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Markets brace for Big Oil profit plunge

AP -- NEW YORK — It's just a forecast, and for only one of 10 industry groups in the stock market. Yet it has almost singlehandedly turned what had been a promising earnings season into a grim one.  (go to article)

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Chevron slashes spending as oil prices crash

CNN Money -- Another day, another problem for Big Oil. Chevron (CVX) on Friday became the latest energy company to scale back its ambitions this year due to falling oil prices.

The second-largest U.S. oil company plans to spend $35 billion this year on projects to discover and pump crude. That's down 13% from 2014.

 (go to article)

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Ask an analyst! Today: branded vs. unbranded gasoline

GasBuddy Blog -- Figuring out where to fill up can be a daunting task given all the different brands of gas stations. In this week's episode of GB-TV "Ask an Analyst" we explain what the differences are between branded gas vs. unbranded. Is it worth the extra money?

Check out the video below for the answer! We'll be answering more of the questions that you've asked us about in the weeks ahead, right here on the blog. 

You'll also notice our educational clips when you load up GasBuddy.com on a desktop computer, so feel free to check it out again!
Want to see more? Check out our GasBuddy YouTube channel! ...  (go to article)

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Libyan crude oil came to US Gulf Coast in November, first time since mid-2013

Platts -- Crude oil from Libya was imported to refiners in the US Gulf Coast in November for the first time since August 2013, according to data released Wednesday by the US EIA.

In November, two Aframaxes arrived in the Gulf Coast from Libya, chartered by BP and Citgo, carrying 32.5 and 36.6 API crude, respectively, and both with a sulfur content of 0.14%, the data showed.

The BP-chartered cargo delivered to Oil Tanking PL in Houston carrying 449,000 barrels, while the cargo chartered by Citgo headed to Lake Charles, Louisiana, where Citgo owns a 425,000 b/d refinery, contained 552,000 barrels.

The rare Libyan exports to the USGC came amid production and logistical issues for the OPEC member nation, as it saw political turmoil and fighting in October.

"[The imports] probably are not going to be  (go to article)

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More Oil Trains Could Roll Through Puget Sound To Shell Refinery

NPR -- Shell Oil wants to build more tracks at its refinery in Anacortes, Washington, to receive oil by rail. At a packed hearing in Skagit County on Thursday, more than 100 people turned up to comment on the proposal.

Shell's refinery in Anacortes is the last of Washington's five oil refineries to apply for permits to receive oil by rail from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota.

Skagit County had previously approved the necessary shoreline permits granting the go-ahead to Shell to construct expand rail at its Anacortes refinery to receive mile-long oil trains, six of them per week. Environmental groups appealed the decision, calling for a more comprehensive review of the potential health and environmental impacts.

The room was packed Thursday, when the Skagit County Hearing Examiner heard p  (go to article)

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Chevron earnings, revenue beat expectations

CNBC -- Chevron reported fourth-quarter earnings and revenue that beat analysts' expectations on Friday.
Shares of the oil giant moved higher in premarket trading following the announcement. (Get the latest quote here.)
 (go to article)

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OPEC oil output rises in January as key members stand firm: survey

Yahoo -- OPEC's oil supply has risen this month due to more Angolan exports and steady to higher output in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf producers, a Reuters survey showed, a sign key members are standing firm in refusing to prop up prices.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries at a November meeting decided to focus on market share rather than cutting output, despite concerns from members such as Iran and Venezuela about falling oil revenue.

Supply from OPEC has averaged 30.37 million barrels per day (bpd) in January, up from a revised 30.24 million bpd in December, according to the survey based on shipping data and information from sources at oil companies, OPEC and consultants.
At the Nov. 27 meeting, OPEC retained its output target of 30 million bpd, sending oil prices to a four-  (go to article)

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Oil set for record bear run as OPEC output grows

Yahoo -- Oil fell below $49 a barrel on Friday and was on course for its seventh straight month of declines, the longest such bear run on record as a supply glut showed no signs of easing with OPEC increasing production in January.

Benchmark Brent crude prices have kept within a band of $45-$50 a barrel since hitting a six-year low on Jan. 13, but analysts have not ruled out further declines as global inventories continue to rise.
Supplies from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) rose in January to 30.37 million barrels per day (bpd), a Reuters survey showed, a sign key members are standing firm in refusing to prop up prices by cutting output.

Data this week also showed U.S. crude oil inventories had reached their highest levels since the 1930s.  (go to article)

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Oil on track for seventh monthly fall as supply glut weighs

Reuters -- Oil prices were steady near $49 a barrel early on Friday with some support from new Chinese reserve regulations yet remained on track for a seventh monthly fall weighed by a global supply glut.

Data this week showed U.S. crude oil inventories had reached their highest levels since the 1930s.
 (go to article)

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NTTA Impounds Vehicle of Toll Scofflaw

Dallas Morning News -- Dallas-area toll dodgers who think the North Texas Tollway Authority has been bluffing about towing your car, take note: The agency impounded a scofflaw’s vehicle for the first time this week.
NTTA spokesman Michael Rey said a state trooper Tuesday pulled over Rochelle Sanders on the Dallas North Tollway in Plano after she’d been told multiple times that she was banned from agency roads for not paying her tolls.
The Garland resident owed the agency $2,700 in unpaid tolls and fees for 1,300 unpaid violations dating back to May. That pales next to the tens of thousands of dollars that some drivers owe for violations that stretch back for years.
Sanders could not be reached for comment. Rey said she opened a TollTag account Thursday morning and began paying what she owes.  (go to article)

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Some Motorists Wait Months For DMV Appointments After Immigrants Law Goes Into Effect

CBS Los Angeles -- The Department of Motor Vehicles is so overwhelmed with requests for new driver’s licenses and vehicle registrations that it can take up to three months to get an appointment or a half-day wait in the lobby.

A DMV spokesman told KCAL9 Political Reporter Dave Bryan there has been a crush of applications for new licenses for undocumented immigrants, a program that began earlier this month. The spokesman said the DMV is working to address the problems, but some people are having to take a day off of work to handle a 15-minute transaction.

At the Hollywood DMV office, where they handle drivers license issues, the long lines outside and packed waiting areas inside are testimony to the long, grueling process that California drivers have to endure before getting service.
 (go to article)

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Markets brace for Big Oil profit plunge

AP via Yahoo News -- It's just a forecast, and for only one of 10 industry groups in the stock market. Yet it has almost singlehandedly turned what had been a promising earnings season into a grim one.

Profits for companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 index are expected to grow at one of the lowest rates in years, just 1.4 percent. The culprit: Energy companies that suffered as oil prices plunged. Their profits are expected to drop 25 percent, a collapse of fortune nearly unheard of outside of a recession, and one that has weighed on the stock market.

Investors will find out just how ugly the earnings are as oil companies report results over the next several days.  (go to article)

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Exploding Air Bag May Have Killed Texas Man

ABC News -- Federal safety regulators are looking into the death of a Texas man who may be the latest victim of exploding automobile air bags made by Takata Corp. of Japan.

The man, identified by authorities as Carlos Solis, 35, died in a low-speed crash in the Houston area when an air bag inflated and sent shrapnel into his neck, U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, D-Fla., said Thursday on the Senate floor.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it was gathering information on the crash, which involved a 2002 Honda Accord and occurred Jan. 18. Honda said in a statement that the car was part of a 2011 national recall to fix the driver's air bag inflators, but records show the repairs had not been made. The company urged anyone with a vehicle recalled for air bag problems to take cars to deale  (go to article)

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Chevron quarterly profit drops 30 percent on cheap oil

Reuters -- Chevron Corp, the second-largest U.S. oil producer, said on Friday its quarterly profit fell 30 percent due to plunging crude prices CLc1.

The company posted fourth-quarter net income of $3.47 billion, or $1.85 per share, compared with $4.93 billion, or $2.57 per share, in the year-ago period.

Foreign currency conversion charges dented earnings by $432 million, Chevron said.

Production between the quarters held steady at 2.58 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd).

Shares of the San Ramon, Calif.-based company are down about 22 percent in the past six months, closing Thursday at $103 per share.  (go to article)

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Record 9 Models Have Zero Driver Deaths, IIHS Says

NBC News -- The highway death toll has been plunging rapidly in recent years, and safety experts are crediting a number of factors, including improved roadways and a crackdown on drunk driving. But a new study puts the spotlight on vehicle design and improved technology for both preventing crashes and keeping motorists alive when they do occur.

A record total of nine models sold during the 2011 model-year have had a death rate of zero, meaning no driver was killed in a crash involving those vehicles during the period studied by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. IIHS released a report on the findings Thursday.

Significantly, these are not ultra-exotic products. They include mainstream models like the Honda Odyssey minivan and Subaru Legacy sedan, as well as the big Mercedes-Benz GL SUV.  (go to article)

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U.S. crude oil stocks return to 1930s crisis levels

Reuters -- .S. commercial crude oil stocks last week hit their highest level since 1931 - when the opening of giant oil fields in the United States coincided with the Great Depression to create an enormous glut and sent prices tumbling to just 13 cents per barrel.

Commercial crude stocks at refineries and tank farms across the country rose to almost 407 million barrels on Jan 23, up from 398 million the week before, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) (link.reuters.com/jax83w).

Commercial stocks were the highest since the agency started collecting weekly data in 1982.

The parallels are not exact because production and consumption are so much higher now than in the 1930s. In 1931, stocks of 407 million barrels were equivalent to 160 days of nationwide production, ...  (go to article)

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Senate OKs Keystone pipeline bill despite veto threat

yakima herald -- In a 62-36 vote, 53 Republicans and nine Democrats approved a bill seeking to force completion of the 840-mile pipeline that Obama has vowed to veto while federal environmental reviews continue.  (go to article)

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Five new transportation players to watch in 2015

The Hill -- Change is in the air on Capitol Hill as Republicans take control of both houses of Congress for the first time since 2006, resulting in a host of changes to the key players on transportation issues.  (go to article)

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Ohio to begin largest highway project in state's history

GasBuddy Blog -- Image From ..dispatch.comThe Columbus Dispatch says that when shovels hit the ground in Scioto County this year, construction crews will begin working on the largest project in the Ohio Department of Transportation’s history.The $429 million Portsmouth Bypass will snake around the city, linking Rts. 23 and 52 via a 16-mile, four-lane limited-access highway. The project has been discussed for decades, and it might have remained an idea if not for rules adopted by the state in 2011.It’s ODOT’s first public-private partnership: a new mechanism that allows the private sector to build and pay for public transportation projects while the state repays them over time. ...  (go to article)

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Free Tesla with every unit purchased at new condo

Statesman -- It’s not unusual for some high-end developments to throw in a few freebies to sweeten the pot, but one West Palm Beach, Florida project is taking it to a whole new level.

The Z Palm Beach condominium is offering a complimentary Tesla Model S with each unit. The luxe electric car costs about $71,070, according to the Tesla website.

The unique development will have just eight units starting at $2.3 million. They are expected to be open by the end of the year.

“The innovative Z Palm Beach Residences lifestyle extends to the road with a complimentary Tesla Model S,” the Z Palm Beach website says. “The car will be parked in their dedicated spot and will be titled to them to complement their residential purchase.”
 (go to article)

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Shell urges shareholders to accept climate resolution

The Guardian -- Shell is set to confront the risk that climate change may pose to its future, after backing a resolution from activist shareholders. The move came on the same day it announced $15bn (£10bn) in cost cutting due to plummeting oil prices and said it wanted to resume drilling for oil in the Arctic.

The resolution, filed by 150 investors who control hundreds of billions of pounds, requires the oil major to test whether its business model is compatible with the pledge by the world’s nations to limit global warming to 2C.

The 2C target means only a quarter of existing, exploitable fossil fuel reserves are burnable, according to a series of recent analyses. That implies trillions of dollars of oil, gas and coal held by investors could become worthless  (go to article)

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Iowa could be Battleground Ethanol in 2016

The Des Moines Register -- Iowa will be Battleground Ethanol in the 2016 presidential race if a couple of seasoned political strategists have their way.

Their underlying message: Candidates who don't support a federal renewable fuels rule have a history of losing races in corn-intense Iowa.

A coalition of Iowans led by Democrat Derek Eadon and Republican Eric Branstad intends to spend the next few months bringing presidential hopefuls up to speed on why they believe the Renewable Fuel Standard is crucial to the economy in Iowa and the nation. After that, they'll make sure Iowa voters know which side each candidate has taken.

Their new nonprofit political organization, America's Renewable Future, will make a multimillion-dollar push backed by some of Iowa's top elected officials and influencers in the agriculture  (go to article)

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Energy hypocrisy: Ethanol isn't a good fuel, but it's not going away anytime soon

The Guardian -- Bad policy has entrenched ethanol in the US energy industry despite its many drawbacks. Lawmakers have introduced legislation to end its use and make way for other biofuels, but with gas prices on the downswing, it may not be enough.

Ethanol was supposed to do a lot for the US.

It was supposed to help reduce our dependence on foreign oil. It was supposed to combat climate change. It was supposed to be a gateway for more renewable fuels technology. It was supposed to reduce gasoline prices because it was cheaper.

So when Congress mandated in 2005 that 10% of the nation’s fuel supply had to be blended with ethanol, which is derived from corn, there were some idealistic hopes that renewable fuels would wean us off fossil fuels.

It hasn’t worked that way.

The US is reducing its dependenc  (go to article)

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Where's the bottom? Traders spooked by oil drop fear getting 'face ripped off' as bets go awry

FOX BUSINESS-AP -- The plunge in oil has crushed the Russian ruble, erased $80 billion from Exxon Mobil's market value and pushed Venezuela to the brink of economic collapse.

But to Justin Thomas, the real drama in oil unfolds on a smaller scale, a story told in tiny, second-by-second moves in prices on his computer screen. Lately, most of the moves have been down, taking a toll on him and other traders who believe oil should have turned up by now.

"It was quiet, then there was chaos," said Thomas after a few losing bets earlier this month from his one-man office in Boise, Idaho. "The market changes, and you lose your confidence."

Thomas is one of thousands of oil traders who have helped turn market fundamentals — lots of oil, not enough demand — into a plunge of nearly 60 percent in the price of crude...  (go to article)

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Wall St finishes higher in afternoon rally as oil gains

Reuters -- U.S. stocks enjoyed a late afternoon rally and closed higher on Thursday as an upturn in oil prices and a rally in Apple and Boeing shares helped offset some disappointing earnings and lingering questions over U.S. monetary policy.

The S&P 500 had fallen as much as 0.6 percent earlier, led by energy stocks, which then reversed direction along with crude prices.

While the afternoon rise in crude was not huge, it was enough to cheer up the market after two weak days, said Randy Frederick, managing director at Charles Schwab in Austin.

"Technically the market was a little oversold, so we were in a pretty good position to bounce, so we just needed a little bit of positive news to spark an afternoon rally," he said.  (go to article)

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Study: Newer vehicles getting safer

Detroit News -- The chance of dying when behind the wheel of a newer car is falling dramatically as automakers add high-tech safety features, a report released Thursday finds.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said death rates for drivers in late-model vehicles fell by more than one-third over three years — but there is a wide range between the safest models and those with the highest death rates.

Gloria Bergquiest, a spokesman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a trade group representing Detroit’s Big Three automakers, Toyota Motor Corp. and others, said newer vehicles are safer.

“Today’s new vehicles come with many safety advancements, and we urge everyone to consider buying a new vehicle with automatic braking or one of the other advanced crash-avoidance systems,” she said.  (go to article)

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Shell planning to restart Arctic drilling this year

Fuel Fix -- Shell is planning on spending $1 billion to drill exploratory oil wells in Arctic waters north of Alaska this year as long as it clears legal and permitting hurdles, the company’s chief executive said Thursday.

Ben van Beurden, CEO of Royal Dutch Shell, noted the many legal and logistical obstacles standing in the way of the company’s quest to resume drilling in the Chukchi Sea once ice clears this summer. But he stressed Shell’s commitment to the project.

“We are minded to drill this year in the Chukchi,” he told reporters on an earnings call Thursday morning. “We have retained a very significant capability to be ready for this year to go ahead.”

“We have kept all our capability in place, tuned it, upgraded it just to be ready to drill this coming summer season,” Van Beurden added. Sh  (go to article)

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U.S. crude drops below $44 as inventory builds scare market

Yahoo -- U.S. crude oil fell below $44 a barrel for the first time since April 2009 on Thursday while benchmark Brent sharply pared early gains after data showing additions to already record-high U.S. oil inventories.

Oil prices had risen broadly earlier in the session after preliminary U.S. weekly jobless claims data hit a nearly 15-year low, indicating further strength in the world's largest economy.

But crude futures in New York were near a six-year low by midmorning after a report from oil services firm Genscape, which a market source said showed fresh builds of 1.6 million barrels at the Cushing, Oklahoma delivery point for U.S. crude in the period of Jan. 23 through Jan. 27.  (go to article)

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Keystone XL bill passes in Senate, faces Obama veto

Reuters -- WASHINGTON - The U.S. Senate passed a bill on Thursday to approve the long-pending Keystone XL oil pipeline, despite the White House saying earlier in the day that President Barack Obama would veto the measure.  (go to article)

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Ohio, Kentucky to share costs in bridge project

Morrow County Sentinel -- In a joint press conference yesterday, Ohio Governor John Kasich and Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear outlined significant changes in their plans to use road tolls to fund a repair/replacement project for the Brent Spence Bridge.

Opened in 1963, the bridge is one of the busiest trucking routes in the United States. It carries both I-75 and I-71 traffic through Cincinnati and northern Kentucky, and connects the region to eight other states.
 (go to article)

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US crude oil exports up to record 502,000 b/d in November

Platts -- US crude exports rose 126,000 b/d to a record 502,000 b/d in November, Energy Information Administration data showed Thursday.

The prior record high of 455,000 b/d was set in March of 1957.

The bulk of the November volume went to Canada, where US barrels rose 104,000 b/d to 455,000 b/d. This echoes Statistics Canada data released at the beginning of the month, which showed Canadian imports from the US were around 487,000 b/d in November.

EIA data shows the US also exported crude to Switzerland, Singapore and China. Exports to Switzerland -- which, while small, have become a steady occurrence since April -- rose to 20,000 b/d, up from 8,000 b/d.

Exports to Singapore totaled 17,000 b/d, up from zero. Exports to China totaled 10,000 b/d in November. These are the first volumes to China s  (go to article)

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Cheap crude helps Valero, Phillips 66 profits beat estimates

Reuters -- U.S. refiners Valero Energy Corp and Phillips 66 reported better-than-expected quarterly profits as they processed more cheap crude oil amid buoyant demand for gasoline.

Phillips 66 said it processed a record 375,000 bpd of tight oil, nearly 12 percent more than its previous high.

Valero processed an average of 2.8 million barrels per day in the fourth quarter, up 41,000 bpd from a year earlier.

Phillips 66 said total costs and expenses fell nearly 20 percent. Valero's costs fell nearly 21 percent.

Refiners have been enjoying plump profits as growing output from U.S. shale oil and Canadian oil sands has put downward pressure on crude prices.

Still, refining earnings or operating income at both companies fell from the third quarter of 2014, when U.S. gasoline prices had not yet fallen  (go to article)

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Valero beats Wall Street estimates

FuelFix.com -- SAN ANTONIO – Higher margins earned on its products helped Valero Energy Corp. beat Wall Street’s estimates for the company’s fourth quarter, although the company’s net income declined by 5 percent.

San Antonio-based Valero, the nation’s largest refiner, said net income from continuing operations attributable to stockholders fell in the quarter ended Dec. 31 to $1.2 billion, or $2.22 per share, from $1.3 billion, or $2.38 per share, for the year-earlier period.  (go to article)

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Senate on track to pass Keystone XL bill

FuelFix.com -- WASHINGTON — The Senate’s wide-ranging four-week debate over the fate of Keystone XL is set to conclude Thursday, with expected passage of legislation authorizing the pipeline.

But the story is far from over for the legislation or the underlying TransCanada Corp. project.

The addition of an energy efficiency measure, an assertion that “climate change is real” and other provisions mean that the legislation will now head back to the House of Representatives, which could pass the bill and send it to President Barack Obama as soon as next week.  (go to article)

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Oil crash: 'Drill, baby, drill' loses momentum

CNN Money -- The dash to drill oil in the United States is tripping up.

When oil prices were flying high, producers raced to extract as much oil as possible out of the ground. The flurry of activity fueled the U.S. energy revolution and created tons of new jobs. It also helped spark a massive oil supply glut.

With oil supplies overflowing and demand sluggish, prices have crashed. Crude plunged below $44 a barrel on Thursday and touched levels unseen since March 2009 in the midst of the Great Recession. To put that in context, oil averaged about $93 last year.

Someone has to cut back on production, but there's a global debate about who will blink first. OPEC, led by Saudi Arabia, has made it clear it won't scale back.  (go to article)

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Oil slumps to near six-year low under $44

yahoo.com -- New York oil prices tumbled to a near six-year low underneath $44 per barrel on Thursday, as record-high US crude inventories deepened worries over the global supply glut.  (go to article)

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Meet the tiny Colibri, Germany's one-seat wonder

BBC -- The impossible dream of scoring the perfect city parking spot is about to get somewhat more possible – at least in Germany, where the tiny Colibri, a single-seat electric car from upstart Innovative Mobility Automobile (IMA), is headed for production.

Set to become available for test-drives and pre-orders this year, and scheduled to enter series production during 2016, the Colibri is aimed squarely at businesses that operate fleets of service vehicles in densely populated urban areas, where parking is at a premium. But that doesn’t mean IMA isn’t also trying to woo everyday drivers, says Thomas delos Santos, IMA’s founder and chief executive officer.  (go to article)

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Oregon's gas tax alternative- pay per mile- moving forward

GasBuddy Blog -- via Oregon DOTOregon’s Department of Transportation (ODOT) has preliminary chosen Sanef, Verizon and telematics company Azuga as vendors in the nation’s first large scale pay-by the mile Road Usage Charge  (RUC) program, said Michelle Godfrey, the program’s public affairs officer.

“Vendor relationships are preliminary until the vendor passes ODOT certification,” Godfrey told Toll Roads News. That certification includes a number of tests and performance criteria and “must occur before the vendor can provide services for the Road Usage Charge program,” she said.

Sanef was selected as the ODOT Account Manager (OAM) to provide full turnkey mileage reporting and account management equipment and operations. The company served as the OAM in Oregon’s earlier pilot project....  (go to article)

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Planned gas station point of contention for Curtis Park residents

Sacramento Bee -- Residents of Sacramento’s Curtis Park neighborhood on Wednesday night challenged a developer’s notion that rejecting a gas station would turn a planned upscale retail development into a collection of discount stores, pizza joints and check-cashing businesses.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article8550224.html  (go to article)

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Next for oil: Mergers, layoffs and 'death spirals'

CNBC -- With crude prices nearly 60 percent off their highs, experts foresee a wave of corporate restructuring and acquisitions playing out over the next 12 to 18 months. Oilfield services companies are set to absorb smaller firms, while exploration and production companies could face a "death spiral" as their access to debt dwindles.  (go to article)

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Midwest To Get EV Boost With 1,001 K.C.-Area Public Chargers

Edmunds.com -- There are only 900 electric cars registered in the Kansas City metropolitan area, but by the end of this summer there could be more than 1,000 publicly available EV charging stations to serve them.

In hopes of growing its own business, the Kansas City Power and Light Co. is betting that sales of electricity-consuming EVs and plug-in hybrids will grow substantially in the region if potential customers see that there a rich charging environment.

The strategy, which includes asking regulators in Kansas and Missouri to let the utility company pass the $20 million cost through to its customers, marks the first time a major investor-owned utility has entered the EV charging business in such a big way, although smaller utility-owned networks have been established in Texas and a few other states  (go to article)

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Forget the falling price, US oil industry renews push to lift ban on exporting US oil

Associated Press -- WASHINGTON – Never mind dropping oil prices. U.S. producers are pushing harder than ever for the right to sell U.S. crude oil overseas.

It might seem counterintuitive: Oil prices are as low as they have been at any point since 2009 and the height of the Great Recession, and some predict they could drop further still.
 (go to article)

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Toyota recalls 52,000 Avalon sedans for fire risk

CNBC -- Toyota is recalling 52,000 Avalon sedans because of a wiring problem that could cause a fire.

The recall affects Avalons from the 2011 and 2012 model years.
Read More Brit buys $4.5M supercar 'holy trinity'
Toyota says cargo in the trunk could move the wires connected to the audio system subwoofer. If the wires contact the metal frame of the subwoofer, they could short circuit and cause the subwoofer to overheat. That increases the risk of a fire.

Read MoreFord recalls cars, vans for door latch and seat belt trouble
Toyota says no injuries or fires have been linked to the problem, but it has received two reports of overheating.

Toyota will notify owners, who can get their vehicles repaired for free at dealerships. Dealers will disconnect the subwoofer until a repair is available.  (go to article)

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‘We have all seen this before': In Calgary, end of the oil boom has yet to sink in

Financial Post -- The screeching halt in oil-related spending has raised widespread concern about how badly it will hurt Can’s economy. But in Can’s oil capital it hasn’t sunk in yet that the oil boom is over
The city’s mood is certainly a long way from the dark days of global financial downturn in 2009, when malls were empty
The transition from a super-charged economy to one having to absorb the sudden oil shock has been so quick that decisions made in the executive suites have yet to hit home
Most know there will be consequences from the oil crash in the next 12 mths, but so far lower oil has put more money in ABns’ pockets
The things that have changed right away are mortgage rates and gas that is cheaper, and so far the impact of the so-called crash is it costs us less to live. But that is not  (go to article)

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Crude extends slide to trade close to 6-year low

marketwatch -- Oil futures bounced modestly Thursday, but remained not far off a six-year low, a day after a larger-than-expected increase in U.S. crude supplies.  (go to article)

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Calgary just spent $5.9-million on a pedestrian bridge that’s hundreds of tonnes. One problem: it’s

National Post - CALGARY -- It’s the new City of Calgary riddle: what costs $5.9M, weighs hundreds of tonnes and is about 4 inches shy of being useful?

A pedestrian bridge that’s supposed to go across Shaganappi Trail, but instead is sitting alongside the road

City contractors tried to lift the bridge onto its abutments this weekend, but the connecting parts between the steel span and the landings were about 4 to 5 inches away from being a proper fit, city spokesman Sean Somers said Wed

While officials and contractors seek a fix and try to figure out how the mistake occurred, Somers said the remedial work won’t cost taxpayers
 (go to article)

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As gasoline prices drop, Americans swing to favor oil exports: Poll

Reuters -- Americans are more likely than ever to favor easing a ban on exporting crude oil, so long as it does not lead to higher gasoline prices that have recently sunk to near $2 a gallon, according to a new Reuters-IPSOS poll.

In questions posed to more than 2,000 voting-age Americans earlier this month, around 45 percent generally agreed that oil drillers should be allowed to export domestic crude abroad, while just over 30 percent broadly disagreed. In September, supporters and opponents were both at around 40 percent.
 (go to article)

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House leaders look to boost transportation funding in Georgia -- without raising taxes

Florida Times Union -- ATLANTA | House leaders released the outline Wednesday of a plan they say will boost funding for transportation by $1 billion without raising taxes, although legislators and lobbyists who heard it were scratching their heads.

The complicated proposal includes cutting undisclosed non-transportation expenditures now funded with part of the state’s sales tax on gasoline, converting that sales tax to an excise tax, indexing the new excise tax for inflation and improving mileage, imposing a fee on electric vehicles and borrowing lots of money with bonds.

“It’s really not a sleight of hand,” said House Majority Leader Larry O’Neal, R-Bonaire, a tax lawyer who once chaired the House Ways and Means Committee.

The proposal converts the sales tax on gasoline to a per-gallon excise tax based on th  (go to article)

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Oil giant Shell cuts spending by $15 billion

CNN Money -- More bad news for oil industry workers and suppliers: Royal Dutch Shell has joined the ranks of energy companies who are slashing their spending.

Shell said it was scaling back its planned capital investment by $15 billion over the next three years.

Oil is now trading around $45 per barrel, down from over $100 per barrel this summer.

Shares in Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB) fell by about 5% in London after the company said fourth quarter net profit fell 57% versus the same period last year.

"Shell has options to further reduce spending, but we are not over-reacting to current low oil prices," the company said in a statement.  (go to article)

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New Report Urges Western Governments to Reconsider Reliance on Biofuels

NY Times -- Western governments have made a wrong turn in energy policy by supporting the large-scale conversion of plants into fuel and should reconsider that strategy, according to a new report from a prominent environmental think tank.

Turning plant matter into liquid fuel or electricity is so inefficient that the approach is unlikely ever to supply a substantial fraction of global energy demand, the report found. It added that continuing to pursue this strategy — which has already led to billions of dollars of investment — is likely to use up vast tracts of fertile land that could be devoted to helping feed the world’s growing population.

Some types of biofuels do make environmental sense, the report found, particularly those made from wastes like sawdust, tree trimmings and cornstalks. But thei  (go to article)

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As the Cost of Gasoline Shrinks, Small Businesses Think Big

AP -- For small business owners who deliver goods and services via car, truck or SUV, lower gas prices have brought more customers within reach and put more money in their pockets.

As gas prices fell below $3 a gallon, Kristen Harris went back to delivering her desserts to Chicago-area neighborhoods she had abandoned. Harris was able to cut her delivery charge from 70 cents a mile to 60 cents, and win back customers who had balked at the higher fee.

Her revenue during the holidays rebounded 30 percent, and she's thinking about a further expansion.

"We definitely want to saturate the Chicago market," says Harris, whose Homewood, Illinois, based Pizzazzed Plus makes cookies, cake pops and other treats

At a national average of $2.04 a gallon, regular gas is down 45 percent from its 2014 peak of  (go to article)

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