boehner said as much in a video message after Monday's veto: "All I want to say is the fight's not over."

Congressional Action

Republicans, who control both the House and the Senate, have the option of taking up the legislation again to override the president's veto. But it's unlikely Congress could find the two-thirds majority it needs, especially in the Senate where it would need 67 votes. It passed the bill with the support of 62 last month.

But the legislative process is not the only path to Keystone. And while the political battle might go on, the realities are that that path to Keystone through Congress is all but dead for now.

 (go to article)

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HollyFrontier expects Cushing crude storage to be full in eight to 10 weeks

Platts -- HollyFrontier expects crude oil storage tanks in Cushing, Oklahoma, to reach capacity in eight to 10 weeks as flows into the oil hub are set increase by about 4-6 million barrels/week, a company executive said Wednesday.

In the week that ended February 20, flows into Cushing storage totaled 2.4 million barrels, according to Energy Information Administration data released Wednesday.

Speaking during the company's fourth-quarter 2014 earnings webcast, CEO Mike Jennings said there is a rush to fill up storage tanks in Cushing as a result of the contango market structure and a heavier-than-normal refinery turnaround season.

"We believe new inbound pipeline capacity, current storage economics and upcoming refinery maintenance activity should continue to drive Cushing inventories higher and sp  (go to article)

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U.S. Oil Inventories Surge for Seventh Week

Bloomberg -- Crude oil in storage in the U.S. jumped 2 percent, to 434 million barrels, according to EIA weekly data released today, Feb. 25. The increase of 8.43 million barrels was more than double the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of analysts and was the biggest increase in a month.

U.S. oil storage is bursting at the seams amid a global glut of supply that has driven prices down by half since last summer. U.S. inventories remain at their highest levels in at least 80 years, according to an analysis by Bloomberg Intelligence
 (go to article)

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Train Car Design Saves Lives in Crash

Associated Press (AP) Published in Product Design & Development -- After a horrific crash a decade ago that killed 11 people and injured 180 more, Southern California's commuter train network began investing heavily in passenger cars designed to protect passengers from the full force of a collision with another train or vehicle on the tracks.

That investment appeared to pay off Tuesday, when a Metrolink train smashed into a truck about 65 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Although 28 people were taken to hospitals, 23 were not — and no one was killed.

Three of the four passenger cars, including the "cab" car at the front of the train, had "crash energy management" technology, according to Metrolink.  (go to article)

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Potential market implications of outage at ExxonMobil’s Torrance, California refinery

EIA -- West Coast product markets reacted immediately to the potential loss of supply from the Torrance refinery. Spot prices in Los Angeles for CARBOB (California Reformulated Blendstock for Oxygenate Blending) gasoline increased $0.22 to $2.02 per gallon between February 17 and February 23. Spot CARBOB prices increased from $0.25 premium above the New York Mercantile Exchange Reformulated Blendstock for Oxygenate Blending (RBOB) front month futures contract, a standard pricing basis for gasoline, to $0.41 above over the same time.

This rapid price response is not unusual and is similar to what happened following past unplanned outages. During a series of West Coast supply disruptions in 2012, LA-CARBOB spot prices spiked higher to $1.16/gal over the Nymex RBOB front month co  (go to article)

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Domestic brands make gains in J.D. Power study

Detroit News -- Five domestic automobile brands — including four owned by General Motors Co. — cracked the top 10 in this year's J.D. Power & Associates' U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study. It's the first time more than three domestic nameplates have made the top 10.

The study named Lexus as the most dependable brand for the fourth straight year. But GM's Buick (2nd place), Cadillac (4th), Chevrolet and GMC (both tied for 10th) all ranked in the top 10, as did Ford's luxury brand, Lincoln (7th place). Last year, only Cadillac, Lincoln and Buick made the cut.

GM and Toyota tied for the most segment awards, with each picking up seven awards for specific models.

The J.D. Power study was more good news for GM, coming a day after Buick broke into the top 10 to become the only domestic make in Consumer Reports  (go to article)

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Meet the fast-charging, affordable ‘future’ car that Elon Musk hates

washngtonpost.com -- Toyota this week officially rolled out what it's betting will mark "a turning point" in automotive history — a sleek, affordable, eco-friendly "future" car that can drive for 300 miles, takes less than five minutes to charge and comes with three years of free fuel.

It's everything haters of gas-guzzling car culture could love. And the biggest name in electric cars hates it

But the green technology has found a surprisingly forceful critic in Elon Musk, the electric-car pioneer and founder of Tesla Motors, maker of battery-powered cars like the Model S. Musk has called hydrogen fuel cells "extremely silly" and "fool cells," with his main critique being that hydrogen is too difficult to produce, store and turn efficiently to fuel, diverting attention from even better sources of clean energy  (go to article)

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First Camaro ever built restored, headed to 2015 Carlisle GM Nationals

fox -- If you’re a Camaro die-hard, you need to clear your schedule for the dates of June 26-28 and book a ticket to Carlisle, Pennsylvania so that you can attend the Carlisle GM Nationals. Why? Because organizers have confirmed that the first Camaro ever built, a 1967 model bearing chassis VIN N100001 will be on display.  (go to article)

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Saudis won't back emergency OPEC meeting

CNNmoney -- (includes video)
OPEC isn't scheduled to meet again until June, but Nigeria's oil minister Diezani Alison-Madueke told the Financial Times Monday it was "highly likely" she would have to call an emergency meeting in the next six weeks or so if oil prices slip any further.

The last time OPEC met, on Thanksgiving Day, the group said it would not cut production to offset new supplies from the U.S.

Talk of an emergency meeting isn't coming from Saudia Arabia, or its influential allies such as Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.

Analysts agree the chances of a change in OPEC policy any time soon is very unlikely.

"Cutting production is a painkiller, not a solution for OPEC,"....  (go to article)

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Iowa passes 10c gas tax increase bill in under 24 hours

GasBuddy Blog -- In a very quick move, Iowa's Gov. Branstad has signed into law a bill that will raise gasoline taxes by 10 cents per gallon beginning March 1, from 21 cents per gallon to 31 cents per gallon.

The bill passed Iowa's Senate by a 28-21 margin on Tuesday around noon, was passed to Iowa's House, who passed the SF 257 bill around 2pm, and was signed Wednesday morning by Gov. Branstad.

The increased tax will help Iowa plug a $200 million-plus budget hole by providing about $215 million every year. While similar tax increases had failed to pass prior years, the climate of low gasoline prices likely played a factor, especially in how quickly the bill passed- in less than 24 hours....  (go to article)

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Nationwide refinery strike expands to 15 plants in fourth week

LA Times -- A nationwide strike at oil refineries organized by the United Steelworkers union expanded to 15 plants in its fourth week.
The walkout, which started at the beginning of the month after the union’s three-year contract with oil companies expired, now includes more than 6,500 workers.  (go to article)

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Shell's Washington Rail Project Faces Lengthy Dela

Reuters -- Royal Dutch Shell's proposed crude-by-rail project in Washington state has been put on hold pending environmental review, just days after a pair of oil train derailments caused huge fires in Canada and West Virginia.

A Skagit County Office of Land Use Hearings examiner ruled Shell's proposal must undergo a full environmental review, which can take a year or more.

Shell's competitors have been railing in U.S. crudes since 2012 to displace more costly imports and declining Alaskan oil. But a spate of derailments and crashes since 2013 has raised safety questions, particularly with North Dakota Bakken crude.

"Catastrophes have occurred elsewhere. No one doubts that such a thing could occur here," the examiner, Wick Dufford, wrote in the order issued Monday.

Last week a CSX Corp train dera  (go to article)

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Oil demand seen rising by Saudi’s al-Naimi as markets calm

Fuel Fix -- Oil demand is growing and the market has turned “calm,” Saudi Arabia’s Oil Minister Ali Al Naimi said.

“We want to see calm markets,” al-Naimi told reporters after a speech at a conference in the Red Sea city of Jazan in the nation’s southwest. Saudi Arabia will remain the largest oil exporter, he said, without specifying dates.

Brent crude futures, a benchmark for more than half of the world’s oil, gained 3.6 percent this year, after plunging 48 percent in 2014. The contract rose as much as 77 cents in trading Wednesday and was at $59.38 a barrel at 1:37 p.m. in London on the ICE Futures Europe exchange.

Kuwait’s oil minister said this month the surplus in global crude supply is less than the 1.8 million barrels a day the country estimated last month and that prices will continue to  (go to article)

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EIA: Crude inventories spike, gasoline inventories plummet

GasBuddy Blog -- The Energy Information Administration released its weekly report today on the status of petroleum inventories in the United States.

Here are some highlights:

CRUDE INVENTORIES:
Crude oil inventories increased by 8.4 million barrels to a total of 434.1 million barrels. At 434.1 million barrels, inventories are 71.7 million barrels above last year (19.8%) and are well above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year.

GASOLINE INVENTORIES:
Gasoline inventories decreased by 3.1 million barrels to 240.0 million barrels. At 240.0 million barrels, inventories are up 9.4 million barrels, or 4.1% higher than one year ago. Here's how individual regions and their gasoline inventory fared last week: East Coast (-0.8mb); Midwest (-0.7mb); Gulf Coast (-0.3mb); Rockies (N/C); and West Coast (-1.2mb). It is important to note which regions saw increases/decreases as this information likely drives prices u  (go to article)

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Texas reconsiders and will disclose oil train records

The Associated Press -- AUSTIN, Texas — Texas officials have reconsidered their decision to withhold details of how many trains carry at least 1 million gallons of crude oil across the state each week.

The Texas Attorney General’s office decided last week that the records BNSF and Kansas City Southern railroads gave the state should be disclosed.

Previously, the Texas Department of Public Safety refused to share those records when The Associated Press and others requested them.
 (go to article)

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New coalition seeks statewide ban on fracking in Colorado

Denver Business Journal -- Colorado could face a statewide ballot initiative to ban fracking in 2016, according to a new group of anti-fracking activists who on Tuesday called Gov. John Hickenlooper's task force on oil and gas regulation a "failure."

"We think there's nothing useful to come out of this," said Karen Dike, referring to the task force's deliberations. Dike, a member of the new coalition "Coloradans Against Fracking," spoke after the group of about 30 people delivered a stack of studies they said outlined the health impacts of energy operations to the task force.

"We need to have a ban in this state ... that would be a ballot initiative in 2016," said Dike, who's also a member of local grassroots group "Our Longmont."
Avoiding a statewide ballot initiative aimed at the oil and gas industry was the rea  (go to article)

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Brent holds steady around $59, Saudis say demand growing

Reuters -- Brent crude held steady around $59 a barrel on Wednesday as Saudi Arabia's oil minister said oil demand is growing and markets are calm.

Oil prices crashed by 60 percent between June and January to a post-2009 low near $45 a barrel but have since recovered.
 (go to article)

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