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Recent Gas News/GasBuddy Blog

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Oil and gas companies court military veterans as shale boom grows

Powersource Post Gazette.com -- John MacZura, an Army infantry veteran, started work a week after graduation.

Before receiving his petroleum engineering degree from Penn State in 2013, Mr. MacZura, 30, had already piqued the interest of five or six oil and gas companies. He had job offers from three. He eventually joined Houston-based Cabot Oil and Gas, where he now works as a completions engineer.

“The military plays a large part in how I got to where I’m at today,” said Mr. MacZura. He spent four years stationed at the Schofield Barracks in Hawaii and two in the National Guard.

“I can’t say I was a commodity, but I was definitely sought after by companies,” he said.

Finding work in the energy sector isn't a new concept for veterans, but there has been an increased interest in recent years due to the shale gas boom.  (go to article)

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Kinetic Energy Tiles, Coming Soon To… Just About Anywhere

Cleantechnica -- We’ve heard about kinetic energy dance floors, train stations, and even speed bumps, but the technology has barely penetrated the commercial market, especially when compared to solar power.

That could all be about to change.

Earlier this week the Daily Mail reported that the world’s first ever soccer field with lights powered by kinetic energy tiles just got its launch in Rio de Janeiro.

Interestingly, the installation, which involves 200 kinetic energy tiles, was sponsored by Royal Dutch Shell of all people (yes, corporations are people, too).
 (go to article)

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Here’s a Natural Gas-Powered Cargo Ship Getting Its 539-Ton Engine

Gizmodo -- Work on TOTE shipholding's new Marlin-class cargo ships is progressing quickly. Late last month crews were photographed installing the vessel's main engine, a 539-ton behemoth that runs on liquefied natural gas rather than diesel.

"This large slow speed (two stroke) dual fuel engine is the first of its kind in the world" said Phil Morrell, Vice President of Commercial Marine Operations for TOTE Services, in a press statement. "Using this engine in our new Marlin class vessels will not only drastically reduce our SOx, NOx, particulate matter and greenhouse gas emissions as a result of using liquefied natural gas, but it will also improve our efficiency meaning these ships will require less energy to travel the same distance and help preserve the environment."

 (go to article)

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Nanoribbon film keeps glass ice-free

ScienceDaily -- Rice University scientists who created a deicing film for radar domes have now refined the technology to work as a transparent coating for glass.

The new work by Rice chemist James Tour and his colleagues could keep glass surfaces from windshields to skyscrapers free of ice and fog while retaining their transparency to radio frequencies (RF).

The technology was introduced this month in the American Chemical Society journal Applied Materials and Interfaces.

The material is made of graphene nanoribbons, atom-thick strips of carbon created by splitting nanotubes, a process also invented by the Tour lab. Whether sprayed, painted or spin-coated, the ribbons are transparent and conduct both heat and electricity.
 (go to article)

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First water-based nuclear battery can be used to generate electrical energy

Science Daily -- From cell phones to cars and flashlights, batteries play an important role in everyday life. Scientists and technology companies constantly are seeking ways to improve battery life and efficiency. Now, for the first time using a water-based solution, researchers at the University of Missouri have created a long-lasting and more efficient nuclear battery that could be used for many applications such as a reliable energy source in automobiles and also in complicated applications such as space flight.
"Betavoltaics, a battery technology that generates power from radiation, has been studied as an energy source since the 1950s," said Jae W. Kwon, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and nuclear engineering in the College of Engineering at MU. "Controlled nuclear technol  (go to article)

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Supercar That Runs Using Salt Water Approved For Use On European Roads

kinja -- The car is the QUANT e-Sportlimousine. We covered it way back when it was still aKoenigsegg-branded project, but there seems to have been a lot of development in the intervening years, and a prototype is now being tested for eventual production.

The Quant is, essentially, a very high-spec electric car. It's using a motor per wheel to give it AWD with torque vectoring, and each of those motors makes 227 HP, giving a theoretical total of 908 HP. The Quant's electronics don't want you dead that easily, so the system caps the operating power at a very healthy 644 HP.
The peak torque numbers are allowed to remain absolutely bonkers, at 2138 lb-ft PER WHEEL. Which means 8,552 lb-ft total. Just what you need to reverse the rotation of the earth so you can go back in time like Superman did in  (go to article)

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Solar Prices Drop 80 Percent Since 2008, Onshore Wind Also Falls

planetsave.com -- Fortunately, says the new report from IRENA, renewable energy can become a major force in this transformation. Its deployment is already accelerating rapidly. Just look at the dramatic drop in the costs of photovoltaics: we’ve seen solar prices drop 80 percent over just the past six years, according to the IRENA report. Solar is already at parity in Italy, Germany, and Spain, and it is fast approaching that point in several other nations.

Not only are solar statistics amazing, but nearly 100 countries have installed wind capacity now, and onshore wind power costs have also fallen significantly (18% since 2009). IRENA calculates that renewables now make up 58% of all new power capacity additions worldwide.
 (go to article)

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Duke Energy increasing NC solar by 60 percent

fierceenergy.com -- Duke Energy is making a major expansion of solar power in North Carolina -- to the tune of $500M -- culminating the utility's request for proposals (RFP) in February 2014 and furthering its commitment to renewable energy, diversifying its energy portfolio and meeting North Carolina's Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS).

The company will acquire and construct three solar facilities totaling 128 MW of capacity, including the largest solar photovoltaic (PV) facility east of the Mississippi River. Duke Energy also signed power purchase agreements with five new solar projects in the state, representing 150 MW of capacity. In addition to these power purchase agreements, in 2014 so far, Duke Energy has signed 33 other agreements in North Carolina  (go to article)

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MIT's Cheetah Is a Running, Jumping Electric Robot [Video]

AutoEvolution -- Because regular cars with round wheels are just too mainstream these days, engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have made a big four-legged robot that runs and jumps like a wild animal. And because the cheetah is the fastest animal on land, that's the name they chose for it.

This unnatural looking machine is the work of the school's Biometrics Lab, built by students to replicate the movement of an animal. It's important for a number of reasons, the most important of which being the that it's electric-powered.

Boston Dynamic also famously built a walking robot like this one and there are others being developed in China and Japan. However, most of them are powered by internal combustion engines combined with hydraulics. Last time we checked, wild animals don't make  (go to article)

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Nissan faces battery plant cuts as electric car hopes fade

Fox Business -- Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn is preparing to cut battery manufacturing, people familiar with the matter said, in a new reversal on electric cars that has reopened deep divisions with alliance partner Renault.

The plan, which faces stiff resistance within the Japanese carmaker, would see U.S. and British production phased out and a reduced output of next-generation batteries concentrated at its domestic plant, two alliance sources told Reuters.

In what may also prove a politically sensitive blow to Japan Inc., Nissan would follow Renault by taking cheaper batteries from South Korea's LG Chem for some future vehicles, including models made in China.

"We set out to be a leader in battery manufacturing but it turned out to be less competitive than we'd wanted," said one executive on condition o  (go to article)

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Watchdog: More coal power plants to close than expected

foxnews.com -- More coal-fired power plants will close because of environmental regulations and competition from other energy sources than previously thought, according to federal watchdogs.

A Government Accountability Office report said 13 percent of coal-fired generation will come offline in 2025, compared with a 2012 estimate that ranged between 2 and 12 percent. The report said that raises concerns about having enough electricity supply to meet demand in certain situations, potentially increasing instances of blackouts. "Recent and pending actions on the four existing regulations, as well as [Environmental Protection Agency's] recently proposed regulations to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from existing generating units, may require additional agency effort to monitor industry’s progress in respond  (go to article)

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Wastewater injection is culprit for most quakes in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico

Seismological Society of America -- The deep injection of wastewater underground is responsible for the dramatic rise in the number of earthquakes in Colorado and New Mexico since 2001, according to a study to be published in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America (BSSA).

The Raton Basin, which stretches from southern Colorado into northern New Mexico, was seismically quiet until shortly after major fluid injection began in 1999. Since 2001, there have been 16 magnitude > 3.8 earthquakes (including M 5.0 and 5.3), compared to only one (M 4.0) the previous 30 years. The increase in earthquakes is limited to the area of industrial activity and within 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) of wastewater injection wells.  (go to article)

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Whats Next: Feels Like Driving In The Future

Navdy -- TOUCHLESS GESTURES
Nothing could be more natural

Swipe left to answer a call, or right to dismiss an untimely notification. No more looking down to fumble with knobs, buttons or touch screens
5.1" wide transparent Head-Up Display (HUD)
High quality projector
IR camera for touchless gesture control
Accelerometer, e-compass, ambient light sensor
WiFi (802.11 b/g/n), Bluetooth 4.0/LE
Audio out via Bluetooth or 3.5mm minijack,
mini-USB port
Internal speaker and microphone with
noise canceling DSP
Dual core processor running Android 4.4
OBD-II power and data connection to car
computer, with optional 12 volt power adapter
Portable, bendable, non-marking, powered friction
mount, with magnetic connection to the device
Dimensions (excluding mount): width: 130mm,
depth: 140mm, height: 95mm  (go to article)

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World’s First 3D Printed Car Took Years to Design, But Only 44 Hours to Print

Mashable -- One day, in the not-too-distant future, you’ll be able to walk into a car dealership, choose a design — including the number of seats — and have a 3D printed car by the end of the day.

This is Jay Rogers’ vision. Rogers is the CEO of Local Motors, the company that just built the world's first 3D printed car known as the Strati. The electric, pint-sized two-seater was officially unveiled last week at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in Chicago, Illinois.  (go to article)

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Self-driving cars now need a permit in California

KTVU -- LOS ANGELES — Computer-driven cars have been testing their skills on California roads for more than four years — but until now, the Department of Motor Vehicles wasn't sure just how many were rolling around.
That changed Tuesday, when the agency issued testing permits that allowed three companies to dispatch 29 vehicles onto freeways and into neighborhoods — with a human behind the wheel in case the onboard computers make a bad decision.  (go to article)

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Gasoline prices just keep falling

SF Gate -- If you didn’t take that big road trip this summer, it could be even cheaper this fall.

Prices generally fall after Labor Day when vacation season ends and refineries switch from their summer blend of gasoline to their slightly cheaper winter recipe. Refineries made the switch Monday in most parts of the country and will do so the first week of November in California.

The bigger reason prices are falling is increased supply. “Refinery production for much of the summer was at record high levels. That meant gasoline supplies were more than sufficient for demand, even though it was the busy summer driving season,” says AAA spokesman Michael Green.

U.S. refineries have increased their output to take advantage of booming U.S. production, primarily in North Dakota and Texas, where hydraulic fr  (go to article)

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TransCanada Sees Itself in Oil Train Business Regardless of Keystone

Reuters -- Pipeline operator TransCanada Corp is likely to haul Canadian oil sands crude by rail whether or not its embattled Keystone XL pipeline project is finally approved by Washington, the company's chief executive said on Tuesday.

TransCanada is in its sixth year of waiting for the United States to approve or reject its plan for a 1,700-mile cross-border pipeline that could carry at least 730,000 barrels a day of oil sands from Western Canada to Texas refineries.

In those years, Alberta oil sands output has climbed and producers have grown more desperate to find ways to bring fuel to market.

That glut might drive demand for both pipelines and additional oil train capacity, TransCanada Chief Executive Russ Girling said during a visit to Washington.

"I do believe we will have a rail facility,  (go to article)

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One in 88 Minnesota drivers will hit deer this year, 1 in 120 in North Dakota

Forum News Service -- Minnesota drivers will face a 1-in-88 chance of hitting a deer on the state’s highways this year, according to a report released Monday by the nation’s largest auto insurance company.

State Farm’s annual report estimates that Minnesota drivers will collide with 37,549 deer in 2014.

Minnesota drivers have the eighth-highest odds of hitting a deer among the 50 states, according to the report, down from sixth highest in last year’s report. The lower number of deer expected to be struck reflects the decline in Minnesota’s estimated deer population, which has dropped in recent years due to hard winters and high hunter harvest levels in the previous decade.  (go to article)

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New Hydroelectric Plant to Be Built for New York

NY Times -- New York City is tapping the vast resources of its upstate reservoir system to commission a new hydroelectric plant.

The plant is projected to generate 14 megawatts of electric power, which the city would sell to the New York power grid. That is enough to provide electricity, on average, to 6,000 homes. By not using oil or coal to generate electricity, it is estimated that the plant would avoid the emission of 25,620 metric tons of greenhouse gases annually, or the equivalent of removing 5,400 cars from the road.

This would be the largest hydroelectric development in New York State in more than two decades and the first time power would be generated directly from a Delaware River branch.  (go to article)

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School bus driver killed during safety drill

AP -- AKRON, Ohio (AP) - Police say a school bus driver for a private transportation company was killed when the bus rolled over her during an evacuation drill outside an Akron charter school.

A police spokesman says the 51-year-old driver sacrificed her life to save a 10-year-old girl who was about to jump out of the emergency exit at the back of the bus Tuesday morning. The driver's name hasn't been released.

The accident occurred around 8:10 a.m. when about 40 children were participating in the drill at Middlebury Academy. The girl was the last student to evacuate the bus when it began rolling backward. The driver threw the girl onto a tree lawn before being struck.

The other children witnessed the accident. Grief counselors have been sent to the school.  (go to article)

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Fixing Climate Change May Add No Costs, Report Says

The New York Times -- In decades of public debate about global warming, one assumption has been accepted by virtually all factions: that tackling it would necessarily be costly. But a new report casts doubt on that idea, declaring that the necessary fixes could wind up being effectively free.

A global commission will announce its finding on Tuesday that an ambitious series of measures to limit emissions would cost $4 trillion or so over the next 15 years, an increase of roughly 5 percent over the amount that would likely be spent anyway on new power plants, transit systems and other infrastructure.

When the secondary benefits of greener policies — like lower fuel costs, fewer premature deaths from air pollution and reduced medical bills — are taken into account, the changes might wind up saving money....  (go to article)

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Fracking brings few jobs, major destruction, mountain residents tell NC energy commission

carolinapublicpress.org -- No fracking in North Carolina, a heavily partisan crowd told the state Mining and Energy Commission on Friday, Sept. 12.

Speaker after speaker at the Ramsey Center at Western Carolina University told a three-member commission panel that the proposed rules governing the exploration and production of natural gas through hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking, were too industry-friendly and dangerous to the public.

Fracking, the process of extracting oil and gas from underground by using pressurized water and chemicals to create fissures in sub-surface rocks, has no place in the mountains or in North Carolina, the speakers told the panel and an audience of several hundred people.

“It’s cheaper to prevent contamination than to clean it up,” Franklin resident John Gladden, a retired
 (go to article)

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U.S. moves back to winter gasoline

GasBuddy Blog -- Today marks the first day that many states and cities across the United States begin switching back to "winter gasoline". Many times you may have heard us here at GasBuddy talking about summer gasoline being a reason for prices to rise, but as we switch away from the more expensive summer blend, prices do the opposite- they drop.Why? Due to EPA regulations in warmer months to limit ozone and pollution, there are stricter requirements for gasoline everywhere, and requirements in bigger cities where tens of thousands of vehicles drive everyday are even more stringent. Even smaller communities switch to summer gasoline, but a version that isn't quite the same as what's used in larger cities.Effective today- September 16- those rules and requirements from the EPA have eased.  Summer gasoline contains blending components that cost more. With the switch back to winter gasoline, cheaper butane is again blended in to reduce the price of gasoline, but adds to  (go to article)

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Why the U.S. total rig count went past the 2-year high

MArket Realist -- U.S. total rig count increases again

According to Baker Hughes, the U.S. total rig count increased by six rigs—from 1,925 to 1,931—during the week ending September 12. Baker Hughes publishes rig counts every week.

With the additions, the rig count continues its upward trend. This was the highest U.S. total rig count since August 17, 2012.

This marked the 11th rig count increase in the past 14 weeks. It’s also the third consecutive addition after the steep fall on August 22.
In the past week, the number of oil rigs increased by eight. The number of natural gas rigs decreased by two. Rigs categorized as “miscellaneous” were unchanged last week.

The increase in rig count was a result of increases in horizontal and vertical drilling. See Part 4 of this series to learn more about vertical r  (go to article)

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How EMS will benefit from smartphones and connected vehicles

EMS1 -- With mobile technology in the pockets of both patients and EMS providers, Dia Gainor, executive director of the National Association of State EMS Officials, sees a future that digitally connects roadways, infrastructures, emergency response systems and responders in new ways.
Technology that moves information more quickly may help detect emergency events faster, she said. Whereas "situational blindness often compromises the patient," mobile tech will also allow emergency responders to be smarter about how help is deployed.
Gainor points to the U.S. Department of Transportation's focus on the ability of smart cars to engage in vehicle-to-vehicle communication as well as vehicle-to-infrastructure communication. She also recognizes the importance of connected vehicles in encouraging...  (go to article)

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GM to boost output of mid-sized pickups in U.S., add jobs

Reuters -- General Motors Co will add a third shift and 750 jobs at its Missouri assembly plant to build more of its new mid-sized pickup trucks, the No. 1 U.S. automaker said on Tuesday.

With early orders for the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon at nearly 30,000, GM decided to add the third shift at the Wentzville plant to meet expected demand. The additional shift at the plant, which also builds full-size vans, is expected to start in early 2015
 (go to article)

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Poll: 68 percent want more transit spending

The Hill -- “We believe Congress should move swiftly on a robust long-term funding plan for the next surface transportation bill, and not wait until the extension deadline of May 31,” Melaniphy said in a statement. “Americans understand the importance of investing in public transportation because it is a catalyst to transforming their community.”

The transit groups said their poll found that 74 percent of U.S. residents "support the use of tax dollars for creating, expanding, and improving public transportation options in their communities."

They groups added that 88 percent of their poll's respondents "agreed that public transit expands opportunities and provides access to new jobs and careers as well as to medical care, schools, and colleges."  (go to article)

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Researchers trace water contamination to faulty gas wells

Fuel Fix -- From the courtroom to the laboratory to the picket line, the fight over drinking water pollution has examined a wide range of complex techniques connected to new methods of hydraulic fracturing.

But the real cause, researchers reported on Monday, may be as simple as a shoddy cement job.

The contamination “stems from well-integrity problems such as poor casing and cementing,” Thomas H. Darrah, an earth science expert at Ohio State who led the study, said in a prepared statement.

The peer-reviewed journal report, led by Duke University with financing from the National Science Foundation, built on previous work establishing elevated levels of methane in groundwater near areas of oil and gas production.  (go to article)

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Pollution Clean-up Shell Oil, Carson,

Erin Brockovich, Consumer Advocate -- The California Regional Water Quality Control Board determined that Shell was responsible for discharging pollution into the Carson area and therefore must do the cleanup.

The Control Board also found that more than 9-feet of oil had accumulated in monitoring wells. Shell used storage tanks on the land for 40 years, up until the 1960s, when the company sold the land to a developer. Residents, however, did not learn about the storage facilities or the contamination until 2009 when toxic investigators happened upon the contamination while examining a different site.

- See more at: http://www.brockovich.com/projects/shell-oil-carson/#sthash.LsIekKLL.dpuf  (go to article)

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New petroleum technology revitalizes Powder River Basin oil production

EIA -- The Powder River Basin, well known for its abundant coal supply, is experiencing a turnaround in oil production. Production has rebounded from a low of 38,000 barrels per day in 2009 to 78,000 bbl/d during first-quarter 2014. Although U.S. oil production growth is occurring primarily in the Bakken, Eagle Ford, and Permian Basins, the Powder River Basin is among other regions of the country that have also benefitted from the application of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.

The increase in Powder River Basin oil production is largely attributable to production growth in the Turner, Parkman, and Niobrara-Codell formations, which collectively increased from 4,700 bbl/d in 2009 to 36,300 bbl/d in first-quarter 2014, increasing their share of total Powder River Basin oil production  (go to article)

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Baby Steps Toward Driverless Cars Deliver Huge Leaps in Safety

Forbes -- If cars are going to drive themselves someday, they’ll need to master the art of talking to each other and to their environment. Based on the technologies on display at this week’s Intelligent Transportation Systems World Congress in Detroit, we’re getting tantalizingly close to that Jetsons era. But let’s not get carried away; the industry still has a lot of work to do before fully autonomous cars are ready.  (go to article)

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Child safety: Check your car seat expiration date

Salt Lake Tribune -- Car seats have a shelf life a little longer than a can of tomatoes — six years.

But just to be safe, new mom Katie Blackburn-Conway, 38, waited while Safe Kids workers inspected her 1-year-old daughter’s car seat for an expiration date Monday at the Road Home shelter in Salt Lake City.

"There’s always that little chance you’re not doing something right," she said. "I want to make sure."

National Child Passenger Safety Week started Sunday, and Primary Children’s Hospital, Salt Lake County and Salt Lake City partnered Monday on a package of services to raise awareness in family-friendly Utah.  (go to article)

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Report: Federal safety board ignored ignition switch warning

Detroit Free Press -- WASHINGTON: A House committee this morning released a report highly critical of federal regulators for their role in not catching an ignition switch defect in General Motors' cars that killed at least 19 people, saying they had all the information and authority they needed to react more swiftly.

Noting that GM deserved much of the blame for not addressing the defect earlier, the staff report by the House Energy and Commerce Committee took the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to task for ignoring information – in some cases in reports it commissioned itself – that potentially identified the deadly defect.

"The agency's repeated failure to identify, let alone explore, the potential defect theory related to the ignition switch — even after it was spelled out in a report.  (go to article)

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Mazda6 Diesel Delayed To Add Aftertreatment

Gas 2 -- It’s now approaching six months since the Mazda6 diesel was supposed to debut in America, with the problems being blamed on a lack of zoom-zoom and low oil levels. The Truth About Cars is now reporting that the delay may come down to a need for a diesel after-treatment to meet emissions regulations, which could delay the Mazda6 diesel another year.

An anonymous source told TTAC that the treatment-free SkyActiv-D engine couldn’t meet American emissions standards while providing enough power for consumer expectations, forcing Mazda engineers to go back to the drawing board. European automakers like Mercedes have had similar problems, which led to the addition of after-treatment solutions applied to engine emissions to reduce NOx and soot particulates.  (go to article)

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Diesel price continues downward spiral, still at lowest point since mid-2012

Overdrive -- The national average price for a gallon of on-highway diesel fell again in the week ended Sept. 15, according to the Department of Energy, who reported it as down another 1.3 cents to $3.801.

The U.S.’ average price has now fallen every week since the week ended June 30, save for the week ended Sept. 8, which saw no change.

The average price is also still at its lowest point in more than two years (July 30, 2012) and is 17.3 cents lower than the same week last year.

ProMiles’ Fuel Surcharge Index reported in its weekly data a 1.5-cent drop, bringing its average to $3.73 — down 19 cents from the same week last year.

Per the Dept. of Energy, all regions saw a price drop from the week prior. The Central Atlantic region led all price decreases with a 2.3-cent drop, followed by New  (go to article)

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Oil rises as OPEC keeps output target steady

Reuters -- (Reuters) - Oil futures rose on Thursday after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed to keep its collective oil output ceiling unchanged for the second half of the year at 30 million barrels per day.

The move implies a supply cut of 1.6 million bpd, OPEC Secretary-General Abdullah al-Badri said. Several OPEC members had called on Saudi Arabia, the group's top producer, to trim its excess supply to the agreed limit as a way to defend crude at $100 a barrel.

In post-settlement trading, oil rose further as the euro extended gains against the dollar after G20 officials said central banks are prepared for coordinated action to provide liquidity if needed after the Greek election on Sunday.

 (go to article)

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Fastest woman on a motorcycle hits 241 mph with electricity instead of gas

Yahoo! Autos -- When the first self-powered vehicles appeared on roads in the late 19th century, they were as likely to use electricity for power as they were gas, steam or any other fuel. The lack of progress in batteries, and the steady march of fossil-fuel burning engines, knocked them off of the streets for about 100 years. But if you need more proof that the era of electrics may rise again, look to how the fastest woman on a motorcycle shattered records at Bonneville with a battery-powered bike.

Eva Håkansson and her husband Bill Dubé, both engineers, have been building their KillaJoule streamlined sidecar machine for five years in their Colorado backyard, powered by a brace of A123 Systems' lithium-ion batteries and electric motors generating some 400 hp and 800 ft.-lbs. of torque.  (go to article)

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Emails: EPA Rules Part Of The Progressive Agenda

Daily Caller -- Emails between top Environmental Protection Agency officials reveal they saw their fight against global warming as putting them at “forefront of progressive national policy.”

“You are at the forefront of progressive national policy on one of the critical issues of our time. Do you realize that?” former EPA chief Lisa Jackson asked former EPA policy office head Lisa Heinzerling in a Feb. 27, 2009 email.

“You’re a good boss. I do realize that.” Heinzerling replied that same day to Jackson, who was using an alias email account under the fake name “Richard Windsor.”

These emails show what top EPA officials were thinking as the agency prepared to release its greenhouse gas endangerment finding. which would give the agency the power to regulate carbon dioxide emissions.  (go to article)

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States lower energy taxes to attract business as production thrives

Haynesville.com -- A new report has found that state tax rates on fossil fuel extraction have stayed consistent or even fallen since the hydraulic fracturing boom began, despite rising profits for the energy sector.
U.S. News and World Report says the report’s authors, Barry Rabe and Rachel Hampton of the University of Michigan’s Center for Local, State and Urban Policy (CLOSUP), attribute the low tax rates to states’ desires to remain competitive with their neighbors. Though a severance tax would earn more money for the state per volume of extracted fuel, it could also drive energy companies to nearby, more lightly taxed states, lowering the overall economic return.
 (go to article)

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Oil industry accuses administration of political motive in ethanol rules

Houston Chronical -- The American Petroleum Institute said Thursday it fears the Environmental Protection Agency will boost ethanol requirements to help a Democrat locked in a close U.S. Senate race in Iowa — a corn-growing state that benefits from the mandate because most U.S. ethanol is made from corn.  (go to article)

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News Survey: Idaho Outranks New York For Nation’s Rudest Drivers

CBS Channel 42 - New York -- Some say New York has some pretty bad drivers, and a new survey agreed.

But the Empire State was not number one this time. The state with the dubious distinction of having the rudest drivers in the country is the Gem State – also sometimes known as the Potato State.

The entire population of the state of Idaho is only about one twelfth that of New York state, a fifth that of New York City, and even smaller than the borough of Manhattan or Brooklyn alone. But an Insure.com survey said density and the resultant congestion and traffic are not always the deciding factor in creating rude drivers.

“The roadways of Idaho present a dichotomy of drivers: Those who are moving so slowly that they’re judged to be rude, and the aggressive drivers who speed around them and flip them off,”  (go to article)

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Islamic State Funds Push Into Syria and Iraq With Labyrinthine Oil-Smuggling Operation

Wall St Journal -- The Islamic State is funding its rapid push into Syria and Iraq with a labyrinthine oil-smuggling operation that starts at seized Syrian oil fields, goes through makeshift refineries and can end up in jerrycans carried by mules into the hilly borderland of Turkey.

Amid Western pressure to squeeze the group's finances, Turkey is expanding efforts to crack down on the increasingly organized business, which is now generating an estimated $2 million a day.

A major route linking Syrian oil fields with the smuggling enclaves of southern Turkey offers a window onto the complexity of the oil network run by Islamic State, the militant group that controls large swaths of Syria and Iraq. It also demonstrates the challenges of shutting it down.

"It clearly won't be possible to choke off completely,  (go to article)

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Gasoline Price Update: Down A Nickel

Investing.com -- It's time again for my weekly gasoline update based on data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Rounded to the penny, Regular and Premium both fell five cents and are now at their lowest averages since mid-February. Regular is up 21 cents and Premium 20 cents from their interim lows during the second week of last November.

According to GasBuddy.com, only one state (Hawaii) has Regular above $4.00 per gallon, unchanged from last week, and one state (Alaska) is averaging above $3.90, also unchanged from last week. South Carolina has the cheapest Regular at $3.11.

How far are we from the interim high prices of 2011 and the all-time highs of 2008? Here's a visual answer.

The next chart is a weekly chart overlay of West Texas Intermediate Crude, Brent Crude and unleaded gasolin  (go to article)

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Big solar plant in Mojave Desert gets state's OK

San Francisco Chronicle -- Despite environmental concerns, the California Energy Commission has given a preliminary green light to an Oakland company's second big solar project in the California desert.

The proposed BrightSource Energy facility would be the latest in a series of solar plants that the Obama administration is subsidizing in the Mojave Desert.

The plant would use the same technology as BrightSource's 5.4-square-mile Ivanpah plant near the Nevada border that opened in the spring with a $1.6 billion federal loan.

The proposed plant is located between Indio and Blythe in Riverside County, near a migratory bird path from the Salton Sea to the Colorado River.

The Ivanpah plant is the largest of its kind in the world, using concentrated light beams reflected from thousands of mirrors onto 40-story "power  (go to article)

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Consumer Reports names Ram EcoDiesel 1500 'Top Full-Size Pickup'

GasBuddy Blog --
Image From ..wardsauto.comThe Ram 1500 EcoDiesel climbed to the top of Consumer Reports’ full-size pickup truck ratings with an impressive performance in the organization’s fuel economy tests.
The EcoDiesel (82 point overall road test score) turned in a best-in-class fuel economy of 20 mpg overall and 27 mpg on the highway, to help it score better than the previously tested Ram 1500 V8 (81) regular gas version and Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT (80). “These are about the same fuel-economy numbers that we typically see in a mid-sized SUV. The Ram is currently the only truck to offer turbo-diesel technology. It will be interesting to see what impact it will have on the half-ton truck market,” said Jake Fisher, director of automotive testing for Consumer Reports. ...  (go to article)

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Coast Guard, Enbridge, and EPA to conduct simulated oil spill exercise in Michigan

Fox 17 -- INDIAN RIVER, Mich. — More than 200 participants from the U.S. Coast Guard 9th District, Enbridge, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, the Environmental Protection Agency, and others, will take part in an exercise on Wednesday that simulates a ‘worst-case scenario’ oil spill.

According to a press release from the Coast Guard, the exercise will focus on how to respond to a breach in Enbridge’s Line 5, and a discharge of light crude oil.  (go to article)

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Leaky equipment, not fracking, behind tainted U.S. water : study

REUTERS -- The contamination of water supplies near U.S. shale gas fields appears to be the result of leaky cement wells and casings and not the controversial production technique of hydraulic fracturing, according to a study released on Monday.

So-called "fracking" is a way of extracting natural gas from deep layers of rock using high-pressure fluid injections. The method has triggered a surge in U.S. gas production, but raised fears that breaking up rock formations underground could allow gas to seep into drinking water.

Scientists from several universities, including Duke, Ohio State, Stanford and Dartmouth, analyzed more than 130 drinking-water well samples overlying the Marcellus and Barnett shale gas formations and attempted to trace the source of any contamination, according to the study.  (go to article)

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Crude bounces back on dollar’s decline

Bloomburg -- WTI for October delivery climbed 65 cents, or 0.7 percent, to end at $92.92 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after falling as much as 1.8 percent in intraday trading. Volume was 2 percent higher than the 100-day average.

Brent for October settlement, which expired Monday, fell 46 cents, or 0.5 percent, to close at $96.65 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. It earlier touched $96.21 a barrel, the lowest since July 2, 2012. The more active November contract ended at $97.88. The volume of all futures traded was 20 percent below the 100-day average.

Brent’s premium to WTI narrowed to $3.73 based on October futures, the smallest since April 11. The spread was $5.89 based on November futures.

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed at 1,050.49 afte  (go to article)

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Alberta woman loses fracking case appeal, wants to take case to Supreme Court

Canadian Press -- Jessica Ernst launched a $33M lawsuit against the AB government, the province's energy regulator and energy company Encana

She claims gas wells fracked around her land NE of Calgary unleashed hazardous amounts of methane and ethane gas and other chemicals into her water well

Last fall an AB Court of Queen's Bench judge ruled that Ernst can't sue the energy regulator because it is immune from private legal claims

The AB Court of Appeal has upheld that ruling

"Protecting administrative tribunals and their members from liability for damages is constitutionally legitimate,- the panel of appeal court judges said in the ruling

Ernst said she plans to seek leave to appeal Monday's ruling to the Supreme Court of Canada

In its statement of defence, Encana has denied all of Ernst's allegation  (go to article)

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Fears grow about oil tanker shortage

Washington Examiner -- Companies that make tanker cars for shipping oil across the country fear they are being railroaded by the Department of Transportation.

It's given them until October 2017 to make 23,000 older tankers safer or else face being banned from using them to ship flammable crude from wells to refineries. Thousands of newer cars would also have to be upgraded.

The companies say there isn't time and they stand to lose a lot of business.

"Based on what we're hearing in these shops on retrofits, I don't know how they can get this done in three years. It's a tall, tall task," an energy industry source told the Washington Examiner.

The volume of oil being carried around the country has risen sharply as shale production turned from trickle to spate. In 2009, there were 10,800 carloads carrying ...  (go to article)

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UPDATE 1-U.S. Henry Hub natgas pipeline blast affects 'minimal' production

REUTERS(Rewrites throughout to add details from Chevron) -- Chevron Corp said Monday a blast on a natural gas gathering pipeline into the Henry Hub supply hub in Louisiana on Saturday that killed one worker interrupted "minimal gas production."

The company said in an email statement that it has rerouted most of the affected production from the blast to an alternative gas system. Chevron said workers were performing routine maintenance on a Chevron Midstream Pipeline gas gathering line in offshore Louisiana waters when the accident occurred. Chevron said a suspected platform valve blowout may have been the cause.

Chevron said the unit that operates the line is continuing to depressurize the line offshore to allow a safe repair onshore.

The pipeline platform continues to be shut in. The platform is part of the Henry Hub gas gathering system,...  (go to article)

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