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NASA found a way to visualize the most important process behind global warming

Vox -- This NASA simulation is the first to show in such precise detail precisely how carbon-dioxide moves around the atmosphere. Among other things, it reveals a significant difference in concentrations over the Northern and Southern Hemisphere. It also shows how plant growth in the spring absorbs some of the carbon-dioxide in the air (and then releases it again in the winter).  (go to article)

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Algeria calls for OPEC to cut production

Fuel Fix -- ALGIERS, Algeria — Algeria’s oil minister on Sunday called on OPEC to cut production and raise the price of oil, which has plunged dramatically in the last six months.

The call by Youcef Yousfi to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, of which Algeria is a member, comes as the country is struggling to deal with a halving of oil prices from $120 barrel to $60 a barrel.

“For us, OPEC has to intervene to correct the imbalance and cut production to bring up prices and defend the income of its member states,” Yousfi said in remarks carried by the state news agency.

While Algeria has some $200 billion foreign reserves, enough to cover imports for the next several years, it is heavily dependent on its oil revenue which provides 97 percent of its hard currency income and 60 percent  (go to article)

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Race to Build on River Could Block Pacific Oil Route

NY Times -- VANCOUVER, Wash. — Environmental passions, which run hot in the Northwest over everything from salmon to recycling, generally get couched in the negative: Don’t fish too much, don’t put those chemicals up the smokestack, don’t build in that sensitive area.

But here in southern Washington, some environmental groups are quietly pushing a builder to move even faster with a $1.3 billion real estate project along the Columbia River that includes office buildings, shops and towers with 3,300 apartments.

The reason is oil.

Two miles west of the 32-acre project, called the Waterfront, one of the biggest proposed oil terminals in the country is going through an environmental review, with plans to transfer North Dakota crude from rail cars to barges. Up to four trains, carrying 360,000 barrels of  (go to article)

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Algeria energy minister says OPEC should cut oil output - APS

Reuters -- Algeria said on Sunday that OPEC should cut production to push oil prices up, adding that it did not share the views of big producers inside the cartel who prefer to let the market regulate prices, energy minister Youcef Yousfi was quoted as saying by the official APS news agency.

"We believe that OPEC should defend the interests of its members by cutting output so prices will go up," Yousfi was quoted as saying.
 (go to article)

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Virginia drivers set to see gas prices go up

WTOP.com -- RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia drivers can expect to see a 5 cents-per-gallon increase in the cost of gas starting Jan. 1.

The increase on wholesale gas, which will likely be passed on to consumers at the pump, will help pay for a $6 billion transportation funding package passed under former Gov. Bob McDonnell last year.

The transportation package originally relied on passage of a federal bill that would allow Virginia to collect sales taxes from out-of-state online merchants.

But U.S. House Rep. Bob Goodlatte, who represents the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia’s 6th Congressional District, opposes the sales tax legislation and has bottled up the bill in his House committee. Goodlatte said it was foolish of state lawmakers to count on revenues from a federal bill before it became law.
 (go to article)

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Slow drivers on Florida interstates are not ticketed in large numbers despite 'Road Rage' law

WPTV - NBC 5 - West Palm Beach -- Full speed ahead in the fast lane, that is until you get behind that slow poke.

The "Road Rage" law passed nearly 15 months ago in Florida was supposed to curb this problem on highways and roads with four or more lanes.

Originally, a driver going 10 mph under the speed limit could get a ticket. This year the Florida Highway Patrol says the law was tweaked. Now, there's no speed limit indicating what is defined as too slow.

Take a look at what we found.

Before the law was enacted in 2012, on I-95 in Palm Beach County, state troopers wrote only three tickets to slow drivers. They wrote eight the following year once the law was passed.

Statewide, before the law, there were 53 slow driving tickets on highways according to FHP's website. After the law there were 38.

 (go to article)

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Controversy over Somerset municipal gas station headed to state legislature

Lexington Herald Leader -- Nearly six months after the city of Somerset started selling gasoline to the public in competition with private retailers, the move continues to stir controversy, and the state legislature will soon be asked to wade into the issue.

The city council voted to go into the retail gas business because of a widespread perception that local prices had long been consistently higher than in nearby cities.

...

Some argue that retail gas prices in Somerset have not been significantly higher than in nearby towns in recent years, however.

And state Sen. Chris Girdler, a Republican from Somerset, blasted the city's gas sales as an improper government intrusion on private enterprise. Girdler plans to introduce a bill in the 2015 legislative session that would regulate government competition with ...  (go to article)

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The 13 most intriguing new cars coming in 2015

Detroit Free Press -- After a strong year for car and truck sales, automakers have a flood of new models in the works to woo buyers in 2015.

Here are some of the vehicles expected to debut over the next 12 months:

¦ Acura NSX: Designed, developed and built in the USA, this all-wheel drive hybrid super car is the heart of Acura's plan to become a leading luxury brand.

¦ Cadillac SRX: The SRX crossover was an immediate hit when Cadillac introduced it, but the handsome five-seater has grown old. Cadillac needs a new model with the latest features and improved fuel economy to cash in on the boom in luxury SUVs.

¦ Chevrolet Cruze: By far the best small car Chevrolet has built, the current Cruze's features and fuel economy gave the brand its first legitimate competitor for the best

-- more --  (go to article)

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What does 2015 hold for the crazy auto industry?

Detroit Free Press -- Fueled by the strongest job growth in the U.S. since 1999, the auto industry is wrapping up its best sales year in nearly a decade, and optimism for 2015 is brimming like a foamy cup of eggnog.

To challenge our own fortune-telling skills, the Free Press offers five safe and five bold predictions for 2015. For example, predicting this year's surge in auto and light truck sales didn't require much analytical magic.

But foreseeing that gas prices would fall below $2 a gallon was a much more difficult prediction.

Safe predictions

¦ Gas prices volatile: Prices at the pump will be more volatile as lower prices force higher-cost refiners, including some relying on Canadian tar sand crude, to cut back on production or to exit the market. Look for a moderate increase in prices beginning in late  (go to article)

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Car rental prices surge in Florida over Christmas

GasBuddy Blog -- Travelers who need a rental car in Florida for Christmas might pay a lot more than expected. According to a new survey from CheapCarRental.net, rental car rates have risen strongly in various destinations of the Sunshine State.The survey specifically examined the car rental rates of 30 popular U.S. destinations over the Christmas period spanning December 23–27. With a daily rental rate of $133 for the cheapest available car, West Palm Beach ranks highest in the state and second most expensive in the entire country. Compared to regular rates, which are around $20 per day, that price tag represents an increase of close to 600%. By far, that is the biggest relative increase noticed among all destinations considered....  (go to article)

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Residents on path of Kinder Morgan pipeline from Ohio to Gulf concerned about use

Fuel Fix -- DANVILLE, Ky. — Residents and local officials are seeking answers about a plan to reuse an existing Kentucky pipeline to transport highly flammable liquids to the Gulf of Mexico.

Federal regulators are considering the proposal to repurpose a 1,000-mile pipeline owned by Kinder-Morgan Energy Partners and MarkWest that runs from Ohio to the Gulf Coast. The pipeline would convert from carrying oil and natural gas to natural gas liquids.

The pipeline traverses 18 counties in Kentucky, including 20 miles in Boyle County, the Advocate-Messenger in Danville reported.

A recent plan to build a new natural gas liquids pipeline through more than a dozen counties in central Kentucky was canceled in April after its backers lost a court battle over eminent domain rights. The companies behind that pro  (go to article)

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What’s Next for World Oil as Lower Prices Extend Into ‘15

Bloomberg -- The oil price decline of 2014 upended the geopolitical chessboard. Worth watching in 2015 will be who can recover and dominate play -- OPEC, Vladimir Putin or U.S. shale drillers.

Oil's international benchmark price dropped as much as 49 percent in 2014. Those looking for a quick rebound may be disappointed, as world consumption growth slowed to the least since 2009, U.S. companies pumped more than they have since the 1980s and a price war broke out among members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

More from Bloomberg.com: Russia May Burn Wealth Funds in 3 Years Without Cuts

"It's a turning point in the way people perceive OPEC, that this so-called cartel is not really driving prices," said Jeff Colgan, a professor at Brown University's Watson Institute for Internation  (go to article)

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Gas prices were 2014's biggest business story

Lincoln Journal Star -- The price of gasoline is this year's top business story locally for a variety of reasons that extend from your driveway to the Middle East.

Matt Olberding, the deputy business editor, and I had no trouble agreeing on this one and most of the others.

Nothing ignites more passion among our readers than the price of gas when it's considered to be too high. Nothing gives people more permission to feel better when the price is falling, as it has been, thanks to stalled demand, plentiful supplies, the collapse of OPEC's pricing power and the juggernauts of U.S. oil production in North Dakota and Texas.

Economists and analysts rightly compare the 30 percent drop in gasoline prices this year to a tax cut, an extra paycheck a year, maybe two for some families, or a Christmas gift, found money.  (go to article)

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Race to Build on River Could Block Pacific Oil Route

NY TImes -- VANCOUVER, Wash. — Environmental passions, which run hot in the Northwest over everything from salmon to recycling, generally get couched in the negative: Don’t fish too much, don’t put those chemicals up the smokestack, don’t build in that sensitive area.

But here in southern Washington, some environmental groups are quietly pushing a builder to move even faster with a $1.3 billion real estate project along the Columbia River that includes office buildings, shops and towers with 3,300 apartments.

The reason is oil.

Two miles west of the 32-acre project, called the Waterfront, one of the biggest proposed oil terminals in the country is going through an environmental review, with plans to transfer North Dakota crude from rail cars to barges. Up to four trains, carrying 360,000 barrels of  (go to article)

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Libya asks Italy to help extinguish fire at biggest oil port

REUTERS -- Libya has called on Italy to send firefighters to prevent a fire spreading out of control at Es Sider, the country's biggest oil port, officials said on Saturday.

A rocket hit an oil storage tank last week at the port in the east of the country during clashes between forces allied to Libya's competing governments.

Ali al-Hassi, spokesman for a security force allied to the internationally-recognized government, said the fire had spread to a total of five oil tanks.

"We are trying to extinguish it but our capacities are limited," he said.

The North African country is struggling with fighting on several fronts as brigades of former rebels who battled side by side to oust Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 now compete for political power and a share of oil revenues.

Libya has had two parallel...  (go to article)

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CHEAP GAS: One station out of every six nationwide offering gallon of regular for less than $2

FOX6 -- NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Missouri gas stations had a nice Christmas present for drivers.

On Thursday, the state became the first in five years to have a statewide average gas price below $2 a gallon.

And gas that cheap is getting easier and easier to find elsewhere as well, with about one gas station out of every six nationwide now offering a gallon of regular for less than $2, according to Price tracker GasBuddy.com

AAA reported that Missouri’s average price was $1.98 a gallon on Friday, down a penny from Christmas day. GasBuddy shows that the cheapest gas in the state was $1.75 a gallon at a station in Ste. Genevieve.

But cheap gas isn’t limited to the Show Me state. There are six other states with statewide averages within a dime of the $2 mark, including Oklahoma, where the average pr  (go to article)

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Missouri the first state to average gasoline under $2

FuelFix.com-Houston Chronicle -- Missouri became the first state in five years to average less than $2 for a gallon of gasoline, according to GasBuddy.com.

The state averaged $1.992 per gallon on Friday, the price tracking website reported. And according to CNN Money, cheap gasoline is becoming increasingly easier to find nationwide, with about one-sixth of all gas stations offering a gallon of regular gasoline for under $2.

There are now five states averaging close to the $2 threshold. Oklahoma was just behind Missouri with gasoline averaging about $2.03, followed by Kansas at $2.08 and Indiana and Ohio at about $2.09 on Friday.

Texas is still averaging over $2.10 but had the sixth cheapest gasoline prices in the nation.

The price of gasoline has continued to fall alongside crude oil. West Texas Intermediate,...  (go to article)

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Tiny Minnesota town church group secretly revamps pastor's rusted Ford

Saint Paul Pioneer Press -- NEWFOLDEN, Minn. --Members of the Newfolden Evangelical Free Church "ManCave" men's group never thought they would find their pastor, the Rev. Gary Barrett, at a loss for words.

But that's just what happened earlier this month when Barrett returned from a short vacation and discovered his rusted 1989 Ford 150 pickup restored to mint condition.

"I had no clue, whatsoever," Barrett said, "and they roll in this old, beat-up pickup, and it's so sweet, so cool. I was humbled. I was honored."

Before he left for vacation, Barrett had given the pickup keys to Randy Rose, a local farmer who likes to tinker with vehicles, who had offered to replace a leaking gas tank with another used tank.

"One of the guys had an idea that we should fix the pastor's pickup," Rose said. "It just sort of grew fro  (go to article)

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A year of U.S. economic might, hacker attacks, tumbling oil prices

Saint Paul Pioneer Press -- This year showed how sheltered the U.S. economy is from geopolitical and health crises around the world. The global economy sputtered, but the U.S. powered ahead. Employers are finally hiring enough to lower unemployment. A plunge in gas prices and a rising stock market has Americans feeling richer and spending a bit more.
OIL PLUNGE: Global crude prices have fallen to around $56 per barrel from this year's high of $115 because of more production, especially in the U.S., while slowing economies in Europe and Asia crimp demand. A rapid decline in the second half of the year pushed gasoline to about $2.30 a gallon in the U.S., the lowest price in nearly five years. Americans are pocketing $15.4 billion more a month than when gas was at its 2014 high of $3.70. Cheaper crude is also pumping  (go to article)

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Elon Musk: The new Tesla Roadster can travel some 400 miles on a single charge

Washington Post -- Car nerds, you just got an extra present under the tree.

Tesla announced Friday an upgrade for its Roadster, the electric car company’s convertible model, and said that the new features significantly boost its range -- beyond what many traditional cars can get on a tank of gasoline.
 (go to article)

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Tesla set to upgrade range of original Roadster to 400 miles

CNN Money -- Tesla Motors is about increase the range of the Tesla Roadster by nearly two-thirds, three years after it stopped making its first model.

According to a tweet from Tesla CEO Elon Musk, the company is due to announce details Friday on how the Roadsters will be able to go almost 400 miles between charges. The current Roadsters can go about 245 miles between charges, according to Tesla (TSLA).

Tesla stopped production of the Roadster in January 2012, as it started to ramp up production of its very successful Model S. It sold only 2,150 of the two-seat Roadsters through the end of 2011, according to a company filing.  (go to article)

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Oil companies face 'banner year' for activism: Pro

CNBC -- CNBC -- Oil prices have slid near their bottom point, opening the door for increased shareholder activism in small-to-mid-sized public oil companies, industry professionals said on Friday.

"What you're going to see in the market in 2015 is an immense amount of activists turning their guns toward oil companies," said Chad Brownstein, CEO of Rocky Mountain Resources, on "Closing Bell http://www.cnbc.com/id/15838421/."  (go to article)

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Some States See Budgets at Risk as Oil Price Falls

New York Times -- HOUSTON — States dependent on oil and gas revenue are bracing for layoffs, slashing agency budgets and growing increasingly anxious about the ripple effect that falling oil prices may have on their local economies.

The concerns are cutting across traditional oil states like Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Alaska as well as those like North Dakota that are benefiting from the nation’s latest energy boom.

“The crunch is coming,” said Gunnar Knapp, a professor of economics and the director of the Institute of Social and Economic Research at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

Experts and elected officials say an extended downturn in oil prices seems unlikely to create the economic disasters that accompanied the 1980s oil bust, because energy-producing states that were left reeling for years  (go to article)

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Ewart: Oil price rout dominates energy sector

Calgary Herald -- The chill of winter hasn’t saved Canada’s booming oil and gas industry from “a good sweating” as the year comes to an end.

The top story in the Canadian oil and gas industry in 2014 wasn’t even on the radar in mid-June when West Texas Intermediate crude was trading for more than $107 US a barrel. Then, with little warning, the price of oil plunged nearly 50 per cent in six months.

The far-reaching implications of the oil price decline — from spending in the oilpatch and the falling price of gasoline to the value of the dollar and the performance of the stock market — shows up repeatedly in my choices for Top 10 stories in the energy sector in Canada from the past year.

While few would have predicted oil prices would be among the top stories of the year six months ago, others on the l  (go to article)

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CHP went out with a lot of models before settling on new SUV

Los Angeles Times -- The California Highway Patrol had to go big because the cars got small.

Carmakers have been discontinuing the big, heavy sedans that the CHP and other police agencies relied on: first the Dodge Diplomat, then the old version of the Chevrolet Caprice and more recently the Ford Crown Victoria.

Lately, CHP officials have been adding Ford's Explorer-based Police Interceptor SUV to the fleet because none of the remaining sedan options had the payload capacity for the personnel and equipment.
 (go to article)

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Ignition locks proposed to curb state’s drunken drivers

San Francisco Chronicle -- People convicted of drunken driving in California soon may have to blow in a tube to prove they’re sober before their vehicle will start.
State Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, wants to expand a program already in place in four California counties, including Alameda, and 24 other states. Under the proposed state law Hill will introduce Monday, anyone convicted of driving under the influence would be required to install an ignition interlock device in their car for six months on a first offense and a year on a second conviction.
Drunken drivers kill 1,000 people in California each year and injure 20,000, Hill said, and research shows people convicted of drunken driving are rarely doing it for the first time: Repeat offenders account for one-third of annual convictions in the state.
 (go to article)

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New fuel policy will lead to 10-cent-per-gallon increase

Riverside Press Enterprise -- California’s long-disputed and often-misrepresented cap-and-trade policy for gasoline and diesel fuel goes into effect Jan. 1, and it will show up quickly as a roughly 10 cent-per-gallon increase at the pump.
That follows months of market actions in the United States and around the world that have dropped the global price of crude more than $50 a barrel since June and created the longest recorded consecutive-days fall of fuel prices.
The average price-per-gallon for regular unleaded gasoline in the Riverside-San Bernardino metro areas stood at $2.68 by the middle of last week , down almost 94 cents from a year ago.
The cap-and-trade increase, which will appear within days, is well below the 16 to 76 cents per gallon that the Western States Petroleum Association had forecast as recently ..  (go to article)

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As North Dakota Oil Town Booms, a Priest Steadies the Newcomers

The New York Times -- WATFORD CITY, N.D. — They made a mighty odd pair of homesteaders, Shawn and Stephanie Ray. Recession refugees from Florida, he a fashion photographer and she his favorite model, they had trekked to the fracking belt here on the High Plains in 2012 with their last credit card maxed out.

In the rearview mirror behind were the customers in Tampa who had gone bankrupt and would never be able to pay what they owed. Ahead through the windshield were 15,000 available jobs. Or so the rumors said.

But by the bitterest morning of January 2013, with the wind chill something like 45 below, the Rays were living with their two young daughters in a used camper six miles out of town, waking up with frosted breath at 2 a.m. to refill the generator.  (go to article)

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What’s Next for World Oil as Lower Prices Extend Into ‘15

Bloomberg -- The oil price decline of 2014 upended the geopolitical chessboard. Worth watching in 2015 will be who can recover and dominate play -- OPEC, Vladimir Putin or U.S. shale drillers.
Oil’s international benchmark price dropped as much as 49 percent in 2014. Those looking for a quick rebound may be disappointed, as world consumption growth slowed to the least since 2009, U.S. companies pumped more than they have since the 1980s and a price war broke out among members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

“It’s a turning point in the way people perceive OPEC, that this so-called cartel is not really driving prices,” said Jeff Colgan, a professor at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies who researches the geopolitics of energy. “The real story is going to  (go to article)

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Filling begins for gas pipeline ending at Marcus Hook

Delaware Online -- The first barrels in a potentially huge wave of natural gas liquids have started moving down a pipeline toward Marcus Hook, Pa., and a site straddling the Pennsylvania-Delaware border, although Sunoco Logistics is keeping details close.

Sunoco Logistics' opening and filling of the Mariner East 1 pipeline marks a turning point in natural gas industry projects that company officials hope will turn Marcus Hook into a world class energy hub, petrochemical center and export site. Supporting it all are hydrocarbons left behind during processing of "wet" natural gas pulled from wells in the energy-rich, sprawling Marcellus shale region.

A second project, Mariner East 2, is expected to deliver another 275,000 barrels of methane, ethane and butane to the area by the end of 2016. Company officials  (go to article)

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Rise in Loans Linke to Cars is Hurting Poor

NY Times -- The automobile is at the center of the biggest boom in subprime lending since the mortgage crisis. The market for loans to buy used cars is growing rapidly.

And similar to how a red-hot mortgage market once coaxed millions of borrowers into recklessly tapping the equity in their homes, the new boom is also leading people to take out risky lines of credit known as title loans  (go to article)

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VW's Audi to step up investments in 2015-19 on models, plants

Reuters -- Volkswagen's flagship Audi division is to increase spending on new models, plants and technology through 2019 to push its goal of surpassing German rival BMW as the world's largest luxury-car manufacturer.

Audi, which contributes 40 percent of operating profit at Europe's biggest automotive group, said on Saturday it will push up investment in car-making operations by 2 billion euros ($2.44 billion) to a record 24 billion euros over the next five years.
 (go to article)

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Fracking’s biggest safety threat is on rural roads

Star Beacon (Ashtabula, OH) -- Often truck cargo isn’t labeled. Much of the byproduct from drillers’ fracking process — including the briny, chemically laced water — is classified as “residual waste.” Drilling waste has been exempt from federal hazardous waste rules since the 1980s, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. So there are rarely placards on the trucks.

While trucks pass without markings, there is little doubt about the volume of material that’s being shipped over the state’s roads. Drillers generated 32 million barrels of liquid waste and another 1.3 million tons of solid waste last year, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection.

Some of that went over the border into Ohio, where drillers shipped 3 million barrels of liquid waste, according to state records.  (go to article)

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Adam Levine, Nissan team up for 'Red Thumb Reminder' campaign against texting

GasBuddy Blog -- Whatever it takes to get people to stop texting & driving, we've got to support. U.S. Department of Transportation statistics show cell phones are involved in 1.6 million auto crashes each year. These crashes cause a half-million injuries and take 6,000 lives annually. To help raise the visibility of this critical issue, Nissan has partnered with NBC Universal and Adam Levine to promote "Red Thumb Day" – inspired by "Red Thumb Reminder," a program created by EVB advertising. Marking your thumb serves as an important reminder to not text and drive.Levine, Maroon 5 front man and coach on NBC's Emmy Award®-winning singing competition, "The Voice," has also joined in to help raise awareness for the issue. On a recent broadcast of "The Voice", Levine urged drivers to put their phones down when behind the wheel, not just on that day, but every day. ...  (go to article)

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So-called carbon 'tax' could pump up California gas prices Jan. 1

KXTV Sacramento, CA -- When you head to the pump on Jan. 1, 2015, you may have to pay more for gasoline in California. It's part of what some business groups claim is a hidden gas tax or carbon tax that was *not* approved with a public vote by Californians.

In 2006, the Legislature and Gov. Schwarzenegger passed Assembly Bill 32 which set an absolute statewide limit on greenhouse gas emissions. The program, known as the cap and trade system, required oil manufacturers pay a fee for emissions. Beginning in 2015, the provisions of AB32 expand to suppliers of gasoline and diesel fuels.
 (go to article)

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Fatal Wrecks On The Rise In Kansas

WIBW -- TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)-- Traffic related fatalities and injuries in Kansas are up on roads with newly increased speed limits.

In 2011, the speed limit was raised from 70 to 75 miles per hour on four Kansas highways. Those highways include I-35 heading north out of Wichita and rural stretches of I-35, I-70, U.S. 69 and I-470 near Topeka.

Numbers from the state’s transportation department show a 54% increase in highway deaths on those roads. The overall number of crashes on those roads has stayed steady. Injuries are also up about 13% compared with the two year before the new speed limit went into effect.

State transportation officials say that it is too early to start drawing any conclusions on the connection between higher speed limits and the increased number of accidents.
 (go to article)

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Mexico Withdraws $3.4 Billion From Pemex as Oil Revenue Shrinks

Bloomberg -- Mexico’s Finance Ministry took out 50 billion pesos ($3.4 billion) from the state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos, according to a statement sent to the Mexican Stock Exchange.

The payment this month was meant to “make management of public-sector finances more efficient,” according to the filing from the oil company, known as Pemex. The withdrawal marks a departure from the government’s usual methods of obtaining revenue from Pemex, which include taxes and royalties.

Pemex typically provides about a third of the federal budget, and its contributions dropped this year as the oil company faced production declines and falling crude prices. During the first 11 months of 2014, taxes paid by Mexico City-based Pemex declined by about 260 billion pesos, or 22 percent, from the same period of 2013  (go to article)

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Here's Where You'll Find All Of America's Shale Energy

Business Insider -- "Advanced drilling and hydraulic fracturing technologies, especially since 2008, have enabled large-scale oil and gas production in lower-permeability rock such as shale," the EIA writes. "Tight oil and shale gas plays span much of the continental United States and include both new and well-established oil and gas drilling locations."

Indeed, the American shale boom has been a source of excitement as it has been a source of new jobs, economic growth, and energy independence.

But with oil and gas prices crashing, many of these shale plays have become uneconomical, stoking fears of fiscal and economic problems in energy-driven states like Texas, North Dakota and Alaska.

For reference, here's where the major shale plays are across the continental US.(Map)
 (go to article)

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Diesel prices will remain higher than gas prices

Fox -- LOXLEY, Ala. (WALA) – Few people will says a highlight of their day is going to fill up at the gas station. But with weeks of falling gas prices, the pain at the pump has been lessening for folks.

The cost of diesel is also on the decline, but still holds at about a dollar higher per gallon. That wasn’t always the case.

“When the economy worldwide is red hot, diesel fuel is seeing a very robust demand,” Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst at Gasbuddy.com, said.

DeHaan told Fox10 News over the phone that demand for diesel overseas has been robust for years and helps drive up prices domestically.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, between 2002 and 2008, there was a large global demand for the product during that period of high growth and a relatively small am  (go to article)

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As gas prices plummet, workaday consumers delighted, but benefits don't go far beyond pump

Star Tribune -- Delighted consumers are pumping gas at less than $2 per gallon in some parts of the Twin Cities, thanks to three months of steady price declines that have produced tangible savings for long-suffering commuters while leaving others awaiting their own reprieve.

The sinking prices have helped drive a record holiday-travel season. Some 98.6 million people have driven or flown this holiday week, up 4.2 percent from last year, the largest increase since 2009 over 2008, Weinholzer said.

“I haven’t seen gas this cheap since I was in high school,” Mychael Harris, 36, said Friday at a BP station in south Minneapolis where unleaded was $1.99 a gallon. “This is a blessing. This is around the same price I paid when I got my first car. It’s almost too good to be true.”

Nationally, the average price f  (go to article)

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US crude settles at $54.73 a barrel; down 4% on the week

CNBC -- U.S oil futures ended lower on Friday, tumbling as the dollar strengthened and a supply glut in top consumer the United States trumped worries about falling production from Libya.

U.S. crude settled down 2 percent, or $1.11, at $54.73 a barrel in thin trade as many countries were still on Christmas holiday. The contract has declined some 4 percent this week.

Brent crude was last trading about 70 cents lower at $59 a barrel.

The market had come under pressure from Wednesday's DOE report, which showed a 7.3 million-barrel rise in crude inventories to their highest December level on record. Analysts had expected a seasonal decline.

Read MorePrice plunge puts oil patch jobs at risk
The slide was exacerbated as oil prices reacted to a strengthening dollar index.

"There's still significant  (go to article)

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Oil states brace for price bust

Saint Paul Pioneer Press -- States dependent on oil and gas revenue are bracing for layoffs, slashing agency budgets and growing increasingly anxious about the ripple effect that falling oil prices may have on their local economies.

The concerns are cutting across traditional oil states like Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Alaska as well as those like North Dakota that are benefiting from the nation's latest energy boom.

In Houston, which proudly bills itself as the energy capital of the world, Hercules Offshore announced it would lay off about 324 employees who work on the company's rigs in the Gulf of Mexico at the end of the month. Texas already lost 2,300 oil and gas jobs from October to November, according to preliminary, seasonally adjusted data released last week by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the  (go to article)

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Gasoline prices keep tumbling

Fortune -- Fuel costs are at their cheapest level in more than five years with the price in one state falling below the $2 threshold.

Filling up at the pump is lot less painful than it used to be.

Average nationwide gasoline prices tumbled to $2.32 Friday, their lowest point in more than five years, according to AAA.

The drop marks a dramatic turnaround from this time last year, when fuel cost nearly 50 cents more per gallon. As a result, drivers are on track to save hundreds if not more than $1,000 annually in gas costs.

A slump in the oil market is driving the lower fuel prices. Increased supply, particularly by U.S. producers, has driven down oil prices by nearly half over the past six months. On Friday, U.S. crude fell below $55 a barrel.

The result is gas prices that seem like a mirage.  (go to article)

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Oil will be the wild card in 2015 economic outlooks

Montreal Gazette -- Some forecasters, like those at TD Economics, are hanging their outlook on oil in the $60-65 range during the 1st half of next year. That will be followed by a gradual price recovery heading into in 2016 as some production is scaled back and as world demand firms

Even so, these price levels will deal a blow to GDP growth in oil-producing regions and set Canada up for much more level growth than we’ve seen in a while. For example, ON is expected to lead the country in real growth next year at 2.6% — ahead of AB’s 2.3%. Even QC will be in the game, with a 2.1% rate of growth

The energy-producing provinces of AB, SK and NL are bracing for tough times

TD expects C$ to slip to 84c U.S. before reviving in the 2nd half of the yr

That will give an additional push to manufacturing in QC and ON  (go to article)

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Oil drillers are under pressure to scrap rigs to cope with downturn

FuelFix.com -- Offshore oil-drilling contractors, who last year were able to charge record rates for their vessels, are now under pressure to scrap old rigs at an unprecedented pace.

The recent five-year low in oil prices is threatening an industry already grappling with a flood of new vessels and weakening demand. More than 200 new rigs are scheduled to be delivered in the next six years. That’s a 25 percent jump from the number currently under contract.

To cope, many rig owners will try to keep revenue up by culling older vessels to balance supply and demand.  (go to article)

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Drop in crude oil prices resulting in drilling permits being cut in half

San Antonio Business Journal -- The Texas Railroad Commission is definitely seeing a slowdown in activity as the price of crude oil nosedives.
The state agency issued 1,508 original permits to drill compared to 3,046 permits in October. The price of crude oil has fallen more than $50 a barrel since June. Fewer permits will trickle down to the oil fields where companies will likely begin cutting jobs. The Dallas Federal Reserve projects that Texas will lose 125,000 jobs related to the falling price of oil by mid-2015.  (go to article)

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Suncor wraps maintenance at Montreal refinery

OGJ Editors -- Suncor Energy Inc. has concluded 3 months of planned maintenance at its 137,000-b/d Montreal, Que., refinery.

Designed to support safe, reliable operation of the refinery, the maintenance work began on Sept. 22 and was scheduled to last about 11 weeks, the company said (OGJ Online, Sept. 23, 2014).

The scheduled maintenance at Montreal involved ongoing work to modify the plant’s hydrocracking unit, which will improve overall production yields and energy efficiency at the refinery, according to Suncor’s third-quarter 2014 and 2013 annual reports to shareholders.

The project, due to be completed by 2015, is designed to enable the refinery to receive and process heavier crude feedstock, the company said.
 (go to article)

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Missouri 1st to see average gas price below $2

Associated Press -- Missouri became the first state Friday to have an average statewide gas price fall below $2 per gallon since 2009, while Oklahoma's average was expected to drop below that threshold sometime over the weekend, according to AAA.

The national average gas price was at $2.32 per gallon Friday, which AAA spokesman Michael Green said was the lowest since May 2009. That average has dropped for 92 days in a row, he said, which is the longest streak since AAA started keeping daily records in January 2000.
 (go to article)

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Immigrants get warning on driver's licenses

Associated Press -- While tens of thousands of immigrants living in the United States illegally are preparing to apply for a long-sought driver's license in California starting Jan. 2, others are being urged to think twice.

Immigrant advocates say the vast majority should be able to get licenses without trouble, but they want anyone who previously obtained a driver's license under a false name or someone else's Social Security number to speak first with a lawyer, fearing a new application could trigger a fraud investigation.
 (go to article)

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Audi's A8 shows the diesel difference

USAToday -- Big luxury cars mean big gas consumption, but that's starting to change -- and Audi's A8 is a good example.

German automakers have been at the forefront of diesel technology in passenger cars with all of them offering some form of it, and the fuel economy gains are significant. A standard Audi A8 L with the supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 engine is rated at 19/29/22 miles per gallon city/highway/combined. Not bad for such a big car.

Move up to the turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 and your mileage drops to 18/29/22 mpg, a nearly identical rating. Splurge for the slick W-12 engine and you'll get only 14/22/17 mpg. But tick the diesel box and your big, comfy A8 L could return 24/36/28 mpg. The combined city/highway rating is 27 percent higher than that of the base engine.

Those are some impressive nu  (go to article)

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Natural Gas Drops Below $3 for First Time Since 2012

Bloomberg -- Natural gas slumped below $3 per million British thermal units in New York for the first time since 2012 on speculation that record production will overwhelm demand for the heating fuel.

Futures settled at the lowest in 27 months and have plunged 26 percent in December, heading for the biggest one-month drop since July 2008, as mild weather and record production erased a surplus to year-ago levels for the first time in two years. Temperatures will be mostly above average in the eastern half of the U.S. through Dec. 30, according to Commodity Weather Group LLC.
 (go to article)

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