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Recent Gas News/GasBuddy Blog

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National average falls closer to $3/gal mark

GasBuddy Blog -- Another week, another drop at pumps across the country. The national average fell another 9.3 cents a gallon in the last week, and stands at its lowest since February of 2011.The national average again saw a hefty decline over the last week, and we now stand a mere dime away from seeing prices nationally average under $3/gallon.Looking back, the national average stands now at its lowest point since January 18, 2011, and by the end of this week, it could stand at its lowest since late 2010. Every day, Americans are spending over $100 million less on their gasoline purchases than they did a year ago, some of which will be injected back into the economy in other forms, and with the economic concerns taking shape lately, it could help jolt things back in the right direction. I still do believe that the national average will break the $3/gallon mark by around Election Day- the timing is ironic, considering the drop has nothing to do with Election Day and everything to do with current o  (go to article)

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Valley's undocumented gear up for driver's licenses

Fresno Bee -- Graciela Iniguez guesses she has spent $12,000 on traffic tickets and vehicle impound fees since she started driving 20 years ago.

As an undocumented immigrant from Jalisco, Mexico, Iniguez drives without a license. But that's soon to change.

Starting Jan. 1, California residents who can't prove they are in United States legally will be allowed to obtain driver's licenses under Assembly Bill 60, which Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law last year.

"This law is going to benefit us so much," she said. "Thank God, now we won't have to be afraid to drive."

Iniguez, who lives in Fresno, said she drives out of necessity. The single mother works full time at the meat market Carniceria La Hacienda in Fresno. She said buses are too unreliable and, even if she opted to use public transportation,  (go to article)

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Falling gasoline prices make alternative-fuel vehicles a tougher sell

Automotive News -- For a sign of the challenges in selling fuel efficiency as a virtue, Tanner Hulette need only look at the signs near his dealership advertising gasoline for $2.70 a gallon.

Hulette, general manager of Mechanicsville Toyota near Richmond, Va., said he's seeing higher demand for pickups and SUVs, and less interest in the Prius hybrid. The store's year-to-date light-truck sales are up 5 percent while car sales are down 5 percent.

"The floor traffic is dictated by what's going on with fuel," Hulette said. "If we didn't have SUVs and light trucks right now we'd definitely be feeling some pain."

The national average price of gasoline hit $3.14 per gallon last Friday, the lowest level since at least February 2011, after falling 10 cents per gallon last week alone, the fastest rate of decline  (go to article)

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Speedway to Acquire Hess Retail

Speedway -- FINDLAY, Ohio, Oct. 1, 2014 – Marathon Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: MPC) announced that on Sept. 30, 2014, its subsidiary, Speedway LLC, closed its acquisition of Hess’ retail operations and related assets. The $2.82 billion transaction includes a $2.37 billion base purchase price, capital leases that were cash settled at closing for $263 million, and $194 million of estimated working capital, subject to post-closing adjustments.  (go to article)

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Is the oil price fall more than just a coincidence?

CNBC -- The recent drop in oil prices could be due to more than just lower demand, according to some analysts, who have suggested that the U.S. could be deliberately manipulating the market to hurt Russia at a time of geopolitical stress.
Related Stories

Saudi Arabia's Oil Price 'Manipulation' Could Sink The Russian Economy Business Insider
Russian budget: Is Putin facing reality? CNBC
Winter is coming-and so is $100 oil CNBC
[video] Commodities tomorrow: Oil plunge continues CNBC
Putin Loses His Best Friend: Expensive Oil Bloomberg

Patrick Legland, the global head of research at Societe Generale, conceded that he had no in depth knowledge of the situation but claimed that it was an "interesting coincidence" that the two events were happening at the same time.

"Is it lower  (go to article)

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Jeep's Cherokee is carving its niche among SUVs

Detroit News -- The Jeep that wasn't "Jeep enough" is finding its place atop the brand's lineup a year after driving into dealerships.

The Cherokee, which many Jeep enthusiasts criticized due to its non-boxy design and sleek headlamps, led the SUV brand's sales in September and is carving a place for itself in the midsize sport utility and crossover vehicle segment.

"People are blown away with the whole package," Jeep marketing director Jim Morrison said in a recent phone interview. "We're getting a lot of new, conquest buyers out of imports and domestics."

Chrysler has sold about 154,000 Cherokees since the vehicle started arriving in U.S. showrooms in late October 2013, including an average of more than 14,200 per month this year. It is on pace to top 170,000 U.S. sales in 2014, which would put it  (go to article)

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Hedge Funds Cut Bullish Bets on Crude as Prices Tumble

Bloomberg -- Plunging oil prices spurred hedge funds to cut bullish wagers by the most in six weeks, losing confidence in the willingness of producers to constrict supply.

Money managers cut net-long positions in West Texas Intermediate by 8.1 percent in the week ended Oct. 14. Short positions jumped to the highest level in 22 months, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show.

WTI tumbled 8.8 percent this month as U.S. production expanded to a 29-year high. That added to signs of a global supply glut just as the International Energy Agency cut its forecast for demand growth. Crude is now trading in a bear market, underpinned by speculation that OPEC members are favoring market share over prices.

“The price action this week is a reflection of the positioning,” John Kilduff, a partner at ...  (go to article)

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Why Tesla Didn't Release A Fully Driverless Car

Huffington Post -- The world wasn't ready for a driverless car. And neither was Tesla.

CEO Elon Musk disappointed some people -- at least on Wall Street -- on Thursday when he unveiled exactly what everyone was expecting at a product launch event outside Los Angeles. Tesla rolled out a super-fast, all-wheel drive “D” line of Model S sedans, which come equipped with a limited autopilot function.

With the new release, Tesla caught up the competition -- rather than leapfrogging over it. Rivals Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar have already released functions that allow their luxury sedans to park and stay within the lines of the road autonomously.

It’s not that Tesla couldn’t have zoomed ahead of its fellow carmakers. It has the technology -- just last week, Musk told CNN that Teslas could be 90 percent “capable of a  (go to article)

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You won’t get a bang out of Chevron’s use of Apple Pay

SFGATE -- To the list of big retailers accepting Apple’s new mobile payment system, add America’s second-largest oil company — Chevron Corp.

Chevron and Texaco stations will soon accept Apple Pay, the new service that lets consumers pay with their mobile phones rather than credit or debit cards. Chevron, which bought Texaco in 2001, plans to roll out the service to 3,000 stations before the holiday season with another 5,000 to follow.

“Initially Apple Pay payments will be made in the store, but we are working along with Apple Pay on developing the technology out at the fuel dispensers as well” said Chevron spokesman Braden Reddall.

But wait. Haven’t we often heard that we shouldn’t use cell phones while pumping gas? Something about a fire hazard?

The idea that mobile phones sometimes ignite...  (go to article)

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A brave view in an uncertain world: Why Canada’s energy boom remains on course despite sliding price

Financial Post -- With oil prices skidding near 4-yr lows and Canadian energy shares feeling the pain, it’s hard to stay optimistic. But a new report by HSBC Global Research argues Canada’s oil and gas boom remains on course

The unprecedented boom in capital spending in Canada’s natural resources sector is here to stay, with major projects currently under way or planned in the next decade worth $675B

Global oil price and market gyrations lately added to many Canadian worries — whether proposed pipelines are moving ahead; whether First Nations could stand in the way; whether fiscal terms, environmental legislation, political agendas could weaken the economic case

"We expect U.S. imports of oil from Canada to continue to rise

The oil price downturn could curtail spending in the short term as producers ada  (go to article)

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Canada’s oil sands feel heat of price drops

Gulfnews.com -- Oil prices continue to nosedive and analysts predict further losses unless producers do something to stabilise the market. The price of Brent, the international benchmark, on October 18 was $84.54 (Dh310.26) a barrel, or over $30 less than its level in June. This is perhaps the lowest since November 2010.

The oil sands of Canada — which have raised production in the last few years driven by the high level of prices and would have continued to do the same into the future — are now considered at risk of losing the drive due to the high cost of development and operations. Production has increased by more than 1 million barrels a day (mbd) since 2000 and was expected to increase by an additional 2 mbd by 2035. With current prices and the direction they are likely to go, this is doubtful.
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U.S. Oil Imports Reach Lowest September Level in 18 Years

Bloomberg -- U.S. imports of crude oil fell last month to the lowest level for September in 18 years as domestic production increased, the American Petroleum Institute said.

Shipments of crude averaged 7.39 million barrels a day, down 6.7 percent from a year earlier, the industry-funded group said today in a monthly report. Production rose to 8.8 million barrels a day, the highest level for the month in 29 years.

“The gap between U.S. petroleum production and demand continued to trend higher last month,” John Felmy, chief economist at the API in Washington, said in the report.

Total petroleum imports, including crude oil and fuels, slumped 16 percent from a year earlier to 8.4 million barrels a day, the lowest level since February 1995.  (go to article)

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Tesla Model S -- is it a car or an iPad?

Pioneer press -- Is the Tesla a car or an iPad?

That's the question engineers at the IHS automotive research firm posed as they dissected one of the electric car company's pricey Model S sedans.

They found that the design, components and manufacturing process that went into the car's infotainment and instrumentation systems have more in common with a tablet or smartphone than they do with a conventional automobile.

"It's like looking at the components from the latest mobile device from an Apple iPad or Samsung Galaxy product," said Andrew Rassweiler, senior director for materials and cost benchmarking at IHS.

He said the electronic architecture of the sporty electric car is dramatically different from the approach of other automakers and their parts suppliers.  (go to article)

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SBEC hailed for solving grid interoperability issues

fiercesmartgrid.com -- The San Bernard Electric Cooperative (SBEC), a member of the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP), is being recognized by SGIP's Implementation Methods Committee (SGIMC) for its work in resolving interoperability issues that could majorly impact its grid.

The southeast Texas rural cooperative distribution utility irecognized the difficulty in connecting a host of independently developed systems that were not interoperable, and, to solve the problem, implemented the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association-sponsored MultiSpeak specification to transition from a power line carrier-based automated meter reading system to an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) system, which would provide supplementary functionality and interoperability.
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RTCC wants comprehensive energy approach focused on smart grid

fiercesmartgrid.com -- Late last week, smart grid member companies from the Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster (RTCC) met with U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC-02) to discuss a comprehensive energy approach that supports domestic production of both renewable and fossil fuel resources to help the country achieve energy independence.

(snip)

One of the questions posed to Ellmers was, once the economic value of the smart grid is demonstrated, how then are funds for smart grid investments raised and how can it be used as an economic driver to attract industry, increase efficiency and better utilize energy resources.

To this end, Ellmers pledged support for the industry and said she would help educate her district constituents and colleagues in Washington about smart grid's value.  (go to article)

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Crashing Oil Prices Are Great ... And Also, Very Bad

Business Insider -- The recent correction in the price of crude oil should have an immediate positive impact on the US consumer as well as on a number of business sectors. However there also may be a significant economic downside to this adjustment. Here are some facts to consider.

1. The good: The US consumer is not only about to benefit from materially lower gasoline prices (see chart), but also from cheaper heating oil.

With wages suppressed, the savings could be quite impactful, particularly for families with incomes below $50K per year.

Merrill Lynch: - ... consumers will likely respond quickly to the saving in energy costs. Many families live “hand to mouth”, spending whatever income is available. The Survey of Consumer Finances found that 47% of families had no savings in 2013, up from 44% in the mo  (go to article)

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Crude oil spills into Caddo bayou, kills wildlife

Shreveport Times -- A major crude oil spill discovered near here Monday that stopped just shy of Caddo Lake has already killed dozens of fish and some reptiles and will keep cleanup crews and regulatory agencies on site likely for months to come.

"I would call it a significant size spill," Bill Rhotenberry, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's federal on-scene coordinator said of the oil that leaked in a rural Caddo Parish bayou from a Mid-Valley Pipeline.

The pipeline's owner, Sunoco Logistics, roughly estimated 4,000 barrels of crude oil had flowed into Tete Bayou when control operators noticed a drop in pressure around 8 a.m. Monday. The line, stretching 1,000 miles from Longview, Texas, to major oil refineries in Ohio and Michigan, was shut down within 20 minutes, Sunoco spokesman Jeff Shields sai  (go to article)

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Power Plants Seek to Extend Life of Nuclear Reactors

The New York Times -- The prospects for building new nuclear reactors may be sharply limited, but the owners of seven old ones, in Pennsylvania, Virginia and South Carolina, are preparing to ask for permission to run them until they are 80 years old.

Nuclear proponents say that extending plants’ lifetimes is more economical — and a better way to hold down carbon dioxide emissions — than building new plants, although it will require extensive monitoring of steel, concrete, cable insulation and other components. But the idea is striking even to some members of the nuclear establishment. At a meeting of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in May, George Apostolakis, a risk expert who was then one of the five commissioners, pointed out that if operation were allowed until age 80, some reactors would be using designs  (go to article)

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12 of the Fastest New Cars Under $40,000

CheatSheet -- Speed and acceleration don’t always come cheap, but there are more than enough options out there for car buyers on a budget less than $40,000. In fact, even $25,000 is enough to get one of the fastest rides for the everyman set.

We pushed the price range out further to allow for the largest engine options of the American muscle cars to get in the mix. Horse for horse and dollar for dollar, it’s tough to top the pony cars in this category.

Here are 12 of the fastest cars available at a base price below $40,000. A few may end up over $40K with extras, but the prices are the MSRP before destination or any additional charges as listed on the automaker’s sites.  (go to article)

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Simushir under tow from Barbara Foss, en route to Prince Rupert for repairs

CBC News -- A large American tug boat is pulling a disabled Russian cargo ship to a port on BC's N coast, ending fears that the vessel, which lost power Thu night, would drift ashore, hit rocks and spill hundreds of tons of fuel

The tug Barbara Foss arrived Sat evening and secured a line to the Russian ship. Sun morning the tow was going well heading in a NW direction, keeping a safe distance from the W coastline

The winds and seas have calmed significantly since Sat

The owners of the Russian vessel asked to have it taken to Prince Rupert, the nearest container ship port, which is 93mi

As of noon, the Barbara Foss and the Simushir were approximately 86 mi from Prince Rupert and travelling at 6 knots

"The vessels are expected to be in the vicinity of Prince Rupert early tomorrow morning, depending  (go to article)

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Canada’s still waiting on that $225 oil

The Globe and Mail -- In 2009, a retired bank economist with a large public following made quite a splash with a book predicting how soaring oil prices would change our lives

By his forecast, oil would hit $225 by 2012. Instead, it got about halfway to that price and hovered there for a while; today, it’s plunging back well below that level. Unexpected events blew his prediction out of the water

This economist’s error resembled those of others, who asserted, with the usual declaratory certitude of such prophets, that the world had reached “peak oil,” that we were headed toward the “end of oil,” and that the world would be transformed by clean energy

Despite rhetoric about being an “energy superpower,” Canada remains a price-taker for fossil fuels.(Superpowers set the terms and conditions for their activities  (go to article)

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If Cheap Oil Prices Are Good for the Economy, Why Is the Stock Market Down?

The Motley Fool -- Almost every American knows that cheap oil should lead to cheaper gas, and that it should also lead to cheaper goods at stores. And with many people still feeling the pinch of the recession as wage stagnation remains a problem, seeing your dollars go a little farther is a good thing.

However, since the price of oil started falling in mid-June, the stock market has also trended down.
 (go to article)

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Ethanol prices may raise fuel prices

24/7 Wall St -- Another bit of fallout from the diving demand for gasoline is just about to hit the front pages. U.S. ethanol producer are approaching the so-called “blend wall,” a term that describes a situation where the 10% blend of ethanol with gasoline reaches its mandated limit. At that point, the value of ethanol collapses and producers begin agitating for a higher blending limit.

The four-week rolling average blending rate for ethanol in the U.S. reached 9.94% in the week ending October 10th according to Platts. The 10% blend rate was surpassed for one week in mid-September.

 (go to article)

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Kuwait oil union slams Saudi halt to joint output

Yahoo News -- Kuwait City (AFP) - A Kuwaiti oil trade union on Sunday condemned the unilateral closure by Saudi Arabia of an offshore oilfield jointly operated by the Arab neighbours, calling on the government to intervene.

Fadghoush al-Ajmi, head of the workers union at Kuwait Gulf Oil Co. (KGOC), urged ministers to take action to ensure that production at the Khafji oilfield resumed.

The head of operations at Khafji, Abdullah Helal, who represents Saudi national oil company Aramco, cited environmental reasons for ordering the halt to the field's 311,000 barrels per day output, Kuwaiti media reported.

Media cited an internal memo issued by Helal saying that the level of harmful emissions from the operations far exceeded the allowed pollution percentage.

Khafji is part of the neutral zone between Ku  (go to article)

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OPEC creating price war: Oil trader

CNBC -- Oil prices are plummeting, and OPEC is not cutting production to keep prices up.

To oil trader Anthony Grisanti, that means the organization is creating a price war not only with the United States and Canada, but within OPEC.
 (go to article)

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Jurors: PennDOT “Partially” Responsible for Deadly 2011 Crash

WNEP - Channel 16 - Pennsyvania -- A jury in a Luzerne County civil case ruled that PennDOT was partially responsible for a deadly crash in 2011 that killed a 15-year-old girl, even though the driver of the SUV was driving at roughly twice the speed limit and did not have a driver’s license.

“I’ve been waiting three and a half years for this,” said Ronald Coburn, the father of 15-year-old Kayla McGrady, the crash victim.

She was a passenger in the January 2011 wreck when the SUV missed a sharp turn on Suscon Road in Pittston Township.

The driver, Scott Smith, admitted he was driving nearly 90 miles per hour when he lost control at the curve.

But Kayla’s parents, Ronald and Tammy Coburn of Edwardsville, believe the lack of road signs warning drivers about the curve contributed to the tragedy.

 (go to article)

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Gloves off over oil: Saudi Arabia versus shale

CNBC -- Oil prices might have halted their earlier slide below $80 a barrel this week but analysts believe the dog fight between major oil producers over reducing the supply of oil could lead to lower prices yet.
Oil markets have seen prices fall sharply over the last four months, as faltering global growth in major economies has cut demand at a time of over-supply. On Thursday, WTI crude fell below $80 a barrel for the first time since June 2012 before recovering to 82.88 on Friday.
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Despite price slump, no end in sight for oil boom

The Bellingham Herald -- HOUSTON — Falling oil and gasoline prices have sent oil company stocks tumbling, but oil experts say the boom in American energy production shows no signs of slowing down, keeping the market flush with crude and gasoline prices low.

Even after a drop of as much as 25 percent in oil prices since early summer, several government and private reports say it would take a drop of $10 to $20 a barrel more - to as low as $60 a barrel – to slow production even modestly.

On the downside, taxes and royalties on oil will decline, potentially cutting into the finances of oil-producing states like Texas, Alaska, Oklahoma and North Dakota. And it will continue to put pressure on the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to cut output to support prices, as well as cause economic pain to big  (go to article)

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Oil price falls and questions rise

The Hill -- U.S energy policies came into sharp focus last week as the price of crude oil fell to a two-year low.

The tumbling oil price has a real impact on Americans’ lives. The good: prices at the pump are at a historic low, dipping below $3 in some states. The bad: Stock market volatility hurts investors, raises questions about the robustness of the economic recovery and places severe pressure on domestic oil producers.

Prices rebounded on Friday, holding above $80 a barrel. But that did not dull the questions about America’s ability to maintain the pace of the oil boom that has blossomed in recent years.

Critics say that production in the very formations that are most responsible for the U.S. oil boom is endangered by two major factors: a lack of infrastructure at home, which makes the storage  (go to article)

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Tax Credits for Energy Industry Are Under Scrutiny

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/19/us/tax-credits-for-energy-industry-are-under-scrutiny.html?ref=tod -- AUSTIN — Susan Combs, the state comptroller, stirred controversy last month when she said Texas’ growing wind energy industry should “stand on its own two feet.” “Billions of dollars of tax credits and property tax limitations on new generation helped grow the industry, but today they give it an unfair market advantage over other power sources,” said Ms. Combs, a Republican, upon the release of a study meant to illustrate how energy policy affects Texans’ wallets. The 15-page report described wind power as a massive strain on taxpayer dollars. It cited state property tax reductions, a generous federal production tax credit and a nearly $7 billion power line build-out geared toward adding wind to the grid. Critics, including renewable energy advocates, energy market experts and a Republican  (go to article)

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Low oil price means high anxiety for Opec as US flexes its muscles

The Guardian -- Motorists, airlines and industry are enjoying low energy costs, the US is relishing its reduced reliance on the Middle East – and Opec is wondering how to reassert its authority. During a week of turmoil on the global stock markets, the energy sector played out a drama that could have even bigger consequences: a standoff between the US and the Opec oil-producing nations. While pension holders and investors watched aghast as billions of pounds were lost to market gyrations, a fossil-fuel glut and a slowing global economy have driven the oil price down to a level that could save the world $1.8bn a day on fuel costs. If this is some consolation for households everywhere after last week’s hit on stock market wealth, it means pain for the Opec cartel, composed mainly of Middle East producers.  (go to article)

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BMW Offers Classes to Enhance Driving Skills and Safety

NY Times -- If you own, or are planning to buy, a sports car, you may need instructions on how to use it. That’s the thinking behind BMW’s Ultimate Driving Experience, a series of clinics aimed at teenage drivers, performance enthusiasts and motorcycle riders.  (go to article)

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Chamber ready to bust Michigan road block

Detroit News -- Michigan's politically powerful state Chamber of Commerce is ready to throw a stick of dynamite into the logjam over road funding.

The chamber, which leans Republican, is frustrated — actually, furious — that the GOP-controlled Legislature is unable to pass a plan for fixing the roads and keeping them fixed.

"We're tired of lame excuses from lawmakers who won't do their jobs," says Rich Studley, executive director of the statewide business group.

So the chamber board has OK'd a plan to begin preparing a citizen's initiative that would force lawmakers to either pass a road funding bill or place it on the ballot for voters to decide.

Gov. Rick Snyder says he's hopeful the Legislature will approve a comprehensive transportation bill in the lame duck session that follows the Nov. 4 electio  (go to article)

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Puzzling New Power Numbers For Tesla Model S: What's the Deal?

Greencarreports.com -- Last week, while the press and Tesla owners were entranced by the introduction of the dual-motor Tesla Model S P85D with all-wheel drive, Tesla quietly changed the listed horsepower ratings for all three single-motor versions of its Model S electric sport sedan.

Since their introduction in 2012, the 60-kWh, 85-kWh, and P85 performance versions of the Model S have been listed as having 302, 362, and 416 horsepower (225, 270, and 310 kilowatts) respectively.

But when Tesla's website configurator was revamped last week to include the dual-motor versions of the car, the old single-motor models suddenly got a power boost--on paper, anyway.

Both the single-motor 60-kWh and 85-kWh models are now listed with at 380 hp (283 kW) of "motor power" by the configurator. The P85 now supposedly has...  (go to article)

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Michigan weighs whether to bar Tesla

Detroit Free Press via USA Today -- Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, who has boasted of making the state more hospitable for entrepreneurs, has until Tuesday to sign or veto a bill that would prevent upstart electric vehicle maker Tesla Motors from selling cars in the state through its own stores and not through a traditional dealership network.

Michigan law requires automakers to sell through franchised dealers. That law didn't specifically mention Tesla, which started in 2003 and operates from a headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif., and from a former General Motors-Toyota plant in nearby Fremont.

Last week, both houses of the Legislature passed a bill, backed by the Michigan Auto Dealers Association, that would require all automakers to sell through franchised dealers.

"One of the things that was added to the bill was a ...  (go to article)

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The Most Durable Automobiles on U.S. Roads

Wall St. Cheat Sheet -- Many believe that buying cars beyond a certain mileage threshold just isn’t worth it. After so many miles are put on — six digits seems to be the standard point of no return — the wear and tear on the car and the subsequent repairs may outweigh the benefits of buying a used model in the first place. However, not all cars are created equal, and for some vehicles out there, the mark of 100,000 miles is just a warmup.  (go to article)

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Car runs for a 100 years without refueling

http://earthweareone.com/ -- If your car was powered by thorium, you would never need to refuel it. The vehicle would burn out long before the chemical did. The thorium would last so long, in fact, it would probably outlive you. That’s why a company called Laser Power Systems has created a concept for a thorium-powered car engine. The element is radioactive, and the team uses bits of it to build a laserbeam that heats water, produces steam, and powers an energy-producing turbine.Thorium is one of the most dense materials on the planet. A small sample of it packs 20 million times more energy than a similarly-sized sample of coal, making it an ideal energy source.  (go to article)

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Slumping price of oil has Iran worried about paying its bills

Los Angeles Times -- Iranian officials are expressing new worry over the global oil price slump which is threatening the country’s budget and could undermine its strategy in international nuclear negotiations.

As recently as Tuesday Iran’s oil ministry was speaking confidently despite the 20% global price decline, insisting that it wouldn’t affect the budget. Deputy Oil Minister Rokneddin Javadi said the decrease would be “short lived” an oil ministry information service said.

But Iranian President Hassan Rouhani clearly concerned, has directed the oil ministry to seek a meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries cartel next month to discuss propping up the price, Iranian news agencies are reporting.

Crude oil has fallen from over $100 a barrel in spring to under $85 a barrel. About 75%...  (go to article)

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One block in Minneapolis, 8,100 parking tickets

Star tribune -- Jim Crue figures that every day, he shoos away unwitting motorists trying to park on this permit-only street in Uptown Minneapolis. Parking enforcement will certainly get them, he warns.

“They’re ruthless,” said Crue, who moved into his apartment at 3100 Girard Av. S. a few months ago. “It’s a huge source of frustration for everybody.”

As Crue spoke last week, traffic control agents zipped past in a white vehicle. “See?” Crue pointed. “They just circle around all day long.”

What started as a concession to a neighborhood’s demands to take back its street has turned into a ticket windfall for the city, at $42 a pop.

A Star Tribune examination of nearly 400,000 parking tickets issued in Minneapolis puts a bull’s-eye on this short stretch in Uptown for generating 8,100 citations, nearly al  (go to article)

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Canadian Coast Guard tows Russian ship that was drifting in rough seas off of B.C. coast

THE TORONTO SUN -- The captain of a Russian container ship adrift off the coast of B.C. was in hospital while efforts continued Saturday to tow the vessel away.

The Simushir, carrying hydro carbon and mining materials, approximately 400 metric tonnes of bunker fuel and 50 metric tonnes of diesel, was travelling between Washington and Russia when it lost power around 11 p.m. Thursday, the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre said.

It was floating about 16 km off Haida Gwaii, prompting Haida Nation President Peter Lantin to express his concern that it would hit ground and cause an oil spill.

Canadian Coast Guard vessel Gordon Reid reached the ship, but two tow lines came detached before crews successfully attached a third tow line around 6:30 p.m. Friday and began towing it in a westerly direction.

 (go to article)

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NIPSCO proposal leverages FIT success

fierceenergy.com -- Investor owned utility Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) has filed a proposal to expand its voluntary feed-in tariff (FIT) program, FIT 2.0. The proposed renewable energy purchasing program enables NIPSCO to procure 16 MW of electricity from small-scale, renewable electricity projects within its service territory. The program's predecessor, FIT 1.0, created 30 MW of market capacity for local renewables.

Indiana is unique having voluntary feed-in tariffs to promote the development of renewable energy resources. The expansion is natural given the program's success.

"Feed-in tariffs are the world's most successful policy for deploying local renewable energy in a straightforward and cost-effective manner," said Craig Lewis, executive director  (go to article)

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Smart cities changing the energy industry

fierceenergy.com -- Today, cities are increasingly demanding to move to cleaner and more efficient energy resources to meet the needs of an urban population that will expand by 2.4 billion people during the next 35 years, and the spread of smart city technologies and policies, developed in response to the rapid growth and change happening in cities around the world, is helping to drive sweeping and fundamental changes in the energy landscape, according to Navigant Research.

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Support for renewable generation by city authorities places increased pressure on utilities to deliver an infrastructure to integrate these new resources in a manageable way. Grid reinforcement is often required to support the integration of large amounts of renewable energy, but this can be offset by the wider use of smart tech  (go to article)

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Lockheed Martin says fusion power will be here in a decade

Geek -- Our options are limited when the need arises to generate a great deal of power. Being we live in an increasingly industrialized world, that need arises quite a lot. Lockheed Martin says it might have the solution, and it sounds a little unlikely at first–fusion. Scientists have been chasing viable fusion power, but Lockheed’s new breakthrough could make high-output portable fusion plants a reality in less than a decade.
The allure of fusion power is undeniable. Renewable sources of energy still can’t match the ease of burning energy-dense fossil fuels, so what does that leave us with? Nuclear? The chain reaction that nuclear reactors harness to generate heat is certainly effective, but it naturally proceeds until the nuclear fuel is expended or the reaction is artificially brought under co  (go to article)

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Japan is building a levitating train that travels at 300mph

Geek -- One of the many highlights of a trip to Japan is the opportunity to travel on one of the country’s bullet or Maglev trains. However, if you’ve already managed to tick that particular experience off your bucket list, then you may have to schedule a return visit. The Japanese government has just approved a new train, and it’s much faster. It’s so fast in fact, it will apparently count as the world’s fastest train when it finally comes into service.
The new train is called JR Tokai and will be used on the 180 mile stretch of track between Tokyo and Nagoya. Existing bullet trains traveling between those two locations achieve speeds of 200mph and complete the journey in 100 minutes. However, with the introduction of JR Tokai the speed of the train will increase to 300mph and the same journey co  (go to article)

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3D-Printed Car From Start to Finish in Less Than Two Days

Oilprice.com -- If Jay Rogers had his way, car buyers would be able to order a vehicle at a dealership, choose the design and accessories, and have it manufactured to their personal specifications pretty much on the spot.

Rogers is the CEO of Local Motors of Phoenix, Ariz., which aims to manufacture cars based on open-source designs. To him, it's a win-win situation: The customer gets a tailor-made car and the dealership doesn't have the headache of inventory that it might never sell. All thanks to 3D printing.
 (go to article)

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2015 Ford Focus Electric Price Cut To $29,995, A $6K Drop: Report

Wochit -- It appears that the 2015 Ford Focus Electric will get a major price cut of $6,000, bringing the suggested retail price to $29,995--more in line with the best-selling Nissan Leaf. The battery-electric Focus is now in its fourth model year, and only about 4,000 have been sold since it first went on sale in December 2011. That's roughly one-fifteenth the number of Nissan Leaf electric cars that have been sold.  (go to article)

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5 energy stocks to consider amid slump

Yahoo! Finance/MarketWatch -- Energy stocks have stumbled the most among blue-chip stocks this month, and are headed for another bad quarter after ending the July-September period as the worst-performing sector in the S&P 500.

The trouncing of the sector, which is rooted in part in lower oil prices, has rendered some stocks downright cheap, at least as measured by their forward price-to-earnings ratio, a widely used metric that takes into consideration estimated earnings and share prices.  (go to article)

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UK fracking faces bust amid Opec oil price war

The Telegraph -- With crude prices slumping, Britain’s hoped for shale oil ‘revolution’ may be undermined by basic economics. Experts have warned that a rush to start fracking for oil across Britain may already be over before it has even begun as the slump in global crude oil prices makes the controversial method of drilling look increasingly uneconomic.

Bids from oil companies for licences to search and potentially drill for oil onshore in the UK are due on October 28. The auction of mineral exploration rights across vast swathes of the country will, it is hoped, spur a shale oil and gas “revolution” similar to that which has helped transform the US economy.

Hydraulic fracturing or fracking has made America increasingly energy independent and has broken its reliance on the volatile Middle East. The US  (go to article)

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Why millennials don’t drive so much

The Seattle Times -- A new report confirms this trend and offers reasons that millennials — we’re talking 14- to 31-year-olds — seem less drawn to the automobile thing. They’re sure not singing car songs as the baby boomers did. No “Little Deuce Coupe,” no “G.T.O.,” no “Hot Rod Lincoln.”  (go to article)

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‘Peak Oil’ peaked and then some, so what’s next?

Seattle Times -- So how’s peak oil working out?

Crude prices have fallen about 20 percent since June. A gallon of gasoline is on average 20 cents cheaper than it was a month ago. The world is facing a glut of petroleum and, for the first time in 40 years, America is exporting oil. Obviously this is not the scenario of limits sketched out by some geologists, environmentalists and industry observers a few years ago.

At the risk of oversimplifying, peak oil, which originated with petroleum geologist M. King Hubbert in the 1950s, generally stated that the planet would soon use up half of its available oil. The easy and inexpensive to reach and refine half. The theory was borne out when the continental U.S. hit peak around 1970.

I wrote about peak oil as one of many disruptions headed our way...  (go to article)

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Tim Hortons in hot water with Dubai police for 'drink and drive' Facebook post

Daily Buzz -- When someone says you shouldn't "drink and drive," do you take that to mean you shouldn't drive drunk, or that you actually shouldn't imbibe anything while behind the wheel?

Tim Hortons and the police in Dubai seem to have differing opinions on the matter.

The coffee chain's Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) division, which operates over 20 stores in the United Arab Emirates and Oman, fell afoul of law enforcement thanks to a post on their Facebook page and Twitter account that suggested their coffee is "one thing you can drink and drive with."

Sipping a coffee during your morning commute may seem like a normal, everyday activity, but the Dubai Police explicity warn drivers against eating and drinking at the wheel, and are considering fining drivers who get caught.

Police Col. Saif Muhair  (go to article)

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