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Pregnant Woman In Labor Blocked From Crossing Street By Obama

HOLLYWOOD LIFE -- Awful! When a pregnant woman asked the LAPD to cross a closed street so that she could get to a hospital, they told her absolutely not — because Barack Obama’s motorcade was moments away from passing through. Not cool.
A Los Angeles woman and her husband tried to cross the street so that they could get to Cedars Sinai Medical Center when the Los Angeles Police Department stopped them. The street the couple were trying to cross was blocked off because President Barack Obama’s motorcade was scheduled to pass through, and the LAPD would not take two minutes to help the woman in labor cross the street before the POTUS drove through. Do YOU think she should have been able to cross?Pregnant Woman Blocked From Crossing The Street While In Labor
This is not going to help Obama’s approval ratin  (go to article)

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DOT proposes stricter oil train safety rules

Poliitco -- HOU
13 Top 4th
OAK

BOS
0-8 Final
TOR

SF
1-2 Final
PHI

TEX
2-4 Final
NYY

TONIGHT:
MIA
6:10 PM
ATL

SD
7:05 PM
CHC

CWS
7:10 PM
MIN

CLE
7:10 PM
KC

NYM
7:10 PM
MIL

DET
9:05 PM
LAA

BAL
9:10 PM
SEA
 (go to article)

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Court says electricity customers can be charged to help finance FutureGen clean-coal plant

Associated Press -- CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Illinois regulators can force electricity customers to help pay for the $1.6 billion FutureGen clean-coal project, a state appeals court said in a ruling Tuesday.

The 2-1 decision handed down by the Illinois Appellate Court OKs a state plan to charge electricity customers an estimated $1 to $1.40 a month to help pay for the long-delayed project
 (go to article)

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Micro-units help D.C. renters live to the max

Washington Post -- One thing developers say can charm renters into a micro-unit: vibrant communities.

Williams has found that the tight spaces in studios at the Harper lend themselves to a tight-knit community in the common areas, making renters less likely to worry about their small square footage.

Williams already made friends with her neighbors, and hung out with a couple of them on a Friday night. She and one other tenant even co-hosted a meet-and-greet on the building’s roof recently.  (go to article)

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Red Wings Generously Agree To Accept Huge Sums Of Money From Public

Deadspin -- You might remember the uproar over the arena deal—which includes $284.5 million in public investment—when it was originally announced last summer. Isn't this a terrible idea for a city wading through bankruptcy proceedings, people asked? (Yes, it is.) Couldn't those tax dollars be better spent on other infrastructure improvements in the area instead of lining the pockets of a wealthy pizza magnate? (Yes, they could have.)  (go to article)

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Why Doesn't The Sunshine State Use More Solar Energy?

WUSF News -- As far as solar energy goes, the Sunshine State is third in the country for potential -- and 18th in actual installation.In Florida, there’s no financial assistance for installing solar panels on your roof. Solar energy users can only take a federal tax credit.Florida Power and Light powers the state using mostly natural gas. Out of all the energy FPL provides, only 0.06 percent comes from solar energy.
 (go to article)

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Why Oklahoma’s Wind Energy Future Could Be Shaped by Osage County

State Impact Oklahoma -- Oklahoma is moving up the national ranks in wind-generated electricity. But as wind farms expand into northeastern Oklahoma, developers are facing a team of unlikely allies: Oil interests and environmentalists. But as StateImpact’s Joe Wertz reports, the wind farm fight in Osage County could affect the whole state.  (go to article)

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GM Made This Bizarre 20-Foot-Tall Vehicle to Predict the Future

Wired -- In 1940, General Motors wanted to wow the American public with its vision of the future. To showcase those ideas, it designed one of the strangest automobiles you’ll ever see. The GM Futurliner resembles an RV. It weighs 30,000 pounds, has a top speed of 38 mph, and is as tall as a two-story house. Now, one of the nine Futurliners still in existence is going up for auction, and it’s expected to fetch a hefty sum.

The automaker used the funky ride as part of a traveling show called the “Parade of Progress.” At towns and cities around the U.S., GM employees would show off novel inventions like the jet engine, radar, television, and microwave. For the tour that started at the 1939 New York World’s Fair, GM created the Futurliner, which carried animated exhibits like “Miracles of Heat and Col  (go to article)

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EPA Funds Environmental Health Research for Tribal Communities

EPA -- WASHINGTON – To identify and reduce tribal health risks associated with climate change, indoor wood smoke exposure, environmental asthma, waterborne diseases, and other unique tribal concerns, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is awarding tribal environmental health research grants to six groups, including universities and tribes.?
“We're working together to help tribal communities combat the threats from climate change, and reduce environmental and public health risks,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “After more than a decade of funding this research, which addresses the unique needs of American Indian and Alaska Native communities, we have important data, tools, products and knowledge available to help communities determine a path forward to take action on climate change  (go to article)

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Nissan Leaf $5,500 Battery Replacement Loses Money, Company Admits

Yahoo Autos -- Last month, electric-car owners finally learned the price of a replacement battery pack for the Nissan Leaf: a surprisingly low $5,500 after the old pack is traded in.

Many advocates and Leaf owners promptly seized on the price to "prove" that Nissan could now build batteries for less than $250 per kilowatt-hour.

Not so fast, please: Nissan has now confirmed to Green Car Reports that it subsidizes that price.

In light of the Leaf battery replacement price of $5,500, we asked the company to comment on its costs for producing electric-car batteries--which, predictably, it wouldn't do.

"As you can imagine," wrote Jeff Kuhlman, Nissan's vice president of global communications, "we don’t share those figures for competitive reasons."

But regarding the replacement price, Kuhlman was quite cl  (go to article)

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Car seat sensors able to tell if you're falling asleep

Hearst Electronic Products -- Here’s another thing we could put into our new, future smart cars: seats integrated with sensors that can tell from your heart rate if you’re too tired to drive a car. Technology like that would help us avoid car accidents and other incidents on the road, which is why a team from the UK is looking into it. The seats are a project by the UK’s Nottingham Trent University, who wants to develop an electrocardiogram (ECG) they can embed into a driver’s seat, one that will be able to monitor the driver’s heart rate. From this, the car would determine if that driver is too tired to actually drive the car, something that would definitely improve safety conditions.  (go to article)

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Audi gives the A7 TDI a boost with "competition" model

GIZMAG -- Do you like the look of the diesel Audi A7, but think it isn't quick enough? Audi may just have the car for you. The A7 Sportback 3.0 TDI competition is a more powerful version of the standard A7 3.0 TDI, with special styling cues to celebrate 25 years of Audi's TDI technology.  (go to article)

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Acura NSX Catches Fire During Nurburgring Testing

Yahoo Autos -- Not good. Not good at all. The very same Honda/Acura NSX that we showed you running the Nurburging yesterday, has caught fire and ended its life at the side of the race track.  (go to article)

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Adding a Teen Driver Leads to 79% Higher Car Insurance Costs

GasBuddy Blog -- Adding a teenage driver to a married couple's car insurance policy leads to a 79% higher average annual premium, according to a new insuranceQuotes.com report. Teenage males (+92%) are much more expensive to insure than teenage females (+67%). The good news is that the premium increases decline each year, from 96% for 16-year-olds to 58% for 19-year-olds.The most expensive state to insure a teenage driver is New Hampshire, where the average premium spikes by 111%. The Granite State is one of seven states where premiums more than double after adding a teen driver to the policy. The others are Rhode Island (+107%), Maine (+107%), Wyoming (+106%), Connecticut (+102%), Illinois (+101%) and Oregon (+101%)....  (go to article)

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U.S. Refiners to Ship Most Fuel to Europe Since November

Bloomberg -- Traders booked the most tankers in eight months to ship diesel and heating oil to Europe from the U.S. Gulf, where refining is surging as a consequence of America’s rising crude production.

Oil companies either booked or plan to charter 16 tankers to transport cargoes on the route for loading during the next two weeks, according to the survey of six people involved in the trade yesterday. That compares with nine last week and is the highest count since Nov. 6.

The highest U.S. oil production in more than two decades means Gulf Coast refineries are processing close to the most fuel ever. A ban on exporting most crude means the nation’s plants can tap cheaper supplies than their European counterparts. Tankers taking those refined fuels across the Atlantic Ocean are earning the most for the  (go to article)

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U.S. sells first condensate to Asia in at least 40 years

Reuters -- South Korea and Japan have purchased the first condensate, or ultra-light oil, from the United States since the easing of a 40-year-old ban on U.S. crude oil exports, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Thursday...

"If the U.S. wants its allies to be less dependent on the likes of Russia and Iran, it has to show some willingness to step up as a supplier instead of keeping the bounty from shale production within its own market."

South Korean oil refiner GS Caltex has bought a condensate cargo to be loaded in late July, three industry sources with knowledge of the matter said. They declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter.

The cargo was marketed by Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co Ltd, which had bought it from Enterprise Product Partners.  (go to article)

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Industry Vows to Fight U.S. City’s Ban on Canadian Oil Sands

Oilprice.com -- The council voted 6-1 on July 21 against allowing the use of the 236-mile Portland-Montreal Pipe Line to ship the Canadian oil to South Portland for export  (go to article)

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Industry pans feds’ plan for gas exports

Fuel Fix -- The Obama administration says its new plan for vetting proposals to sell liquefied natural gas overseas is aimed at streamlining the review process, but energy companies and aspiring exporters say the government’s approach could have the opposite effect.  (go to article)

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Feds propose rules for oil train tank cars

The Spokesman Review -- WASHINGTON – Responding to a series of fiery train crashes, the government proposed rules Wednesday that would phase out tens of thousands of older tank cars that carry increasing quantities of crude oil and other highly flammable liquids through America’s towns and cities.

But many details were put off until later as regulators struggle to balance safety against the economic benefits of a fracking boom that has sharply increased U.S. oil production. Among the issues: What type of tank cars will replace those being phased out, how fast will they be allowed to travel and what kind of braking systems will they need?

Accident investigators have complained for decades that older tank cars, known as DOT-111s, are too easily punctured or ruptured, spilling their contents when derailed.  (go to article)

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GM’s profit plunges 83% on recall costs

FORTUNE -- Results include charges for the establishment of a victims’ compensation fund.

General Motors said Thursday its second-quarter profit plunged 83% due to the cost of numerous recalls and the expected cost of a compensation fund for those killed or injured by a faulty ignition switch linked to at least 13 deaths.

The automaker said its net income in the quarter fell to $200 million, compared with $1.2 billion in the same period a year earlier.

The quarter included charges for the establishment of a victims’ compensation fund, which GM said could cost the company as much as $600 million, as well as an additional $874 million for the cost of repairing the nearly 30 million cars it has recalled so far this year.  (go to article)

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Major Science Review Finds The Global Warming Models Were Right All Along

Business Insider -- The point, he says, is that you can’t just grab one 15-year period to prove a point, the analysis need to look at a number of them. It’s the difference between shorter term oscillations and longer term trends.

“You could just as easily take the 15 years before that to argue they’re underestimating the warming,” he said.

What’s not in doubt, his study shows, is that global warming is happening and over the long-term, the modelling got it right.

“There’s an unmistakable warming trend over the last 100 years and that warming trend is well simulated by the models for the past, so there’s no reason to distrust the magnitude of future warming trends based on the past 15 years,” Dr Risbey said.  (go to article)

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Lead engine on runaway oil train to be auctioned off

CBC.ca -- It's been known to belch oil from its exhaust, it's caught fire at least once and it led the "train from hell" that smashed into Lac-Mégantic, killing 47 people.

And pretty soon locomotive MMA 5017 can be all yours.

The lead engine on the runaway oil train that derailed and exploded last summer in Quebec is scheduled to go to auction Aug. 5., a month after disaster-scarred Lac-Mégantic marked the first year of the catastrophe.

"It is unique and obviously this locomotive's got some history to it," Adam Jokisch, president of a St. Louis-based auction house, told The Canadian Press.

"It's definitely not a good piece of history, that's for sure… I don't think I'd want to be reminded about that horrible accident."
 (go to article)

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A Record 40 Million Vehicles Recalled in 2014 – Feds Want More

Bold Ride -- If it seems like auto recalls are on the rise – you’d be correct. 2014 marks the year that the auto industry recalled more cars than any other year in the history of the automobile. And according to reports, the government is looking to ratchet that up. So what does that mean for the consumer, as well as the industry?  (go to article)

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WTI Crude Declines After U.S. Gasoline Supplies Rise

Bloomberg -- West Texas Intermediate declined after inventories of gasoline expanded for a third week in the U.S., the world’s largest oil consumer. Brent fell in London.

Futures decreased as much as 0.4 percent in New York after rising 0.7 percent yesterday. Gasoline stockpiles expanded by 3.38 million barrels, compared with a projected gain of 1 million, according to an Energy Information Administration report yesterday. Crude stockpiles at Cushing, Oklahoma, the biggest U.S. oil-storage hub, dropped by 1.45 million barrels to 18.8 million, the least since November 2008, the report showed.

“High refinery runs in the U.S. are translating into a gasoline stock build as we are starting to look at the end of the gasoline season,” Olivier Jakob, managing director at Petromatrix GmbH in Zug, Switzerland,  (go to article)

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Let Our Oil and Gas Go

New York Times -- AS a young reporter covering energy for The New York Times, I saw firsthand the distortions and inefficiencies caused by the web of regulations that followed the Arab oil embargo of 1973-74, and the resulting surge in gasoline prices.

So I shared in the frisson of excitement last month when the Commerce Department cleared two Texas companies to export an ultralight, processed form of oil called condensate. It seemed like a step toward relaxing the ban on the export of crude oil, the biggest stricture remaining from the ’70s energy crisis.

But then the Obama administration quickly insisted that the Commerce Department, in narrowing the definition of crude oil so that condensate could be exported, was not about to lift the ban more widely. “There has been no change to our policy on crude  (go to article)

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DOT proposes tougher oil-train safety rules

USA Today -- Spurred by a boom in oil-carrying trains and several recent tragic accidents, the Obama administration proposed stricter rules Wednesday for tank cars that transport flammable fuels.

The long-awaited proposal will require the phaseout, within two years, of tens of thousands of tank cars unless they are retrofitted to meet new safety standards. It will also require speed limits, better braking and testing of volatile liquids, including oil.

"We need a new world order on how this stuff moves," Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx told reporters in announcing the rules. "More crude is being shipped by rail than ever before."

Foxx said DOT tests have found that oil produced in North Dakota's Bakken shale region, compared to other crudes, "is on the high end of volatility" and  (go to article)

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Biden busts out the whiteboard to give lawmakers a history lesson

Yahoo! News -- A new video posted to YouTube on Wednesday features the vice president in front of a whiteboard giving viewers a lesson on America's infrastructure — specifically, the country's crumbling roads and bridges.

"The first national road was built in the early 1800s," Biden's lesson began. "In 1808, there was a guy named DeWitt Clinton who was the governor of New York. He said, 'I'm going to build a thing called the Erie Canal.' He built it from New York all the way up to Buffalo."

"The project," Biden said, "generated hundreds of millions of dollars in investments over time all along that route.

"Then along came 1863 in the middle of the Civil War when a Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, knew America had to be united, and that was the way to do it: a transcontinental railroad".  (go to article)

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Hydrogen fueled vehicles: Their future is closer than you think

GasBuddy Blog -- To the 48% of consumers who think that hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are at least a decade away, the auto industry is saying, “Welcome to the year 2024!” In May, Hyundai Motor Co. began leasing a fuel-cell version of its Tucson sport-utility vehicle in California — the first mass- produced fuel cell vehicle to be sold in the United States. Other automakers plan to introduce their vehicles beginning next year. To support the sale — or leasing — of these new vehicles, the California Energy Commission announced in May that it is investing $46.6 million to help develop the hydrogen fueling infrastructure in the state.  This latest investment will add 28 stations to the nine in operation and 17 under development in the state, according to USA Today. ...  (go to article)

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Obama administration unveils stronger safety rules for oil trains

The Hill -- The Obama administration on Wednesday unveiled strict rules for railway safety largely aimed at safeguarding shipments of crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken shale formation.  (go to article)

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After the Guy on the Right Goes Up in Flames, Watch the Guy on the Left Make Everything Worse

The Blaze -- Following a twist on age-old fire safety advice, one man stopped, hopped (into his car) and rolled (away).

But he neglected another piece of age-old fire safety advice: don’t go ripping apart gas lines.

A video uploaded to LiveLeak on Wednesday purports to show disaster unfolding at a gas station in Muscat, Oman.

Two individuals on scooters stop to fill up, but as one of them appears to kick start his scooter, the vehicle erupts in flames.  (go to article)

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Popular used hybrids at a glance

Chronicle Herald -- It started with the automatic transmission, again with the fuel injector, and most recently, with the hybrid car: shoppers skeptical of new technologies wondered how they’d be to live with after some years and miles of service under their belts.

Hybrids have their disbelievers, especially in the used-car market. How long will the batteries last? Will the complicated network of wiring and modules and electric motors cause issues as the vehicle ages? Will resale values stay strong if hybrid cars don’t catch on any further than they already have?

Thankfully, and largely due to the extensive research and development put into hybrid models ahead of their launch, many used hybrid models appear to be safe bets.

Here’s a look at some of the common used hybrid cars in the used market today.
 (go to article)

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Brazil Fines Ex-Petrobras Executives $792 Million on Refinery

Bloomberg -- Brazil’s audit court fined four former top officials of Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PETR4), including ex-Chief Executive Officer Jose Sergio Gabrielli, a combined $792 million for mismanagement in the purchase of a U.S. refinery.

The National Accounts Tribunal, which oversees public spending, fined Gabrielli and former heads of refining, production and international business units, Augusto Nardes, the president of the court known as TCU, said today in Brasilia after a ruling. The executives of the state-run company allegedly mismanaged public funds in the purchase of a 100,000-barrels-a-day refinery in Pasadena, Texas, according to the ruling, which orders the executives to pay the money back to Petrobras, as the state-controlled oil producer is known.

 (go to article)

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Chart: Russia Is Insanely Dependent on Oil and Gas Money

NEW REPUBLIC -- As the United States and Europe prepare to impose tougher sanctions on Russia, it’s worth remembering just how dependent that country is on energy exports. This is a double-edged sword: The dependence gives the world significant leverage to inflict economic damage on the Kremlin, but Europe’s reliance on Russian energy exports puts their economies at risk if they follow through on that threat.

Consider: In 2013, the United States exported more than $1.5 trillion of goods. Of those, just $137 billion were either crude oil or petroleum products. (Due to the Energy Department's slow approval process, the U.S. has a de facto ban on natural gas exports.) In Russia, on the other hand the export of crude oil, petroleum products and natural gas made up more than two-thirds of their total exportS:  (go to article)

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2015 Porsche Cayenne Debuts With E-Hybrid Powertrain

AutoGuide.com -- The 2015 Porsche Cayenne has officially been unveiled with new styling and more performance.

Sporting a sharper design, the 2015 Cayenne will be offered in four variants in the U.S.: Cayenne Diesel, Cayenne S, Cayenne Turbo and Cayenne S E-Hybrid, which is the first plug-in hybrid in the premium SUV segment. It gets an entirely new front end along with air blades, which are air fins located on the right and left of the vehicle’s front end that help guide air to the intercoolers for cooling. Standard on the Diesel, S and S E-Hybrid models will be Bi-Xenon headlights equipped with “hovering” four-point LED daytime running lights. On the Cayenne Turbo, high-performance LED headlights will be standard along with the Porsche Dynamic Light System (PDLS).  (go to article)

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After legal challenge, Maine utility regulators again OK $333 million partnership between Emera, Fir

Bangor Daily News -- That partnership first approved in 2012 involves Emera Inc. subsidiary Northeast Wind taking a 49 percent stake in the company JV Holdco, which would have ownership of certain First Wind projects. The Ontario-based Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp. would also have a stake in those projects.

The renewed approval stands to bolster First Wind’s financing for projects in the state. As an indication of concern over the impact the court’s ruling would have on First Wind’s projects, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection asked the company to again file documentation proving it had access to money required for developing, maintaining and decommissioning its projects.

Opponents of the partnership wrote in briefs filed with the PUC that a partnership between an Emera entity and First W  (go to article)

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130 Environmental Groups Call For An End To Capitalism

The Daily Caller -- Environmentalists have declared that global warming can’t be stopped without ending the “hegemonic capitalist system,” saying that cap-and-trade systems and conservation efforts are “false solutions.”

“The structural causes of climate change are linked to the current capitalist hegemonic system,” reads the final draft of the Margarita Declaration, presented at a conference including about 130 environmental groups.

“To combat climate change it is necessary to change the system,” the declaration adds.

Environmental activists met in the oil producing, socialist country of Venezuela as part of a United Nations-backed event to increase civil engagement in the lead up to a major climate conference.

But environmentalists surprised U.N. officials by offering up a declaration that not only seek  (go to article)

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Industry wants green light for smart cars

The Hill -- Advocates of “smart” cars say federal regulators must listen more closely to developers’ concerns to allow emerging technologies to hit the roadways.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) has been encouraging the development of so-called "connected vehicles" that can use technology to communicate with other cars and even infrastructure like traffic lights to improve mobility for drivers.

But Intelligent Car Coalition Executive Director Catherine McCullough said Tuesday at a Tech in Policy event hosted by The Hill that the technology could be deployed more effectively if regulators listened better to industry.  (go to article)

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Redesigned 2015 Toyota Yaris promises some needed improvements

ConsumerReports.org -- The redesigned 2015 Yaris will continue to be offered in 3- and 5-door liftback versions, and beneath the fresh skin, Toyota claims it has addressed several shortcomings in the outgoing model. Notably, Toyota has retuned suspension and added sound insulation to make the subcompact quieter.  (go to article)

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Industry poll says Americans want more oil production, support offshore drilling

Fuel Fix -- Americans overwhelmingly want the U.S. to produce more domestic oil and natural gas, but few believe the federal government is doing enough to encourage such activity, according to an industry-backed survey released Wednesday.  (go to article)

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Oil gains on sharp drop in U.S. supplies

Fuel Fix -- The price of oil rose Wednesday after the government reported that U.S. oil supplies rose more than expected.  (go to article)

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U.S. Refineries Running at Record Levels

EIA -- Refinery inputs hit a record-high 16.8 million barrels per day for the week ending July 11, eclipsing the previous record from summer 2005 and more than 280,000 bbl/d higher than a year ago.

Refinery gross inputs in the Midwest have been higher than the five-year range since late April. In most years, Midwest receipts of motor gasoline from the Gulf Coast increase during the summer. However, because of recent and planned changes to pipeline infrastructure that have altered the types of products moved, along with the reversal of another line, less gasoline is expected to enter the Midwest from the Gulf Coast this summer, increasing the incentive for in-region gasoline production.

According to EIA's refinery capacity report,the Midwest has 275,000 bbl per calendar day (7.9%) more operating  (go to article)

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New US rail regs could cause tank car shortage, imperil production

Platts -- New rail safety regulations proposed Wednesday by the Obama administration could cause a shortage in compliant tank cars, potentially shutting in or stranding production, officials in the oil and ethanol industries warned.

Tank car manufacturers had previously said that it could take up to 10 years to fully phase out DOT-111s, as they already face year-long backorders for new builds. Tank cars are in high demand as it is, amid booming domestic crude and ethanol production, industry sources have said.

"I think the idea that you're going to basically phase out 70% of the country's tank-car fleet over a 24-month period is perhaps a bit fanciful," said Chris Tucker, senior managing director of FTI Consulting, which has several clients in the oil and gas industry. "I think more likely you'll  (go to article)

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Porsche, Jaguar Audi top new J.D. Power study

USA Today -- Porsche, Jaguar and Audi are the brands that seem to delight new buyers the most, says a new study released Wednesday by J.D. Power and Associates.

Porsche has led the U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout study, or APEAL, for 10 years. Basically, the study judges which models and brands that buyers find most gratifying and appealing in 77 categories. In the new survey, Hyundai is the top mainstream brand.  (go to article)

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Porsche, Hyundai stand out in latest J.D. Power study

Detroit Free Press -- Hyundai ranked highest among mainstream automakers while Porsche ranked highest overall in a J.D. Power study released Wednesday that measures how much car buyers like their new cars.

Hyundai also was the top-ranked brand in another J.D. Power study earlier this year that measured quality during the first 90 days of ownership.

The APEAL Study, now in its 19th year, measures automotive performance, execution and layout by asking owners to evaluate their vehicle across 77 attributes, which combine into an overall APEAL score that is measured on a 1,000-point scale.

Porsche scored 882, followed by Jaguar with 862, Audi with 858, Land Rover with 853 and BMW with 849.

Lincoln was the top-ranked domestic brand with a score of 835 followed by Cadillac at 826.

Hyundai, ranked 13th overall,  (go to article)

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GM rolls out 2015 vehicles with wireless hotspots

Detroit Free Press -- Now that General Motors has become the first major automaker to sell vehicles with wireless Internet access, the true test starts: How well will it work?

Phil Abram, GM chief infotainment officer, said today the automaker conducted “extensive testing” with service provider AT&T to ensure the new 4G LTE-equipped vehicles work seamlessly.

“This is not a science project for General Motors,” Abram said. “The breadth in which we are doing this … is a recognition that this connectivity is a universal need.”

The 4G technology — which requires a monthly subscription ranging from $5 to $50 depending on the data package or one-time annual payments ranging up to $200 — will be offered on more than 30 models for the 2015 model year.

The services — which is already available on the Chevrolet Malibu  (go to article)

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Continental offers cheaper head-up displays for cars

CNET -- Head-up displays, a technology that got its start overlaying useful information onto pilots' windscreens, is something of a rarity in cars. But a technology from auto-industry supplier Continental makes it cheaper and, the company hopes, more widely used.

The earlier HUDs with the more sophisticated mirrors cost about €1,000 euros (which converts to $1,346, AU$1,425 or £788). The German company didn't detail the combiner HUD price, but did say it was cheaper and is aiming for the "broadest possible use."  (go to article)

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Puncture-Prone Rail Cars May Be Phased Out in Two Years

Bloomberg News -- The Obama administration proposed phasing out older tank cars tied to a deadly derailment a year ago and lowering speed limits as part of a set of new rules intended to reduce the risks of hauling crude oil by rail.

The proposal, which follows a series of fiery accidents, also would require improved braking systems and testing of oil before being loaded as well as thicker tanker walls, according to Transportation Department statement today. The rule applies to shipments of corn-based ethanol as well as oil.

“Today’s proposal represents our most significant progress yet in developing and enforcing new rules to ensure that all flammable liquids, including Bakken crude and ethanol, are transported safely,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in Washington.  (go to article)

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Oil futures rise on supply concerns

Market Watch -- SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Crude-oil futures rose Wednesday after a U.S. government report showed a larger-than-expected decline in U.S. inventories.

Crude oil for September delivery CLU4 +0.59% , the new front-month contract, rose 73 cents, or 0.7%, to settle at $103.12 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil futures have been up for four of the latest six sessions.

The contract had traded around $102.57 a barrel before the Energy Information Administration said crude inventories declined 4 million barrels in the week ended July 18, more than the 2.6-million-barrel drop that analysts polled by Platts had expected.

The EIA said gasoline supplies added 3.4 million barrels in the week, while distillates, which include heating oil, increased 1.6 million barrels. The analysts  (go to article)

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Sponge breakthrough could expand range of electric vehicles

FierceEnergy -- Through research funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) has developed a porous, sponge-like nanomaterial made of silicon that could help lithium-ion batteries run longer by giving the batteries' electrodes the space they need to expand without breaking.  (go to article)

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Chevy Cruze Diesel Caught in Game of Catch Up

Ward's Auto -- The optional 2.0L 4-cyl. turbodiesel engine for the Chevrolet Cruze was one of the most eagerly anticipated arrivals of the ’14 model year and it lived up to the hype on the performance front, winning a 2014 Ward’s 10 Best Engines award, but has sputtered on the showroom floor.

The Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel has accounted for 5,974 deliveries since its launch one year ago, according to WardsAuto data. That’s a scant 2.0% of the compact sedan’s powertrain mix and miles behind the 10% target former Chevrolet sales chief Don Johnson proclaimed during a media event for it last year.

The Cruze diesel also badly trails its chief rival, the Volkswagen Jetta TDI. Over the same period, the Jetta diesel has racked up 46,409 deliveries, and the engine accounts for 26.7% of its mix.
 (go to article)

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Add Tuscaloosa Marine Shale to the U.S. Oil Bonanza

GasBuddy Blog -- Yet another Gulf Coast oil play may have the potential to yield millions of barrels of high quality crude oil… but don’t look for it in Alabama.  The Tuscaloosa Marine Shale holds an estimated 7 to 9 million barrels of light sweet crude spanning across a large slice of mid-Louisiana and extends into counties in southwest Mississippi.  LSU research says the TMS is deposited in a marine environment that existed across the Gulf Coast region approximately 90 million years ago. So why is it blossoming now? ...  (go to article)

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