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USA's speed trap capital -- Waldo, FL -- votes to disband police department

GasBuddy Blog -- Good things come to those who wait.  And undoubtedly, some of you have been waiting for decades... Believe it or not, the Waldo City Council has voted 4-1 in favor of disbanding its department, effective Oct. 1.

According to the Gainesville Sun, the Mickey Mouse police department that has been allowed to operate in Waldo for decades, doing little beyond operating speed traps and writing tickets as rapidly as possible, is finally coming to the end it has earned.  Waldo has long carried the notoriety as a speed trap with black and white patrol cars working busy stretches of U.S. 301 and State Road 24, but that began to change last month when its last police chief, Mike Szabo, was suspended pending the results of a Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation. ...  (go to article)

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What's Holding Back Electric-Car Sales?

Wall Street Journal/Bloomberg -- Electric cars aren't selling nearly as well as many predicted.

Research suggests a host of reasons—including a basic lack of familiarity, a high price tag, misconceptions about the cars—and ineffective government incentives.

The survey, the most exhaustive on consumer perceptions of electric cars in recent years, was published in the journal Energy Policy last year...
 (go to article)

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Exxon allays fracking concerns to investors

UPI -- Exxon Mobil told investors it was taking the steps necessary to allay the concerns about the consequences of using hydraulic fracturing in the United States.

Hydraulic fracturing involves injection of large volumes of water mixed with sand and a trace amount of chemicals to stimulate the release of oil and natural gas from shale formations that would otherwise not yield natural resources.

Environmental advocacy groups have expressed concerns ranging from the prevalence of minor tremors to groundwater and surface contamination tied to the practice known also as fracking.

"Hydraulic fracturing has been responsibly and safely used by the oil and gas industry for more than 60 years, but the process isn't without risks" Jeffrey Woodbury vice president of investor relations for Exxon said...  (go to article)

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A decade after welcoming wind, states reconsider

Dis-associated Press -- A decade ago, states offered wind-energy developers an open-armed embrace, envisioning a bright future for an industry that would offer cheap electricity, new jobs and steady income for large landowners, especially in rural areas with few other economic prospects.

To ensure the opportunity didn't slip away, lawmakers promised little or no regulation and generous tax breaks.

But now that wind turbines stand tall across many parts of the nation's windy heartland, some leaders in Oklahoma and other states fear their efforts succeeded too well, attracting an industry that gobbles up huge subsidies, draws frequent complaints and uses its powerful lobby to resist any reforms. The tension could have broad implications for the expansion of wind power in other parts of the country.

"What we've  (go to article)

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Engineering new vehicle powertrains

Phys.org -- Car engines – whether driven by gasoline, diesel, or electricity – waste an abundance of energy. Researchers are working on ways to stem this wastefulness. Ultramodern test facilities are helping them to optimize the entire development process of the engine. In the laboratory, they have already raised the degree of efficiency by up to 10%.

Trucks, cars and motorcycles are energy-guzzlers: over 60% of the energy generated in their engines by fuel is lost through the exhaust gas and the coolant. The biggest part of this simply slips off into the environment as heat. Beneath our engine hoods, gasoline, diesel and electricity are wasted and unnecessarily pumped into the air through the exhaust system as CO2,"  (go to article)

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Oil prices mixed in Asia

BUSINESS RECORDER -- SINGAPOREL: Oil prices were mixed in Asia on Thursday with gains capped by concerns about a global supply glut and a stronger dollar, analysts said.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for November delivery rose seven cents to $90.80 while Brent crude for November eased six cents to $94.10 in mid-morning trade.

Sanjeev Gupta, head of the Asia-Pacific oil and gas practice at business consultancy EY, said prices were pressured by the "strengthening US dollar, which is at a four-year high against major currencies".

The US dollar held steady at 108.80 yen in Asian trading on Thursday, from 108.91 yen in New York late on Wednesday after earlier breaching the 110 yen level for the first time since 2008.

A stronger greenback makes dollar-priced oil  (go to article)

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Using intelligence to unlock the market for electric vehicles

Phys.org -- So why are there not more electric cars on the road? Cost is undoubtedly a factor, but a key constraint is the fact that these vehicles have limited driving ranges, which decreases their attractiveness as viable alternatives to fuel-driven cars. What is needed is greater energy efficiency to preserve battery life, which is exactly what the EU-funded OPENER (Optimal ENErgy consumption and Recovery based on a system network) project has achieved.

After three years of intense collaboration and EUR 4.4m of EU investment, the OPENER project recently presented two demonstrator electric vehicles in Spain. Increased driving range was achieved not through enhanced battery technologies, but by the development of an intelligent energy management and recovery system.
 (go to article)

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U.S. oil heads to S. Korea as global supply increases & prices slide

Yahoo Finance -- The first oil exports from Alaska in more than a decade are currently en route to South Korea. Meantime, the price of oil continues its slide.

The downward move is partly thanks to increased supply. An announcement Tuesday said OPEC oil supplies exceeded demand.

Investors are also growing increasingly confident that Islamic State does not pose a threat to oil supplies in the Middle East.

“We saw a spike in oil prices earlier in the summer because of what’s going on in Iraq and Syria, concerns that Islamic State might be able to grab oil supplies and cause some chaos in northern Iraq. That for the most part didn’t happen and now we’re seeing them being beaten back by US airstrikes,” said Rick Newman of Yahoo Finance.

 (go to article)

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Emissions down in oil and gas sector

UPI -- Greenhouse gas emissions declined in the oil and gas industry, with hydraulic fracturing leading the way, the Environmental Protection Agency said.

EPA released its annual report on trends in greenhouse gas emissions by industrial sector. The agency found overall reported emissions in 2013 from large industrial facilities were 0.6 percent higher year-on-year, with most of the increase coming from coal power generation.

For the oil and natural gas sector, the second largest stationary source of emissions, greenhouse gas output was 1 percent lower than the previous year.

EPA's report said reported emissions from the oil and gas sector declined 12 percent from its 2011 levels. The largest reduction came from hydraulically fractured natural gas wells, where emissions were down 73 percent...  (go to article)

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Oklahoma reconsiders wind subsidies as industry power grows

AP -- A decade ago, states offered wind-energy developers an open-armed embrace, envisioning a bright future for an industry that would offer cheap electricity, new jobs and steady income for large landowners, especially in rural areas with few other economic prospects.

To ensure the opportunity didn’t slip away, lawmakers promised little or no regulation and generous tax breaks.

But now that wind turbines stand tall across many parts of the nation’s windy heartland, some leaders in Oklahoma and other states fear their efforts succeeded too well, attracting an industry that gobbles up huge subsidies, draws frequent complaints and uses its powerful lobby to resist any reforms. The tension could have broad implications for the expansion of wind power in other parts of the country.

 (go to article)

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MA clean energy sector reporting economic gains

fierceenergy.com -- The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center has released its annual industry report prepared by BW Research Partnership, detailing the impressive growth of the state's clean energy industry and the impact it is having on jobs and economic activity across Massachusetts.

The Clean Energy States Alliance is hailing the report as an "essential tool for quantifying and understanding the results of state policies to advance markets for clean energy technologies."

(snip)

The report forecasts that the Massachusetts clean energy sector -- a $10 billion industry responsible for around 2.5 percent of the state's gross product -- will exceed 6,000 employers and 100,000 workers by early 2015. Solar deployment alone is creating more than 12,000 jobs, driving the need for qualified employees.
 (go to article)

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Microgrids emerging as a global phenomenon

fiercesmartgrid.com -- Dramatic change is occurring in the area of global microgrids and microgrid enabling technologies, including diesel generators, natural gas generators, fuel cells, solar photovoltaic, distributed wind, advanced energy storage, and others, according to Navigant Research, as a greater emphasis is being placed on the economic value these systems bring to the overall power grid and, at the same time, new business models, designed to support full commercial deployment of microgrid systems, are being investigated and implemented.

"Microgrids are emerging as a global phenomenon," said Peter Asmus, principal research analyst with Navigant Research. "These systems offer compelling features, including the ability to isolate themselves from the utility distribution system during power outages,  (go to article)

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Crude prices fall as Saudi Arabia cuts prices

Bloomburg -- Brent crude dropped to the lowest level in more than two years Wednesday after Saudi Arabia cut its November official selling prices to all areas. West Texas Intermediate crude slipped to a 17-month low.

Both grades retreated after the Saudi Arabian Oil Co. trimmed its benchmark Arab Light prices to customers in Asia, Europe and the U.S. WTI rose as much as 2 percent earlier as the U.S. Energy Information Administration said the country’s crude supplies slipped 1.36 million barrels to 356.6 million.

November gasoline futures increased 1.24 cents, or 0.5 percent, to settle at $2.4497 a gallon on the Nymex. The expiring October contract tumbled 10.94 cents, or 4.1 percent, to $2.5869 Tuesday.
Ultra low sulfur diesel for November delivery rose 0.51 cent to close at $2.6763 a gallon.  (go to article)

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Not in Anybody’s Backyard

onearth.org -- The most polluted communities in the country are more likely to be home to people of color. That’s been true for decades, despite many efforts (albeit ineffective ones) to change it. Now the Environmental Protection Agency is trying again, with a proposed rule that would require oil refineries—many of which border poor and largely minority neighborhoods—to measure some forms of pollution along their boundaries and upgrade their facilities.

It’s a step in the right direction. But when viewed through the lens of history, it seems long overdue and rather feeble. Consider how long we’ve recognized the problem:

In 1983, the U.S. General Accounting Office observed that three out of four communities near hazardous waste landfills in the Southeast were predominantly African-American, though the
 (go to article)

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Oil exports near 5-decade high

The Hill --
Oil exports are edging closer to a five-decade high as companies find ways to get around the 1970s-era ban on exporting crude.

United States companies sent an average of 401,000 barrels of oil per day away in July, the most recent month for which data is available, Bloomberg News reported, citing the Energy Information Administration.
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That is only 54,000 barrels shy of the record set in March 1957. That was before Congress banned nearly all oil exports in the late 1970s in an effort to protect the country from international oil crises.
Ninety-three percent of the oil exported in July went to Canada, but Italy, Singapore and Switzerland also took deliveries.

Exemptions to the export ban allow oil to go to Canada, as well as some exports from Alaska and California. The C  (go to article)

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Oil, rail industries want 7 years to fix tank cars

Associated Press -- WASHINGTON — The oil and railroad industries are urging federal regulators to allow them as long as seven years to upgrade existing tank cars that transport highly volatile crude oil.  (go to article)

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Funky-Shaped Solar Car Can Transport the Whole Family

Mashable.com -- You're not imagining things if you've recently spotted an oddly shaped car topped with solar panels in California.

It was probably Stella — a family-sized solar car — which finished up its U.S. debut trip on Sept. 24. It's believed to be the first solar car that can comfortably transport four people — more than any other solar car, according to Tom Selten, manager of the team from the Netherlands that designed the car.  (go to article)

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U.S. Gas Boom Turns Global as LNG Exports to Shake Up Market

Bloomberg -- The U.S. natural gas boom is poised to go global as the government approves projects that will export the fuel to buyers from Tokyo to New Delhi.
Dominion Resources Inc.’s Cove Point terminal in Maryland won authorization Sept. 29 from the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to ship liquefied natural gas around the world. It’s the fourth export project to win permission and the first outside the Gulf of Mexico. Construction will cost between $3.4 billion and $3.8 billion, Dominion said yesterday.
Advances in drilling techniques including hydraulic fracturing have pushed U.S. natural gas output to a record every year since 2011 and made the country the world’s largest producer. U.S. supplies will compete with cargoes from Qatar and Australia, two of the biggest exporters, shifting glo  (go to article)

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G.M. Outlines Plan to Increase Profit Margins

Yahoo Finance -- MILFORD, Mich. â?? General Motors pledged on Wednesday to increase its profit margins, cut costs and expand operations in China as part of a broader strategy that emphasizes growth and better financial results.
The new strategic plan was unveiled to investors and stock analysts at a daylong presentation by G.M. executives at the companyâ??s vehicle-testing facility outside Detroit.
Mary T. Barra, G.M.â??s chief executive, touted the plan as a fresh start for the nationâ??s largest automaker, which has been struggling to stabilize operations in the wake of its recall this year of millions of defective small cars tied to at least 23 deaths.
The recall, which began in February, has already cost G.M. about $4 billion, and cast doubt on the quality and safety of its products.  (go to article)

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Lamborghini reveals 910-horsepower Asterion hybrid concept

Engadget -- Lamboghini has announced its first plug-in hybrid showpiece, and it's quite beautiful. The Asterion LPI 910-4 packs in a 5.2-liter V10 with 610 horsepower, and its trio of electric motors beef up that latter figure another 300 (hence the 910 moniker). Those numbers puts the hypercar in the same neighborhood as McLaren's P1 and the LaFerrari hybrid. In terms of speed, the blue machine can hit 0 to 60 MPH (0 to 100 km/h) in three seconds and tops out at just under 200 MPH (320 km/h). What's more, the Asterion can reach 78 MPH (125 km/h) using only electric power, traveling around 31 miles (50km) without firing up the main engine. As this is more of a proof of concept than anything else, there's no word on pricing and availability, or whether more than one will even be made.  (go to article)

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Republicans Craft 2015 Plan To Force Obama's Hand On Keystone

Reuters -- Republicans plan to put approval of the long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline on a fast track early next year if they win a U.S. Senate majority in November, finally forcing President Barack Obama to make a tough call on the controversial plan.

The $10 billion Keystone project to connect Canadian oil sands with U.S. refineries will top the list of Republican energy priorities if they gain control of the Senate after the Nov. 4 midterm elections. It could come as a stand-alone measure or attached to must-pass legislation such as a government spending or transportation bill, according to senators and congressional aides.

Republicans, along with some Democrats, have for years pushed for a bill that would allow Congress to approve Keystone, and reduce the role of the administration. However  (go to article)

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Gasoline switch saved drivers 7 cents a gallon this summer, NC DENR says

News Observer -- RALEIGH — Triangle and Triad drivers saved an estimated $18 million on gasoline this summer after the state persuaded the U.S. EPA that drivers could stop using a more expensive fuel blend that was thought – incorrectly – to reduce air pollution, the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources said Wednesday.

For years, EPA had required the Triangle and Triad regions to switch to a summer blend formulated to emit fewer volatile organic compounds and reduce ground-level ozone. But DENR employees used air-quality data to show that the summertime gas switch had an insignificant impact on air quality, while adding about 7 cents to the price of each gallon.

“The EPA approval to change the summertime gasoline standard in the Triangle and Triad saves consumers and businesses money whil  (go to article)

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Marathon Petroleum's Speedway closes on Hess deal Read more at http://www.toledoblade.com/business/2

The (Toledo) Blade -- FINDLAY — Speedway LLC, a subsidiary of Findlay-based Marathon Petroleum, has completed its $2.82 billion purchase of Hess’ retail operations and other assets.

The deal was announced in May.

Hess is the largest chain of company-operated gas stations and convenience stores on the East Coast. In May, the companies said that Hess gas stations will all be rebranded as Speedway over three years.

"This transformative acquisition provides Speedway a significant growth platform by expanding our retail presence to 23 states throughout the East Coast and Southeast," said Gary Heminger, Marathon Petroleum’s president and chief executive officer.
 (go to article)

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North America Could Drown Putin's Economy In Oil

The Business Insider -- Yesterday, the Russian government submitted its budget to the Duma, the lower house of the parliament. Once approved, Vladimir Putin will sign it into law. A 9/30 post on The Economist website reported that "over the last few years the budget's reliance on oil revenues have increased. When excluding oil, there was a shortfall of 3.6% of GD Pin 2007 but now it is more like 10%. Russia expected to run a small budget deficit (about 0.6% of GDP) this year. That prediction is optimistic — the Kremlin is banking on an oil price of $100. Everyone tends to compare US crude oil production to Saudi production. Given the current world disorder, it might make more sense to compare the US plus Canada to Saudi Arabia and Russia. The former has steadily exceeded Saudi output since October 2012 and Russi  (go to article)

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Rising U.S. Crude Exports Move Closer to 1957 Record

Bloomberg -- U.S. oil exports are set to surpass a record held since 1957 as traders find ways around a four-decade ban on supplies leaving the country.

The U.S. sent 401,000 barrels a day abroad in July, 54,000 shy of the record set in March 1957, according to data compiled by the Energy Information Administration, the Energy Department’s statistical unit. While Canada accounted for 93 percent of the shipments, Italy, Singapore and Switzerland also took oil from U.S. ports. Coupled with Alaskan supplies bound for Asia, total U.S. exports will reach 1 million barrels a day by the middle of 2015, according to Citigroup Inc. (C)

Shipments abroad have quadrupled from a year ago as U.S. drillers pull record volumes of crude and natural gas out of shale formations across the middle of the country using hy  (go to article)

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Worst Seen Over for Crude Prices as Saudis Cut Production

Bloomberg -- The worst is over for global oil prices, according to UBS AG and Barclays Plc. After the biggest quarterly drop in more than two years, Brent is set to recover as Saudi Arabia cuts output and demand climbs, they said.

“Supply is the important thing and Saudi Arabia is in the process of rebalancing the market,” Giovanni Staunovo, an analyst at UBS in Zurich, said by e-mail yesterday. “The weakness in crude oil prices should come to an end.”

Brent fell yesterday by the most since Jan. 2 to $94.67 a barrel. It extended a quarterly drop to 16 percent, the largest since the three months ended June 2012. The benchmark grade for more than half the world’s oil will average $105 from October to December, according to the median estimate of 15 analysts compiled by Bloomberg since Sept. 11. It was  (go to article)

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GM ignition claims near 1,100

The Detroit News -- Washington — General Motors’ independent compensation fund has now received more than 1,000 claims — a big jump since last week — the fund said Wednesday.  (go to article)

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Driver in fatal tour bus crash has hearing delayed

Associated Press -- A court commissioner has rescheduled a preliminary hearing for the driver in a fatal Delaware tour bus crash after the man, who speaks little English, couldn't answer simple questions at a court appearance.

Fifty-six-year-old Jinli Zhao of Flushing, New York, is charged with two counts of operating a vehicle causing the death of another person in the Sept. 21 crash. Two passengers were killed and dozens of others were injured.

 (go to article)

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Halloween 101 for drivers, and even for our trick-or-treaters!

GasBuddy Blog -- It’s that time of year again when kids emulate their favorite princess, superhero or even become a scary monster in hopes of scaring others. What most don’t know about Halloween is that it’s the deadliest night for pedestrians, which see twice as many child pedestrians killed out of any other day of the year. In order to protect our current and future GasBuddies, we’ve collected some of the best tips from INRIX and USDOT to keep you all safe: Avoid driving in the early evening. This is when the most pedestrian traffic will be out an particularly residential roads will be very slow Let other motorists know what you are doing. Use hazard lights when dropping off and collecting trick-or-treaters. Limit your speed. Residential speed limits across the country vary, but it’s best to travel below the posted limit. Children can be unpredictable and may appear in your path of travel unexpectedly. The stopping distance for a car traveling at 50mph is 175 feet or 13 car lengths. For a car traveli  (go to article)

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U.S. Oil Production Gains 'One of the Biggest...the World Has Ever Seen'

National Journal -- !!!SPONSORED CONTENT!!!

Can it be true?

Rising energy demand is generally seen as a sign of good things: People working harder and doing more.

Figures recently reported by BP in its 63rd annual Statistical Review of World Energy show that last year the U.S. saw strong growth in energy demand, a turnaround from the year before.

The report also showed that massive investments helped the U.S. achieve the world's largest increase in energy production last year -- and in turn, create thousands of new jobs across America.

"Indeed, the U.S. increase in 2013 was one of the biggest oil production increases the world has ever seen," wrote BP Group Chief Executive Bob Dudley.

Growth in energy demand in the U.S. has historically lagged behind developing nations, or non-OECD economies.  (go to article)

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Self-Driving Cars From Tesla In About 3 Years

Green Car Reports -- Musk says that full auto-pilot technology will appear within a "five- or six-year time frame", but some aspects of the technology would appear in the lower-priced Model 3 electric sedan due in three years time.

Tesla will develop the system and software itself, but sensors and subcomponents will be outsourced to other companies.

Incorporating some autonomous components should help Tesla get a head-start on the industry, though it's worth noting that several other firms, most notably one of Tesla's existing partners Mercedes-Benz, already features significant autonomous features in its high-end cars.
Some of this technology is notably missing from Tesla's existing Model S sedan, but autonomous tech fits well with the firm's emphasis on high technology--such as the large touchscreen displa  (go to article)

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Large Oil Company Bolts From ALEC

National Journal -- Occidental Petroleum is cutting ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council amid backlash against the organization’s stance on climate change. ...

Occidental's letter notes a concern that it could be "presumed to share the positions" on global warming and regulations to limit air pollution...

Last week, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt started the mass exodus by condemning ALEC for "just literally lying" about climate change. ...

"It says something that oil companies are leaving now," said Jay Riestenberg, a research analyst with Common Cause, a progressive organizing group that works to pressure companies to divest from ALEC. "They just don't see it as worth it anymore."  (go to article)

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California drivers brace for costly new gas tax

US News -- Exactly how much more? Nobody knows. Apparently state legislators felt compelled to approve the law first and do the math later. California drivers already pay the highest prices for fuel and the second highest fuel taxes in the country – 68.1 cents, second only to New York’s 68.9 cents per gallon.

 (go to article)

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EIA: Refinery output, gasoline production and inventories all decrease

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 decreased by 1.4 million barrels to a total of 356.6 million barrels. At 356.6 million barrels, inventories are 7.1 million barrels below last year (2.0%) and are near the upper half of the average range for this time of year.

GASOLINE INVENTORIES:
Gasoline inventories decreased by 1.8 million barrels to 208.5 million barrels. At 208.5 million barrels, inventories are down 11.2 million barrels, or 5.1% lower than one year ago. Here's how individual regions and their gasoline inventory fared last week: East Coast (-1.9mb); Midwest (+0.3mb); Gulf Coast (+0.2mb); Rockies (even / no change); and West Coast (-0.5mb). It is important to note which regions saw increases/decreases as this information likely drives prices up (i  (go to article)

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Chrysler sales up 18.8%, Ford down 2.7% in September

Detroit News -- Jeep and Ram Truck sales last month led Chrysler Group LLC to its 54th consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains.

The Auburn Hills automaker on Wednesday reported it sold 169,890 cars and trucks in September, an 18.8 percent increase from 143,017 vehicles a year ago and its best September since 2005.

“Chrysler Group sales continue to demonstrate strength as we recorded our seventh month of double-digit growth this year,” said Reid Bigland, Chrysler head of U.S. sales, in a statement.

The Chrysler, Jeep, Ram and Fiat brands each posted year-over-year sales gains in September compared with September 2013.

The Jeep brand’s 47.4 percent increase was the largest sales gain of any Chrysler brand, followed by Ram Truck up 34.8 percent, Chrysler up 14 percent and Fiat up 6.4 percent.  (go to article)

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Truck deals help boost US auto sales in September

Associated Press -- September sales won't be as hot as August, the best month in eight years, but industry analysts still expect them to be strong.

Most predict sales rose around 10 percent from a year ago, fueled mainly by big discounts on pickup trucks. General Motors and Chrysler hoped to take advantage of Ford, which temporarily closed a truck factory to retool for its new aluminum-clad F-150. Ford also cut back on truck discounts.
 (go to article)

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Chrysler U.S. Sales Rise 19% as Jeep, Ram Pickups Gain

Bloomburg -- Chrysler Group LLC’s U.S. sales in September rose 19 percent, beating the average of analyst estimates, as Jeep deliveries climbed 47 percent and its hot-selling Ram pickup soared 30 percent. Nissan (7201) Motor Co. also topped estimates with a 19 percent jump. Chrysler, owned by Turin, Italy-based Fiat SpA (F), said sales advanced to 169,890, marking the third-largest U.S. automaker’s 54th consecutive monthly increase. Analysts had estimated a 16 percent gain, on average. Total light-vehicle sales are forecast to increase 9.9 percent from a year earlier to 1.25 million, in a month with one more selling day than last year, according to analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The Jeep brand’s winning streak has now lasted 12 consecutive months, helped by the Cherokee, which sold 14,639, th  (go to article)

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Ukraine Braces for a Winter Without Russian Gas

TheWire -- Days after an EU-brokered deal was set to give Ukrainians access to Russian gas for the winter, Ukraine is now balking at the price tag and preparing for the oncoming frost.

The deal, the details of which were announced on Friday, required Ukraine to pay $3.1 billion to Russia by the end of the year. "In exchange," The Times explains, "Gazprom will ensure that at least 5 billion cubic meters of gas are supplied to Ukraine from October to March at the set price of $385 per 1,000 cubic meters, which must be prepaid before delivery  (go to article)

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A U-Turn for a Terminal Built in Texas to Import Natural Gas

New York times -- SABINE PASS, Tex. — The giant Golden Pass natural gas import terminal here, meant to bring Middle Eastern gas to energy-hungry Americans, sits eerily quiet these days, a sleepy museum to a bygone era.

Its 5,000 valves, 50 million pounds of steel and ship berth as big as 77 football fields — representing a $2 billion investment by Qatar Petroleum, Exxon Mobil and Conoco Phillips — have been dormant for nearly three years. The unexpected American shale fracking frenzy produced such a glut of domestic gas that the United States does not need Qatari gas anymore.  (go to article)

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Three energy game changers: Achieving oil-free mobility

reneweconomy.com -- This decade China is set to regain the status it has held for 18 of the past 20 centuries: the world’s largest economy. A major engine of historic success was China’s inexorable drive to develop and deploy new technologies, far outpacing other civilizations. As Joseph Needham documented, and his student Robert Temple summarized in The Genius of China, about 90 percent of the technologies that underlay the West’s industrial revolution were actually invented in China. Today, revitalizing China’s innovation engine presents unique opportunities to accelerate the world’s next industrial revolution—especially in energy.

China’s recent decades of rapid development and urbanization have lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty but contributed to significant energy challenges. China is now the w  (go to article)

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Energy storage: generators to be the biggest losers

reneweconomy.com -- Conventional electricity generators have already received a battering from the revolution inspired by rooftop solar. Most fossil fuel generators – particularly those in Europe and Australia, are struggling to make a profit.

But things are likely to get worse. The influx of battery storage is destined to further reduce demand from conventional generators.

A major new analysis from global investment bank HSBC – Energy Storage, Power to the People – says the boom days for the fossil fuel generation are over. “There is no prospect of any return to anywhere near the level of profitability seen in the latter part of the last decade in generation,” it writes.

The HSBC analysis looks at a range of storage technologies and how that will impact the conventional energy systems. Its major conclusio  (go to article)

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Waldo (Fla.) City Commission votes to dissolve police department

ActionNewsJax.com -- AAA named Waldo as a known speed-trap.

WALDO, Fla. — The Waldo City Commission voted to suspend Waldo Police Department operations on Tuesday night.

The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office will take over law enforcement functions.

City Of Waldo Police Department operations like responding to calls or patrols end at midnight on Tuesday.

The officers will receive paid administrative leave and will be doing inventories until October 31.

After Oct. 31 the officers' positions will be dissolved.

Waldo residents will not see disruptions in law enforcement services.

Acting Captain Steve Maynard will go back to his normal duties at the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office.  (go to article)

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Ford confirms increased aluminum use on next-gen Super Duty pickups

fox -- After months of speculation fueled by reports from spy photographers, Ford has confirmed that the next generation F-Series Super Duty pickups will feature aluminum bodywork like the 2015 F-150 does.  (go to article)

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Coal competing with oil and gas for space on rail

Post Gazette -- In 2010, Chuck West, manager of coal procurement for one of the country's largest power generators, American Electric Power, rode a train down from the coal fields of Wyoming to Denver. Out the window, he took note of the many empty coal cars parked along the tracks.

Coal shipments have been on the decline since 2008 as low gas prices invigorated coal-to-gas switching at power plants. In 2008, coal reached a 20-year peak in railroad shipments. By 2013, it was at the lowest point during the same period of time.  (go to article)

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Zero Motorcycles' new e-bikes can last 185 miles on a single charge

Engadget -- With the bad memories of 2012 product recalls firmly banished to the past, Zero Motorcycles is today unveiling its 2015 lineup of e-motorbikes. Changes from the 2014 models include improved seats, a slight increase in price, and larger batteries that extend the bikes' range to a maximum of 185 miles with the $2,495 Power Tank accessory (a 14-mile boost from last year). The base Zero FX model now clocks in at $9,845, while the top-of-the-line Zero SR will set you back $17,345. You won't be able to buy any of the new bikes until December (February in Europe), but you can whet your appetite with a selection of videos below.
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NTU, German scientists create new motor for electric vehicles

todayonline.com -- With some consumers put off by the limited distance an electric car can travel, scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have collaborated with German Aerospace Centre (DLR) to invent a two-in-one electric motor that uses energy more efficiently.

It merges the electric motor and air-conditioning compressor — typically installed as two separate units in vehicles — creating space for an auxiliary battery to provide up to 20 per cent more mileage. Keeping the two units separate is more energy consuming, a situation made worse by use of air-conditioning.
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Offshore Wind Turbines Could Tame Hurricanes

Wall Street Journal -- Could an armada of giant windmills reduce damage from the next big hurricane?

A study by scientists at Stanford University and the University of Delaware suggests that U.S. coastal cities could be spared by installing tens of thousands of gigantic wind turbines offshore in arrays up to 20 miles long. The scientists say the turbines, as high as a football field is long, would suck much of the energy out of storms and pay for themselves with the clean electrical power they produce.

The idea is that if you take away enough wind speed and reduce the height of the waves, you will break the feedback loop that makes hurricanes more powerful.  (go to article)

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Blades of grass inspire advance in organic solar cells

Phys.org -- Using a bio-mimicking analog of one of nature's most efficient light-harvesting structures, blades of grass, an international research team led by Alejandro Briseno of the University of Massachusetts Amherst has taken a major step in developing long-sought polymer architecture to boost power-conversion efficiency of light to electricity for use in electronic devices.

Briseno, with colleagues and graduate students at UMass Amherst and others at Stanford University and Dresden University of Technology, Germany, report in the current issue of Nano Letters that by using single-crystalline organic nanopillars, or "nanograss," they found a way to get around dead ends, or discontinuous pathways, [...]  (go to article)

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Fed Up With Federal Inaction, States Act Alone on Cap-and-Trade

Wall St. Cheat Sheet -- Unsatisfied with the pace at which the federal government is acting to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, several U.S. states and a few Canadian provinces are forging ahead with their own initiatives.

In 2013, California kicked off a cap-and-trade program in an effort to reduce its emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The first year of the program was a resounding success, with the state’s economy expanding while at the same time adding renewable energy. But carbon markets are more effective — and far more efficient — when they involve more entities in more places.

California is by far the largest generator of renewable energy, but capping emissions only within its borders could lead to “leakages” — dirty generators moving across the border to Nevada, for example, and selling power back to...  (go to article)

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Crude oil in U.S. slides most in 22 months on growing supply

Bloomburg -- West Texas Intermediate crude on Tuesday slid the most in 22 months, while Brent reached a two-year low, as ample supply shielded the market from the risk of disruption due to the conflict in the Middle East.

Futures slumped 3.6 percent in New York and 2.6 percent in London. OPEC oil production increased in September, led by a rebound in Libyan output to the highest level in more than a year, a Bloomberg survey showed Tuesday. Both benchmarks capped their biggest quarterly declines in more than two years. WTI may approach $90.63 after breaking below $91.50, according to Bloomberg First Word oil strategist Eric D. Pradas.

“We are going to continue to see lower prices as we go forward,” said Tariq Zahir, a New York-based commodity fund manager at Tyche Capital Advisors. “Fundamentally we a  (go to article)

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Autumn brings fall in gasoline prices

Fuel Fix -- This year’s relatively good fuel price news continues as motorists steer into the fourth quarter.

The national average price for a gallon of regular was $3.33 Tuesday, AAA reported, the lowest average in seven months and about a dime less on the last day of September than on the first.

The Houston-area average price Tuesday was $3.12, down 13 cents from a month ago and 3 cents less than on Sept. 30, 2013, according to the motor club’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report.

Gasbuddy.com, which also monitors prices, reported that the lowest price available in Houston Tuesday was $2.86 per gallon.

The main factor in the price of gasoline is the price of oil, which also has been dropping. U.S. benchmark crude fell $3.41 to $91.16 a barrel Tuesday on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was abo  (go to article)

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