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We Are All Texans Tomorrow: 1,001 Blistering Future Summers

Bloomberg News -- If you live in Phoenix, Arizona, and find the summers there just aren’t hot enough for you, you’re in luck. Just stick around long enough, and it’ll feel just like Kuwait City, where the average summer day registers a lizard-pleasing 114 degrees Fahrenheit (45.6 Celsius).

This new interactive map by nonprofit research group Climate Central draws lines, literally, between the cities of today and the cities they’ll feel like by the end of this century if greenhouse-gas pollution continues on its current path.

For example, the average summer day in Manhattan reaches 82 degrees, but by 2100 it will feel like Lehigh Acres, Florida, at 92 degrees. Summers in Saint Paul seem too chilly? Hang tight, and before long it will feel just like Mesquite, Texas.  (go to article)

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Utility bill spikes caused by lack of electric, gas coordination, experts say

Chicago Tribune -- High price spikes in utility bills during this winter’s polar vortex were caused by a lack of coordination between natural gas pipelines and electric grid operators, policy experts told regulators Wednesday, while assuring them that utilities are prepared for this coming winter.

This past winter, power plants competed with home heating companies for pipeline space to move fuel, driving up prices for utility customers.

The issue, industry experts told regulators, is that during extreme weather, electricity generators which operate only for a few hours each year were asked to switch on by electric grid operators but didn’t have “firm” fuel supplies on hand. That demand drove up prices as gas pipelines had difficulty meeting increased demand.

“Historically, we have not needed to know at t  (go to article)

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Texas company proposes oil pipeline from N.D. to Ill.

Bismarck Tribune -- A Texas company wants to build a 1,100-mile pipeline that would cut diagonally across Iowa from northwest to southeast and carry millions of gallons of crude oil a day extracted from western North Dakota’s oil fields.

Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners said the proposed 30-inch diameter pipeline would initially have the capacity to carry 13 million gallons daily but that could be increased. The company said in a statement it is a cost-effective and environmentally responsible way to reduce the reliance on truck and rail transportation.

The company said wants to have the pipeline in service by the end of 2016. Its board has approved the pipeline, and the company has begun ordering steel and negotiating construction contracts.

The company said it also plans to convert an existing natur  (go to article)

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An American-Built 45 Mile Per Gallon Pickup Truck?

MPGOMATIC -- Most folks won't remember that Volkswagen had an auto plant in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania back in the late 1970s and 1980s, where they VW built Rabbits for a market rabid (initially, at least) for econo-boxes. Legend has it that an American design team first penned the VW Rabbit Pickup to compete with the Japanese compact trucks streaming to our shores.  (go to article)

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Dueling Highway Funding Plans Move Ahead in Congress with Tax Compliance Provisions

Bloomberg -- Lawmakers in the U.S. House and Senate are advancing dueling measures today that would provide a short-term cash infusion through May 2015 to a fund covering the federal share of road, bridge and mass-transit projects.

Both measures seek to forestall a slowdown in construction as early as next month resulting from Congress’s years-long inability to reach consensus on boosting infrastructure spending. The Senate plan relies on tax-compliance measures while the House doesn’t.
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U-M computer model shows Straits pipeline break would devastate Great Lakes

Detroit Free Press -- A rupture of 61-year-old, underwater oil pipelines running through the Straits of Mackinac would be “the worst possible place” for a spill on the Great Lakes, with catastrophic results, according to a University of Michigan researcher studying potential impacts of a spill.

David Schwab, a research scientist at the U-M Water Center, retired from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, where he studied Great Lakes water flows and dynamics for more than 30 years. He’s the author of a new study done in collaboration with the National Wildlife Federation looking at different scenarios for potential oil spills in the Straits from Canadian oil transport giant Enbridge’s Line 5.

“I can’t think — in my experience — of another place on the Great Lakes where an oil spill would have as  (go to article)

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$6 a Gallon? Where Gas Prices Might Be Without the U.S. Energy Boom

The Daily Signal -- If you think the price of gas is high, imagine paying up to $6 a gallon.

That’s what energy expert Dan Steffens thinks the price could be if not for the domestic oil boom.

“With what’s going on the Middle East, I think it would five or six bucks [a gallon],” said Steffens, president of the Energy Prospectus Group of Houston. “If it wasn’t for the shale revolution, you’d be in big trouble.”  (go to article)

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Axle problems prompt latest Ford recall of 100,000 vehicles

GasBuddy Blog -- Ford is recalling 100,566 vehicles in North America for various safety defects.  The company announced the six separate recalls earlier this week.  Fortunately,  no injuries related to the defects have been reported.The largest recall is for 92,022 vehicles and affects the 2013 and 2014 Taurus, Lincoln MKS, and Police Interceptor sedans, the Flex and Lincoln MKT crossovers, the 2012-2014 Edge and 2014 Lincoln MKX.Ford says the right-hand halfshaft, which is part of the axle, "may disengage over time," making the vehicles inoperable.  Does it make you wonder who's paying attention to 'quality control'?...  (go to article)

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WTI Set for Third Weekly Drop as Supply Risks Ease

Bloomberg News -- West Texas Intermediate headed for a third weekly drop as Libya boosted its crude output and gasoline stockpiles expanded in the U.S., the world’s biggest oil consumer. Brent was steady in London.

Futures were little changed in New York and poised for the longest run of weekly declines since November. Libya’s supply gained as the Sharara field resumed production and two oil-export terminals reopened. Fighting in Iraq, the second-largest OPEC member, hasn’t spread to the country’s south, home to three-quarters of its output. U.S. gasoline inventories rose last week as a measure of demand fell, the Energy Information Administration reported on July 9.

“The increased production in Libya with the opening of two ports has given downward pressure to oil,” Hong Sung Ki, a commodities analyst at  (go to article)

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Why China’s mood is souring on Canada’s oil patch

Financial Post -- Barely 2 years since the national outcry over China’s aggressive push into Canada’s oil patch, some of the major acquisitions are looking messy to hopeless

Instead of reaping the rewards of their first big step out into a free market oil industry, Chinese investors seem more focused on cutting costs and bailing out. Scores of executives have been fired

Some blame Ottawa’s more restrictive foreign ownership rules for the subsequent Chinese investment chill. But China’s sour mood has more to do with bitterness over the high prices paid, frustrations with long timelines to turn resources into production and Canada’s difficult operating environment

The change in mood is having an impact. Among the companies feeling the brunt is Athabasca Oil, which is awaiting a $1.23B payout from PetroChin  (go to article)

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Air Liquide and Linde in Helium Hunt as Texas Reserves Dry Up

Bloomberg -- For 50 years a vast aquifer in the heart of the Texas panhandle has held as much as 30 percent of the world’s helium reserves, acting as a safety valve that buoys supplies when the global market is interrupted.

The site in Amarillo is a hangover from the Cold War era and its phased closure increases the risk of supply shortages and higher prices, spurring a dash by the top two industrial gas companies, Linde AG and Air Liquide SA, to secure other helium resources in markets from Qatar to Siberia.

The Manhattan-sized rock formation, owned by the Bureau of Land Management, is being wound down with its reserves “effectively sold out by 2021,” according to Nick Haines, helium chief at Munich-based Linde, the world’s No. 1 industrial-gas company. As companies wrestle with already squeezed...  (go to article)

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Major New Study Says Obamacare Is Working — Even For Republicans

Business Insider -- Even 74% of Republicans say they're at least somewhat satisfied with their new plans.

The Affordable Care Act has been successful at achieving some major goals in the first year of its full implementation.
There are three important findings from the study: The uninsured rate is dropping, most people like their new insurance plans (even Republicans!), and most people are finding it easy to visit a doctor.
The study found the uninsured rate in the U.S. declined by one-quarter over the last nine months, which included the law's first, six-month open-enrollment period in which individuals could sign up for private insurance plans through exchanges established by the law.
From the July-to-September 2013 period to the April-to-June 2014 pe  (go to article)

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Propane reserve considered

TwinCities.com -- America is awash in propane, a by- product of booming oil and natural gas production. Yet getting it to markets at home and abroad is challenging and controversial.

Long a niche in the energy sector, propane today is sexy. Record exports and supply disruptions this past winter have refocused attention on propane after prices went through the roof for consumers, businesses and farmers alike.

Congress and the Obama administration are studying a possible strategic propane reserve to function like the ones for crude oil and home heating oil. Efforts to create additional private-sector propane storage are resisted at the local and state levels.

"If they could do it with heating oil, they could certainly do it with propane," said Andrew Heaney, chief executive of Propane.pro, a national...  (go to article)

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TEXAS AGENCY: MORE DRIVERS REPORTING ENGINE PROBLEMS FROM CHEVRON GAS

KTRK-TV (ABC 13 in Houston) -- At first Chevron told us they did not know what the problem was with the gas; now we know and we also know there are more than 50 people who had trouble with the fuel.

According to the Texas Department of Agriculture, the agency that inspects gasoline across the state, Chevron premium fuel had unwashed gum content in it.

The state says unwashed gum content leads to sticking in valve and deposits in injectors and can cause damage to some engines. The problem was first reported to the company July 2 and Chevron than stopped selling the fuel.

Chevron tells the state that it now has 70 claims over the fuel and is now working with drivers to resolve the problems. The state is also now going to test the tanks at the stations that sold the bad fuel.
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U.S. Gasoline Reserve to Be Ready for Peak of Hurricane Season

Reuters -- The U.S. government will have its planned gasoline stockpile for the Northeast region in place in time to respond to possible supply disruptions at the height of the 2014 hurricane season, the Energy Department said on Thursday.

Earlier this year, the department announced creation of the million-barrel gasoline reserve, which was deemed necessary after Superstorm Sandy in 2012 left many motorists on the East Coast without fuel.

Contracts to purchase and store the gasoline have already been awarded, with 800,000 barrels of gasoline set to be delivered to storage facilities by Aug. 1 and 200,000 barrels of gasoline set to be delivered prior to Sept. 1.

The department did not specify which companies had been awarded the contracts.  (go to article)

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Report: Maine led nation for share of fatal car crashes on rural roads in 2012

Bangor Daily News -- PORTLAND, Maine — A national report found 98 percent of Maine’s fatal car crashes occurred on rural, non-interstate roads in 2012 as the amount of rural road pavement in poor condition rose about 9 percentage points from three years prior. The percentage of deficient rural bridges rose one point from the 2009 report.

The latest rural road assessment released Thursday from Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit research group The Road Information Program, or TRIP, found 161 of 164 fatal Maine crashes happened on rural roads in 2012, compared with 137 of 159 fatal crashes, or 86 percent, in 2009.

Maine ranked far higher than the national average — around 50 percent — both years but jumped from fourth to the highest state in the country for the share of vehicle fatalities that occurred on rural r  (go to article)

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US crude export policy may provide de facto stabilization rule

Platts -- With concerns over the volatile nature of Bakken crude growing and US regulators developing sweeping crude-by-rail safety rules, lawmakers and safety advocates are pressing for a new, federal requirement to stabilize certain types of crude before it is shipped by rail.

While such a requirement is seen as unlikely, at least in the near term, the Obama administration may find its recent crude export rulings could create a de facto stabilization requirement. In effect, current US crude export policy and global oil market fundamentals may be enough of an incentive for industry to stabilize Bakken crude before it is shipped.

"It could be a perfect bureaucratic solution to a policy problem," Benjamin Salisbury, a senior energy policy analyst at FBR Capital Markets, said.

"You could stabilize  (go to article)

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More California gas stations can provide hydrogen than previously thought

science daily -- tudy by researchers at Sandia National Laboratories concludes that a number of existing gas stations in California can safely store and dispense hydrogen, suggesting a broader network of hydrogen fueling stations may be within reach.
The report examined 70 commercial gasoline stations in the state of California and sought to determine which, if any, could integrate hydrogen fuel, based on the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) hydrogen technologies code published in 2011.
The study determined that 14 of the 70 gas stations involved in the study could readily accept hydrogen fuel and that 17 more possibly could accept hydrogen with property expansions. Under previous NFPA code requirements from 2005, none of the existing gasoline stations could readily accept hydrogen.
The current  (go to article)

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Report: motorists to spend slightly more on gas this summer

fuel fix -- Motorists will spend more on gasoline this summer, with retail prices for regular averaging 8 cents higher than last year, the U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts.

The Energy Department agency forecasts a gallon of regular will average $3.66 for the April through September period, about 2 percent more than during the same time in 2013.

But for the full year, the average price at the pump will move up only 3 cents from 2013 to $3.54, according to the government projection.

The average price for a gallon of regular in Houston Thursday was $3.47, according to AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report. The national average was $3.64.

Pump prices have been fairly stable recently, up less than a nickel from a month ago in Houston and down a penny nationwide. A year ago, the price was lower,  (go to article)

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TX/ND/PA: The U.S. Axis Of Energy Independence

Forbes -- As we prepare to celebrate our nation’s Declaration of Independence on Friday, it would also be appropriate to take a moment to celebrate those states who are currently leading our nation down the path towards energy independence. No issue facing America today is more important than where we will continue to access sources of abundant and affordable energy.

Energy heats and cools our homes and office buildings, fuels the automobiles that get us to work, facilitates the growing and transport of the food that sustains us, serves as the feed stock for thousands of products that make our daily lives more convenient and raise our standard of living. It is literally the life blood of our economy, and has been for more than 150 years.

For too many years, our country has found itself dependent  (go to article)

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UAW says it has reached 'consensus' with Volkswagen, expects automaker to recognize union

Associated PressJuly 10, 2014 | 6:24 p.m. EDT --
The Beacon Center of Tennessee, a conservative think tank, criticized the UAW announcement and said it will call on state lawmakers to reject incentives for VW.

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AG Bill Schuette vows to move forward in Chesapeake Energy Corp. bid-rigging case

MLIVE -- LANSING, MI – State Attorney General Bill Schuette said his office will move forward against Chesapeake Energy Corp. on a single charge of violating anti-trust laws related to Oklahoma company’s alleged role in a bid-rigging scheme prior to an October 2010 auction of oil and gas leases on state land.

Schuette also said he would appeal the dismissal of two other charges by Cheyboygan County District Judge Maria Barton. Those charges alleged Chesapeake engaged in bid-rigging against individual landowners.  (go to article)

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10 most stolen SUVs in the US

msn autos -- The National Insurance Crime Bureau, which has been tracking statistics related to car and motorcycle theft for years, recently released a study of SUV and crossover (CUV) thefts. Covering thefts of 2011-2013 model-year vehicles in the time between the beginning of 2010 and the end of 2013, the NICB analyzed 21,711 incidents for its report. Crossovers accounted for 73 percent of those thefts, and CUVs make up nine of the NICB's top 10 most stolen SUV and CUV models. Here's a countdown of the most stolen SUVs and CUVs: Where does your SUV stand in the affections of car thieves?  (go to article)

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Enbridge pushes Flanagan South oil pipeline start date to Q4

By Catherine Ngai, Reuters | -- Construction of the 600,000-barrel-per-day Flanagan South oil pipeline from Illinois to Oklahoma will be complete late in the third quarter, with the first oil flowing early in the fourth quarter, operator Enbridge Inc said.  (go to article)

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One milllion gallons of oil drilling byproducts leak into ground and bay near North Dakota Indian re

Josh Wood And James MacPherson, Associated Press | -- MANDAREE, N.D. — A pipeline has leaked 1 million gallons of oil drilling saltwater into the ground at a North Dakota Indian reservation, and some of the byproduct ended up in a bay that feeds the lake that provides the reservation’s drinking water, company and tribal officials said.  (go to article)

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10 best cars for resale value after 5 years

Yahoo! Autos -- 10. Dodge Challenger

9. Chevrolet Silverado

8. Honda CR-V

7. Chevrolet Camaro

6. Toyota Tundra

5. Chevrolet Corvette

4. Toyota 4Runner

3. Jeep Wrangler

2. Toyota Tacoma

1. Toyota FJ Cruiser  (go to article)

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Shale Seen Shifting Flows at America’s Biggest Oil Port

bloomberg.com -- For more than 30 years, the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port LLC has been a symbol of U.S. dependence on foreign oil, pumping Nigerian and Saudi Arabian crude from the world’s biggest supertankers into underground storage caverns beneath the marshes of southern Louisiana.

Now, with domestic production at a 28-year high, LOOP’s managers are thinking the previously unthinkable: They want to reverse the flows and send North American oil out as well as take foreign oil in.

To be an outbound hub, the port needs financial commitments from shippers to build needed infrastructure, and even under the most optimistic scenario, it will be a year before it loads the first tanker, Barb Hestermann, LOOP’s business development manager, said by phone yesterday. Still, the fact that LOOP is considering the pr  (go to article)

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Russia's Rosneft, Zarubezhneft To Agree On Cuban Offshore Block This Week

RigZone -- MOSCOW, July 10 (Reuters) - Russian state oil companies Rosneft and Zarubezhneft plan to sign an agreement with Cuban state oil company Cubanpetroleo to develop an offshore block 37, a senior Russian official said.

Yuri Ushakov, an aide to President Vladimir Putin who plans to visit Cuba on July 11, told reporters the companies were aiming to agree on the deal during his visit. He did not provide any other details.

A number of factors are working against Cuba's oil hopes, among them the political and logistical difficulties imposed by the long-standing U.S. trade embargo against the island.
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No joke: NYC church is on George Carlin Way

Associated Press -- A bureaucratic error has put a Catholic church on a New York City street named after comedian George Carlin.

Carlin skewered the church in his act and gained fame with his foul-mouthed "seven dirty words" routine.

After he died in 2008, fellow comedians proposed naming the stretch of 121st Street where he grew up George Carlin Way.
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Uber Fires D.C. Driver Who Kidnapped His Passengers

The Wire -- Earlier this week, businessman Ryan Simonetti had a very unpleasant ride in an Uber. In an attempt to avoid a fine, the driver of his hired car kidnapped Simonetti and his two colleagues, taking them across state lines as a taxi inspector tracked behind him. Since the incident, Uber has fired the driver, but the situation has called into question Uber's vetting process for their drivers.

As Simonetti and his two coworkers approached the car they had ordered from UberBLACK, they noticed a D.C. taxi inspector speaking to their driver. It seemed the inspector requested some documents, and after the Uber driver handed them over, he took off with the passengers instead of waiting for the inspector to check the paperwork.  (go to article)

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Poll: Most Americans want Sarah Palin to be quiet

MSNBC -- NBC News’ Mark Murray joins to discuss results from a new WSJ/NBC/Annenberg News poll, which indicates that 54% percent of Americans are tired of hearing about political issues from Sarah Palin.  (go to article)

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Business Leaders Brief Biden on HTF Insolvency & Infrastructure Deterioration Concerns

Business Forward -- Business leaders briefed Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx yesterday on business issues associated with transportation infrastructure during a meeting hosted by the White House Business Council and Business Forward.
“Transportation used to have bipartisan support, but now we’re busy having philosophical discussions about government spending. Our job right now is to create a moment when something greater can happen. The business community will have a critical role in standing together to support smart public investments in infrastructure projects,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
Meeting participants included executives from large manufacturers, shipping companies, trade associations, and a range of other businesses, including Doug Ob  (go to article)

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$10,000 prize offered to hack a Tesla car

FOX News -- A Beijing security conference is offering $10,000 to anyone who can hack into a high-tech Tesla electric car.

The Symposium on Security for Asia Network (SyScan) has launched a hacking competition for security gurus attending its event. The competition’s goal is to examine the safety of a Tesla car, according to a note on the conference website, which says that the rules will be announced soon.  (go to article)

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Mexican Train Derails, Stranding 1,300 Migrants Headed Toward U.S.

The World Post -- MEXICO CITY, July 9 (Reuters) - A cargo train used by Mexicans and Central Americans to travel toward the U.S. border derailed in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca on Wednesday, stranding about 1,300 migrants, emergency services said.

Many of the migrants aboard were young people and nobody was injured when the train nicknamed "the Beast" came off the tracks, a spokesman for local emergency services said.

Since last October, more than 50,000 unaccompanied minors, most from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, have been caught illegally crossing the southwest border of the United States.

Children say that they are fleeing violence at home and hope that they will be able to stay in the United States.

Several days of heavy rain in southern Mexico may have caused the train to derail, au  (go to article)

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Ready to Fly

My City Magazine -- Traditionally, the term “supercar” was synonymous with exotic, foreign brands like Lamborghini or Ferrari (Italian) or Porsche (German). But there’s a new supercar on the street shattering that stereotype, and its maker boasts the Stars and Stripes. Introducing the Falcon F7.

While it’s no shock that an American supercar would be built in Michigan, birthplace of the automotive industry, it may come as a surprise to learn that Falcon is not a Detroit product. The world headquarters of Falcon Motorsports is situated in the village of Holly. Jeff Lemke, owner, was producing aftermarket parts for the Dodge Viper (hard tops and body kits) in his shop until 2009, when he decided to follow his dream of building his own car. He invested the profits from his fabrication work into the creation of  (go to article)

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Union official: Local coming for Volkswagen plant

AP -- NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — An official with the United Auto Workers, which suffered a stinging defeat in its attempt to unionize Volkswagen's assembly plant in Tennessee earlier this year, said Thursday that it is forming a new local at the plant.

The union is confident the German automaker will recognize the union if it signs up a enough workers at the Chattanooga plant, UAW Secretary-Treasurer Gary Casteel told The Tennessean newspaper (http://tnne.ws/1qNfSn7) that. If successful, it would become the first unionized foreign auto plant in the South.

"We would fully expect that Volkswagen would deal with this local union if it represents a substantial portion of its employees," Casteel told the paper. "It's dependent on the employees and what they want to do."

Gov. Bill Haslam and his staf  (go to article)

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Soup it up: Livonia firm turns autos on to propane

Detroit News -- What’s the most commonly used fuel source for cars and trucks around the world?

If you guessed gasoline, you are correct.

And in second place … yes, diesel.

But can you guess what is the third-most used fuel? Not ethanol. Not hybrids. Not electricity. No. 3 is propane, which propels 23 million vehicles worldwide, though only some 250,000 in the United States.

But that last figure is growing, thanks in large part to Livonia-based Roush CleanTech. Yes, the folks who brought us the high-performance Roush Mustang and all those race-winning NASCAR stock cars are at the forefront of converting vehicles to run on the same fuel that may heat your house or barbecue your burgers.

Right now, such conversions are for commercial vehicles, be they school buses or delivery trucks. But the head of  (go to article)

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Ford teams with Heinz, producing car parts made with tomato waste

GasBuddy Blog -- Here's a new one for you: in Ford's efforts to boost sustainable use, it has teamed with Heinz to use tomato waste in various car parts.
According to Ford, researchers from both Ford and Heinz are collaborating on how to use tomato fibres in developing sustainable composite materials for use in vehicle manufacturing.To be specific, Ford is looking at dried tomato skins which would be incorporated into wiring brackets, storage bins, and other small objects in the vehicle. “We are exploring whether this food processing byproduct makes sense for an automotive application,” commented Ellen Lee, plastics research technical specialist for Ford. “Our goal is to develop a strong, lightweight material that meets our vehicle requirements, while at the same time reducing our overall environmental impact,” she added....  (go to article)

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Strong global demand has Canada’s oil production on target to almost double by 2030

Financial Post -- Canada’s oil production is on target to almost double over the next two decades, from 3.5 million barrels per day in 2013 to 6.4 million barrels per day by 2030. This is the result of strong demand from markets in North America and around the globe, says a fore- cast released by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP)  (go to article)

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Parole of convicted mob killer notorious for his explosive temper tested by road raging motorist

National Post -- One danger of road rage is never knowing who is driving the car that is the target of your fury. This was highlighted when a man confronted a driver after a traffic incident and behind the wheel was a serial-killing Mafia hit man notorious for his explosive temper and propensity for violence.  (go to article)

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America the Oil Exporter

POLITICO-The United States is already a budding export powerhouse. -- The United States is once again the top oil producer in the world, surpassing Saudi Arabia and Russia. This year, America is on pace to pump out an average of 12 million barrels a day of crude oil plus gas liquids, an all-time record level. Add in biofuels and volumetric gains from refining, and the United States is effectively producing 14 million barrels a day. All this is the extraordinary result of the shale-oil revolution, in which new extraction technology—hydraulic fracturing, or fracking—has made vast reserves suddenly economically viable

Yet by law, much of this bounty must stay in the United States. Since the 1970s, America has banned the unlicensed export of crude oil, a policy put in place after the crippling Arab embargo that followed the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
 (go to article)

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Ford Motor Company's Apology and Open Checkbook Resonated With Americans

Motley Fool -- Recently, in one of very few mishaps, the folks at the Blue Oval were forced to announce a reduction in a handful of its hybrid and electric vehicles' fuel-economy ratings. Ford's biggest error was found with its estimates for the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, which has been a more popular option than the company anticipated, partially because of the vehicle's previously stated combined city and highway rating of 45 miles per gallon. Ford has now dropped that rating to 38 miles per gallon.

While the Lincoln MKZ was the biggest fuel-efficiency loser, Ford's fuel-economy reduction also negatively affected five additional models.

Ford issued an official apology and also wrote "goodwill" checks, ranging from $200 to $1,050 per vehicle, to reimburse owners.

"We apologize to our customers and will  (go to article)

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Why California Pushes Hydrogen Compliance Cars Over Electric Ones

Green Car Reports -- We're starting to hear a lot about hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles from Hyundai, Toyota, and Honda--and we're going to hear a great deal more about them in the years to come.

The first 2015 Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell was leased last month, and Toyota will bring its own hydrogen-powered vehicle into selected California dealerships starting sometime next year.
Honda is expected to follow with a production version of the FCEV Concept it showed at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show, most likely launching sometime in 2016.
Offered only in California, these fuel-cell cars will not make money for the automakers, at least initially--just as hybrids and electric cars didn't when each new technology was first introduced.

But there's a strong incentive for automakers to offer hydrogen vehicles.

 (go to article)

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Miss. regulators oppose federal carbon dioxide rule

The Clarion-Ledger -- The Mississippi Public Service Commission is seeking input from others, including utilities, in its efforts to fight proposed federal rules that would cut carbon dioxide emissions from Mississippi's power plants.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as part of a nationwide effort, proposed in June that Mississippi's carbon dioxide emissions from power plants be 38 percent lower in the year 2030 compared to 2005.

Commissioners voted Tuesday to open the proceeding, acknowledging that it could also become a way to cope with the rules if they're finalized in their current form. They voted in June to submit comments opposing the rules.

"We're adamantly opposed to some of the rules," said Central District Commissioner Lynn Posey, a Republican. "We want to explore every possibility we...  (go to article)

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Crude Oil Price Falls Below $102 a Barrel

Minneapolis Star Tribune -- The price of oil continued to fall Thursday, trading below $102 a barrel as the outlook for supply remained robust. Oil has been falling steadily for more than a week partly because worries about disruptions of the oil supply from Iraq have subsided and Libyan oil is returning to the global market.  (go to article)

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Oil on track for 10th straight daily decline

MarketWatch -- NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — Nymex oil futures were on track for a 10th straight daily drop Thursday, pressured on increased supply from Libya, decreased demand from China and financial turmoil in Portugal.

Crude for August delivery /quotes/zigman/2196851/delayed CLQ4 -0.24% fell 27 cents, or 0.3%, to $102.03 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. September Brent crude /quotes/zigman/2648929/delayed UK:LCOQ4 -0.17% is down 20 cents, or 0.2%, at 108.27 a barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange.

Nymex crude ended lower on Wednesday for a ninth straight session, marking the longest losing streak since December 2009. Oil was pressured Wednesday by a smaller-than-expected drop in U.S. crude supplies and signs Libyan production is rebounding faster than had been expected.


Getty Ima  (go to article)

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Rooftop solar power is making coal obsolete in Australia

Yahoo! News -- Rooftop solar panels are becoming such a powerful factor in the energy market that they now can push the price of electricity to negative territory in the sunniest regions of the world. This is possible because powering down fossil fuel energy generators during peak solar power periods would be more expensive than paying customers to use the electricity.

The negative energy price barrier was breached in Queensland, Australia, where low demand and high rooftop solar power generation pushed the wholesale electricity price to AUD -$100 per megawatt-hour on Wednesday afternoon, July 2.
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Pentagon Uses Wrong Oil Price and Fails to Hedge Fuel Bill

Reuters -- The Department of Defense has been using the wrong oil price in its budget, leaving the largest single buyer of fuel in the world with liabilities potentially hitting billions of dollars.

The Pentagon continues to rely on WTI prices even though Brent oil is more relevant to the cost of fuels it buys on behalf of the armed forces.

Using the wrong benchmark has introduced increasing risk into the military budget, according to a critical report published on Tuesday by the Government Accountability Office.

Moreover, the Department of Defense still does not hedge its exposure to changing fuel prices, even though the Pentagon's Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) buys more than 100 million barrels of fuel each year at a cost of $10 billion to $20 billion, according to the GAO.

The DLA purchased  (go to article)

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Stolen Tesla’s Fatality-Free L.A. Crash Surprises Experts

Bloomberg News -- A high-speed crash and fire that left alive the driver of a stolen Tesla Model S last week was so intense that it could have killed the person, according to safety experts who reviewed images of the calamity.

That the driver lived may be a testament to the safety features built into the car, one of them said. The car, stolen from Tesla Motors Inc.’s service center in west Los Angeles early July 4, outran police before crashing at high speed into vehicles on La Brea Avenue in West Hollywood. The Model S then struck a steel pole and split in two, igniting a fire in the luxury sedan, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff and Fire Department reports. The unidentified Tesla driver was thrown from the car and injured, as were seven other people the vehicle collided with on La Brea.  (go to article)

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Xunlight solar-panel manufacturer shutting down

The (Toledo) Blade -- A Toledo solar-panel manufacturer has shut down and dozens of employees are out of
work.
Xunlight Corp., a flexible solar-panel manufacturer that uses technology developed at
the University of Toledo and is based on Nebraska Avenue, closed its doors June 30
to “resolve some matters,” CEO John Buckey said. Mr. Buckey declined to elaborate
on the cause of the shutdown, but a letter provided to The Blade that appears to have
been sent by Mr. Buckey to employees on July 2 said the company is closing and
makes no reference to any potential reopening.
“Unfortunately, payments that were committed to be paid to Xunlight contractually
have not been sent as agreed, and the company does not have the funds necessary to meet its obligations, including this week's
payroll, and to continue its operations  (go to article)

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Can the WTO Successfully Police Global Auto-Parts Industry?

PickupTrucks.com -- A recent World Trade Organization ruling that favors U.S. automakers may pave the way for an advantageous ruling on another U.S. complaint; however, such a ruling could hit consumers in the pocketbook.

In May the WTO ruled that Chinese tariffs on vehicles exported from the U.S. to China violated world trade policies; those tariffs have been eliminated. Now the U.S. government is hoping the WTO will provide a similar outcome to its charge that China subsidizes its auto-parts exporters. This practice gives Chinese exporters an unfair advantage over U.S. auto-parts suppliers, according to the Obama administration. The subsidies allow Chinese auto-parts makers to undercut the prices of their competitors. This explains why American consumers see so many "Made in China" labels on parts in U.S.  (go to article)

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