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Kurdish Oil Mystery Deepens as Ship Unloads Cargo in South China Sea

IBT -- A tanker carrying Kurdish oil has unloaded part of its cargo in the South China Sea, although the identity of the buyer remains a mystery.

The United Emblem Tanker had left the Turkish port of Ceyhan in June, carrying up to 1 million barrels of crude oil produced in Iraqi Kurdistan and exported by the autonomous region's government without permission from Baghdad.

It is one of three tankers that were loaded and sailed from Ceyhan in June.

A second tanker, the United Kalavrvta, has been anchored off the Texas coast for days amid a protracted legal dispute between Iraq and Kurdistan over the autonomous region's right to sell oil on international markets.

A US judge rejected a request from Baghdad that the US seize the tanker, saying that it was anchored outside of American territorial...  (go to article)

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Car crashes into bee-infested abandoned house; St. Charles driver dies as rescuers hindered by swarm

MLive -- A St. Charles man died Wednesday, July 30, after his vehicle crashed into a vacant, bee-infested home in the village.

The 54-year-old man was driving west on Spruce Road at about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday when his vehicle continued straight at a curve just west of M-52, sending the vehicle crashing into an abandoned home at 216 W. Spruce, the Saginaw County Sheriff's office reports.

Saginaw County Sheriff Lt. Randy Pfau said the incident is still under investigation, but said preliminary findings suggest the crash was related to a medical emergency.

Pfau said people nearby saw the crash and rushed to help the driver, but were driven back by swarms of bees, released when the car struck the home.

"The house, we're being told, has not been occupied for many years," he said.  (go to article)

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Los Angeles Toddler Dies After Getting Trapped in Hot Car

The Weather Channel -- For the 19th time this year, a young child has died after getting trapped in a hot car, police say.

A 3-year-old boy was found unresponsive in the Los Angeles suburb of Sylmar Wednesday afternoon, authorities said. Police said the boy was playing in the yard of his family's home when he climbed into a car and couldn't get out.
 (go to article)

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Why Local Gas Prices Are Skyrocketing

WLNS-TV -- 6 News reporter Emerald Morrow went out to find out more about what's behind the spike in gas prices we've seen across mid-Michigan.  (go to article)

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Exxon 2Q profit climbs 28 percent

Yahoo News - AP -- IRVING, Texas (AP) — Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) on Thursday reported net income that climbed by 28 percent in its second quarter, and topped analysts' expectations.

The Irving, Texas-based company said net income increased to $8.78 billion, or $2.05 per share, from $6.86 billion, or $1.55 per share, in the same quarter a year earlier. The average estimate of analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for profit of $1.91 per share.

The company said revenue rose 4.9 percent to $111.65 billion from $106.67 billion in the same quarter a year earlier, and beat Wall Street forecasts. Analysts expected $109.14 billion, according to Zacks.

 (go to article)

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BP, Shell, Morgan Stanley seek end of oil price-fixing lawsuit

Reuter -- BP Plc , Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Morgan Stanley and other companies urged a U.S. judge to dismiss nationwide litigation claiming they conspired for 12 years to fix prices of Brent crude oil, a benchmark for the cost of gasoline and heating oil.

In papers filed on Monday night in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, the defendants said there was no evidence they colluded to manipulate spot prices or intended to do so, in violation of U.S. commodity and antitrust laws.

They also said that because the alleged manipulation took place outside the United States and was governed by foreign law, U.S. courts had no authority to handle the case to begin with.  (go to article)

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Oil companies forfeit Arctic drilling rights

Fuel Fix -- — Oil companies that locked up more than 1.3 million acres of the Beaufort Sea for drilling in 2007 have since relinquished nearly half that territory.

The industry’s appetite for tapping those Arctic waters may be waning even as the Obama administration plans to auction off more of the area.

Oil companies have ceded rights to drill on roughly 584,000 acres, despite paying tens of thousands _ and sometimes much more — in bonus bids for individual leases in auctions since 2003, according to an analysis of government data by the conservation group Oceana reviewed by FuelFix.

And now, all but seven of the 141 still-active oil and gas leases in the Beaufort Sea along Alaska’s northeast coast are partly or completely held by a single firm, Shell Oil Co. The tracts, which generally span about  (go to article)

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How safe is your rental car?

USA TODAY -- In recent years more and more car owners have been affected by manufacturer recalls on critical automotive components. But what if a recall doesn't affect the car you own, but instead affects the car you're renting?

The good news is the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act of 2013 can remedy this situation by ensuring rental fleets comply with recall notices. The bad news is this law is floundering in Congress: GovTrack's prognosis is not good, citing only a 14% chance of being enacted. And in the meantime, it can be hard for renters to determine what a rental firm's policy is on recalled vehicles.  (go to article)

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Crude oil slips below $100 a barrel after supply data

Market Watch -- Crude-oil futures extended overnight losses in Asian trade Thursday, on bearish U.S. inventory data that sent the U.S. oil benchmark below the $100 a barrel mark.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures CLU4 -0.95% for delivery in September traded at $99.67 a barrel, down $0.60 in the Globex electronic session. September Brent crude UK:LCOU4 -0.60% on London’s ICE Futures exchange fell $0.22 to $106.29 a barrel.

Overnight, Nymex lost 70 cents a barrel and Brent lost $1.21 a barrel.

U.S. oil stockpiles fell by 3.7 million barrels in the week ended July 25, compared with market estimates of a 1.8 million-barrel decline, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said Wednesday.  (go to article)

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Energy Companies Rethinking Russia After New Round of Sanctions

The New York Times -- LONDON — The downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine — and the tougher round of sanctions against Russia that followed — is prompting some big multinational energy companies to take a fresh look at the ramifications of the crisis.

For months, American and European energy players have continued to sign deals with Russia, maintaining a posture that business was proceeding as usual. But top industry executives are now starting to acknowledge that the escalating tensions could sharply hurt Western oil and gas giants with major investments in Russia, as well as the service companies that are key technology suppliers.

“We are in the heat of a very emotional stage,” Robert W. Dudley, BP’s chief executive, told reporters on Tuesday. The company warned that further economic sa  (go to article)

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Best mileage for pickups: Will 2015 Ford F150 top Ram 1500's 28 mpg?

GasBuddy Blog -- How much does fuel economy matter for pickup owners? Ford Motor Co. is concerned that its new aluminum-bodied 2015 F-150 pickup coming this fall might not be able to beat Chrysler Group’s Ram 1500 and claim best-in-class fuel economy.Ford officials said the new F-150 -- which would need to deliver better than 28 mpg on the highway to top the Ram with its EcoDiesel engine -- will deliver better fuel economy and greater towing and hauling capability than the current steel-bodied truck. But when it comes to questions about the redesigned F-150’s estimated fuel economy ratings, Autonews.com says Ford sidesteps them. ...  (go to article)

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Despite peak demand and violence overseas, Nebraska gas prices are dropping

Nebraska Radio Network -- Gasoline prices often skyrocket following international events, but escalating military action in Israel and the recent downing of a Malaysian airliner have not brought a pump price hike.

In the past week, gas prices have actually dropped in Nebraska. Fuels analyst Harold Hommes says there have been no catastrophes impacting Gulf Coast refineries.

“Refinery production is running right at 100% right now, so the situation is as about as good as we could ask for,” Hommes says.

AAA reports gas prices in Nebraska are averaging $3.47 a gallon statewide. That’s eight cents below the national average and the state price has dropped four cents in the past week, 13 cents in the past month.  (go to article)

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U.S. Oil Imports May Fall as Gulf Prices Drop Below Brent

Bloomberg -- U.S. crude imports may drop from last week’s two-month high as prices on the Gulf Coast, home to 51 percent of refining capacity, slipped below Brent.

Imports climbed 337,000 barrels a day in the week ended July 25, the EIA reported today. Light Louisiana Sweet crude on the Gulf traded below Brent, benchmark for half of global oil trade, for a fourth day, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

LLS surged $4.52 a barrel above Brent on July 23, the biggest premium in one year, as strong refinery demand depleted crude inventories in the Gulf region. For the past year, the grade averaged $4.26 cheaper than Brent. Refineries slowed their operation last week amid rising fuel inventories.

“This is a short-term reaction,” said James Williams, an economist at WTRG Economics,“But it’s not going  (go to article)

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Pony Express Oil Pipe Line-fill Starts; Shipments Seen in Oct.

Reuters -- Line fill on the Pony Express Pipeline carrying crude from Wyoming to Oklahoma began last week although commercial shipments are expected to be delayed until the fourth quarter, market sources said on Tuesday.

The 230,000-barrel-per-day pipeline, which was originally set to start up in August, has been pushed back by several months, two trading sources said. They indicated that the majority of shipments was now expected to start for October.

Line fill on the pipeline was first reported by Genscape, which said it would take 25-40 days to fill with a total of 2 million barrels at a rate of 50,000-80,000 bpd.

Pony Express...includes a 430-mile converted natural gas pipeline and a new 260-mile line that will carry light crude in North Dakota's Bakken
shale plays from Guernsey, WY, into Cus  (go to article)

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WTI Drops Below $100 as U.S. Fuel Supplies Rise; Brent Declines

Bloomberg -- West Texas Intermediate dropped for a fourth day and slipped below $100 as gasoline stockpiles rose and demand declined in the U.S., the world’s biggest oil user. Brent decreased in London.

Futures fell as much as 1.1 percent in New York. Gasoline supplies expanded by 365,000 barrels last week to 218.2 million, the highest level in four months, the Energy Information Administration said yesterday. Average consumption shrank 0.5 percent over the past four weeks to the lowest since May, even as the country’s peak driving season started with the Memorial Day holiday on May 26.

“This should be a period of peak demand,” said Jonathan Barratt, the chief investment officer at Ayers Alliance Securities in Sydney.  (go to article)

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Winemakers want NY to deny gas storage permits

The Oklahoman-AP -- Finger Lakes winemakers and other business owners asked Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday to deny permits for natural gas and propane storage facilities in former salt mines along Seneca Lake, saying the projects would bring heavy industry, more truck traffic and an unacceptable risk of catastrophic accidents to a region that thrives on tourism.

Opponents of Houston-based Crestwood Midstream's project said at a news conference in Albany that it would endanger drinking water, the local economy and the region's wine and tourism industry.

"There is no justification for jeopardizing the Finger Lakes' place as an international destination for world-class agri-tourism," said Lou Damiani, owner of Damiani Wine Cellars. "There is no propane shortage and we have worked too hard to get where we...  (go to article)

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New bus barn will hold 400 compressed natural gas buses

CBC -- The federal government is going to put $48 million towards a new bus barn for Calgary, the first to be built since 1975.

It will allow the City of Calgary to store and maintain the 400 new compressed natural gas (CNG) buses it's going to be buying.

The city is currently testing four different types of buses that run on compressed natural gas. They're quieter, better for the environment than diesel and more reliable.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi says it will be a new kind of bus facility for the city.

“The new facility will be designed for indoor bus storage; will include the ability to fuel buses with CNG. In fact it will have a direct link into a CNG pipeline.”

A decision will soon be made on a bus supplier — and...  (go to article)

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Pure Lithium in Battery May Generate More Powerful Battery

Scientific American -- A team of Stanford University researchers, including former Energy Secretary Steven Chu, believes it has achieved the "holy grail" of lithium battery design: an anode of pure lithium that could boost the range of an electric car to 300 miles.

Lithium-ion batteries are one of the most common types of rechargeable batteries on the market today. But most of the batteries—found in technologies like smartphones and electric cars—use an anode made of graphite or silicon.

The lithium in a lithium-ion battery today is found in the electrolyte. The electrons in the electrolyte flow to the anode during recharging, and if the anode were also made of lithium, the battery would be able to generate much more power and weigh much less.

Until now, however, lithium anodes have been unusable. The materia  (go to article)

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City: Emails show ‘cozy’ ties of PG&E, regulator

Fuel Fix -- SAN FRANCISCO — Top California regulators communicated often and enthusiastically with executives at Pacific Gas & Electric Co., even offering unsolicited advice on handling the media while they presided over a case to decide how much the utility should pay for a deadly explosion in a San Francisco Bay Area suburb, according to a trove of emails released Monday.  (go to article)

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Senators Took Donations From Lobbyists Representing Pro-Keystone Alberta Government

Hoff Post -- WASHINGTON -- A high-powered Washington lobbying firm representing the government of Alberta, Canada, made $17,000 in donations to senators it was courting for support of the Keystone XL pipeline, according to an investigation by the Toronto Star.  (go to article)

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MM&A train from Lac-Mégantic rail disaster pulled from U.S. auction

Canadian Press -- The police stepped in after a report by The Canadian Press revealed that locomotive MMA 5017 was slated to be sold on Aug 5 at a ME rail yard

The locomotive played a key role in the events that led to the Jul 2013, oil-train derailment that destroyed part of the QC town and killed 47 people

Police wanted to prevent the engine from being sold until after the judicial process is complete

The starting bid had been set at $10K

The locomotive is being held at the Derby Rail Yard in Milo, ME, on TSB's behalf

Prosecutors have charged train engineer Harding, railway traffic controller Labrie and manager of train operations Demaître. Each one faces 47 counts of criminal negligence causing death

The ME locomotive auction is scheduled to move ahead and will feature two dozen locomotives fro  (go to article)

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Driverless Cars to Hit Public Roads in Britain by January 2015

Time -- Driverless cars will be hitting British streets for test runs by January 2015 — the British government plans to announce on Wednesday — although the Highway Code will need to be revised to allow for the changes, industry experts say.

The self-driving cars for civilians will be an extension of ones already used by the British army, which are provided by MIRA, a vehicle-engineering and design company.  (go to article)

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Hydropower plan vital in climate change fight, officials say

Boston Globe -- State environmental officials are vigorously lobbying lawmakers to pass a controversial energy bill they consider critical to cutting greenhouses gases that contribute to climate change, but they worry it won’t get a vote with the legislative session ending this week.

The so-called Clean Energy Resources bill, opposed by some environmental advocates and industry groups, remains stalled in committee. With three days left in the session, administration officials have even drafted a last-ditch amendment that they hope to tack on other legislation.

“Frankly, it’s up for grabs . . . and they’re almost out of time,” Governor Deval Patrick told reporters on Monday as he entered a private meeting with legislative leaders.

The bill would require utility companies in the state to sign long-term a  (go to article)

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No One’s Going to Stop Using Phones in the Car. Here’s How We Make That Safer

Wired -- My wife’s 10-year-old car has an expensive built-in navigation system, but anytime she drives out of Portland, she uses Waze on her iPhone. Besides being free, this “social driving” app (now owned by Google) is dramatically smarter and more useful than anything her Lexus offers, and proves its worth regularly, as it did when helping us route around a 30-minute traffic jam last month, on our way back from the Oregon coast. The dark screen of the car’s nav system makes a fine backrest for the phone, while Waze gleefully chimes in with accurate, crowdsourced traffic updates over the sound system via Bluetooth.

For all its utility, this is clearly not an ideal situation: It’s redundant, and the interface is far from optimal, or even entirely safe.  (go to article)

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Ax Nearly Impales Woman in Car on Highway

abc7.com -- Topsfield, Mass. (KFSN) -- It was a scary moment on a highway north of Boston when an ax smashed through the windshield of a car.

Massachusetts State Police say the ax bounced out of a landscaper's dump truck at about 11 a.m. Wednesday on southbound Interstate 95 in Topsfield. They released a photo showing the ax with a corner of its blade stuck in the passenger side of the car's dashboard. The handle was sticking through the windshield.

Police say the car's passenger was "shaken up" but not hurt.

The truck driver, from Peabody, Massachusetts, was cited for failing to secure the ax, which carries a $200 fine.

Police say it could have been worse if the car's driver hadn't been obeying the 65 mph speed limit.

"The man whose car was struck was obeying the speed limit.  (go to article)

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UN puts new momentum behind its radical green agenda for 'climate change'

Fox News -- EXCLUSIVE: The United Nations is putting new momentum behind the radical green effort to reduce global carbon emissions and drastically reshape the world’s economy — a campaign that is wobbling badly due to international defections and the huge cost of cutting back economic growth in the name of controlling “climate change.”

The world organization is doubling down — hoping to breathe new life into the current effort, but also to keep the juggernaut rolling toward a much more ambitious climate change treaty to be negotiated by September 2015 and take effect in 2020.

“We know that we are not on track, and time is not on our side,” declared U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon this month, as he unveiled a U.N.-backed report proposing drastic — and very hypothetical — ways to carry ou  (go to article)

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Manchin drops coal provision from Ex-Im Bank bill

The Hill -- Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) introduced his bill to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank's charter Wednesday evening without a controversial provision to roll back the bank's restrictions on financing overseas coal plants.

After initially pushing language of the bill with the provision, which blocks guidelines the bank implemented in December that prevent funding of coal plants abroad unless they adopt carbon capture technology, Manchin opted to propose the measure as a separate amendment.  (go to article)

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Religious Conservatives Embrace Proposed E.P.A. Rules

NY Times -- The E.P.A. on Tuesday held the first of two days of public hearings on its proposed regulation to cut carbon pollution from power plants, and mixed in with the coal lobbyists and business executives were conservative religious leaders reasserting their support for President Obama’s environmental policies — at a time when Republican Party orthodoxy continues to question the science of climate change.

More than two dozen faith leaders, including evangelicals and conservative Christians, are expected to speak at the E.P.A. headquarters in Washington by the time the hearings conclude on Wednesday.  (go to article)

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In state elections, voters decline to punish pols for raising transportation taxes

T4America -- In at least two states where legislators raised gas taxes or other fees in the last two years, voters have responded by sending almost all of the supportive members of both parties back to their state houses.

States are finding it more and more difficult to find funding for transportation and other infrastructure. The 2012 MAP-21 law kept federal funding essentially flat, even as the lingering effects of the long recession have left states in desperate need of infrastructure repair and renovation. Meanwhile, gas taxes are not yielding what they once did, thanks to rising construction costs, growing fuel efficiency and a drop in miles driven per person. With no other solution in sight, some states have concluded they have little choice but to increase gas taxes to maintain and build a 21s  (go to article)

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14 car hacks every driver should know

Business Insider via Yahoo News -- For as long as there have been cars on the road, there have been innovative car owners who have thought of some truly ingenious solutions to their car woes.

We came up with 14 awesome car hacks that may make your next car ride a little more pleasant (thanks to Farmers Insurance for the idea).

1. De-ice your locks with hand sanitizer.

Car locks can ice over in the winter. So squirt a little waterless hand sanitizer on your key and insert it in the lock. The same alcohol content that kills germs on dirty hands also melts away the ice in the lock.
 (go to article)

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Many choosing Capital Bikeshare over Metro, bus transportation

DC News -- Maybe the buses and Metro trains in D.C. would be a little more crowded if not for those red and yellow bikes with the fat tires.

Capital Bikeshare riders are choosing bikes over Metro rail and buses in the city, according to a DCist survey.  (go to article)

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U.S. Commerce Department Seeks Details, Not Delay, on Oil Export Requests

Reuters -- The U.S. Commerce Department is holding requests for permission to export lightly processed crude oil for longer than the normal two-week period so it can gather more information, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Reuters reported on Monday that at least three companies' requests for "commodity classification" decisions - effectively private interpretations of trade rules - had been marked as "held without action." That designation allows the agency to study the request beyond two weeks.

Sources who declined to be identified said on Tuesday they were told by officials from the Bureau of Industry and Security that the measure was not meant as a policy effort to slow down exports of U.S. shale oil but was an administrative step to allow time to get more technical specifica  (go to article)

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Pirates, ample port space drive US gasoline exports to Togo

Platts -- Togo has emerged this year as the primary destination for gasoline from the Gulf Coast-driven US export market, partly as a way to thwart pirates, according to US Energy Information Administration data and market sources.

US sources delivered 3.245 million barrels of conventional gasoline to Togo from January through May, the most recent month for which data is available, according to EIA data released Wednesday. That total represents about 11 full cargoes of gasoline.

2014 also has seen the largest month for exports to Togo so far, 1.387 million barrels in April, and is on a pace to trump the 2013 total of 3.998 million barrels. US-to-Togo exports fell to 317,000 barrels in May. April marked the biggest month for Gulf Coast-to-Togo gasoline shipments yet by a whopping margin of 600,000  (go to article)

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HitchBOT update: Hitchhiking robot takes a wrong turn attempting to reach Quebec

National Post -- The nomadic robot attempting to hitchhike its way across mainland Canada, saw its journey take a wrong turn on Tue as it attempted to reach QC

The rubber dish glove-wearing device, made from a plastic bucket, solar panels and a tablet computer, is an experiment run by a team at McMaster U to see if people can be trusted to help the innocent robot reach its destination

It is seeking to travel 3,500mi by hitchhiking from Halifax to Victoria, without being destroyed or stolen

After it was picked up Mon afternoon from Campbellton, NB, HitchBOT’s attached GPS unit showed that it travelled E — backwards towards Bathurst, NB, along Hwy 11, reaching halfway between Dalhousie and Bathurst

It soon reversed its path, and checked into a campground near Dalhousie at some point. As of press time, hi  (go to article)

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Oil and gas stocks most likely to beat second-quarter earnings forecasts

The Globe and Mail -- While spring is typically seasonally slow for Canadian E&P's, mild weather saw fewer road bans and drilling activity well above average norms. Couple this with buoyant oil prices and we may see capital acceleration and potential dividend increases

A litany of 3rd-party outages hampered gas production for some operators. The relatively cool (in the E) summer has put near term pressure on gas prices though we remain bullish on Canadian E&P's given the still glaring shortfall in Canadian storage and likely AECO-to-NYMEX premium

WTI prices continued to outperform our expectations largely due to geopolitical events in Iraq, Libya and Ukraine though a stronger Canadian dollar provided a partial offset from the Edmonton Par perspective. We continue to anticipate a declining WTI price amidst  (go to article)

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Pennsylvania pushes toward 70 mph speed limit on major highways

GasBuddy Blog -- More than three dozen states have speed limits of 70 m.p.h. or higher, with some roads in Texas and Utah allowing motorists to travel as fast as 80 or 85 m.p.h.Now Pennsylvania is looking to join the 70 mph club. The speed limit on much of the entire Pennsylvania Turnpike could rise to 70 m.p.h. by next summer, Turnpike officials said this Interstate 380 in northeastern Pennsylvania, which will go to 70 m.p.h next month....  (go to article)

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Arizona utility wants to install free solar panels on 3,000 homes

AP -- A major Arizona utility wants to install rooftop solar panels on thousands of homes for free.

If approved by state regulators, the request filed Monday by Arizona Public Service Co. would allow the Phoenix-based company to partner with installers to put rooftop systems on 3,000 homes.

The proposal would help the company satisfy the Arizona Corporation Commission's mandates for renewable energy use, and the company said its proposal also would provide access to solar for consumers who can't afford to buy or lease a rooftop system.

Under the proposal, consumers would save money by receiving monthly credits, and Arizona Public Service would pay for installation and maintenance. The customers would get a $30 credit each month for the 20 years, or $7,200 over the course of the 20-year progra  (go to article)

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Marshals ordered not to seize any Kurdish crude

Fuel Fix -- U.S. marshals have been ordered not to seize any Kurdish crude offloaded from an oil tanker off Galveston’s coast after a federal judge said Tuesday the disputed cargo was too far outside the court’s jurisdiction.  (go to article)

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Texas lawyer sues GM over ignition switch defects on behalf of 658 plaintiffs

Associated Press -- DETROIT – A Texas lawyer has sued General Motors on behalf of 658 people injured or killed in crashes allegedly caused by faulty ignition switches  (go to article)

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Alternative fuel infrastructure and application

FE -- For fleet managers, putting an alternative fuel truck—specifically natural gas—to work depends on two major factors: Infrastructure and application.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy Alternative Fuels Data Center, there are currently 713 public and 666 private CNG fueling stations and 54 public and 41 private LNG fueling stations in the U.S. The Department of Energy, which recently began collecting information about commercial vehicle accessibility at CNG fueling stations, estimates that more than 400 of the 713 public CNG stations are large enough to accommodate Class 6, 7 and 8 trucks. Meanwhile, the total number of public and private LNG and CNG fueling stations has nearly doubled from about 750 in 2007 to a little over 1,400 seven years later.  (go to article)

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Bugatti Veyron Super Sport hits 246 mph on public road

Motor Authority --
Going fast on a private stretch of race track is quite enjoyable. Especially when there happens to be enough room to really let the car stretch its legs. That is why Volkswagen owns the Ehra-Lessien testing facility in Germany, which comes with a 5.4-mile long straight. It's also the perfect place to find the upper limits of a Bugatti Veyron. Sometimes though, an owner might get a chance to push his machine in a setting that's not quite as prepared for such an endeavor.  (go to article)

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Building boom in N. Dakota's oil patch

AOL-News -- WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) -- President Theodore Roosevelt once came to North Dakota's Badlands to find solitude and solace amid the area's "desolate, grim beauty." But Roosevelt's Dakota is barely visible today.

The area's oil boom has resulted in an infrastructure-building frenzy as the rush for jobs and oil demands more roads, homes, food trucks and stores.

The epicenter is a 45-mile stretch of U.S. Route 85 between the towns of Williston and Watford City. Once a sleepy two-lane road across the lonely prairie, it's being transformed into a four-lane highway with bypasses cutting around towns. In the spring and summer, oil patch roadwork slows traffic to a trickle akin to a major metropolis' rush hour.

Oil patch towns - outposts of oil production now struggling to become livable cities - ar  (go to article)

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Sanctions will damage Russia if not lifted quickly

The Richmond Times Dispatch -- MOSCOW (AP) -- U.S. and European sanctions against Russia's energy and finance sectors are strong enough to cause deep, long-lasting damage within months unless Moscow persuades the West to repeal them by withdrawing support for Ukrainian insurgents.

The U.S. and European Union released details Wednesday of new sanctions aimed at hurting Russia's economy without doing undue damage to their own trade interests, punishment for alleged Russian support for Ukrainian rebels and Russia's annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea.

The sanctions go further than earlier penalties - which had largely targeted individuals - by broadly limiting the trade of weapons and of technology that can be used in the oil and military industries. The EU also put its capital markets off-limits to Russian  (go to article)

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U.K. Launches Driverless Car Campaign

pcmag.com -- The U.K. began testing driverless cars on public roads late last year, but this marks the first time the British government is turning to its constituents for help. The project is being funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and the Department for Transport, in partnership with the Technology Strategy Board.
Project candidates must be business-led and need to demonstrate close collaboration with partners like tech developers, supply chain companies, and manufacturers.  (go to article)

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Princeton grad from Dartmouth nears 'holy grail' of green energy storage

The Chronicle Herald Halifax Nova Scotia -- When Danielle Fong was taking her PhD in plasma physics at Princeton University at the age of 17, she wasn’t driven to be the best — she was driven by an urgency to solve the world’s energy problem.

Though she missed her mother’s cooking back home in Dartmouth — “My mom makes the best omelettes” — Fong focused on her mission to make green energy a practical reality for everyone.

“Solving the energy problem is the problem of my generation,” she said Tuesday.

And the 26-year-old believes she has come up with a way to do that — she just has to prove it to the industrial sector.

Fong believes she has cracked the problem of how to store renewable energy, like wind power, so the resource can still be used when the wind isn’t blowing. Think about it: storage is critical when you’re relying o  (go to article)

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Hyundai recalls 883,000 Sonata sedans in U.S. for transmission issue

msn money -- DETROIT, July 30 (Reuters) - South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Co will recall about 883,000 Sonata mid-sized sedans in the United States and Puerto Rico because a potentially defective transmission-shift cable could increase the risk of a crash.

The recall affects certain Sonata cars from model years 2011 to 2014, in which the transmission-shift cable could detach from the shift-lever pin, causing the gear selection not to match the indicated gear, according to documents posted Wednesday by U.S. safety regulators.

That would cause the cars to move in an unintended or unexpected direction, the documents by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said.

The automaker identified 1,171 warranty claims and seven incidents related to this issue, the documents said.

Hyundai offic  (go to article)

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Maine Police Officer Pulls Over Driver for Speeding, Saves His Life

HuffingtonPost.com --

KENNEBUNK, Maine (AP) — Not many people can say they owe their lives to a near speeding ticket.

But 86-year-old Gavin Falconer can. He was pulled over Saturday by a police officer in Kennebunk, Maine. But shortly after handing over his license....  (go to article)

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Ford and GM sued for millions over CD-ripping tech in cars

Computerworld -- The copyright protection arm of the U.S. music industry is suing Ford and GM because the companies sold cars with CD players that can rip music to the vehicle's hard drive.

The Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies (AARC), a non-profit group representing more then 300,000 artists, filed the suit against the car companies and their infotainment system tech suppliers, Denso and Clarion.

The lawsuit calls out a feature in Ford vehicles called Jukebox, which records songs from CDs to the infotainment system's hard drive. The Jukebox function has been available on Ford vehicles since at least the 2011 model year.

For example, the owner's manual explains, "Your mobile media navigation system has a Jukebox which allows you to save desired tracks or CDs to the hard drive for later access.  (go to article)

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Six Unsung Fracking Fortunes

Forbes -- The shale-drilling revolution is quickly transforming the U.S. economy, and the biggest winners are not the only people drilling for oil and natural gas. (Also See: LyondellBasel, The Greatest Deal Of All Time)

The Chao Family

The family of the late Ting Tsung Chao runs and owns more than a third of Westlake Chemical , the Houston-based chemical producer whose profits are being supercharged now by cheap natural-gas-based feedstock. Siblings James, Albert and Dorothy are worth a combined $4.3 billion after Westlake’s stock rose sixfold in the last five years.

Warren Buffett and Carl Icahn

Two of the nation’s richest investors have benefited from insufficient pipeline capacity. Millions of barrels of oil are being moved around America by train, and Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway owns railr  (go to article)

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Mazda5 and Nissan Leaf lose their Consumer Reports recommendation

Consumer Reports -- Only one among a dozen small cars earned a Good score in the latest crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS): the Mini Cooper Countryman. Four others—Fiat 500L, Mazda5, Nissan Juke, and Nissan Leaf— earned the lowest score of Poor.

As a result, Consumer Reports will withdraw its recommendation of the Mazda5 and Nissan Leaf. (The 500L and Juke did not score high enough in our tests to be recommended.) Our long-standing criteria for recommending vehicles stipulates that a model score well in our testing, have average or better reliability, and perform adequately if included in crash tests performed by the government and/or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The Mazda5 is an affordable, versatile vehicle that we have enjoyed and endorsed, but this  (go to article)

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The Secret Life of Your Car's VIN

Insure.com -- Your car's vehicle identification number, commonly known as a VIN, may look like a meaningless string of random numbers and letters.

But together those 17 digits make up an impressive one-of-a-kind combination, following the car from the factory to the scrap heap.
 (go to article)

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