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Lower diesel prices offering farm saving

Tri State Neighbor -- Diesel prices aren’t as low as those for unleaded gasoline, but they are down significantly from the summer peak, and some experts say it’s a good time for farmers to lock in prices for next season.

Jack Davis, a South Dakota State University Extension Crops Business Management Field Specialist in Mitchell, is one who suggested that farmers consider buying their fuel now.

“If they need to do any end-of-the-year spending, it's not a bad thing to do,” he said.
 (go to article)

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Merry Christmas!

Boney M - you tube -- It isn't Christmas without "Boney M"
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How the oil price slide will spill into steel markets

Platts -- Years ago, US Steel got into the energy business with the acquisition of Marathon Oil and Texas Oil & Gas. The thinking at the time was that steel and energy markets were countercyclical: when the steel market was soft, energy markets likely would be strong and vice versa.

We’re not sure what was behind that thinking and the resulting steel/energy conglomerate, USX Corp., was ultimately broken up by famed vulture capitalist cum shareholder activist Carl Icahn. This was part of another 1980s trend of investors seeking “pure plays,” companies focused on a single market or product.

Today the steel and energy markets don’t seem very countercyclical. American hot-rolled coil (HRC) producers and customers that make oil country tubular goods (OCTG) from the basic sheet steel product agree that  (go to article)

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Europe to US diesel arbitrage open on paper, difficult to implement: traders

Platts -- The arbitrage to send ultra low sulfur diesel from Northwest Europe to the US Northeast is wide open on paper but remains difficult to implement for logistical reasons, traders said Wednesday.

ULSD is trading at a strong premium in the US to values in Northwest Europe, amid strength in the NYMEX contract relative to ICE high sulfur and low sulfur gasoil futures.

The ULSD arbitrage to the US has been open several times this year, with the most notable being in the first quarter during a cold spell, dubbed the Polar Vortex, which caused severe logistical constraints and increased demand in the US Northeast. The ULSD arbitrage to the US has been open several times this year, with the most notable being in the first quarter during a cold spell, dubbed the Polar Vortex, which caused severe lo  (go to article)

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Oil tanks on surge in US supply, imports

CNBC -- Oil futures plunged Wednesday on a government report showing a surge in supplies of U.S. oil and a record level of gasoline production.

The U.S. is awash in oil, with record levels of production meeting a rising tide of imports. The U.S. Department of Energy said oil stocks rose by 7.26 million barrels a day, while analysts had expected a decline of 1.8 million barrels.

West Texas Intermediate futures for February, already sliding, took another leg lower after the report, which also showed a 4.1 million barrel build in gasoline, more than six times the expected amount. WTI was off more than 3 percent to $55.40 per barrel, and Brent slid once more below $60 a barrel.
 (go to article)

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Merry Christmas to All!!

GasBuddy Blog --  It is with great consternation that anyone these days might wish for 'peace on earth, good will toward men'... particularly so soon after the militants from the Pakistani Taliban massacred 141 defenseless children and faculty at the Army Public School in Peshawar, Pakistan.

Their acts of cowardice and brutality have no place among civilized nations.  No child should ever encounter such brutality an no parent should ever confront such horror.

And yet, it is especially at times like these that we need to take time to reflect on the substance and significance of Christmas and Hanukkah traditions and observances of the faithful, and the blessings we all share. 

Gather together, enjoy the food, be grateful for your gifts... but most importantly, appreciate and honor the reason for the season.  Your friends at GasBuddy wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and all the very best for the Holiday Season!...  (go to article)

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Jeep tops 'Consumer Reports' list of worst car values

USA Today -- When it comes to overall value, one of America's most iconic vehicles – the very symbol of rugged individualism – should be avoided by any wise car buyer, says Consumer Reports magazine.

It's the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, which Consumer Reports says is the worst car value among any model. It leads a worst-value list that includes a wide range of models by category – from the hapless Fiat 500C among subcompacts to the hulking Mercedes-Benz GL350 BlueTec for luxury large SUVs.

The Jeep, however, is among the nation's most beloved vehicles, especially by its owners. Nevertheless, Consumer Reports calls it "hard-riding, ponderous, uncomfortable, and unreliable." It costs 77 cents a mile to operate, compared with 52 cents for the top-rated Toyota Camry Hybrid.

The value index rates cars based  (go to article)

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Oil falls, near $60 on supply glut, strong dollar

Reuters -- Brent oil fell on Wednesday, trading around $60 per barrel weighed down by strong supply in the United States and a rising dollar.

Brent for February delivery was down $1.50 to $60.19 at 1327 GMT after gaining $1.58 on Tuesday. It hit a low of $59.93 earlier in the session.

U.S. crude was down $1.17 to $55.95 a barrel, after closing $1.86 higher in the previous session.

Trade was thin as many in the European and U.S. market were off for the Christmas break.

Data from the American Petroleum Institute (API), an industry group, showed U.S. crude stocks rose by 5.4 million barrels in the week ended Dec. 19. Analysts had expected a drop of 2.3 million barrels.

In Europe, gasoline stocks reached their highest in five months in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp oil hub, data from PJK Internati  (go to article)

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EIA: Inventories surge across the board

GasBuddy Blog -- The Energy Information Administration released its weekly report today on the status of petroleum inventories in the United States.

Here are some highlights:

CRUDE INVENTORIES:
Crude oil inventories increased by 7.3 million barrels to a total of 387.2 million barrels. At 387.2 million barrels, inventories are 19.6 million barrels above last year (5.3%) and are well above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year.

GASOLINE INVENTORIES:
Gasoline inventories increased by 4.1 million barrels to 226.1 million barrels. At 226.1 million barrels, inventories are up 6.2 million barrels, or 2.8% higher than one year ago. Here's how individual regions and their gasoline inventory fared last week: East Coast (+3.4mb); Midwest (+1.0mb); Gulf Coast (-2.1mb); Rockies (+0.1mb); and West Coast (+0.4mb). It is important to note which regions saw increases/decreases as this information likel  (go to article)

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Oil price crash sparks war of words

Fuel Fix / Houston Chronical -- Since the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries decided Nov. 27 it wouldn’t cut oil production to try to halt plummeting prices, leaders of the world’s oil powers have been taking shots at each other through the media to cast blame for the crash.  (go to article)

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Cheap Oil Is Dragging Down the Price of Gold

Bloomberg -- Gold, the ultimate inflation hedge, isn’t much use to investors these days.

Oil is in a bear-market freefall that began in June, spearheading the longest commodity slump in at least a generation. The collapse means that instead of the surge in consumer prices that gold buyers have been expecting for much of the past decade, the U.S. is “dis-inflating,” according to Bill Gross, who used to run the world’s biggest bond fund.

A gauge of inflation expectations that closely tracks gold is headed for the biggest annual drop since the recession in 2008. While bullion rebounded from a four-year low last month, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Societe Generale SA reiterated their bearish outlooks for prices. The metal’s appeal as an alternative asset is fading as the dollar and U.S. equities rally, a  (go to article)

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Economists expect oil to rebound in second half of 2015: poll

Financial Post -- Crude oil prices are likely to bottom out in the 1st half of 2015, until a possible slowdown in U.S. shale production counters a supply glut exacerbated by OPEC’s decision not to cut output, a Reuters monthly survey showed

Yhe onus for any supply cutbacks was now on non-OPEC producers, primarily led by U.S. shale oil, analysts said

“Oil prices will be lower, making shale oil production less attractive for investments, which are necessary to keep shale oil production growing

Oil is seen recovering in the second half as non-OPEC production responds to lower prices, while demand picks up in the course of the year, the poll showed

The survey of 30 economists and analysts projected Brent to average $74 next year and $80 in 2016

The forecast for 2015 is $8.50 below the average projection  (go to article)

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Why Americans Will Overpay for Cuba's Vintage Cars

Businessweek.com -- When Fidel Castro came to power in 1959, he made it illegal for anyone to import cars without government permission. The mandate arrested automotive history on the island, and curvaceous mid-century Chevys, Studebakers, and Buicks still rumble down Havana's Malecón, much as they did half a century ago. Now, with the easing of relations between the U.S. and Cuba, some of the nearly 60,000 vintage cars in Cuba could eventually make their way into collectors’ hands stateside  (go to article)

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BP Says U.S. Shale Boom Is Making Energy Trading More Global

Bloomberg -- The U.S. shale boom is connecting markets and changing the way oil and gas is bought and sold, according to BP Plc’s trading unit.

Understanding one commodity in a region is no longer enough, Carol Howle, head of global oil Europe and finance at BP Integrated Supply & Trading, said in an interview. Change in trade flows will come as the U.S. turns from an importer of liquefied natural gas to an exporter and liquefied petroleum gas export capacity increases, she said.

“We’ve seen a huge amount of change, particularly in the past several years with the U.S. market changing so much around shale, changing trade flows, changing global connectivities,” Howle, 42, said in her office in London’s Canary Wharf business district on Dec. 16. “Back when I started, we were very regional. I worked on N  (go to article)

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89 straight days of lower gas prices

CNN Money -- Gas prices continue to drop on a daily basis. In fact, the price of gas has fallen for 89 consecutive days.

Related StoriesFor some, gasoline has fallen below $2 CNNMoney.com
Survey: US gas prices fall 12 cents per gallon Associated Press
Gas dips below $2 a gallon in Oklahoma City CNBC
It's Official: $1.99 Gas Shows Up in Oklahoma City Fox Business
Gas prices will soon drop below $2 per gallon Fortune

The streak, the longest on record according to AAA, has shaved nearly $1 off the national average price of regular gas, taking it to $2.38 a gallon for the first time in five years. September 25 was the last day prices were higher for drivers. That day they increased by only a tenth of a cent. Prices have tumbled 36% since the high of the year, which was back in late April.
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Uber CEO charged with operating illegal taxi service in South Korea

CNN Money -- The latest city to give Uber a chilly reception: Seoul, where Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is facing criminal charges.

Prosecutors told local media they charged Kalanick and the head of Uber's local business partner with operating without the proper license.

The local operator is a rental car company, and those companies are not allowed to operate a taxi service, reported Yonhap, South Korea's semi-official news agency. A conviction can mean up to two years in jail, Yonhap said.
 (go to article)

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NYC Subways Slowly Upgrading from 1930s-Era Tech

Associated Press (AP) Published in Product Design and Development -- New York City's subways — the nation's biggest mass transit network — serve more than 6 million daily riders who depend largely on a signal system that dates back to the Great Depression.

Antiquated electro-mechanics with thousands of moving parts are still critical to operations. Dispatchers still monitor most trains from 24-hour underground "towers," and they still put pencil to paper to track their progress.
 (go to article)

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Opec oil output will not be cut even if price hits $20

BBC -- Saudi Arabia's oil minister, Ali al-Naimi, has said oil producers' cartel Opec will not cut production even if the price falls to $20 a barrel.

His comments reinforce Opec's recent policy change away from restricting output as prices fall.

In November, Opec [Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries] said it would keep its target output at 30 million barrels per day.

The Brent crude oil price has fallen by more than 46% since its $116 June peak.

Speaking to the Middle East Economic Survey, Mr al-Naimi said: "As a policy for Opec - and I convinced Opec of this, even Mr al-Badri [Opec secretary general] is now convinced - it is not in the interest of Opec producers to cut their production, whatever the price is.

"Whether it goes down to $20, $40, $50, $60, it is irrelevant," he  (go to article)

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Gas prices stay low as Saudis try to "smoke out" US

Yahoo -- Gas prices are at their lowest level since 2009. AAA reports that prices have declined 89 straight days, a new record. With the national average sitting at $2.38 the biggest winners are consumers--the nearly 100 million people hitting the road for holiday travel will see the lowest gas prices in six years.

Yahoo Finance’s Rick Newman says the drop in price is basically a stimulus plan for Americans: “Every time you fill up it’s like 10 to 20 cents cheaper. Citigroup just put a new figure on it, they’re now saying average savings of $1,150 for the typical family over the course of the year. ” Saving more at the pump is allowing people to spend more elsewhere and boost the economy.

The Commerce Department announced today that the U.S economy grew at a rate of 5.0% in the third quarter, it’  (go to article)

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Retail gas prices tumble 16 cents across Texas

Fuel Fix -- Retail gasoline prices across Texas have tumbled 16 cents this week to settle at $2.15 per gallon.

AAA Texas on Tuesday reported the statewide figure compares to the nationwide average of $2.38 per gallon, a decline of 15 cents in the past week.

Drivers in Corpus Christi have the most expensive gasoline in Texas at $2.27 per gallon. The association survey found the cheapest gasoline in Texas was in Fort Worth at $1.98 per gallon.

AAA Texas predicts 8.1 million Texans will travel 50 miles or more away from home in the time period from Tuesday through Jan. 4. That’s about 4 percent higher than last year.

Experts say comparatively low prices for retail gasoline have been helping consumers.  (go to article)

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Biggest Arctic Gas Project Seeks Route Around U.S. Sanctions

Bloomberg -- Total SA (FP) and its partners will use a record 16 ice-breaking tankers to smash through floes en route to and from the Arctic’s biggest liquefied natural-gas development.

They’re still looking for a way around a freeze in U.S. financing.

With 22 wells drilled, and a runway and harbor built for the $27 billion project in Russia’s Yamal Peninsula, where temperatures can reach 50 degrees below zero Celsius Total, OAO Novatek (NVTK) and China National Petroleum Corp. have little choice but to push ahead.

The U.S. Export-Import Bank this year halted a study into funding the plans to ship gas from Yamal, or End of Earth in the native Nenets tongue, to buyers around the world as President Barack Obama’s administration imposed sanctions on Russia. The action by the bank which offers credit...  (go to article)

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Feds plan to hold Idaho oil and gas lease sale

FuelFix.com-AP -- Federal officials in Idaho in a battle with a Texas oil company over what is believed to be a profitable natural gas field in Payette County plan to offer five parcels for competitive leasing by April.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management on Monday opened a 30-day public comment period about the proposed lease sale that will offer 6,350 acres to potential drilling in southwest Idaho.

Houston-based Alta Mesa responded Tuesday afternoon by saying it will suspend its request with Idaho officials to exclude BLM lands and potential royalties from a drilling unit.

“One way to look at it is as an olive branch” said company spokesman John Foster. “Alta Mesa has been very diligently and carefully working hard to help the BLM develop the process that creates a reasonable pace of development. It’s  (go to article)

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Canada feeling pain of low oil prices

Regina Leader Post -- Canadian oil producers are proving less resilient than their U.S. counterparts to plunging prices.

The number of rigs searching for oil fell by 25 to 190 last week, the lowest on a seasonal basis since 2009, Baker Hughes Inc. says. The U.S. total dropped by 10 to 1,536, the highest for that time of the year in at least a decade. Expressed as a percentage, that's about a 12 per cent drop in Canadian rigs, and less than one per cent for U.S. rigs. Canadian crude has lost more than a quarter of its value since a decision last month by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to maintain output targets amid a surge in North American production. Alberta's oilsands and Duvernay shale are among the highest-cost areas in the world to produce. About one-fourth of oilsands projects are ..  (go to article)

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Even oil could face rail shortages soon

Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal -- Tougher rules on shipping crude by rail mean oil producers in North Dakota's Bakken region could soon face the unwelcome choice of spending more to ship by truck or cutting back on production altogether.
That's the takeaway from a Wall Street Journal report that says that the Railway Supply Institute is warning that tens of thousands of rail cars will be sidelined because they no longer meet code in the wake of new safety regulations on shipping crude oil by train.
The U.S. Department of Transportation has mandated that rail cars carrying flammable liquids meet higher safety standards. North Dakota regulators also toughened its own rules on shipping, saying that volatile gases had to be removed from crude oil before shipping.
 (go to article)

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Oil Drillers Under Pressure to Scrap Rigs to Cope With Downturn

Bloomberg -- Offshore oil-drilling contractors, who last year were able to charge record rates for their vessels, are now under pressure to scrap old rigs at an unprecedented pace.

The recent five-year low in oil prices is threatening an industry already grappling with a flood of new vessels and weakening demand. More than 200 new rigs are scheduled to be delivered in the next six years. That’s a 25 percent jump from the number currently under contract.

To cope, many rig owners will try to keep revenue up by culling older vessels to balance supply and demand.
“The older assets, particularly those built before the 2000 time period, are really less desired by the industry,” James West, an analyst at Evercore ISI in New York, said in a phone interview. Those vessels “are only causing the customer base t  (go to article)

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White House Hires Former Keystone Lobbyist as Senate Liaison

Reuters -- The Obama administration's new point person on White House-Senate relations previously worked as a lobbyist to promote the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.

Marty Paone, formerly a lobbyist with Prime Policy Group, was hired by the White House last week to be the deputy assistant for legislative affairs where he will be responsible for working with the Senate on White House legislative priorities, but he will be excluded from issues related to the pipeline.

The Center for Responsive Politics shows Paone and his firm received $280,000 in 2013 and 2014 from the In Situ Oil Sands Alliance, a group of four companies working to develop oil sands in Alberta, Canada, that would be exported to the United States should Transcanada  (go to article)

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Drunken driving's immeasurable toll in Minnesota

Star Tribune -- Greg Torell has had the same Christmas wish for the past seven years: to see his grandchildren open their presents and watch them play with their new toys. It’s an opportunity he will never have.

Torell, 51, saw his granddaughter, Elizabeth, and held her in his arms the night she was born, on June 12, 2007. Twenty minutes later his life changed forever. Torell was on his motorcycle on Hwy. 47 when he was broadsided by a drunken driver just blocks from his home in Cambridge, Minn. He lost his left arm and leg in the crash. He also was blinded.

For the past seven years, Torell has been housebound and uses a wheelchair to roll around a first-floor living room, kitchen and den.

The 21-year-old woman who hit him spent six months in jail, completed probation in 2013, and has moved on with lif  (go to article)

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Woman reunited with Mustang stolen nearly 30 years ago

KCRA -- SALINAS, Calif. —A California woman was reunited with her classic Ford Mustang nearly 30 years after it was stolen, when a man tried to register the muscle car at a Department of Motor Vehicles office.

Lynda Alsip said she couldn't ask for a better Christmas present than the return of her forest-green 1967 Mustang.

"I never thought I would see it again," she said, standing in a Salinas tow yard next to her car. "It's like winning the lottery."  (go to article)

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Low gas prices become the gift that keeps on giving

Fox 8 Cleveland -- SOLON, Ohio-Low gas prices. It’s an early Christmas gift for those wanting to hit the road.

“It’s kind of a Christmas miracle to have these cheap prices,” said Mike Martovitz of Brook Park.

Tuesday, people were filling up at the Marathon gas station in Brook Park for $1.99.

“It helps because I do a lot of traveling. I have family in PA so I do a lot of traveling,” said Kim Adams of Brook Park.

But some 25 miles away, the price of gas at one station is $2.59.

So what gives?  (go to article)

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Why Low Oil Prices Could Be Bad for Jobs in America

Daily Finance -- Oil prices are plunging, and one byproduct almost everyone in the U.S. has noticed is the falling price of gasoline. In some locations gasoline has fallen below $2, and the rest of the country won't be far behind if the price of oil keeps falling.

Most of the time, lower gas prices are seen as a good thing. They put more money in consumers' wallets, which right now can be spent on items just in time for the holidays. As a result, retailers and the economy as a whole should get a bit of a boost as long as prices stay low.

But a side effect that shouldn't go unnoticed is the potential loss of thousands of jobs in the oil extraction industry. States like North Dakota and Texas have seen a boom in oil-related jobs, and if oil falls much further, drilling could dry up altogether there, push  (go to article)

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The end of $100 a barrel oil

CNN Money -- The days of $100 a barrel oil may be a thing of the past, according to the Saudi oil minister

If true, that could also eliminate the threat of $3 a gallon gas.


In an interview with the Middle East Economic Survey, an oil industry newsletter, Ali al-Naimi responded "we may not" when asked if oil markets would ever lift prices to $100 a barrel again.

The price of a barrel of oil first broke the $100 mark in 2008, and has frequently crossed it in the six years since then. Even in the first eight months of this year prices have fluctuated to over $100 a barrel.

Related: What does gas cost in your state?

But prices of oil have plunged since Brent crude oil hit $115 a barrel in early June. They've dropped nearly 50% since then. Weakening economies in Europe and Asia, as well as mo  (go to article)

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Colorado Family Chases FedEx Truck Spilling Packages

Good Morning America -- A Colorado driver who videotaped a FedEx truck spilling packages along a roadway said he dodged a couple of items before realizing what had happened.

"I kind of swerved over to avoid running over it and realized it was a package," Phil Dickson said this morning.

The Westminster, Colorado, man said he was driving with his three children last week when he had to quickly dodge a cardboard box in the road.

Moments later Dickson had to swerve again and then he saw the FedEx delivery truck with its rear door open. Dickson realized the truck driver had no way to know he was dropping packages, so the father of four stepped on the gas and flashed his lights until the driver pulled over.

In the video, the driver quickly says thank you before Dickson drives off.

 (go to article)

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New app will help blind navigate MBTA stations

Boston Globe -- A new application being developed at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is meant to help visually impaired people navigate T stations on their own.

The MBTA has helped fund the creation of PERCEPT — an indoor navigation system that one day will allow users to make their way through a T station by listening to step-by-step directions on their smartphones, which lead them to electronic sensors or “tags” throughout the building.  (go to article)

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Cities Target Elevated Levels of Pedestrian Deaths

Wall Street Journal -- After a variety of safety efforts have successfully reduced deaths from car crashes, transportation officials around the country are now focusing on another traffic-related problem: a general increase in pedestrian deaths since 2009.

The U.S. saw 4,735 pedestrian deaths in 2013, a slight decline from the previous year but still 15% higher than in 2009, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data released Friday. That compares with the overall 32,719 traffic deaths the U.S. saw in 2013, a 3.1% decline from the previous year and continuing a long-term downward trend.  (go to article)

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Diesel price drops accelerating

GasBuddy Blog -- Diesel consumers, rejoice. Finally prices are coming down for diesel fuel, according to GasBuddy data. In the last week alone, the average price of diesel has dropped 14c/gal to $3.247/gal, while in the last month, the drop has amounted to almost 35c/gal. Not too shabby! Perhaps the best news: decreases in diesel prices will soon outpace drops in gasoline prices.

States seeing the biggest drops in diesel prices are generally in the Midwest, with prices dropping over 20c/gal in the last week in 9 states. Price drops in the last week:...  (go to article)

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For automakers, 2014 was the year of the recall

Detroit News -- Fiat Chrysler Automobiles U.S. late last week expanded its recall of vehicles with defective and potentially deadly Takata manufactured airbags, which can explode and shoot metal shrapnel at drivers and passengers, to include the entire United States — a much broader geographic area than its original recall directed.

The decision was overdue. Pinpointing the recall strictly to areas of a particular humidity seemed foolish, since weather conditions change and vehicles are driven to different parts of the country, and was also asking for a public relations nightmare.

But the Takata recall as a whole — namely, the way it's been handled by FCA — shows the automotive industry still doesn't take safety as seriously as it needs to.

Chrysler has now recalled more than 3.3 million vehicles conta  (go to article)

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More vehicles earn top marks for safety

WTNH -- The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has released their top safety picks for 2015 with 71 vehicles earning the distinction, compared to just 39 last year.

The IIHS reports that despite the recent news related to manufacturing recalls and exploding airbags, vehicle safety is improving at an impressive rate. Nearly twice as many vehicles earned a “Top Safety Pick” nod from the institute.
 (go to article)

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Why President Obama Should Refill the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve

The Motley Fool -- After several Arab countries implemented a destructive oil embargo against the United States in 1973, the U.S. created the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Like many other oil-importing states, the U.S. now keeps a large supply of oil in reserve to hedge against threats to the national oil supply.

The Strategic Petroleum Reserve has not been completely full since early 2011. With oil prices having recently fallen to a multiyear low and oil demand seeming sluggish, President Barack Obama should take this opportunity to refill the SPR to its full capacity.

Oil in the tank

The U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve has a total capacity of roughly 727 million barrels of crude oil. Net U.S. crude oil imports have averaged just more than 7.2 million barrels per day (bpd) this year. At that rate, the...  (go to article)

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Christmas Eve Downpour Threatens East Coast Traffic Snarl

Bloomberg -- Planning a trip in the eastern U.S. this holiday season?

Pack a little extra time along with the presents. You might need it if the meteorologists are right.

First, though, the positive side to the forecast: Temperatures will be mild this week, topping out near 57 degrees Fahrenheit (14 Celsius) tomorrow in New York’s Central Park, according to the National Weather Service. The record for the day was 63 in 1996. Boston may reach 60 on Christmas Day, while Philadelphia and Washington peak tomorrow at 61.

On the down side, the balmy temperatures will be arriving with heavy rain from a storm system crossing into the Ohio Valley, and the deluge will almost certainly cause a few travel problems.

About 98.6 million people will probably set out on trips of 50 miles or more between today and J  (go to article)

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Del City gas station barred from selling fuel again

News OK -- Customers at SK Gas Express once again have to find somewhere else to buy their fuel.

The store at 4021 SE 14 in Del City had its gas pumps chained by state regulators Wednesday after customers complained they had been cheated by Ardol LLC and owner Samir Khan.

This is the second time SK Gas Express has been barred from selling gasoline this year.

An administrative law judge at the Oklahoma Corporation Commission issued a lock-down order against the store on Sept 29 after inspectors sought a contempt citation.

The store, which was barred from selling gas for about a month, is facing 10 counts of violating Oklahoma statutes and commission rules. Each one could bring a $10,000 fine.

Khan agreed to post warning signs informing customers of the allegations in order to get clearance ...  (go to article)

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U.S gas price decline breaks '08 recession record Read more: http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Energ

UPI -- WASHINGTON, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- The U.S. price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline has declined for the longest stretch since the so-called great recession, motor club AAA reported.
AAA reports a retail price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline for Tuesday at $2.38, about a penny less than Monday and 87 cents less than this date in 2013.

The price for a gallon of gasoline has declined every day since Sept. 25, or 89 days in row, which is longer than any period on record for the motor club. The decline streak breaks the previous 86 day record set in 2008, when the global economy slipped into recession.

While several cities are selling gas below the $2 mark, no state is reporting a state average below that threshold. Missouri may be the first, however, with a state average price f  (go to article)

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Arab OPEC sources see oil back above $70 by end-2015

Reuters -- Arab OPEC producers expect global oil prices to rebound to between $70 and $80 a barrel by the end of next year as a global economic recovery revives demand, OPEC delegates said this week in the first indication of where the group expects oil markets to ?stabilize in the medium term.

The delegates, some of which are from core Gulf OPEC producing countries, said they may not see - and some may not even welcome now - a return to $100 any time soon. Once deemed a “fair” price by many major producers, $100 a barrel crude is encouraging too much new production from high cost producers outside the exporting group, some sources say.

But they believe that once the breakneck growth of high cost producers such as U.S. shale patch slows and lower prices begin to stimulate demand, oil prices could b  (go to article)

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California DMV Prepares For Undocumented Residents Applying For Licenses

NPR -- California residents who are living without documentation soon will be eligible to apply for driver's licenses, thanks to a new law that takes effect in the new year.

The state's Department of Motor Vehicles is expecting 1.6 million immigrants to apply in the first few years, and law enforcement, community groups and others are preparing for the surge.

In central Los Angeles, about 150 parishioners recently packed into Holy Spirit Catholic Church, not for a mass but for a training session. Presenter after presenter explained the new law, called AB60, which goes into effect on Jan. 1.  (go to article)

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Oil at $20 a barrel

Yahoo News -- OPEC will not cut oil production even if the price drops to $20 a barrel and it is unfair to expect the cartel to reduce output if non-members do not, Saudi Arabia said.  (go to article)

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Missouri Towns Sue County Voters Over Red Light Cameras

TheNewspaper.com, a journal of the politics of driving -- Three towns in Missouri joined together to sue the the residents of St. Charles who voted to ban red light cameras. St. Peters, Lake Saint Louis and O'Fallon are asking a county circuit court judge to overturn the charter amendment banning automated enforcement adopted in November with the support of 73 percent of voters. City leaders argue that the 69,469 residents who voted for the measure had no business limiting the right of local politicians to use automated ticketing machines.  (go to article)

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The week the dam broke in Russia and ended Putin's dreams

The Telegraph -- Gallows humour is back in Moscow. Asked what he would do to stop the rouble spiralling out of control, the former governor of Russia’s central bank replied: “I would pick up a pistol and shoot myself.” This was the week when the country’s long-festering crisis turned virulent. A last-ditch attempt to defend the exchange rate by raising interest rates to 17pc failed within hours, yet the shock is surely enough to set off a chain of corporate failures and push banks over the edge.

Traders in the City watched open-mouthed as the dam broke on Black Tuesday. The event exposed the awful reality that the Kremlin does not have the infinite foreign reserves that many had supposed. “What is happening is a nightmare that we could not even have imagined a year ago,” says the central bank’s deputy  (go to article)

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89 straight days of lower gas prices

CNN Money -- Gas prices continue to drop on a daily basis. In fact, the price of gas has fallen for 89 consecutive days.

The streak, the longest on record according to AAA, has shaved nearly $1 off the national average price of regular gas, taking it to $2.38 a gallon for the first time in five years.  (go to article)

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Global Oil Impact: Who's Hurting, Happy, Hopeful

Associated Press (AP) Published in MBT -- NEW YORK (AP) — Oil's plunge is spreading both pain and gain across the globe.

The price of a barrel has fallen by about half since June, punishing the economies of some major exporters. Russia's currency has nose-dived, for instance, and investors worry Venezuela could default on its debt.

For countries that consume a large amount of the world's oil, it's a different story. The world's four biggest economies — U.S., China, Japan and that of the European Union — all benefit from lower oil prices.

"Economically this is a good thing for the U.S., it's a good thing for Europe, it's a good thing for China and it's a good thing for most consumers," says Sarah Ladislaw, director of the energy and national security program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.  (go to article)

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Chrysler Gives In To Gov't, Expands Recall

Associated Press (AP) Published in MBT -- DETROIT (AP) — After resisting for nearly a month, Chrysler has bowed to government demands and will expand a recall of driver's side air bag inflators across the nation.

The automaker said Friday that it will recall nearly 2.9 million older cars and trucks in the U.S., as demanded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The vehicles have driver's air bags equipped with inflators made by Japan's Takata Corp. that can explode with too much force and spew shrapnel at drivers and passengers. At least five deaths have been blamed on Takata inflators.  (go to article)

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Wind farm operator PacifiCorp Energy pleads guilty in bird deaths.

Fox News -- CHEYENNE, WYO. – Wind farm operator PacifiCorp Energy will pay $2.5 million in fines after pleading guilty to charges in connection with the deaths of protected birds in Wyoming.  (go to article)

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Even with dramatic drop in gas prices, U.S. shows just 1% increase in car travel

GasBuddy Blog -- ?The U.S. average retail price per gallon of regular motor gasoline has fallen by nearly 30% from its 2014 peak of $3.70 per gallon on June 23, to less than $2.50 per gallon... However, this price decline may not have much effect on automobile travel, and in turn, gasoline consumption, says this week’s report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). According to the report, gasoline is a relatively inelastic product, meaning changes in price have little influence on demand. Generally-speaking, it takes a 25% to 50% decrease in the price of gasoline to raise automobile travel by 1%.(In the mid 1990s, the price elasticity for gasoline was higher, meaning it only took a 12% decrease in the price of gasoline to raise automobile travel by 1%.)The data illustrates that regardless of the price of gas, Americans are quite limited when it comes to viable transportation choices for every-day needs. ...  (go to article)

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