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Thursday, April 02, 2015

20
votes
Chorus of Outrage as Obama Administration Approves Arctic Drilling for Shell Oil

Common Dreams -- Environmental activists expressed shock and outrage on Tuesday after the Department of the Interior upheld a 2008 lease sale on the Arctic's Chuchki Sea, opening the door for continued oil exploration in a region long eyed for drilling by Shell Corporation and increasingly strained under the effects of climate change.

The decision opens up 30M acres in the Chuchki Sea to fossil fuel exploration and drilling, a move which state and national green groups called "unconscionable."

"Our Arctic ocean is flat out the worst place on Earth to drill for oil," said Niel Lawrence, AK director of the NRDC. "The world’s last pristine sea, it is both too fragile to survive a spill and too harsh and remote for effective cleanup."

In January 2014, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that th  (read more)

Submitted 2 hours ago By:
154 Comments

18
votes
Sand from river could be used for fracking

The Daily Republic -- The problem of excess sedimentation in the Missouri River and Lewis and Clark Lake isn't going away soon. But some innovative ideas about what to do -- such as using sediment for fracking -- are being discussed.

Ron Zelt, a hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey Nebraska Water Science Center in Lincoln, presented on the topic of fracking sand requirements and managing sediment. The presentation was during the Missouri Sedimentation Action Coalition annual meeting Tuesday in Niobrara, Neb., held at the town's fire hall in the community located just over the South Dakota-Nebraska border.

Zelt said there's a study ongoing to examine the sediment that comes from the Niobrara River area to see if it could be used as frac sand. Fracking is used in oil and gas production with geologic...  (read more)

Submitted 1 hour ago By:
32 Comments

17
votes
Australia’s first hydrogen car launched, with solar refueller

RenewEconomy -- Nearly four months after its arrival on Australian soil, the nation’s first hydrogen fuel cell passenger vehicle has been officially unveiled in Sydney, alongside another first – a solar powered hydrogen refuelling station.

The South Korean-made Hyundai SUV ix35 Fuel Cell, which first arrived in Sydney in early December, was launched by federal industry minister Ian Macfarlane – who, according to this report, was also “taken for a spin” in the vehicle – at Hyundai Australia’s Macquarie Park headquarters on Wednesday.In December, the company flagged its plans to build its own solar powered hydrogen refueller, as well as its own electrolyser, in partnership with Australian company Sefca.

The hydrogen electrolyser was also to be powered by the solar array, making the whole operation full  (read more)

Submitted 1 hour ago By:
16 Comments

17
votes
California energy tech firm pushing gas-to-liquids technology

REUTERS -- A San Francisco company that has come up with a less expensive technology to convert natural gas to gasoline, diesel and other liquids is seeking to put it to use on a larger commercial scale.

Siluria Technologies uses a catalyst to convert methane into ethylene, a building block for petrochemicals, and then another catalyst to turn that into liquids, primarily gasoline, Chief Executive Ed Dineen said in an interview this week.

"It's a technology the industry has long sought after," said Dineen, who was formerly chief operating officer of chemicals company LyondellBasell Industries NV.

With backing from Saudi Aramco and partnerships with well-known industry players including the Linde Group and Brazilian petrochemical company Braskem, Dineen hopes to break into natural gas processing...  (read more)

Submitted 1 hour ago By:
33 Comments

15
votes
GM Makes Surprise Announcement – 240 mpg Chevy Amphibian

HybridCars -- NEW YORK – Today General Motors announced the 2016 Chevrolet Amphibian (abbreviated Amp), a new four door hatch back built specifically for export to oil-producing nations.

Designed to leapfrog all other cars on the road today, the new hatchback from Chevy has truly astonishing performance figures. In the hands of an enlightened commuter, the sleek-looking Amphibian is able do 240 mpg and can travel more than 2,160 miles on a single 9 gallon tank of normal gasoline. This gives the Amp the largest range and lowest cost per mile of any car on the road today!

As its name suggests, the Amp is not just a city slicker. Built Chevy Tough, the Amphibian can frolic from the frozen mud and snow of a Yukon ice road to the bog roads of Alberta to the searing beaches of Saudi Arabia.

How did GM do i  (read more)

Submitted 2 hours ago By:
158 Comments

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

51
votes
AP Exclusive: Big rigs often go faster than tires can handle

Sentinel-Tribune-AP -- Many tractor-trailers on the nation's roads are driven faster than the 75 mph their tires are designed to handle, a practice that has been linked to wrecks and blowouts but has largely escaped the attention of highway officials.

Nearly all truck tires have been built for a maximum sustained speed of 75 mph since the middle of last decade, when drivers across the vast majority of the U.S. were allowed to go no faster than 65 or 70 mph.

But 14 states, mainly west of the Mississippi River, now have speed limits of 75, 80, even 85 mph in part of Texas. Some of those states acted without consulting the tire industry.

Safety advocates and tire experts say that habitually driving faster than a tire's rated speed can generate excessive heat that damages the rubber, with potentially catastrophic  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
1548 Comments

47
votes
Speed limit increasing to 80 mph Wednesday in South Dakota

Fargo Moorhead Forum -- WATERTOWN, S.D. – With the speed limit on interstates in South Dakota going up to 80 mph Wednesday, Stone’s Truck Stop office manager Donna Schmidt said the surprise decision by this past session’s legislators hasn’t generated a lot of talk at the station just off of Interstate 29 in Watertown.  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
1103 Comments

41
votes
Americans are not spending their gas savings

CNN Money -- Americans are saving hundreds on low gas prices this year.

The Obama administration estimates the typical American household will save $750 this year from a discount at the pump. But are they spending that money?

The short answer: No. Most people are pocketing the gas savings. While there are a few signs that families are eating out more, the big deluge of spending that many predicted hasn't happened yet.  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
460 Comments

39
votes
Death toll rises to 14 in Mexico gas tanker explosion

TwinCities.com-PIONEER PRESS-AP -- The death toll in a gasoline tanker truck explosion in southeastern Mexico rose to 14 on Tuesday, the result of an attempted theft of fuel in an area that authorities say has a long reputation for roadside thefts.

Tabasco state prosecutor Fernando Valenzuela Pernas said that while investigators had found no evidence someone intentionally ignited the gasoline after the truck crashed last Thursday, people did break through the police perimeter and then chased off firefighters so they could steal gasoline.

"The stretch from Lagartero to Palo Mulato historically has been an area of robbery and assault on commercial vehicles and passengers, including a time in which they put oil on the highway to get vehicles to run off the road," Valenzuela said Monday. "It's not something recent."

 (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
923 Comments

38
votes
U.S. closes probe into 240,000 diesel VW vehicles

Detroit News -- he National Highway Traffic Safety Administrations said Tuesday it is closing a nearly 5-year-old investigation into 241,000 diesel powered Volkswagen vehicles without demanding a recall.

The agency said it was closing the probe into the 2009-12 Jetta, Golf, Touareg, Audi A3 and Q7 TDI clean diesel vehicles after nearly 800 complaints about high-pressure fuel pump failures causing contamination of the fuel system. VW in 2013 agreed to voluntarily install devices designed to prevent owners from misfueling their diesel vehicles.

NHTSA opened the probe in 2010 and upgraded it in February 2011 to an engineering analysis after 160 complaints. NHTSA said VW has not identified any design or manufacturing defects in the pumps and said they “were designed, tested and approved for use in the Unite  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
889 Comments

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

50
votes
With So Much Oil Flowing, U.S. May Be Reaching Storage Limits

NPR -- Never before has the U.S. had so much oil spurting up out of the ground and sloshing into storage tanks around the country. There's so much oil that the U.S. now rivals Saudi Arabia as the world's largest producer.

But there has been some concern that the U.S. will run out of places to put it all. Some analysts speculate that could spark another dramatic crash in oil prices.  (read more)

Submitted Mar 31, 2015 By:
665 Comments

49
votes
New device blocks cell signals inside vehicles to stop distracted driving, says developer

Edmonton Journal -- An Edmonton businessman who is determined to keep his own children from driving distracted has created a device that he says delays texts, phone calls, social media messages and other alerts until a vehicle is in park.

Angus Poulain, a father of six, said he got the idea for his KRS, or Keeping Roads Safe, device about four years ago because his kids spent so much time texting and communicating through social media. He has 15-year-old twins who hope to get their drivers’ licences soon.

“You see people all over the place (on devices). It’s just an epidemic,” Poulain said in an interview from Nova Scotia, where he spends half his time.

“So we came up with this device ... It’s not an app. It installs right into your car and it delays signals — any texting, notifications, Instagramming,  (read more)

Submitted Mar 31, 2015 By:
635 Comments

45
votes
Oil could fall below $30 a barrel, but here’s why that’s a good thing

Market Watch -- Oil futures could tumble as far as the mid-$20s before bottoming. But if history is a guide, that could be a positive scenario for stocks as corporate earnings and consumers reap the benefit of lower energy prices, said Scott Minerd, global chief investment officer at Guggenheim Partners.

But first, Minerd sees little reason to expect a significant near-term rebound for oil prices.

The supply-demand dynamics remain decidedly unfavorable, he said in a meeting with reporters Monday, particularly with storage capacity at the Cushing, Okla., delivery hub likely to run out in coming weeks. That will put even more crude on the spot market. He also isn’t convinced rig counts have fallen far enough to stop U.S. oil production from rising.  (read more)

Submitted Mar 31, 2015 By:
74 Comments

44
votes
BNSF adds safety rules for oil trains

Longview News-Journal-AP -- BNSF has started taking additional safety measures for crude oil shipments because of four recent high-profile derailments in the U.S. and Canada, the railroad said Monday.

Under the changes, BNSF is slowing down crude oil trains to 35 mph in cities with more than 100,000 people and increasing track inspections near waterways. The Fort Worth railroad also is stepping up efforts to find and repair defective wheels.

BNSF spokesman Michael Trevino said these additional safety efforts were imposed last week in response to the recent derailments, including one involving a BNSF train earlier this month near Galena, Illinois, and the Mississippi River.

"The recent incidents involving crude trains, including our own event in Galena, has led us to believe that we must take further action,"...  (read more)

Submitted Mar 31, 2015 By:
922 Comments

44
votes
Dealerships not endangered, but need improvment

Detroit Free Press -- Dealerships are not an endangered species — in fact women and young buyers want to visit a showroom to validate their research, get a test drive and do some haggling over price.

Those are among the findings of the Autotrader "Car buyer of the future" study released Monday night in New York in advance of the New York Auto Show that opens to the media on Wednesday. The findings are based on interviews with more than 4,000 consumers.

Overwhelmingly, consumers don't like the current car-buying process, especially the 4-6 hours it takes to complete the transaction at the end, including an hour just for the credit check, said Jared Rowe, president of AutoTrader.

But that does not mean they want to excise the dealership out of the equation. In fact, 84% said they want to buy their car in...  (read more)

Submitted Mar 31, 2015 By:
1352 Comments

Monday, March 30, 2015

48
votes
Tell Gasbuddy's That You Want An End To The Points For Watching Ad's Scheme To Be Abolished

Myself -- Tell GasBuddy's that it's wrong to keep using their Smartphone App, that gives points for watching Advertisements. This site is supposed to be about reporting gas prices and talking about the Petroleum Industry. It's not about bribing people to watch commercials that have nothing to do with the Petroleum Industry. Maybe they should abide by their own Code of Conduct.  (read more)

Submitted Mar 30, 2015 By:
109 Comments

47
votes
Oil prices drop on weak demand, potential Iran deal

Reuters -- SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Oil prices fell on Monday as the market focused on whether Iran and six world powers would reach a deal that could add fuel to an already oversupplied market if sanctions against Tehran are lifted.
The two sides tried to break an impasse in nuclear negotiations on Sunday ahead of a deadline to find a preliminary agreement by Tuesday, exploring compromises in a number of areas.

"Any relaxation of Iran oil sanctions could see increased exports adding to swelling global supplies and further pressuring prices," ANZ said on Monday.  (read more)

Submitted Mar 30, 2015 By:
733 Comments

46
votes
Ford's big Lincoln Continental is coming back

CNN -- The Lincoln Motor Company, Ford's luxury division, unveiled a big, richly-appointed, luxury car called the Continental in New York City Monday.

This car has a big job: To regain for Lincoln the respect it once had, decades ago, as a luxury car brand.

In recent years, Lincoln has mostly sold upgraded versions of Ford cars with little difference beyond the design and some added features.

The Continental is, officially, a concept vehicle but something very much like it will go on sale next year, according to Ford (F). And the production car will also be called the Lincoln Continental, making it one of only two Lincoln models, along with the Navigator SUV, to have a name instead of letters like MKZ or MKC.

The Continental is about the same length as a Mercedes-Benz S-class or long-wheelbas  (read more)

Submitted Mar 30, 2015 By:
1001 Comments

43
votes
U.S. Oil Glut Story Grossly Exaggerated

Yahoo -- Recently, I have noticed that oil storage & production data (and media hype for that matter) has disconnected from hard data. This has been occurring for many quarters now with the US economy statistics as well and appears to be the new world order where facts can be spun or massaged to any one’s wishes.

It’s called the “age of propaganda” where truth matters little and comes out later in so called revisions. Take the recent spate of economic data points from the Kansas City Fed which said that economic activity not only stalled but was negative at -4 vs expectations of +1. The recent durable goods statistics also show contraction as well.

Yet we see the services PMI at a 6 month high. How can these divergences be possible? Well for one, some statistics are hard while others are estimate  (read more)

Submitted Mar 30, 2015 By:
1572 Comments

41
votes
Northeast, Despite Highest Gas Costs, Resists More Pipelines

AP -- There is near universal agreement that the Northeast has to expand its energy supply to rein in the nation's highest costs and that cheap, abundant, relatively clean natural gas could be at least a short-term answer. But heels dig deep when it comes to those thorniest of questions: how and where?

Proposals to build or expand natural gas pipelines are met with an upswell of citizen discontent. At the end of last year, a Massachusetts route selected by Texas-based Kinder Morgan generated so much venom that the company nudged it north into New Hampshire - where the venom is also flowing freely. During this winter's town meetings, a centuries-old staple of local governance in New England, people in the nine towns touched by the route voted to oppose the project.

 (read more)

Submitted Mar 30, 2015 By:
467 Comments

Sunday, March 29, 2015

45
votes
Exports helping Nebraska's ethanol industry to grow

The Independent -- Nebraska’s 2 billion-gallon-a-year ethanol industry is growing in international stature.

Last year Nebraska’s ethanol agribusiness processed 657 million bushels of corn last year. While that corn made more than 2 billion gallons of ethanol, it also produced 18 pounds of distillers grain per bushel of corn.
Distillers grains are a cereal byproduct of the distillation process. The byproduct has established itself not only as an important source of livestock feed, but a growing export product, along with ethanol itself, according to the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).

And 2014 was a record export year for distillers grains and ethanol.

According to the RFA, the U.S. ethanol industry produced 14.3 billion gallons in 2014 — a 7.4 percent increase over the previous year.

At the end of  (read more)

Submitted Mar 29, 2015 By:
694 Comments

44
votes
Oil analysts haven’t been this divided in 8 years: What’s an investor to do?

Bloomberg News -- Standard Chartered Plc’s Paul Horsnell forecasts oil will rise to $90 in the fourth quarter. Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Francisco Blanch predicts $58. Six months ago, they were just $1 apart.

That sudden divergence highlights a growing trend: Energy analysts are the most divided in at least 8 years on the direction of Brent, the global benchmark. Forecasters failed to predict the plunge that cut oil prices by more than half after the U.S. shale boom boosted output to a three-decade high. OPEC, led by Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, relinquished its traditional role adjusting production to moderate price swings in an effort to maintain market share.

This has left analysts split over how much and how quickly low prices will force U.S. producers to shut, making their jo  (read more)

Submitted Mar 29, 2015 By:
1125 Comments

41
votes
Exxon unit asks for exception to North Dakota gas flare rule

The San Antonio -- A subsidiary of Exxon Mobil Corp. is asking state regulators to grant an exception to the amount of natural gas companies are permitted to burn off at 140 of its oil wells in Dunn and McKenzie counties.

The state's Oil and Gas Division heard the request from XTO Energy this week in which the company argues it has nowhere to take its gas. This is because OneOK, a gas-processing company, couldn't secure an easement agreement and build a 20-mile pipeline expansion. OneOK said the pipeline would have moved 40 million cubic feet per day to their Garden Creek gas plant in McKenzie County.

The request will now be forwarded to the state Industrial Commission, which earlier this week more clearly defined gas-capture rules, imposing penalties for noncompliance and establishing flexibility to...  (read more)

Submitted Mar 29, 2015 By:
308 Comments

41
votes
With Proposal 1, more fuel tax money will go to roads

Detroit Free Press -- Getting more road-repair bang for the fuel tax buck is a central thrust of Proposal 1, which goes to voters May 5.

On a $3 gallon of gas, motorists pay close to 18 cents in state sales tax, which doesn't get spent on roads.

If Proposal 1 passes, sales tax would no longer be applied to fuel sales. It would be replaced with a higher fuel tax, which would get spent predominantly on roads.

Bills that would be triggered into law if the proposal passes would remove the 19-cent-per-gallon tax on regular fuel and the 15-cent-per-gallon tax on diesel fuel and replace both with a single, percentage-based fuel tax that could never drop below 41.7 cents per gallon and would increase with inflation.

Removal of the sales tax means the impact of that hefty rise in the fuel tax will be significantly s  (read more)

Submitted Mar 29, 2015 By:
148 Comments

40
votes
Duke Energy CEO Loses $600K In Pay Over Coal Ash Pollution

AP -- Duke Energy Corp. CEO Lynn Good saw her pay docked about $600,000 in the aftermath of last year's massive spill of collected coal ash that coated 70 miles of a North Carolina river in sludge containing toxic heavy metals.

A portion of Good's $8.3 million compensation was reduced 35 percent in 2014 compensation, according to a proxy statement released this week ahead of the company's annual shareholder meeting in May. The compensation of four other top executives that is linked to short-term incentives was also reduced 35 percent.

Directors of the country's largest electric company said the executives were docked because the spill will cost Duke Energy $192 million in cleanup, legal fees, and fines to settle a pending criminal case involving Clean Water Act violations.

 (read more)

Submitted Mar 29, 2015 By:
1280 Comments