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Recent Gas News/GasBuddy Blog

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Rush to see gravely ill son lands woman in a UHP escort

KUTV 2 News -- Helen "Skeeter" Smith got the dreaded phone call---her son, Randy, was gravely ill in the hospital.

So Helen, 87 years old, hopped in her car in southern Nevada on Friday, jumped on I-15, and started heading north for a 350 mile trip to Ogden.

In central Utah, she "buzzed past" a Utah trooper, who pulled her over and gave her a warning. "He was all nice," said Helen. "Oh yeah, he was just doing his job."

Then Helen had perhaps the best accident she could have hoped for; instead of pulling forward to ease onto the interstate, she put her car in reverse and hit Trooper Jeff Jones' patrol car.  (go to article)

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Move afoot to make city streets nationwide safe for pedestrians

MarketWatch.com -- After a variety of safety efforts have successfully reduced deaths from car crashes, transportation officials around the country are now focusing on another traffic-related problem: a general increase in pedestrian deaths since 2009.

The U.S. saw 4,735 pedestrian deaths in 2013, a slight decline from the previous year but still 15% higher than in 2009, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data released Friday. That compares with the overall 32,719 traffic deaths the U.S. saw in 2013, a 3.1% decline from the previous year and continuing a long-term downward trend.

From shortening crosswalks with “pedestrian safety islands” to lowering speed limits and beefing up enforcement, transportation officials in New York, Los Angeles and other big cities are rethinking how pe  (go to article)

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Car-crash injuries and fatalities in decline

MarketWatch.com -- Deaths in car crashes have fallen by about a quarter in the last decade, new federal data released on Friday show, as safety features built into the latest models have powered a drop in fatalities even as auto-safety recalls have surged.

The fall in deaths in newer cars has been especially sharp, a Wall Street Journal analysis of federal data shows. The number of fatalities in the latest model released each year has fallen by nearly two-thirds in the past decade. In 2013, new cars had a lower fatality rate than cars fresh off the line did just a few years earlier.

Overall, auto deaths fell 3.1% last year over the prior year and the number of people injured in auto crashes fell 2.1%, according to figures...  (go to article)

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Alimentation Couche-Tard Acquiring The Pantry: 1,500-store chain will join Circle K in U.S. network

CSPnet.com -- LAVAL, Quebec & CARY, N.C. -- Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. is acquiring The Pantry Inc. in a merger agreement with a price tag of approximately $860 million. The all-cash transaction is valued at $36.75 per share, with a total enterprise value of approximately $1.7 billion including debt. The transaction price represents a premium of 27% to The Pantry's closing share price on Dec. 16, 2014.

News of an impending deal broke yesterday, sparking speculation over what chain would acquire The Pantry.  (go to article)

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U.S. Declares Bank and Auto Bailouts Over, and Profitable

New York Times -- WASHINGTON — Six years after President George W. Bush began the auto bailout, the Obama administration on Friday declared a profitable end to the sweeping federal interventions in Wall Street and Detroit, saying a final sale of stock from General Motors’ former finance arm had closed a turbulent chapter of the financial crisis.

The programs “that helped restart the flow of credit to meet the critical needs of small businesses and consumers are now closed,” declared Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew. “And while the goal was always to stabilize the economy, and not to make a profit, it is important to recognize the return we have earned for taxpayers.”
 (go to article)

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Libya's official government aims to set up new payment system for oil buyers

Reuters -- Libya's internationally recognized government aims to set up a new payment system to receive oil revenues, bypassing the central bank based in Tripoli, the capital city that is no longer under its control, its top oil official said on Saturday.

The OPEC oil producer has had two parallel governments and parliaments since August when a group called Libya Dawn seized Tripoli, forcing the recognized administration of Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni to the east.
 (go to article)

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New Study Doesn't Say 'Electric Cars Aren't Green' (Headlines To The Contrary)

Green Car Reports -- Brace yourself, electric-car fans and advocates. It may be a bumpy ride for the next few days.

Yesterday afternoon, the Associated Press covered a new study put out by the University of Minnesota that calculates the environmental impact of manufacturing and refueling vehicles with various powerplants.

DON'T MISS: EPA's Coal-Plant Emissions Rules: This Will Be The Big Fight

Jaguar Winter Sales Event

Naughty Car. Nice Price. Find A Local Jaguar Retailer! From JaguarUSA.com/Winter-Sale

The article carries the headline Study: Your All-Electric Car May Not Be So Green. The actual study can be found here.

The key word in that headline is "may."

Regrettably, headlines in other outlets have missed the verb that alludes to a possibility.  (go to article)

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U.S. Seeks BP Fine of Up to $18 Billion for Gulf Oil Spill Disaster

Bloomberg -- The government wants BP Plc (BP/) to pay $16 billion to $18 billion in water-pollution fines for the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history while seeking more than $1 billion from the co-owner of the blown-out well that caused the 2010 Gulf of Mexico disaster.

The federal government said BP deserves the maximum fine, which BP said would be the biggest Clean Water Act penalty ever and called it a “gross outlier” compared to other cases.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans ruled in September that London-based BP acted with gross negligence in drilling the well, a finding that quadruples the per-barrel penalty. As of Oct. 28, the company had set aside $3.51 billion for the penalties, saying that’s a reliable estimate of its liability if it wins an appeal of the judge’s ruling.  (go to article)

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'Condo find Ferrari' heading to auction

Fox News -- Left parked for 25 years and heading to auction.  (go to article)

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Nez Rouge sees busiest night of the season with nearly 7,200 rides given Friday

Montreal Gazette -- The volunteers at Nez Rouge were very busy Friday, giving nearly 7,200 rides to Quebecers in their biggest night of the season so far

If your cheeks are like roses (and you’re not Saint Nick), Nez Rouge offers to drive you and your car home. The service is free, but donations are encouraged

Nez Rouge has given more than 32,000 rides in its first two weeks so far this season. Spokesman David Latouche has warned that waiting times might be longer due to the high demand

The service is always looking for more volunteers. To sign up, complete their online form a few days in advance of your available dates. Nez Rouge continues until New Year’s Eve.

In Quebec, Nez Rouge can be reached at 1-866-DESJARDINS (1-866-337-5273)
 (go to article)

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Obama: Keystone pipeline benefits ‘nominal’ for U.S.

The Columbus Dispatch/ Reuters -- WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama said today that construction of the Keystone XL pipeline to transport crude oil from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast would only nominally benefit American consumers and workers in perhaps his strongest comments on the Canada-to-U.S. pipeline to date.

“There is very little impact — nominal impact — on U.S. gas prices, what the average American consumer cares about,” Obama said during an end-of-year news conference.

Obama picked apart some of the most common arguments of its proponents: that it would create jobs, lower domestic gasoline prices and bolster the U.S. economy.

“There has been this tendency to really hype this thing as some magic formula to what ails the U.S. economy,” Obama said.

 (go to article)

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Doubt oil will go much lower: Gartman

CNBC -- Oil's massive slide may soon be coming to an end, with the commodity staying near its current price or going a "tad" lower, investor Dennis Gartman told CNBC Friday.

"I doubt that we're going to see a great good deal lower on oil prices from here. The vast majority of the move is probably well behind us, thankfully," he said in an interview with "Closing Bell."
 (go to article)

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Falling Oil Prices

Yahoo News -- The holiday season is upon us, and for many Americans that means … road trip!  (go to article)

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Oil Surges From Five-Year Low as OPEC Comments Add Volatility

Bloomberg -- While Ali Al-Naimi, Saudi Arabia’s oil minister, said yesterday that a slump in prices was temporary, he also said it would be “difficult, if not impossible” for OPEC to curb its oil production amid a glut, the Saudi Press Agency reported. Prices rose immediately after his remarks, before ending the day at the lowest in five years. The nation accounted for about 13 percent of global oil output last year, BP Plc estimates.  (go to article)

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A Reluctant Farewell to an Unlikely Mechanical Friend

NY Times -- A journalist says goodbye to his 1986 Subaru GL wagon.  (go to article)

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Wind farm operator pleads guilty in bird deaths

The Spokesman Review -- CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Wind farm operator PacifiCorp Energy will pay $2.5 million in fines after pleading guilty Friday to charges related to the deaths of protected birds in Wyoming.

The subsidiary of Portland-based PacifiCorp pleaded guilty in federal court in Wyoming to two counts of violating the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act under a plea deal with prosecutors.

The U.S. Justice Department said the charges stemmed from the discovery of more than 370 dead birds at the company’s Seven Mile Hill and Glenrock/Rolling Hills wind projects in Carbon and Converse counties from 2009 until now. Authorities counted 38 dead golden eagles and 336 other dead protected birds, including hawks, blackbirds, larks, wrens and sparrows.

It’s the second prosecution of a wind energy company  (go to article)

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The year’s 10 ugliest new cars

Market Watch -- CarInsurance.com ranked the top 10 ugliest new cars of 2014. The online outfit enlisted 2,000 people to vote, and rank them from one to 10. Now, we think that’s a completely mean-spirited take on the year’s cars, especially without suggesting some better-looking options in the same class. Autoweek editors break the list down, one by one, with more attractive alternatives.  (go to article)

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Oil surges 5 percent as bears take profits, seeing $60 floor

Reuters/Pius Erlangga -- (Reuters) - Oil closed up as much as 5 percent on Friday, its biggest gain in over two years, as some traders took profits on short positions after prices this week hit their lowest since 2009.

A sharp bout of short-covering prior to expiry of the U.S. January crude oil contract alleviated pressure in a market dominated by sellers the past six months and lighter-than-usual pre-holiday volume exaggerated the rise on a day that otherwise lacked much in the way of headline news.

While some traders may be betting that $60 a barrel Brent represents a likely floor for the market, others remain unconvinced. With uncertainty high, demand for options has surged this week, with the CBOE crude oil volatility index soaring to its highest since 2011.  (go to article)

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NHTSA promotes 'SaferRide' mobile app to reduce drunk driving

GasBuddy Blog -- With the holidays approaching and festivities and office parties filling our calendars, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has kicked off its annual   “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” holiday crackdown on drunk driving with a new mobile app to help people who have been drinking get a safe ride home. “We will continue to be relentless in our effort to curb drunk driving because each life is precious,” said NHTSA's Anthony Foxx. “Too many lives are still being cut far too short because of drunk driving. We can stop these tragedies by making the decision not to allow ourselves or our loved ones to get behind the wheel after drinking.”NHTSA’s new SaferRide app will help keep drunk drivers off our roads by allowing users to call a taxi or a friend and by identifying their location so they can be picked up. The app is available now for Android devices on Google Play. ...  (go to article)

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Transparent Car Concept Lets Drivers See Through Doors (video)

Geeky Gadgets -- Invisibility cloaks and invisible cars may still be a little way off using current technology, but students Susumu Tachi and Masahiko Inami of the Graduate School of Media Design at Keio University, have created something just as awesome a transparent car.  (go to article)

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Wind farm operator fined $2.5 million related to bird deaths in Wyoming

CTV News -- Wind farm operator PacifiCorp Energy will pay $2.5 million in fines after pleading guilty Friday to charges related to the deaths of protected birds in Wyoming.
The subsidiary of Portland, Oregon-based PacifiCorp pleaded guilty in federal court in Wyoming to two counts of violating the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act under a plea deal with prosecutors.
The U.S. Justice Department said the charges stemmed from the discovery of more than 370 dead birds at the company's Seven Mile Hill and Glenrock/Rolling Hills wind projects in Carbon and Converse counties from 2009 until now. Authorities counted 38 dead golden eagles and 336 other dead protected birds, including hawks, blackbirds, larks, wrens and sparrows.

It's the second prosecution of a wind energy company for harming or killing...  (go to article)

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Tesla Launching Battery Swap Pilot Program

Car and Driver.com -- Tesla’s long-promised battery-swap technology, making charging up as quick as filling your gas tank, is finally here. The company announced today that the first swapping station will open next week for public testing—offering a three-minute swap to a fully charged battery for a few Tesla drivers.

Ahead of today’s official announcement, Tesla CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter to tease the development. Pack swap now operating in limited beta mode for SF to LA route. Can swap battery faster than visiting a gas station. Tesla blog out soon.

The first battery-swapping test facility is located in Harris Ranch, California, adjacent to a Supercharger station and about halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Beginning next week, invited Model S owners will get the chance to try the battery-sw  (go to article)

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How oil’s decline could spatter North Dakota

FuelFix.com-Houston Chronicle -- The abrupt decline in oil prices stands to be bad news in North Dakota, a state that has reaped billions in tax revenue as new drilling techniques made it the second-leading producer in the U.S. behind Texas. But a lot of factors will determine how great that impact is.

PRICE TRIGGERS

North Dakota’s petroleum industry could see a big tax cut if crude continues to slide, and if that happens, it means the state will be missing out on billions of dollars. One of the state’s two taxes on wells is a 6.5 percent extraction tax. A state law forgives that tax if the five-month average price of a barrel of oil slips below a “trigger” price. Legislators first endorsed the concept in the mid-1980s, during a time of depressed oil prices.

The current trigger is $52.58 a barrel based on prices for...  (go to article)

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Motiva Still Planning Hydrocracker Expansion at Texas Refiner

Reuters -- Motiva Enterprises is still seeking a permit to expand a hydrocracker and diesel hydrotreater unit at its Texas refinery, just with a different agency, the company said on Thursday.

Earlier this month, Motiva withdrew a permit application submitted to the EPA in August to expand the unit at its 600,250 barrels/day refinery in Port Arthur, the largest in the United States.

On Wednesday the company declined to say why the application was withdrawn or whether the project was still under consideration. On Thursday Royal Dutch Shell, which operates the refinery it jointly owns with Saudi Aramco, said the permit request remains pending with the Texas Department of Environmental Quality, which has assumed greenhouse gas permitting authority.

"The jurisdictional authority for this permitting w  (go to article)

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U.S. Motorists Set October Driving Record As Pump Prices Tumble

Reuters -- Motorists took to U.S. roads and highways in record numbers in October, fueling the fastest rise in miles driven since 2006, according to data released on Friday by the Federal Highway Administration.

Drivers logged 264.2 billion vehicle miles in October, the most ever for that month and a 2.6 percent increase over October 2013, according to the agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The data adds to signs the steep tumble in U.S. gasoline prices, coupled with a growing economy, is spurring a rapid pick-up in U.S. fuel demand.

At the current pace, 2014 will rank among the top three busiest years on U.S. roads and highways, following only 2004 and 2005. U.S. pump prices fell from around $3.80 a gallon this summer to around $3.20 in October, according to U.S. Energy Informat  (go to article)

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Plunging oil prices prompt analyst to cut railway profit forecasts

The Globe and Mail -- Expectations for lower crude-by-rail volumes amid plunging oil prices have prompted one analyst to cut the profit forecasts for the 6 major North American railways

Profit growth should remain strong in the rail sector, including CP and CN, with “slight reductions” to earnings targets for 2015 and 2016

“Given the sharp decline in oil prices, we have moderated our assumed growth in crude by rail across the rail sector,” said in a research

CP expects to haul 200,000 carloads of oil in 2015, from about 125,000 in 2014, and that the plunge in oil prices will not change that

Chamoun's revised forecast for CP Rail assumes 161,000 crude carloads in 2015, modest growth in 2016 and flat volume afterwards

CP’s Q3 report shows it gets about 7% of its revenue from moving oil, drill pipes and sand  (go to article)

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Gas prices dip below $2 a gallon in central Ohio

Columbus Dispatch -- Columbus has joined the $2-gasoline party.

Early this evening, about 10 stations were selling regular unleaded for $1.99, the first time this has happened, other than a few outliers, since 2009. One was even selling gas for $1.98 a gallon.

At one of those stations, M&S Carryout on the West Side, there was a line of cars. Co-owner Chad Rasul said he hired a security guard to help direct traffic.

He said he was considering increasing the price to help reduce the glut of traffic, but he doesn’t expect any large increase.

“Watching the markets, I don’t see a reason why it would go up anytime soon,” he said.

The drop to less than $2 is part of a dramatic plunge in prices since Thursday, said Gregg Laskoski, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com.  (go to article)

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Low oil prices threatening fracking industry

CBS News -- MISSISSIPPI -- Max Lawson says things started to change in Mississippi's Amite County three years ago, when the oil companies showed up. Before their arrival, Lawson described the county as "poor" and "rural."

Now he has a well on his land pumping oil that brings him $1,500 to $2,000 a month in royalties. He told me it was a good day for his family when the equipment started appearing on his property, but that he's concerned about the future.

The company that set up here, Encana, drilled a dozen wells this year, but has plans for only three or four next year. The reduction is impacting those who were counting on the income.
"It's got a lot of peoples' hopes lost, they don't know what to do now," Lawson said.  (go to article)

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Ohio shale gas means moderate winter prices, says Dominion East Ohio

cleveland.com -- CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Dominion East Ohio gas company expects a colder than normal winter but is predicting that gas prices will remain moderate because of increased shale gas production in the region.

"Once again, customers can set their thermostats with confidence this winter," Jeff Murphy, General Manager - Commercial Operations, said in a company statement.

He said prices for the rest of the winter could be lower than the price spikes of last February after two outbreaks of the polar vortex winds drove arctic air deep into the heart of the nation in January and pushed temperatures to the lowest they had been in 20 years.  (go to article)

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Washington State Spurned Money That Could Have Fixed This Deadly Bridge

Bloomberg -- As the story behind one of the greatest engineering non-achievements of the 21st century shows, the unbuilding of bridges just might be America’s last great collective undertaking.

Oregon and Washington had spent more than a decade devising a compromise to replace the steel-girded mess on Interstate 5. The structure dates to 1917 during Woodrow Wilson’s presidency and is too low for the tallest river-going derricks and dredges, so operators frequently have to raise part of the span, halting traffic. Rush hour starts every weekday at 2 p.m., and congestion multiplies odds of a crash as much as fourfold around the bridge, Oregon transportation planners say.  (go to article)

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Global Oil Impact: Who's Hurting, Happy, Hopeful

AP -- Oil's plunge is spreading both pain and gain across the globe.
The price of a barrel has fallen by about half since June, punishing the economies of some major exporters.

For countries that consume a large amount of the world's oil, it's a different story. The world's four biggest economies? U.S., China, Japan and that of the European Union? All benefit from lower oil prices.

"Economically this is a good thing for the U.S. Whether the price plunge ultimately helps or harms the global economy depends on how low oil prices fall, how long they stay low.

The U.S. stock market is trading near an all-time high, helped by some of the best employment and wage growth since the Great Recession.

THE HURTING: RUSSIA, VENEZUELA, NIGERIA
 (go to article)

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Alternatives to northern Minnesota crude oil pipeline also carry risks, study finds

Star Tribune -- A state study of six alternative routes for a proposed northern ­Minnesota crude oil pipeline has found serious environmental risks with all of them.

The lengthy report confirmed key weaknesses raised by critics of Enbridge Energy’s preferred route for the $2.6 billion Sandpiper pipeline. It would cross the most acres of wetlands and public lands on its 610-mile path from North Dakota to Wisconsin, the study found.

But Enbridge’s Z-shaped route through Minnesota’s northern lakes region fared better than alternatives in important ways. Compared with six alternates, it would have the fewest stream crossings, encroach on the least number of cities and put at risk the fewest drinking water “high consequence areas,” the study found.

The state Commerce Department’s environmental review unit d  (go to article)

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How the world's biggest car company wants to get rid of gasoline

Yahoo -- The first thing you notice about the Mirai, Toyota’s new $62,000, four-door family sedan, is that it’s no Camry, an international symbol of bland conformity. First there are the in-your-face, angular grilles on the car’s front end. These deliver air to (and cool) a polymer fuel-cell stack under the hood. Then there’s the wavy, layered sides, meant to evoke a droplet of water. It looks like it was driven off the set of the Blade Runner sequel.
Just as the Prius has established itself as the first true mass-market hybrid, Toyota hopes the Mirai will one day become the first mass-market hydrogen car. On sale in Japan on Dec. 15, it will be available in the U.S. and Europe in late 2015 and has a driving range of 300 miles, much farther than most plug-in electrics can go. It also runs on the mo  (go to article)

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Put blind spots in the rearview with this high-tech car

CNBC -- The engineers at Cadillac say they've found the key to further eliminating a driver's blind spot.

Starting with its newest model, the 2016 CT6, the automaker will incorporate streaming video into the vehicle's rearview mirror, which will be fed by a high-definition camera embedded in the center of the trunk.

The technology will give CT6 drivers an immediate view of what's behind them in all lanes, and improve their field of vision by 300 percent, according to Cadillac.
The closest comparison to this kind of rear vision would be driving a convertible with the top down, said Travis Hester, the vehicle's executive chief engineer
The technology eliminates any rear-seat, rear-pillar or passenger obstructions, allowing the driver an unimpeded view of the lanes behind and traditional blind spot  (go to article)

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Not just tolls: E-Z Pass keeping an eye on speeders

USA Today -- Warning to motorists: Don't speed in the toll lanes. E-Z Pass is watching.

Several states, including New York, Maryland and Pennsylvania, say they monitor speeds through the fast pass toll lanes and will suspend your E-Z Pass for multiple speeding violations.

In all, five of the 15 E-Z Pass states have some kind of rules on the books for breaking the speed limit in the convenience lanes.

"You can lose your E-Z Pass privileges if you speed through E-Z Pass lanes," says Dan Weiller, director of communications for the New York State Thruway Authority. "You get a couple of warnings. We don't have the power to give a ticket, but we do have to power to revoke your E-Z Pass, which we will."
 (go to article)

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Are Republicans Really Behind Tesla Sales Bans? Data Offers Clues

Green Car Reports -- It seems to be a common assumption among Tesla Motors supporters: State auto-dealer lobbyists work with Republican legislators to enact laws banning direct sales of Tesla's electric cars to retail buyers.

But is it true?

An article last month in The New York Times offers a few data points that may help assess the supposition.  (go to article)

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Early gift: Gas below $2 at some stations in 24 states

USA Today -- Just in time for a holiday road trip, gas prices in many places in middle of the country have dipped below $2 a gallon.  (go to article)

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Colonial Line 1 space rises on arbitrage for Gulf Coast CBOB

Platts -- Colonial Pipeline space strengthened Friday on a more attractive arbitrage to ship CBOB to the East Coast.

Space on Line 1, the gasoline pipeline linking Texas and North Carolina, was heard traded Friday afternoon at 18 cents/gal, up from 15 cents/gal on December 12. The trade reflects shipments of gasoline for Colonial's 71st cycle, for which products will be scheduled Monday.

Market players sometimes pay premiums for access to Line 1, which has been allocated every cycle for three years, including the 72nd, which was allocated on Friday.

Higher line space points to more desire to move blendstock from the Gulf Coast to take advantage of lower differentials there. Gulf Coast CBOB was assessed Friday at NYMEX January RBOB futures minus 26 cents/gal, a differential that has dropped six o  (go to article)

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Oil surplus offers storage profit hope

Financial Times -- Brent crude’s worst slump since the financial crisis amid a mounting oil surplus is set to boost demand for storage facilities and usher in a new era of profitable deals for the world’s biggest oil traders.

Relentless US production and Opec supplies above targets have coincided with a demand slowdown in Europe and Asia — boosting supplies and driving prices down by almost half since mid-June.

Demand growth in the coming months is expected to slow, and industry observers say the large crude overhang is likely to fill onshore storage facilities and offshore tankers across the globe.

The market is likely to “bump up against storage capacity”, said the International Energy Agency in its oil market report.

Assuming the Opec cartel maintains outp  (go to article)

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You can drink this car's exhaust

CNN Money -- The Toyota Mirai is a Hydrogen fuel cell powered car that emits 100% pure high quality H20.

VIDEO  (go to article)

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Canada slaps sanctions on Russian oil industry

Reuters -- OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada announced new sanctions against Russia on Friday, including additional restrictions on the export of technology used in the oil and gas industry, saying it was important to speak truth to power.

 (go to article)

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Holland woman who died in crash may have suffered medical emergency

MLive.com -- An 85-year-old Holland woman died Thursday, Dec. 18, after a crash on East 24th Street between Country Club and Waverly roads, police said.

Dolores Slikkers died at Holland Hospital after the 1:52 p.m. crash.

It is possible that Slikkers suffered a medical emergency before the crash occurred, police said.

Police said a 28-year-old Holland man, in a 2004 Honda, was driving west on 24th Street when he slowed to make a left turn into a private drive. Slikkers, driving a 2010 Nissan, was also headed west but was in the eastbound lane, within a passing zone.

As the 28-year-old man began to make a left turn, his Honda side-swiped the Nissan.  (go to article)

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Chrysler recalls 280,000 trucks in for axle failures

The Detroit News -- FCA US LLC said Friday it is recalling nearly 257,000 Dodge Ram pickups in the United States because a loose nut may cause the rear axle to seize.

The Auburn Hills unit of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV said it is recalling 256,956 2005 Dodge Ram 1500 pickups built from January 2004 through August 2005. Chrysler dealers will install a retention feature to the pinion nut. The recall will begin Feb. 13. The recall in total covers 280,000 vehicles worldwide.
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U.S. ends TARP with $15.3 billion profit

Money.CNN.com -- The U.S. government essentially closed the books on TARP with a $15.3 billion profit.
Treasury sold its remaining shares Friday in Ally Financial, its last remaining major stake from the $426 billion bailout of banks and the U.S. auto industry.

If GM and Chrysler had gone under, it would have cost an estimated $39 billion to $105 billion in lost tax revenues as well as assistance to the unemployed, according to a study from the Center for Auto Research. And the government also would have been on the hook for billions in promised pension payments to autoworkers.  (go to article)

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2 dead in explosion, fire at Oklahoma oil rig

Fuel Fix -- An explosion and fire early Friday morning killed two people and critically injured two others at an oil rig in southeastern Oklahoma.

Authorities said the explosion occurred at the rig about 2 miles west of Coalgate in a remote area of rural Coal County about 100 miles southeast of Oklahoma City.

Matt Skinner, a spokesman for the Oklahoma Corporation Commission that regulates the oil and gas industry, said no evacuations were required in the area and there were no reports that the explosion and fire caused environmental damage that would require subsequent cleanup.

Skinner said he didn’t know if the fire was still burning. Coal County Sheriff Bryan Jump, who is at the scene, was not immediately available for comment.

The state Medical Examiner’s Office identified the dead as Gary Keen  (go to article)

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Ohio Supreme Court sides with Toledo, home-rule cities

Toledo Blade --
COLUMBUS — In what could be a short-lived victory for traffic camera programs, the Ohio Supreme Court on Thursday narrowly upheld the way Toledo hears appeals of citations.

In a 4-3 decision, the high court found that an administrative hearing process does not unconstitutionally usurp the authority of Toledo Municipal Court. To get there, the court reaffirmed its 2008 ruling that cities have home-rule authority to impose civil fines through the camera programs.

That comes even as cities threaten to sue the state on home-rule grounds if Gov. John Kasich signs a bill passed by the General Assembly last week to impose restrictions on the programs that cities contend are tantamount to a practical ban.

The bill would require a police officer to be present to witness any violation caught by  (go to article)

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Putting KC’s Grand Boulevard on a slimming diet — and adding bikes Read more here: http://www.kansa

Kansas City Star -- “With these wide streets, you basically get a drag-racing effect,” said Eric Bunch, co-founder of the advocacy group BikeWalkKC. “You just drive fast from red light to red light.”  (go to article)

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Five signs America is falling in love with public transit

CNN -- Ridership aboard U.S. public transportation in 2014 is expected to top last year's figures. 2013 saw more riders on public transportation than any year since 1956, according to the American Public Transportation Association.

Denver's revamped Union Station transportation center helped increase the city's third-quarter light rail ridership by 6.3%, according to APTA. Bus riders increased by .75%.  (go to article)

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Chicago Tribune studies city's red light system more than city itself

GasBuddy Blog -- According to a significant investigative piece by the Chicago Tribune, Chicago's massive red light system fails to deliver on the touted benefits long claimed by Chicago's City Hall.The Tribune study included several well respected traffic engineers, being led by Dominique Lord, an associate professor at the Texas A&M University's Zachry Department of Civil Engineering.When I read the study myself it became obvious that the study was so extensive it appeared Chicago's City Hall had little to fight it with, resorting to flawed studies, anecdotal evidence, and other long standing myths....  (go to article)

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The World's Biggest Car Company Wants to Get Rid of Gasoline

Bloomberg News -- Just as the Prius has established itself as the first true mass-market hybrid, Toyota hopes the Mirai will one day become the first mass-market hydrogen car.  (go to article)

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Good Times From Texas to North Dakota May Turn Bad on Oil-Price Drop

Bloomberg -- Business at Chris Meyer’s Ace Hardware store in Cotulla is booming four years after oil companies began rolling into the dusty south Texas town, invigorating a once-stagnant economy.

“We were in a 17-year drought and now it’s raining,” Meyer said. “And we’re tickled to death that it’s raining.”

The forecast may be about to change.

While slumping crude and gasoline prices are projected to boost the nation’s economy by leaving more cash in consumers’ pockets, they also threaten to limit growth, tax revenue and job opportunities from Texas to North Dakota. By restraining new industry investment, the declines are set to subdue the most rapidly expanding U.S. regions.

“For oil producers, it means an adjustment in terms of expectations and a realignment in terms of capital-spending plans,” s  (go to article)

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