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Will car-hacking become the new carjacking?

Market Watch.com -- Google Inc. revealed a new operating system for cars, called Android Auto, on Wednesday, laying the groundwork for vehicles to virtually become smartphones on wheels. As more cars become connected to the Internet in some capacity and collect and transmit more data, the question becomes all the more real: Will car-hacking become the new carjacking?

The first Android Auto-equipped cars will be available this year. Drivers will be able to control the navigation, communication and music systems with their voices — responding to text messages by speaking, for example. The Internet search giant also unveiled its prototype last month for a fleet of self-driving cars — compact two-seaters sans steering wheels, accelerators and brakes, which cruise along at a maximum speed of 25 mph and virtually  (go to article)

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Oil Rigs Slide Most Since 2012 With Crude at 7-Month Low

Bloomberg -- The number of rigs targeting oil in the U.S. shrank this week by the most since 2012 as crude trades at a seven-month low and drillers redirect equipment to focus on the most profitable plays.

Oil rigs tumbled by 25 this week to 1,564, the lowest level in a month and the largest drop since Dec. 21, 2012, data posted on Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI)’s website today show. Those targeting gas meanwhile jumped to the highest in five months, the Houston-based field services company said.

U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude declined for a fifth week, the longest losing streak in nine months.
Lower prices threaten to halt a surge in the oil rig count as energy producers use a combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to draw record volumes out of shale formations from Nort  (go to article)

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Refiners, marketers press for Jones Act changes

Platts -- Petroleum marketers and refiners are planning a substantial effort to get Congress to change the Jones Act, a nearly century-old law they claim is driving up motor fuel and heating oil prices and severely inhibiting the flow of crude oil between US ports amid the ongoing domestic oil boom.

But rather than repealing the law, due to the overwhelming support it has within the US shipbuilding industry and by members of Congress, the planned Capitol Hill lobbying efforts will be aimed at weakening the Jones Act. This could include new waivers to get the rising tide of light sweet crude from the Gulf of Mexico to East Coast refineries or modifying rules on the percentage of a vessels' crew that must be US citizens.

"I'm not naive enough to think that Congress will repeal this thing," said Char  (go to article)

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Australia and Europe have a power problem -- too MUCH power

Smart Grid News -- Australia faces an unprecedented oversupply of energy according to the country's energy market operator. "For the first time in the history of the National Electricity Market, no new thermal baseload electricity generation is required over the next decade...due to the continuing decline in electricity consumption," Australian Energy Market Operator said in the report.

That decline is due to a convergence of several factors – greater energy efficiency, more rooftop solar, and the recession that heavily impacted manufacturers who use lots of electricity.

Electricity consumption continues to decline in Australia. As a result, Australia will produce up to 8,950 megawatts of surplus generation in the next year alone.  (go to article)

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Why August looks like the best month to buy a new car

Yahoo Motoramic -- For most of the world, 2014 does not end until December 31. But in the automotive world, it’s as good as done. The long-held tradition of carmakers starting to deliver updated, next-model-year cars and trucks en masse to their showrooms starting around September means that dealers will automatically get more aggressive in summer months, but according to John Krafcik of TrueCar, brands have started selling 2015 models even earlier than usual, making this August the month during which you’re bound to score the best deal on a new car.

A month-by-month breakdown of new car and truck prices during the last five years, as provided by TrueCar.com is striking, revealing August as the month with the lowest average transaction price for a new car at $29,296, with July coming in second at $29,465.  (go to article)

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Business News: Richmond-Area Companies James River Coal selling three mining complexes for $52 mill

The Richmond Times Dispatch -- A subsidiary of Lexington, Ky.-based Blackhawk Mining LLC is the top bidder for three mining complexes auctioned off by Richmond-based James River Coal Co., which is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
James River Coal said Thursday it has accepted a binding agreement to sell the coal mining complexes for $52 million to JR Acquisition LLC, a wholly-owned unit of Blackhawk Mining.JR Acquisition also will assume certain liabilities, the company said.
James River Coal conducted a court-monitored auction for the company’s assets this week.
The auction had previously been delayed several times, but the company said on Aug. 16 that it had chosen Blackhawk Mining as a stalking-horse bidder with an opening offer of $50 million.
A hearing to confirm the sale is scheduled for Aug. 26 in U.S. Ban  (go to article)

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Are Safer Rail Cars Rolling Thru Your Town (and how to tell)

The Oregonian -- So how can the public confirm the company's use of the newer and safer tank cars? It's challenging.

The Oregonian was twice able to independently verify through a railroad tank car database but that's not a public database. You'll have to rely on your eyes.

Here's how to determine whether you're looking at an old tank car or a new one:  (go to article)

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Kuwait, China sign biggest crude supply deal in Kuwait's history

Hispanic Business . com -- Under the agreement, KPC will provide UNIPEC crude oil, starting from 2014, with the volume expected to reach 300,000 barrels per day (bpd). KPC reached the historic......  (go to article)

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Used car market showing no signs of slowdown

CNBC -- Tariq Khan says he can feel it in his gut.

When he sees a used car or truck he knows he can sell for a healthy profit, the auto dealer from Villa Park, Illinois, jumps on it.

"I walk around it, check the record, but it's ultimately a gut feeling," Khan said. "You have to buy the right car at the right price."

For Khan, the right price for a 2004 Lexus LS 430 was $7,500.

"I'll probably sell it for nine or 10 grand," he said.

Khan is one of several hundred auto dealers who spent a rainy day at the Manheim auto auction in Matteson, Illinois, where thousands of used cars are bought and sold.

"Very few people realize used car sales are probably three times bigger than the new car industry sales. The used car industry really fuels what happens with auto sales," said Sandy Schwartz ...  (go to article)

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Lac-Megantic criminal probe leads Quebec police to MMA chairman's U.S. office

Canadian Press -- QC police have visited the U.S. 4 times to seize documents and to interview witnesses — including railway boss Ed Burkhardt

A provincial police spokesman also expects investigators to return to the U.S. to gather more evidence for analysis in QC

At least part of the police force's efforts took place at the Chicago-area office for Burkhardt's company, Rail World Burkhardt was chairman of Rail World subsidiary MMA Railway, the firm at the centre of the catastrophe

"We interviewed many American witnesses, people highly placed in the company like Mr. Burkhardt

Since it is a company, MMA Canada could only face fines, if convicted

Some locals who watched the accused enter the Lac-Megantic courthouse said they hoped authorities would file charges against railway and government officials  (go to article)

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Altered fireworks, chickens found in W.Va. crash

Associated Press -- Police say altered fireworks, weapons, live chickens and marijuana were found inside an SUV that wrecked on Interstate 79 in West Virginia, and a Pennsylvania man has been arrested.

A criminal complaint in Roane County Magistrate Court charged 21-year-old Seth Grim of Emmaus with possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, a felony.
 (go to article)

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Snowy owl that survived bus hit dies in Minnesota

Associated Press -- The snowy owl that captured the nation's capital attention when it perched at The Washington Post building and survived being hit by a bus has died.

The University of Minnesota's Raptor Center in St. Paul says on its website that the owl, which had undergone rehab there, was found dead on the shoulder of a Minnesota highway.
 (go to article)

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'Cash for Clunkers' actually hurt the auto industry

Saint Louis Post-Dispatch -- A new study by three Texas A&M University economists says the misguided stimulus policy wasn't even good for the auto industry. Mark Hoekstra, Steven L. Puller and Jeremy West find that the program's fuel-efficiency constraints induced people to purchase smaller, less expensive cars than they would otherwise have bought.
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Inside North Dakota's latest fracking problem

CNBC -- From his driveway, Tom Wheeler's view of North Dakota's sprawling grasslands seems endless.  (go to article)

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Techsplanations: Owning An Electric Car Hard to accept, but the payoff can be big for many drivers

AOL Autos -- Electric cars have been around for decades, but it hasn't been until recently that they have been controversial.

The U.S. government, as well as influential cities and states like Colorado, New York and California, have committed to increasing the number of electric cars we buy and drive. The reasons given are to reduce C02 emissions, as well as reduce the country's dependence on oil by tapping into the U.S.'s vast natural gas and coal reserves, which are the two biggest energy sources powering electric power plants.

But how do they work exactly? What's it like to own one and live with one? Are they as powerful as gas-powered cars?

What is it?

An electric vehicle is powered by a battery rather than an internal combustion engine. They have been around a long time. Most of the electric c  (go to article)

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Driverless Cars Could Lead To Organ Donor Shortage

AOL Autos -- Unintended consequences abound when it comes to emerging technology, and self-driving cars are no exception. Numerous ethical and legal dilemmas associated with autonomous vehicles are currently being explored and have been well documented, but it seems there is one drawback that has been missing from the conversation: where are we going to get our extra organs?

It sounds like a dark question, but consider this: car accidents kill 3,287 people every day in the U.S., and self-driving cars should drastically reduce that number. Google's autonomous car, for example, has traveled more than 700,000 miles on California roadways with only one accident, and that one involved a human being behind the wheel at the time. Fatal auto accidents supply the majority of donor organs, but 18 people a day s  (go to article)

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GM reviewing timing of Russia plant expansion

Reuters -- General Motors Co (GM.N) said on Friday it was reviewing the timing of the expansion of its Russian plant near St Petersburg because of a slump in the auto market."In view of the current business situation in Russia and the lower sales volumes since the start of the year, we are taking a close look at our plans. As part of this, we are also reviewing the timing of our expansion plans at the GM Auto Plant in St Petersburg," GM's spokesman said. The company has not disclosed which models the second stage of the plant would produce. On Thursday, GM said it was to reduce production at the plant to four days a month in August and September, extending to eight in October.  (go to article)

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Jury rejects claim against Enbridge in 2010 oil spill

LSJ.com-Company says its business disrupted -- BATTLE CREEK — A jury rejected a damage claim against Canadian oil pipeline company Enbridge Inc. on Thursday in the first civil trial rising from the 2010 oil spill into the Kalamazoo River.

After deliberating for 20 minutes, a jury of four women and two men found that Enbridge was not responsible for losses to a nonprofit startup company offering deer hunting opportunities for people with disabilities.

Extreme Adventures, which filed for a permit to use Fort Custer Recreation Area to take veterans and others with disabilities hunting, asked for $62,928 because it said it could not use any of the 2,000 acres to hunt after the spill.

“It’s just another big company taking advantage,” said company founder Charles Blakeman Jr. of Bellevue after the verdict. His attorney, Michael Leavitt...  (go to article)

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Will the Hybrid Version of a Car Actually Save You Money?

http://oppositelock.jalopnik.com -- It costs more to buy the hybrid trim on most models. Do the savings on gas justify the price tag? Not really...unless you buy an MKZ. Take a look below to see how many thousands of miles you'll need to drive before you break even on that hybrid.  (go to article)

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Carmakers put Apple's CarPlay in the slow lane

Computerworld -- Some car manufacturers are delaying their rollout of CarPlay, the software platform from Apple that synchronizes an iPhone to a vehicle's infotainment system.

At the same time, automakers are also queuing up Google's Android Auto for mirroring those smartphones to radio systems. Android Auto is expected to outpace CarPlay in manufacturer deployments, according to research firm IHS.

Apple's own website proclaims that CarPlay will be available in "select new cars in 2014." But, to date, no car manufacturer has rolled the software out, according to Filomena Berardi, a senior analyst with ABI Research.

Three of five leading carmakers who had expected to integrate the CarPlay middleware for 2015 models coming out this year appear to have delayed their rollout.  (go to article)

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Gas transportation system key to boosting power sector's gas use: Oglethorpe

Platts -- A US Environmental Protection Agency proposal to increase the capacity factor of natural gas-fired combined-cycle power plants to 70% by 2030 is "doable," but only if the country's gas transportation system is strengthened, officials with a large Georgia generation and transmission cooperative said Wednesday.

Oglethorpe Power, which supplies wholesale power to 38 electric cooperatives in the state, could comply with language in EPA's June proposal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the generation sector 30% below 2005's level by 2030 in part by increasing the use of gas-fired units to the 70% level, CEO Mike Smith said in a second-quarter earnings call.

But Smith said transitioning to an era when combined-cycle units provide much of the nation's baseload power would require a signif  (go to article)

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Maintenance: Chevron installs new equipment at El Segundo refinery

GasBuddy Blog -- Chevron's El Seguno refineryMaintenance: it's a reason you hear GasBuddy analysts cite sometimes for higher gasoline prices. Well, what is maintenance and why does it cause prices to go up? This article from Chevron talks about how complicated doing maintenance is- replacing, upgrading, installing, etc. To perform this work, part of a refinery is shut down so that repairs and upgrades can take place- temporarily causing the amount of gasoline that a refinery supplies the market- to drop, and causing prices to rise. Maintenance is absolutely essential for refineries to operate day in and day out and for supply to remain healthy.When you have a giant steel drum that's almost 100 feet long, 30 feet in diameter and weighs 300 tons, lifting it is a challenge. The task becomes even more daunting when you have six of them. Such was the task for Chevron's El Segundo Refinery this summer as it sought to lift its new coke drums into place using one of the largest cranes in the world.The refiner  (go to article)

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Oil Prices Edge Lower as Supplies Rise, Tensions Ease

Wall St Journal -- Updated Aug. 22, 2014 10:02 a.m. ET

Oil prices slipped Friday amid increasing global supplies and easing geopolitical tensions, while markets awaited macroeconomic signals from the central banker retreat in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

Light, sweet crude for October delivery fell 78 cents, or 0.8%, to $93.18 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent futures on the ICE Futures Europe exchange were down 23 cents, or 0.2%, at $102.40 a barrel.

The first tanker of crude from Libya's revived production left port and was looking for a buyer, Energy Market Institute analyst Dominick Chirichella said in a note. The Italian tanker Maria Bottiglieri was expected to be loaded with 600,000 barrels from Libya's Es Sider terminal, the country's largest.

Meanwhile, there was little news of advances  (go to article)

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U.S. Oil Futures Set for Fifth Weekly Drop on Demand

Bloomberg -- West Texas Intermediate crude headed for a fifth weekly decline, the longest losing streak in nine months, on concern refineries will reduce demand for crude as the end of summer driving season approaches.

Gasoline demand slid to a two-month low last week, according to the Energy Information Administration. U.S. refineries typically schedule seasonal maintenance for September and October. Traders are also awaiting a speech from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen for clues on the timing of higher interest rates.

“The focus is definitely on the U.S. and on concern about demand as we head into the maintenance season,” said Carl Larry, president of Oil Outlooks & Opinions LLC in Houston. “People are waiting to see what Janet Yellen is going to say.”  (go to article)

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6500 tickets sold for Keystone XL opposition concert

Fuel Fix -- Organizers say nearly all the $50 tickets for a Willie Nelson and Neil Young concert organized by opponents of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline have been sold.

The group Bold Nebraska said in a statement Thursday more than 6,500 of the 7,000 tickets for the Sept. 27 concert had been sold since Wednesday.

The TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline would carry oil from Canada south to the Gulf Coast. The concert will be held on a farm near Neligh that’s in the proposed path.

Pipeline critics worry it could contribute to pollution and contaminate groundwater. Young and Nelson have said they agreed to perform to highlight concerns.

TransCanada says the pipeline would be built with advanced safety features. The southern leg of the pipeline between Oklahoma and Texas is already operational.
 (go to article)

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Police urge undocumented residents to prepare now to apply for driver’s licenses

SBSun/LA Daily News -- Police are urging eligible undocumented immigrants to be ready for a new state law going into effect Jan. 1 that allows them to apply for a driver’s license for the first time in more than two decades.  (go to article)

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Proposal for one-person train crews criticized

The Spokesman Review -- A proposal that some freight trains through Spokane could have just one person on board as early as January has divided a union of rail workers and added fuel to a debate about how trains can be safely operated.

The tentative agreement, forged last month between BNSF Railway and a union representing conductors and engineers, would allow trains equipped with new accident prevention technology to shed their human conductors. The agreement was negotiated and signed by eight members of a general committee of the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Union (SMART).

Nearly 6,000 BNSF ground service employees throughout the Midwest and Pacific Northwest would be affected by the change. Trains without the safety technology would keep their conductors.

 (go to article)

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Ford working on Prius rival to meet federal fuel standards

Detroit News -- Ford Motor Co. plans to introduce a new hybrid vehicle or line of vehicles in 2018 that would compete against the Toyota Prius and help Ford meet strict federal mandated mileage standards, a forecasting firm said Thursday.

An executive at Troy-based LMC Automotive said the firm expects Ford to introduce a “Prius-like family of vehicles eventually,” beginning with a unique 2019 model-year hybrid that would be built at the Wayne assembly plant.

Jeff Schuster, LMC’s senior vice president, Americas region and global vehicle, said in an interview the new vehicle, which would go into production in 2018, would be built on the automaker’s C2 global platform, which will also be used on the next-generation Focus and Escape.

Schuster said LMC expects Ford will produce about 90,000-100,000 of the  (go to article)

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Oil futures hover around $94 a barrel

MarketWatch -- Crude-oil futures moved in a narrow price range in Friday as some market participants think oil may be oversold.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange light, sweet crude futures for delivery in October traded at $93.82 a barrel, down 14 cents in the Globex electronic session.

October Brent crude on London’s ICE Futures exchange fell 14 cents to $102.49 a barrel.

Oil had gained overnight and both Nymex WTI and Brent crude have settled higher for two consecutive trading sessions.

“There’s not necessarily specific bullish news to argue that the market has become tighter but there has been at least some talk that OPEC might trim output to provide support if the market were to extend the downtrend,” Citi Futures analyst Tim Evans said.

But [OPEC] may not need to trim output despite ...  (go to article)

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U.S. Economy Loses $100 Billion Annually To Neglected Roads & Bridges

GasBuddy Blog -- Congestion on major urban highways now costs the U.S. economy more than $100 billion a year in fuel and lost work time, estimates the American Society of Civil Engineers.And, says said Casey Dinges, the engineering group's senior managing director: "It's become a white-knuckle experience for many commuters." Age is a key factor. Most of the major highways were built decades ago.America's transportation structures look all the more frayed next to those in advanced economies in Europe and Japan, or in China, which has been busily constructing high-speed rail and new airports. Will we ever see real improvement? ...  (go to article)

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The best cars for kids

MSN -- You’re never too young to get behind the wheel, as this collection of fun-size cars proves

It's back-to-school time, and you know what that means -- moans and groans, pencils and books. But what better way to keep your littl'uns motivated than… buying them a car!

All kinds of weird and wonderful miniature cars are available for children, from the very expensive to the brilliant little convertible made from a trash can.
 (go to article)

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Hawaiian Electric strikes deal with Canada's largest private utility

PACIFIC BUSINESS NEWS -- Hawaiian Electric Co. has reached an agreement with a subsidiary of Canada’s largest private utility to undergo a key liquefied natural gas process that could help lower its customers’ bills, a spokesman for the Honolulu-based utility told PBN.

The agreement with Fortis BC Energy Inc., is for liquefaction capacity in British Columbia, Canada, under controlled rates approved by the British Columbia Utilities Commission.

Liquefaction turns natural gas into LNG, a cold liquid that takes 600 times less space than gas.

The agreement is subject to approval from the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission, and will require other regulatory approvals and permits. It can also be assigned to the selected bidder for HECO's supply of LNG, according to Peter Rosegg, spokesman for the state’s largest...  (go to article)

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Public Data Reveal Secret Rail Movements of Crude Oil

Bloomberg Business Week -- It’s been almost four months since the Obama Administration ordered railroads to start giving state emergency officials details about their shipments of crude oil. The idea was that since these trains have a tendency to explode, and since they’re often rolling right through the middle of towns and cities, the least they could do would be to tell local firefighters when they’re coming. Not that municipal departments necessarily have the tools or resources to deal with 400-foot fireballs—but hey, knowing’s half the battle. Right, kids?  (go to article)

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An Increase In Fuel Tax? It's What Americans Want And What The Roads Need

Forbes -- The U.S. highway system is broken. More than 32 percent of the nation’s roads are in poor or mediocre condition, according to American Society of Civil Engineers, and will continue to fall into further disrepair unless we as a country take action now  (go to article)

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Bill would keep other states' radioactive fracking waste out of Michigan

Detroit Free Press -- A state senator says he wants to prevent Michigan from further becoming other states’ dumping ground for low-level radioactive waste from the oil and gas drilling process known as fracking.

Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, said Thursday that he plans to introduce legislation to stop companies in other states, such as Pennsylvania, from dumping low-level radioactive waste materials in Michigan landfills.

The Free Press reported Tuesday that a hazardous-waste landfill in Van Buren Township, Wayne Disposal, is to receive up to 36 tons of low-level radioactive sludge from a fracking operation in Washington County Pa. The sludge was rejected by landfills in western Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

“I’m angry that this is occurring in ‘Pure Michigan,’ ” Jones said. “It could harm the tourism...  (go to article)

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Gazprom says Ukraine's unpaid gas bill tops $5 billion

Reuters -- MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian natural gas exporter Gazprom said on Thursday that Ukraine's outstanding debt for gas supplies stood at $5.3 billion as of Aug. 1 and called on Kiev to ensure that gas continues to transit without disruption to Europe.  (go to article)

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Motorized Roller Skates That Make 12 MPH Feel Absolutely Terrifying

Wired -- Here’s the first thing I learned when riding a pair of RocketSkates: 12 mph might seem slow, but strap a pair of motorized roller skates to your feet and that speed becomes instantly terrifying.
After a quick tutorial, I donned on these hefty electric skates, pushed off, heard the motor kick in with a delightful digitized afterburner sound effect, and… then I immediately freaked out and bailed onto my toes like a chump. This happened roughly 10 times in a row. Luckily, the RocketSkates are easy to stop: You can either lean back on your heel to engage the brake, or you can simply step onto your toes like I did. The footplates of each skate end at about mid-sole, so your toes are always available for freak-out braking.  (go to article)

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America's Car Capital Will Soon Be... Mexico

Forbes -- Everything you need to know about the future of the global auto industry is printed on the business cards of Carlos Lozano de la Torre, governor of Aguascalientes, Mexico, a central province named for its abundance of hot springs.

Seated at an enormous round table inside the ornate 17th-century government palace where he has his office, he reaches into the side pocket of his dark gray suit and shuffles through a stack: Here’s one version in German, another in Chinese, another in English. “I have them in ten languages, but I only speak Spanish,” he says with a chuckle as he hands over the English version.

He has the translators working overtime for good reason. Seemingly overnight Mexico’s automotive output has soared, bolstered by a flood of investment from foreign-based carmakers, inclu  (go to article)

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Driving Tracker Zubie Wins First Nokia Connected Car Funding

IEEE Spectrum -- The only pedal you'll be pushing to the metal in the future will be the brake. Even then, your car or an aftermarket device will probably chide you if you hit it too hard. That's because devices that plug into your car will offer you suggestions—and commercial deals—to improve your driving behavior. Last week Zubie, the South Carolina maker of such a device, announced an investment of US $8 million from Nokia's Connected Car Fund (see our coverage of the fund's May launch). This is the fund's first investment, signaling how important Nokia considers this class of device.  (go to article)

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How Fast You Drive Reveals Where You Drive

IEEE Spectrum -- Don’t believe the hype. Insurance companies wanting information about what you do in your car say that they can’t use it to track your location. But a team of computer engineers at Rutgers University in Piscataway, N.J., have shown that to be untrue. The engineers say they’ve figured out how to create a fairly accurate map of where a car has traveled based solely on where it started and a stream of data indicating how fast it has gone—no GPS or cellular triangulation is necessary.  (go to article)

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GOP senators predict highway funding will changes

The Hill -- Sens. John Boozman (R-Ark.) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.) predicted this week that lawmakers will find a new way to pay for U.S. transportation projects beyond the gas tax, according to the Fort Smith, Ark., Southwest Times Record.

The federal gas tax, which is currently priced at 18.4 cents per gallon, has been the traditional source of revenue for transportation projects since the inception of the Interstate Highway System in the 1950s.

The tax has struggled to keep pace with infrastructure expenses as cars have become more fuel efficient, however, and lawmakers had to approve a nearly $11 billion patch for the Department of Transportation's Highway Trust Fund last month.
 (go to article)

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5 car brands customers don't buy twice

High Gear Media -- In today's auto market, competition is stiff. Every car seems built to last, which makes it difficult for automakers to tout reliability as their sole selling point. Consumers can shop nearly any brand, confident that they'll drive home in something that will hold up for years. That's led to the demise of brand loyalty -- especially among younger buyers.
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Shock(ing) defect leads to Jeep, Ram, Chrysler recall

Cars.com -- Chrysler Group has recalled nearly 16,000 of it highest-profile new models because the rear shock absorbers might detach.

Affected are the new-model 2014 Jeep Cherokee crossovers, Ram 1500 pickups and the just-launched 2015 Chrysler 200 sedans.
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Plains to build Cushing-to-Memphis pipeline for Valero

Reuters -- Plains All American will build a crude oil pipeline from its terminal at the U.S. futures hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, to Valero Energy Corp's Tennessee refinery, helping the largest U.S. refiner cut transportation costs to tap cheap inland U.S. oil.

Plains said on Thursday it will build the 440-mile (708 km), 200,000 barrels-per-day (bpd) Diamond Pipeline to the 180,000 bpd refinery, which is configured to process light crudes.

The $900 million project is targeted to start up in late 2016, Plains said.

The two companies have been evaluating the project for several months as Valero considered ways to cut crude procurement costs.

The refinery typically runs Light Louisiana Sweet (WTC-LLS), but last year received up to 100,000 bpd of North Dakota Bakken crude that was moved via rail to Loui  (go to article)

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U.S. Oil Imports Fell to 19-Year Low for July, API Says

Bloomberg -- U.S. imports of crude and fuel in July dropped to the lowest level for the month in 19 years as domestic production rose, the American Petroleum Institute said.

Imports slid to 9.06 million barrels a day, the least for July since 1995, the industry-funded group said today in a monthly report. Domestic crude-oil production rose to the highest July level since 1986, staying above 8 million barrels a day for a sixth month.

“Last month generated new records for many of the petroleum statistics we track,” John Felmy, chief economist at the API in Washington, said in the report. “Imports of crude oil and refined products set multidecade lows for the month."

Total imports dropped 12 percent from a year earlier, the API said. Imports of crude oil decreased 7.2 percent from 2013 to average 7.49  (go to article)

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The 10 automotive species on the verge of extinction

Motormatic -- In a first, Americans will likely buy more crossovers than midsize sedans this year — unseating the 4-door car as the default vehicle of choice. The crossover has become the family wagon equivalent of today, with hybrids and compacts SUVs expanding as the cars of choice for young singles, couples and families.

A long list of other model types now find themselves in the less-visited areas of new car dealerships. These vehicles that once drew enough buyers to justify new engineering now represent the endangered species of the auto industry. Some are in decline, others nearly defunct, and a few, sadly, may never return. Here are ten automotive species struggling to survive in the 2010s:

Compact and regular-cab pickups: The Ford Ranger, a truck that had been a top 10 seller throughout the 19  (go to article)

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Louisiana Attorney General Files Suit Against State Farm

John Rang | Leading Edge -- Suit alleges insurer has engaged in pattern of unfair and fraudulent business practices to control repair industry and force unsafe repairs without knowledge or consent of Louisiana consumers.

August 19, 2014: Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell filed a lawsuit Aug. 19 against State Farm alleging that the insurer has engaged in a pattern of unfair and fraudulent business practices aimed at controlling the auto repair industry and forcing unsafe repairs on vehicles without the knowledge or consent of Louisiana consumers.

“State Farm has created a culture of unsafe business practices in which consumer vehicle repairs are performed with cost-savings as the primary goal rather than safety and reliability,” said Caldwell.

The suit, filed in Louisiana’s 19th Judicial District Court, all  (go to article)

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Labor Day travel predicted to climb this year

CBS News -- It's good news for the economy, but bad news for anyone hoping to avoid sitting in traffic during the upcoming holiday weekend.

Travel is projecting 34.7 million Americans will venture 50 miles or more from their homes during the Labor Day holiday travel period, from Thursday August 28 to Monday September 1. That would be the highest Labor Day holiday travel volume since 2008, when the recession began -- and a 1.3 percent increase compared to the same time period last year.

The report says car travel over the holiday will rise by 1.4 percent, compared to last year's holiday weekend -- with nearly 30 million people expected to be on the road. Nearly eight percent of travelers, around 2.65 million passengers, will go by air. That's a one percent increase over 2013's figures, and comes  (go to article)

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Tire makers race to turn dandelions into rubber

Reuters via Yahoo -- MUENSTER Germany (Reuters) - Dutch biologist Ingrid van der Meer often meets with disbelief when she talks about her work on dandelions and how it could secure the future of road transport.

The reaction is understandable, given most people regard the yellow flowers as pesky intruders in their gardens rather than a promising source of rubber for tires.

"People just think of it as a horrible weed and ask how can you get enough material for tires from just a small root," she said.  (go to article)

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The futuristic vision that's driven Tesla's value above $30 billion

Yahoo -- The stock is up an astonishing 770% over the past two years, to a price above $257. And yet skeptics keep gunning for Tesla, with bets by short sellers that the stock will fall now accounting for more than 25% of Tesla’s available shares.
While some dismiss the market’s enthusiasm as irrational boosterism and bubbly momentum, the company’s knack for exceeding expectations, ecstatic consumer response and rapid expansion in production capacity are winning the benefit of the doubt, even from veteran car-industry analysts.
Gilad Shany, an analyst at big Tesla shareholder Baron Funds, calls the company a “once in a lifetime disruptor of the car industry,” and says that selling half a million cars in 2020 will translate into $25 billion in sales and $5 billion in profit – the latter estimate r  (go to article)

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Leaked window stickers suggest a thirstier 2015 Ford Mustang as weight creeps up

Automotive News -- DETROIT -- Adding independent rear suspension, numerous electronic safety features and other items raised the weight and lowered the fuel economy of several models of the rebuilt 2015 Ford Mustang, according to window stickers leaked on the Internet today.

Ford officials would not confirm the authenticity of the EPA numbers, which can be seen here: http://www.mustang6g.com/. [...]
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