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Think America's Public Transit Sucks? There's One Group You Can Blame

Policy Mic -- You've probably heard about Charles G. and David H. Koch, the incredibly wealthy libertarians at the helm of Koch Industries. Their combined net worth recently soared beyond $100 billion. And using that wealth, they've built a massive network of political donors designed to push a libertarian agenda.

Part of that agenda is to push against government-funded initiatives. The Kochs are ideologically opposed to public transportation. Mass transit projects require government revenue. Thus, mass transit has become the enemy for many conservatives.
 (go to article)

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Current Negotiations Could End 'Chicken Tax'

PickupTrucks.com -- President Obama recently visited four Asian countries to discuss, among other issues, the status of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. While most of the TPP issues were not a big deal to the pickup truck market, the continuing debate over the "chicken tax" is a huge deal. To briefly recap, the chicken tax is one of the most significant international tariffs the U.S. has imposed in the last 50 years. If it goes away, it could fundamentally change the truck market in North America by opening a floodgate for new compact and midsize truck offerings.

The Chicken Tax History
During the Cold War, the U.S. chicken industry aggressively grew and what was once considered a luxury became a staple of the American diet. American chicken farmers started exporting their product around the  (go to article)

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Top 10 Facts About Diesel Exhaust Fluid

Pickuptrucks.com -- For many years, owners of three-quarter and one-ton pickup trucks enjoyed the fact that there was no smog equipment on their trucks. But in 2008 the EPA required diesel particulate filters on all three-quarter-ton and larger trucks, and required biannual smog tests that included a thorough visual inspection to make sure all the parts were still on the truck. In 2010 the regulations got tighter.

Smog equipment on heavy-duty pickups was thought by many to signal the end of big power and torque; those people swore they'd never buy a new truck again. However, a lot of those same folks have learned you should never say never. You see, a funny thing happened on the way to meeting smog regulations: Every one of the manufacturers figured out how to cut down the bad nitrogen oxide levels while  (go to article)

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10 warnings: Big Oil stocks crash 50% by 2020

MarketWatch -- SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (MarketWatch) — Yes, we see 10 early warnings that Big Oil stocks are going to trigger an economic collapse by 2020, maybe 50% as gas prices go through your SUV’s sunroof.

A contrarian view? Yes, pump prices already shot up 11% this year. Plus Big Oil cherishes its new role as exporter: Bloomberg’s even predicting the U.S. will “surpass Russia and Saudi Arabia as the world’s top oil producer by 2015, and be close to energy self-sufficiency in the next two decades, amid booming output.”

So why worry? Why contrarian? Because a decade ago the Bush Pentagon predicted that by 2020 “an ancient pattern of desperate, all-out wars over food, water, and energy supplies would emerge” as global “warfare is defining human life.” But, that’s light years away in today’s twitte  (go to article)

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WTI Rises for First Time in Three Days; Brent Gap Widens

Bloomberg News -- West Texas Intermediate advanced for the first time in three days in New York. Brent also rose, extending the premium to WTI.

WTI for June delivery rose 73 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $102.17 a barrel at 9:11 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Yesterday’s close of $101.44 was the lowest since April 7. The volume of all futures traded was 11 percent below the 100-day average. Prices have gained 3.8 percent this year.

Brent for June settlement was 82 cents higher at $109.93 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark crude was at a premium of $7.76 to WTI, up from yesterday’s $7.67.  (go to article)

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A car dealer's data-driven guide to the 10 most reliable brands

Yahoo! Autos -- Every car brand likes to market themselves as the best. From "The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection" that launched Lexus to the top of most quality surveys, to "The Ultimate Driving Machine" solidifying the performance pedigree of BMW, automakers like to tell us that they alone are going to offer the absolute best long-term ownership experience.

But are they telling the truth?

One man's experience can only go so far. That's why over the past year and a half, I have co-developed a long-term reliability study that now has nearly 350,000 sample trade-ins from all over the country.  (go to article)

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27th auto supplier agrees to plead guilty in price fixing probe

Detroit News -- The Justice Department said a 27th auto supplier has agreed to plead guilty in the government's massive investigation into price fixing and bid rigging in the auto sector.

Showa Corp., a producer of pinion-assist electric powered steering assemblies based in Saitama, Japan, has agreed to plead guilty and to pay a $19.9 million criminal fine for its role in a conspiracy to fix prices and rig bids, the Justice Department said.

Including Showa, 27 companies and 24 executives have pleaded guilty or agreed to do so in the government’s ongoing investigation into price fixing and bid rigging in the auto parts industry and have agreed to pay a total of $2.3 billion in criminal fines. Another eight people have been charged and are awaiting trial.

 (go to article)

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Buying a car? You may want to avoid the newest models

The Exchange -- Buying a car? You may want to avoid the newest models.

If you want to stump a car buff, ask what the Acura RLX, Dodge Dart, Ford Fusion, Ford Escape and Mercedes-Benz SL roadster have in common. When there’s no answer, explain that all have .....  (go to article)

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IRS Among U.S Agencies That Hired License Plate-Tracking Vendor

Bloomburg -- The Internal Revenue Service and other U.S. agencies awarded about $415,000 in contracts to a license plate-tracking company before Homeland Security leaders dropped a plan for similar work amid privacy complaints.

Federal offices such as the Forest Service and the U.S. Air Force’s Air Combat Command chose Livermore, California-based Vigilant Solutions to provide access to license plate databases or tools used to collect plate information, according to government procurement records compiled by Bloomberg.

 (go to article)

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NTSB heads warns of 'higher body count' without rail tank car changes

ABC 7 - Chicago -- Six months after an I-Team investigation exposed risk on the rails in Chicago and the suburbs, the head of the National Transportation Safety Board is calling for drastic action.

The risk is from crude oil tankers that can blow up in a derailment. And there have been many of them...prompting the nation's top transportation safety official to warn of a "higher body count" and greater accident risk if U.S. regulators delay protecting the public.

Those comments came at the end of a two day summit in Washington on rail transport of crude oil and ethanol.

This is the risk of delaying new federal standards for tank cars that haul oil and ethanol. Explosions, fires, death and destruction-just as the Canadians suffered last July. At that time 47 people were killed in Quebec ...  (go to article)

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Owners attack GM’s bid to hide from recall litigations

IN AUTO NEWS -- General Motors requested in a New York bankruptcy court protection from litigations on the ignition switch recall because of its 2009 emergence as a new entity.

Now, car owners who sought legal compensation from the automaker on the cars involved in the defective ignition switch recall challenged the company’s filling, calling it legally “unsupportable.”
GM is seeking bankruptcy law protection from car owners, skipping issues that involved victims, but the car owners decided to challenge this position, saying in a court filing that since GM decided to fraudulently hide its knowledge of the defect – allegedly known since 2001- it shouldn’t be entitled to the law’s protection.
Back in 2009, during the bankruptcy reorganization US Bankruptcy Judge Robert Gerber dismissed many of GM’s .......  (go to article)

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Drunk drivers in FL may face daily breath tests

GasBuddy Blog -- Florida judges may soon have another way to force drunken drivers to get clean and sober by making them have their breath tested twice a day instead of blowing into machines that keep their cars from starting.

The proposal, approved by a FL House committee last week, would allow judges to place repeat DUI offenders into a new program, known elsewhere as "24/7 Sobriety," instead of having ignition interlock devices installed on their vehicles.

State law currently requires interlock devices for drivers with more than one DUI. Judges would have the discretion to order the devices as well as the 24/7 program.

The program outlined in HB 7005, approved unanimously by the House Economic Affairs Committee, would require...  (go to article)

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Fetal Tissue used to Power Oregon Homes

AP -- An Oregon commission has ordered a waste-to-power facility to stop accepting boxed medical waste after learning it might be using the remains of aborted fetuses from British Columbia to generate electricity.

Sam Brentano, chairman of the Marion County board of commissioners, said late Wednesday the board is taking immediate action to prohibit human tissue from future deliveries.

The British Columbia Health Ministry tells The Associated Press that regional health authorities there have a contract with a company that sends biomedical waste, including fetal tissue, to Oregon, where it's incinerated in the waste-to-energy plant

Vancouver-based B.C. Catholic newspaper identified the plant as Covanta Marion, based in Marion County.

 (go to article)

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Anti-fraud stickers showing up on Central Florida gas pumps

Orlando FL Local 6 -- The anti-fraud stickers are red with black lettering and read: “Security seal. 7-11 Cares about your ID. Please Report Immediately if 'VOID OPEN' appears.”

If the tape is cut, torn, removed, or tampered with in any way, it begins to change color and eventually reveals the words “VOID OPEN.”

At 7-Eleven gas station pumps across Central Florida, the lock box that contains the credit card reader is sealed with the sticker to alert customers if it has been opened illegally.

Con artists often break into the boxes to install a skimmer -- an electronic device that stores credit card numbers when credit cards are inserted into the card reader.

A 7-Eleven spokesperson told Local 6 that every store is instructed to keep the stickers on hand and check the integrity of the sticker daily.

“Store p  (go to article)

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EPA Admits Negative Effects of E15 Fuel, Helps AMA Fight Back

AutoEvolution -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finally admitted officially that the ethanol in the E15 fuels have serious negative impacts on the engines running it, apparently with these effects being even more severe in smaller engines. That is, motorcycle and ATV engines.

This provides the AMA (American Motorcyclist Association) and pretty much all the opponents of E15 fuel with new weapons in banning the use of this fuel type. The E15 is a type of fuel which contains ethanol in proportions of up to 15% by volume. Ethanol is present in multiple fuel blends currently in use, but in less than 10% mixtures.

Touted as being the next big step in the world of renewable, cleaner fuels, ethanol received a strong opposition from multiple motorists who claimed the higher percentage  (go to article)

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Texting and Driving Brings Huge Fines and Jail in Ireland

AutoEvolution -- Even though such news seems to be more important to drivers, it should also make riders in Ireland feel a bit safer. Drivers caught texting will receive an initial fine of no less than €1,000 ($1,380).

And in case this doesn’t seem enough, the fines will double if you get caught texting while driving for a second time. Finally, if a driver is caught texting while driving for a third time during 12 months, he or she could even spend three months in jail. Now, in case you believe that such regulations are too extreme, maybe we should let you know about the studies the Irish have carried out: they have revealed that between 20% and 30% of the total number of accidents are caused by distracted drivers.

No specific data on the specific types of distractions has surfaced, but it should be fa  (go to article)

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The Insiders: The president’s cynical Keystone XL strategy

The Washington Post -- On Friday, the State Department quietly released a notification that the Keystone XL pipeline decision is being delayed yet again. The president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, Terry O’Sullivan, called the delay “another gutless move” by the administration. We could also dismiss the announcement as just more of the usual dithering from this White House. I don’t think the delay is gutless or dithering, but a more sinister, cynical ploy by this administration to manipulate two groups into continuing to support vulnerable Democrats in an attempt to keep the Senate in 2014.

By appearing to have not made a decision, President Obama keeps the money pouring in from those on the fringe left — like billionaire Democrat Tom Steyer – who want the Democrats to swear allegian  (go to article)

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Den Tandt: Barack Obama gives Canada the brush-off, yet again

Montreal Gazette.com --
Barack Obama is Canada’s American president. Right? Of course right. In the lead-up to his 2012 battle with the airbrushed Republican Mitt Romney, with his binders full of women, polls showed Canadians overwhelmingly preferred Obama. Even in Alberta, according to a Harris/Decima survey taken in July 2012, Canadians would have opted for the urbane, likable Chicago Democrat over his bean-counter rival by a margin of more than 30 per cent, given a vote.

But our love is unrequited. It always has been. And the indefinite shelving of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline linking Alberta’s oilsands with the Texas Gulf Coast, once considered a sure thing and now on life support thanks to Obama, is the incontrovertible evidence. This U.S. president cares about his own narrow political interests and m  (go to article)

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GM may post first quarterly loss since 2009

USA TODAY -- General Motors could report Thursday its first unprofitable quarter in four years, largely due to the estimated $1.3 billion cost of its ignition switch recall, but it remains profitable in North America aside from one-time accounting provisions.

So far U.S. car buyers aren't fleeing GM dealerships despite the ignition switch defect affecting 2.6 million recalled small cars, mostly from the 2003 through 2007 model years. The defect has been linked to at least 31 crashes and 13 deaths.

But GM sells more vehicles in China, now the world's largest auto market, than in the U.S. Despite the recall the automaker's U.S. sales rose 4% in March from a year ago.

Setting aside one-time accounting charges GM expects "solid core operating performance" for the first three months of 2014. But the.....  (go to article)

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Keystone Fought by Nebraska Landowners Vowing to Block

Bloomberg -- Bob Allpress describes himself as a “redneck Republican.” Standing on the pasture behind his Nebraska home, the burly former Marine Corps sergeant with a Fu Manchu mustache explains what made him an environmental activist.

The Keystone XL pipeline, which TransCanada Corp. (TRP) wants to build to bring Alberta’s oil sands to refineries on the U.S. coast of the Gulf of Mexico, would cut across the 900 acres near Naper, Nebraska, that Allpress’s grandfather acquired by homestead in 1886. He is vowing to fight that prospect.  (go to article)

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Shunning Gas Hogs, Athletes Green Their Rides

New York Times -- While the best-paid among them can afford almost any car, some are shunning gas guzzlers and driving hybrids and electric vehicles with minimal or no tailpipe emissions.

Their reasons for choosing Teslas, Priuses and other zero- or low-emission vehicles are similar to those given in the population at large. A few are passionate about reducing their reliance on fossil fuels, while others are enamored of the performance of these cars. Not unlike movie stars a decade ago who wanted to be seen driving hybrids, some athletes want to drive the hot car of the moment.

 (go to article)

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Small Wyoming town evacuated after gas explosion

MSN News -- OPAL, Wyo. (AP) — A small town in southwest Wyoming has been evacuated after an explosion and fire at a natural gas pipeline hub.Lincoln County spokesman Stephen Malik says there are no reports of injuries and the residents of Opal have been evacuated to an area about 3 miles outside the town as a precaution. Opal has about 95 residents and is about 100 miles northeast of Salt Lake City.

Malik says no structures in the town have been affected, and the fire is confined to the area operated by an energy company.

Authorities received the first reports of the explosion and fire around 2 p.m. Wednesday at the facility operated by Williams Partners LP.

A company spokesman says all employees have been accounted for
 (go to article)

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Texas jury awards $3M to family for illnesses related to fracking

Aljazeera America -- A Texas jury has awarded nearly $3 million to a family for illnesses they suffered from exposure to contaminated groundwater, solid toxic waste and airborne chemicals generated by natural gas fracking operations surrounding their 40-acre ranch, attorneys on the case said.

The verdict delivered Tuesday is seen as a landmark decision for opponents of fracking, or hydraulic fracturing — a process in which high-pressure fluid is injected into the ground to fracture shale rock and release natural gas.  (go to article)

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Local leaders push for climate action as Congress 'drops the ball'

E&E Publishing -- Climate action in Seattle aims to make the city carbon-neutral in less than 40 years. In Bridgeport, Conn., a former landfill is sheathed in solar panels to produce clean power. And a Republican mayor in Carmel, Ind., is seeing emissions ebb by turning sewage into fertilizer.

That's happening despite a gun-shy Congress that's avoided taking federal action on rising temperatures, leaving local officials to lead the way on thorny political efforts to cut carbon from cars, buildings and electricity sources, according to municipal leaders.

"As we all know there are some for political or other purposes that try to make this a divisive issue," [says Mayor Brainard]"In our cities, however, and among mayors it is unifying because saving our taxpayers money when we become more energy efficient."  (go to article)

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US oil stockpiles hit record amid production boom

AFP -- New York (AFP) - US commercial oil stockpiles hit a new record last week on the strength of continued growth in oil and gas production in the world's biggest oil-consuming country.

Commercial stocks rose 3.5 million barrels to 397.7 million barrels for the week ended April 18, according to US Energy Information Administration data released Wednesday.  (go to article)

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Gas price jump 'doesn't make sense'

CBC News -- Drivers looking for a good reason for major gasoline price jumps across Canada overnight will be left lacking, as the usual seasonal influences don't add up to those types of increases.

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Soy Transportation Proposes Sustainable Road Revenue

WHO-TV -- Land transportation is funded by taxpayers through fuel taxes, however these taxes are not indexed to inflation. So while material and labor costs go up, Iowa keeps the same 21 cents per gallon tax on fuel.

The Soy Transportation Coalition wants to change that policy, they propose an initial one-cent reduction on the tax before indexing it to inflation.

 (go to article)

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Keystone Uncensored

The Wall Street Journal -- A labor leader calls the Administration 'gutless,' 'dirty' and more.
Republicans are denouncing President Obama's latest delay on the Keystone XL pipeline, six long years after it was proposed.  (go to article)

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U.S. crude supplies send oil prices lower

Marketwatch -- A U.S. government report showed that weekly crude inventories climbed to their highest level on record, pulling oil futures down by the close to their lowest settlement in more than two weeks.

Tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine continued to feed worries about oil supplies from Russia, analysts said, limiting price losses for oil, however.

Crude oil for June delivery fell 31 cents, or 0.3%, to settle at $101.44 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That was the lowest settlement since April 7, based on the most-active contracts. Oil futures were trading at $101.90 shortly before the supply report and prices managed to trade briefly above $102 after it.
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ELECTRIC FLOATING CAR

Yahoo! News -- A Japanese firm created a floating electric car to withstand flooding and tsunamis. (video 1:20 in length)  (go to article)

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Could Ohio geologists put the brakes on energy boom?

GasBuddy Blog -- The domestic energy boom in the U.S. could slow down considerably if officials listen to some geologists from Ohio.

Ohio’s Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) said the state is now imposing new, stronger permit conditions for drilling near faults or areas of past seismic activity. The new policies are in response to the finding of geologists researching recent seismic events in northeastern Ohio that show a probable connection to hydraulic fracturing near a previously unknown ‘microfault’.

New permits issued by ODNR for horizontal drilling within 3 miles of a known area of seismic activity greater than a 2.0 magnitude will now require companies to install seismic monitors. If those monitors detect a seismic event...  (go to article)

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EPA uses unrealistic Ethanol production targets to set standards

Detroit News -- The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday set the 2013 requirements for cellulosic ethanol for use by the nation’s cars and trucks at 810,000 gallons — the amount the industry produced and a fraction of the 1 billion gallons that Congress sought to require in a 2007 energy law.

The alternative fuel could eventually lower the costs of driving for Americans and help wean the country off imported oil, but critics contend that in the short term it adds to the cost of refiners complying with advanced fuel rules.

Under President Butsh, Congress passed a sweeping requirement that the nation’s cars and trucks use a growing amount of cellulosic ethanol made from algae, wood chips and other biomaterials.

 (go to article)

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GM: Ignition-switch recall parts shipped to dealers

DETROIT FREE PRESS -- General Motors has shipped thousands of replacement parts to fix vehicles affected by its ignition switch recall, the automaker said today.

GM said owners of the first batch of 1.4 million small cars from the 2003 through 2007 model year have received letters notifying them that they can schedule appointments at dealers.

The company did not immediately specify how many parts are available. It has previously said that it will take until late fall for all parts to be available.

GM said the replacement parts include a new ignition switch, a new ignition lock cylinder and new keys for owners of vehicles such as the Chevrolet Cobalt and the Saturn Ion. All vehicles affected by the issue are no longer made..........  (go to article)

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Canada to phase out old rail tank cars in 3 years

ap -- Canada will require a three-year phase out or retrofit of the type of rail tankers involved in last summer's massive explosion of an oil train that destroyed much of a Quebec town and incinerated 47 people, a government official told The Associated Press Wednesday.

Last July, a runaway oil train derailed and exploded in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, near the Maine border. Forty-seven people were incinerated and 30 buildings destroyed.
 (go to article)

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Enterprise to build ethane export facility near Texas coast

fuel fix -- Enterprise Products Partners is planning to build an ethane export facility along the Gulf Coast in Texas, capable of loading 240,000 barrels per day of liquefied gas onto tankers headed for international buyers.

The new export complex could help relieve a massive glut in U.S. ethane supplies, which Enterprise estimates could shoot past demand by 700,000 barrels per day by 2020. Ethane, a ubiquitous byproduct of the surge in North American energy production, is used as a feedstock for chemical plants like Dow Chemical’s planned ethylene complex in Freeport, Texas
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Possible Portland-Montreal pipeline reversal concerns N.H. lawmakers

The Hill -- New Hampshire’s congressional delegation is urging the State Department to thoroughly review any proposal by the operator of the Portland-Montreal Pipe Line to use it carry oil from Canada’s oil sands to the United States.

The pipeline is currently permitted to carry oil from Portland, Maine, on the Atlantic coast, to Montreal, via New Hampshire, the New Hampshire Union Leader reported.

But its operator, the Portland Pipe Line Corp., has studied in recent years whether it could be used, along with other pipelines in Canada, to bring oil from Alberta’s oil sands to Portland. Canadian officials have already approved carrying oil sands products in the Canadian portion of the pipeline, the Union Leader said.

In their letter last week, New Hampshire’s delegation said PPLC’s operating permit  (go to article)

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Gas prices leap in Montreal, Laval

Presse Canadienne -- Gas prices in Montreal and Laval reached a high of $1.53 a litre Wednesday morning

That amount is $0.13 higher than the minimum price set by Quebec’s energy regulatory board

Fuel prices in Quebec’s other regions were much lower Wednesday morning. Gas was $1.35/L in the Laurentians, $1.36 in the Montérégie, less than $1.38 in the Eastern Townships and $1.41 in the Quebec City region

Crude oil was trading at $101.56 a barrel on the New York Stock Exhange Wed morning

In 2008, when gas prices peaked at $1.50, the price of a barrel of crude was higher than it currently is
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‘Saudi America’: Mirage?

New York Times -- At a time when Russia is saber-rattling and the Middle East is in turmoil, a welcome geopolitical trifecta could be in the making. The United States is poised to surpass Saudi Arabia and Russia as the world’s top oil producer. Canada’s oil sands have vaulted the country to energy superpower status. Mexico is embarking on a historic constitutional energy overhaul that its president promises will propel the country’s economy.

And there is no shortage of cheerleaders. “The North American production outlook is incredibly bright,” said Jason Bordoff, a former senior energy adviser in President Obama’s White House. “Everything we see on the ground suggests reasons to be optimistic.”

Continue reading the main story
RELATED COVERAGE

BIG RIG A Petróleos Mexicanos complex in the Gulf of M  (go to article)

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Refineries coming out of maintenance: EIA

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

Here are some highlights:

CRUDE INVENTORIES:
Crude oil inventories increased by 3.5 million barrels to a total of 397.7 million barrels. At 397.7 million barrels, inventories are 9.1 million barrels above last year (2.3%) and are well above the average range for this time of year.

GASOLINE INVENTORIES:
Gasoline inventories decreased by 0.3 million barrels to 210.0 million barrels. At 210.0 million barrels, inventories are down 7.8 million barrels, or 3.6% lower than one year ago. Here's how individual regions and their gasoline inventory fared last week: East Coast (-0...  (go to article)

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Gasoline Volume Sales, Demographics And Our Changing Culture

Investing.com -- The Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration (EIA) data on volume sales is over two months old when it released. The latest numbers, through mid-January, were published yesterday. However, despite the lag, this report offers an interesting perspective on fascinating aspects of the US economy. Gasoline prices and increases in fuel efficiency are important factors, but there are also some significant demographic and cultural dynamics in this data series.

Because the sales data are highly volatile with some obvious seasonality, I've added a 12-month moving average (MA) to give a clearer indication of the long-term trends. The latest 12-month MA is 8.4% below the all-time high set in August 2005, a new interim low.

The next chart includes an overlay of real monthly retail gas  (go to article)

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Toyota sells 2.58 million vehicles globally in Q1, outpacing GM, VW

The Associated Press | The Canadian Press -- TOKYO - Toyota kept its position at the top in global vehicle sales for the first quarter of this year, outpacing rivals General Motors and Volkswagen.

 (go to article)

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GM said it has shipped thousands of replacement ignition switches

Reuters -- DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Co on Wednesday said it has shipped "thousands" of kits needed to repair the defective ignition switches linked to at least 13 deaths.  (go to article)

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Good Question: What Makes A Good Driver?

CBS 4 - Minnesota -- According to a 2011 survey from Allstate Insurance, 64 percent of people think they are “excellent” or “very good” drivers.

But when asked to rate their friends, that percentage falls to 29 percent. It’s even lower, 22 percent, when it comes to rating peer groups.

Ann Flood, co-owner of A+ Driving School, says her company teaches more than 2,000 people, mostly teenagers, how to drive every year.

“I don’t necessarily disagree with that attitude because I think that a huge aspect of driving is being defensive and assuming the other person isn’t going to do the right thing,” Flood said.

She says being a good driver isn’t just following the laws, but is about the decisions you make before you get in the car.  (go to article)

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Gas Prices Rising, But Refineries Could Take a Hit

Wall Street Journal -- Rising U.S. gasoline prices may not translate into higher profits for refineries.

Since the shale-oil boom took off in North Dakota, Texas and other states, it’s been a good time to own a refinery. That was particularly true in the Midwest and Gulf Coast, as cheap domestically produced crude pooled in storage tanks.

But the good times may come to an end – at least temporarily – this summer, Howard Weil analysts say.

Crude oil must be refined into gasoline, diesel fuel or other products before it can be sold and used in vehicles or machines. Due to a longstanding U.S. ban on crude-oil exports, the vast majority of oil produced in the U.S. has to be refined there too.

Until recently, some producers couldn’t secure pipeline capacity to deliver their oil to the highest bidder. They  (go to article)

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Ford Mustang reveals car's new, smoke-spewing feature: A brake-lock system that allows drivers to do

Daily Mail -- Line Lock allows drivers to keep their front tires locked while the rear tires spin
Drag racers often modify their vehicles to have a similar feature
It allows racers to warm up their tires to achieve perfect traction before letting loose in a drag race
Ford has unveiled the secret feature on its new Mustang and it's perfect for the race track - or the set of a Fast and Furious movie.

The 2015 Mustang comes equipped with what the manufacturer calls 'Line Lock,' which is essentially an electronic brake-control system that allows the car to lock the brakes on the front tires while releasing the breaks on the back tires.

In English: Line Lock allows drivers to do smoke-spewing burnouts with ease.  (go to article)

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Lisa Raitt to enhance rail safety measures in wake of Lac-Mégantic

CBC News -- The federal government will require a 3-year phase-out or retrofit of older tank cars that are used to transport crude oil by rail that were prone to punctures and gas buildup

That's one of the changes that will be announced Wed by Transport Minister in response to recommendations by the TSB in the aftermath of the tragedy in Lac-Mégantic, QC, in which 47 people were killed

Mandatory emergency response plans will be required for all crude-oil shipments

In Jan, the TSB made 3 recommendations
¦Enhanced safety standards for Class 111 tank cars used to transport flammable liquids
¦Railway companies that transport dangerous goods be required to conduct route planning and analysis
¦Emergency response assistance plans be in place when large volumes of liquid hydrocarbons are shipped by rail  (go to article)

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Gasoline greener than biofuels?

Fox News Politiics -- Biofuels produced from waste products left from harvested corn plants are worse than gasoline in terms of carbon emissions, according to a $500,000 study paid for by the federal government and published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

The study said biofuels made with corn residue release seven percent more greenhouse gases than traditional gasoline.  (go to article)

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Hard to believe after this winter, but report says Michigan is in top five fastest warming states

MLive.com -- It may be real hard to believe after the winter Michigan just had, but new research shows that Michigan is one of the fastest warming states in the U.S.

Climate Central, which bills itself as an independent organization of scientists researching facts about our changing climate, has issued a new report. Climate Central looked at the average annual temperature for various locations in the U.S. since the start of Earth Day back in 1970...

Michigan is ... the fourth fastest warming state in the U.S. The Great Lakes, the Northeast, and New Mexico have warmed the most. The Southeast and Pacific Northwest have warmed the least.  (go to article)

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Why Gasoline Prices are Surging Again

Oil & Energy Investor -- More Oil Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Lower Prices
Now it is quite true that the main element in the cost of refined products remains the price of crude oil. However, the reason America became so dependent upon foreign imports in the first place is that they were cheaper.
It was simply less expensive to produce abroad and transport than it was to extract from the declining conventional oil base inside the U.S.
By 2025, the U.S. is now projected to have cut its daily import needs by more than half from the highpoint only a few years ago. Only about 30% of that requirement will need to be imported. Additionally, just about all of the volume sourced will be coming in from Canada.
So that should allow us to parlay the new found subsurface wealth into lower overall refiner product prices, right?

 (go to article)

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Economic Struggles are Biggest Hurdle to Millennials 'Going Green'

AccuWeather.Com --
By Michael Kuhne, AccuWeather.Com Staff Writer
April 23, 2014; 5:02 AM

An estimated 80 million Americans, ranging in age between their late teens and mid-30s, will change the way Americans live within the next decade, according to a report written by John McIlwain of the Urban Land Institute.

With a growing demand among young adults to live in more connected, urban communities, it remains unclear if they will make the push toward a more environmentally sustainable future.

"The age of suburbanization and growing homeownership is over," McIlwain said in his 2010 report. "The demographics of the next decade indicate that the market for urban living will continue to grow."

Of those individuals comprising Generation Y, or Gen-Y, 76 percent place a high value on walkability in communities,  (go to article)

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Toyota sells 2.58 million vehicles, outselling General Motors

ECONOMICTIMES -- TOKYO: Toyota kept its position at the top in global vehicle sales for the first quarter of this year, outpacing rivals General Motors and Volkswagen.

Toyota Motor Corp. said Wednesday that it sold 2.583 million vehicles in the January-March period, ahead of Detroit-based GM at 2.42 million and Volkswagen of Germany at 2.4 million.

The Japanese automaker's first quarter sales rose by more than 6% from the same period the previous year. GM's sales grew 2%, while Volkswagen's ....................  (go to article)

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