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Best values in 2015 cars: 12 new and redesigned models

Kiplinger -- To win our Best Value Award among new and redesigned models, a vehicle must be newly introduced or fully redesigned — not just updated.

As automakers battle for market share, consumers are the winners. You have more and better choices in every segment. Luxury nameplates are luring buyers with new, lower-priced models, and mainstream brands are loading their vehicles with new features that used to be found only on luxury models.

With a large selection of vehicles and fierce competition for your attention, buying a new car can be overwhelming. While you won’t find deals across the board, you just need to know where to look.

Winners are selected based on value factors (such as fuel economy and resale values), performance and safety, and driving impressions from our own tests. (slideshow)  (go to article)

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Virginia’s HOT lanes could be the future of U.S. transportation

Washington Post -- On the north side of the Potomac River, Congress is mired in a debate about how the nation should build a transportation system for the 21st century. On the south side, Virginia has set up a lab more than 40 miles long to test one big plan.

These are Virginia’s high-occupancy toll roads, better known as HOT lanes. A first version, the 495 Express Lanes, opened on the Capital Beltway in November 2012. But the grand test really began Dec. 29, when those lanes linked up with the 29-mile long HOT lanes system on Interstates 95 and 395.  (go to article)

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Senate votes to build Keystone, defying veto threat from Obama

The Hill -- The Senate on Thursday voted 62-36 to build the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline, delivering Republicans the first legislative victory of their new majority.

Nine Democrats joined with Republicans in voting to approve the $8 billion project, five votes short of the two-thirds majority that would be needed to override a promised veto from President Obama.  (go to article)

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Oil Workers in U.S. Begin First Large-Scale Strike Since 1980

BloombergBusiness -- The United Steelworkers union, which represents employees at more than 200 U.S. oil refineries, terminals, pipelines and chemical plants, began a strike at nine sites on Sunday, the biggest walkout called since 1980.

The USW started the work stoppage after failing to reach agreement on a labor contract that expired Sunday, saying in a statement that it “had no choice.” The union rejected five contract offers made by Royal Dutch Shell Plc on behalf of oil companies since negotiations began on Jan. 21.

The United Steelworkers union hasn’t called a strike nationally since 1980 when a stoppage lasted three months. A full walkout of USW workers would threaten to disrupt as much as 64 percent of U.S. fuel production. Shell and union representatives began negotiations amid the biggest...  (go to article)

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Workers at 4 Houston-area refineries go on strike after failed contract negotiations

Click2Houston.com (VIDEO) -- Union workers at four refineries in and around Houston went on strike Sunday after their contracts expired at midnight.

Workers at Shell's Deer Park refinery, LyondellBasell's Houston refinery, the Marathon Galveston Bay Refinery and South Houston Green Power are refusing to go back to work until the companies and the industry address their issues.

KPRC 2 spoke to a representative for the United Steel Workers District 13 who said the industry is making unreasonable demands at the bargaining table. USW said their biggest issues are health and safety, health insurance premiums and co-pays, and stopping the hiring of contractors who are taking union worker jobs. The union is also concerned their members are fatigued from working long hours and not getting enough rest.

 (go to article)

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Tesla bears throttle up on lower oil, China skepticism

Detroit News -- Slumping oil prices have restored Tesla Motors Inc.'s status as a favorite among short sellers and bearish options traders.

Speculation that a 58-percent plunge in West Texas Intermediate crude since June and competition from General Motors Co. will hurt demand have pushed short sales to a one-year high. The difference in the cost of bearish options versus bullish ones has almost quadrupled from September, reaching the highest level since November 2012, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

The electric-carmaker trails the Russell 1000 Index by about 8 percentage points this year. Investor concerns were compounded this month after Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk cast doubt on sales growth in China, the world's biggest automobile market.

"Until there's greater evidence of a further accelera  (go to article)

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Solar farm at Ann Arbor airport would generate tens of thousands of dollars for city

MLive -- The city of Ann Arbor has worked out a license agreement with DTE Energy to construct a large solar array at the Ann Arbor Municipal Airport.

The deal now awaits approval from the Ann Arbor City Council, which is expected to vote Monday night on a 20-year agreement that could generate tens of thousands of dollars annually for the city's airport.

City officials announced the concept in December, saying it could be the largest solar installation in the entire state of Michigan.

In its initial phase, it would be about 1.1 to 1.6 megawatts, according to a new memo from Matt Naud, the city's environmental coordinator.

A potential second phase, Naud said, could bring the total installed capacity up to 2.15 megawatts.

That trumps a 1-megawatt project at the Ford Motor Co. headquarters in Dea  (go to article)

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Oil-rich Oklahoma plagued by growing number of temblors tied to industry

The Columbus Dispatch -- GUTHRIE, Okla. — The earthquakes come nearly every day now, cracking drywall, popping floor tiles and rattling kitchen cabinets.

On Monday, three quakes hit this historic land-rush town in 24 hours, booming and rumbling like the end of the world.

“After a while, you can’t even tell what’s a pre-shock or an aftershock. The ground just keeps moving,” said Jason Murphey, 37, a Web developer who represents Guthrie in the state legislature.

“People are so frustrated and scared. They want to know the state is doing something."

What to do about the plague of earthquakes is, however, very much an open question in Oklahoma.

Last year, 567 quakes of at least magnitude 3.0 rocked a swath of counties from the state capital to the Kansas line, alarming a populace long accustomed to fewer than t  (go to article)

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"What the hell are they doing?": How Canada's anti-science leaders are wrecking the Arctic

Solon.com -- The Arctic's changing faster than we think, says author Ed Struzik, and our neighbor to the north isn't helping

If you want to know what climate change looks like, turn your gaze north to the Arctic. There, you can see the sea ice beginning to disappear, storms gaining in intensity and entire villages preparing to pack up and leave as the land crumbles beneath their feet.

Within the next 20 years, the Arctic Ocean will see ice-free summers; within the next 30, we'll have lost two-thirds of the world's polar bears. As Edward Struzik explains in "Future Arctic: Field Notes from a World on the Edge," an engaging new account of a planet transformed, "the end of the Arctic that has existed for all modern time is upon us today."  (go to article)

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Here today, up tomorrow: Why gas prices may be on the rise

CNBC -- Enjoying those prices at the pump? You might not want to get used to them. A former top oil executive says the price of gas at the pump could double by the end of the year.

In an interview with CNBC, former Shell Oil President John Hofmeister predicts that U.S. oil could skyrocket from the current levels under $48 a barrel to $80 by this fall, just as consumers are getting used to the windfall from lower gas prices. That would force gas prices to double, from the current $2 to a whopping $4 by next winter.  (go to article)

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Automakers Can't Make Air Bags Work

Bloomberg -- (Bloomberg) -- U.S. regulators’ push for a second recall of 2.1 million cars and trucks whose air bags could go off while driving delivered more cautionary tales about a complex life-saving technology that’s had a very bad year.  (go to article)

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U.S. Oil Drillers Idle 94 Rigs in Biggest Retreat Yet

Bloomberg -- (Bloomberg) -- U.S. drillers pulled 94 oil rigs out of fields in a single week, the biggest retreat to date, as crude prices capped the longest stretch of monthly declines since 2009.

The oil rig count dropped to a three-year low of 1,223, Baker Hughes Inc. said on its website Friday. It was the biggest weekly decline since the Houston-based oil-field services company began collecting the data in 1987. The Permian Basin of Texas and New Mexico, the country’s biggest oil field, was hit hardest, losing 25 rigs.
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Will Technology Make Truck Drivers Obsolete In 10 Years?

Forbes -- Being a teamster is probably not the easiest of jobs. You work long hours, often with unpredictable schedules and stay long periods away from home. Still, it pays the bills, and for millions of Americans, it’s a way to make a decent living.

Unfortunately, it is also one of many activities that is going to be sacrificed on the altar of technological advancements, if the new report “On the road towards the autonomous truck” by consulting company Roland Berger is to be believed. And it’s going to happen quite soon. In the final stage of full self-driving automation, starting from 2025 onward, “ the driver is practically no longer required,” the analysts write.

The technology needed to achieve this is surprisingly mature, and is already being tested on non-public land.  (go to article)

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Millions of gallons of BP oil found resting on the Gulf floor

Salon.com -- Yet another study raises questions about the long-term impact of the 2010 disaster

Another study has identified a massive amount of oil resting on the Gulf of Mexico's floor, contradicting BP's claims that everything is totally better now and raising questions about the lasting impact of the 2010 spill.

Researchers at Florida State University identified some 6 to 10 million gallons of BP oil buried in the sediment at the bottom of the Gulf, covering a 9,300 square mile area southeast of the Mississippi Delta. Their findings, published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, help solve the mystery of where all the oil went: a federal judge ruled that BP spilled about 134 million gallons of oil in total, although government estimates put that amount even higher.  (go to article)

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Union strikes at nine U.S. oil, chemical plants for new pact

Reuters -- HOUSTON (Reuters) - Union leaders called strikes on Sunday at nine U.S. refineries and chemical plants in a bid to pressure oil companies to agree to a new national contract covering workers at 63 plants.

The walkouts, the first held in support of a nationwide pact since 1980, target plants that together account for about 10 percent of U.S. refining capacity. The discord comes as plunging crude prices force oil companies to slash spending.

The United Steelworkers union (USW) said Royal Dutch Shell Plc, the lead industry negotiator, halted talks after the union rejected a fifth proposal from the company.

"Shell refused to provide us with a counter-offer and left the bargaining table," USW International President Leo Gerard said. "We had no choice but to give notice of a work stoppage."
 (go to article)

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California Eyes Road Repair Fees as Gas Tax Receipts Ebb

Bloomberg -- (Bloomberg) -- California Governor Jerry Brown is preparing bills aimed at helping the state pay for a $59 billion backlog of road and bridge repairs as he also seeks to curb gasoline consumption that traditionally pays for road construction.

The legislation, part of a package of budget bills Brown must submit by Feb. 1, would allow local transportation agencies to expand carpool lanes to drivers willing to pay a toll. The package also would start a pilot program to test whether charging a fee based on miles driven works better than the current excise tax on fuel to pay for road work, according budget documents released earlier this month.

California, like other U.S. states, is struggling with how to pay for transportation infrastructure as more fuel-efficient and electric vehicles hit  (go to article)

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Green Groups Go Red, Team With Putin To Fight Fracking

Investors Business Daily -- Deceit: Green groups frequently tar opponents as paid puppets of the fossil fuel industry. It's a hollow, ad hominem attack that's often wrong. Worse, these groups accuse others of corruption their partners are guilty of.

It's a routine charge: Climate change deniers are funded by Big Oil — they're mercenaries whose work should be ignored because of their deep conflict of interest.

As it turns out, though, the anti-fracking movement has received funding from the fossil fuel industry. But the source of funds isn't a U.S.-based company. The money is from fossil fuel concerns linked to a country that is emerging as an enemy of America.

 (go to article)

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Evidence Doesn't Support Fracking As Cause Of Texas Earthquakes

Investors Business Daily -- A recent spate of earthquakes in the Dallas area, centered around the old Texas Stadium in Irving, has raised concerns that hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is the cause. Making that correlation may be understandable, but it's almost certainly wrong.

Read More At Investor's Business Daily: http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials-viewpoint/text deleted
Follow us: @IBDinvestors on Twitter | InvestorsBusinessDaily on Facebook
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Uber says ride sharing reduces drunk driving

GasBuddy Blog -- The popular ride-sharing service Uber last week released a survey showing that people are less likely to drink and drive after ride sharing operations started in their cities.

The survey, done in cooperation with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), were based on a December poll of over 800 adults in major cities where Uber operates. The results come amidst legal challenges and plenty of negative PR for Uber, as it aims to grow internationally and avoid regulation.

Uber also revealed that customers who take rides on Super Bowl Sunday, a time that many consume alcohol and have parties, have the chance to opt to donate $1 per ride to Mothers Against Drunk Driving by using promotion code "THINKANDRIDE" on February 1 from 3pm-12am ET....  (go to article)

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Oil Workers Issue Strike Notices After Rejecting 4 Offers

BloombergBusiness -- The United Steelworkers union, representing workers at about two-thirds of U.S. oil refineries, is issuing strike notices after rejecting a fourth contract proposed by Royal Dutch Shell Plc on behalf of energy companies.

The steelworkers’ national agreement with Shell, Exxon Mobil Corp. and other refiners expires Sunday. The union hasn’t called a strike and is notifying local management “so preparations can be made” should one occur, union spokeswoman Lynne Hancock said Saturday. The USW described Shell’s latest proposal in a telephone message as “insulting” and instructed all local units to reject it.

Union leaders and Shell have been meeting since Jan. 21 to reach a new three-year agreement. A nationwide strike would threaten to halt as much as 63 percent of U.S. fuel production and...  (go to article)

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Roundabouts gaining traction in Pennsylvania

The morning call -- It's a trend likely to evoke images of Chevy Chase clumsily driving his "European Vacation" family around a seemingly endless London roundabout for hours.

Those intimidating traffic-light-free circular intersections will multiply across Pennsylvania if transportation officials have their way, so much so that you could find one on your regular route in the not-too-distant future.

Found to be safer for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists than traditional intersections, and more efficient in moving traffic, roundabouts have been pitched for Hamilton Street in Allentown, two spots in Upper Macungie Township and a few spots along Route 222 in Berks County, including one in Maidencreek Township that about 1,500 petition-signers oppose.

Like it or not, the roundabout revolution is right around  (go to article)

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Turn off red-light cameras in Texas?

Star-telegram -- he sudden flash as a car runs a red light on many Texas roads sends an unmistakable signal: A ticket will soon be in the mail, courtesy of the red-light camera.

But that flash — and the tickets — could be a thing of the past if state Rep. Jonathan Stickland has his way.

Stickland, R-Bedford, has filed a bill to do away with red-light cameras in Texas.

“I’ve been a liberty guy and a privacy guy,” said Stickland, who noted that getting rid of the cameras is a key issue in his district. “There are privacy concerns with the cameras.

“The Constitution tells us we have the right to face our accuser in court,” he said. “How can you face your accuser if it’s a machine? … This is a big issue.”

Red-light cameras have been controversial from the start.

Critics say government is invading privacy  (go to article)

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This Porta-“Pot”ty Truck Was Hauling More Than Waste

Pumper.com -- In Fayette County, Texas, the driver of a portable restroom service truck was pulled over on Interstate 10 for a traffic violation Wednesday afternoon by the county narcotics unit. While speaking with the driver, the officer became suspicious and obtained permission to search the vehicle with the K-9 unit  (go to article)

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Union rejects latest U.S. refinery workers contract offer

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH -- Union negotiators rejected the latest offer from oil companies covering workers at 63 U.S. refineries on Saturday night, just hours before a strike deadline, according to a message sent to union members.

The United Steelworkers union (USW) said in the text message sent to members that the latest offer was "insulting and fails to address issues that matter to members."

Royal Dutch Shell PLC, the lead negotiator for U.S. refinery owners, said it does not comment on details of labor negotiations. The USW talks have been occurring against a backdrop of falling oil prices.

"We remain committed to resolving our differences with the USW at the negotiating table," said Shell spokesman Ray Fisher.

The expiring national contract covers about 30,000 hourly workers at plants that together have...  (go to article)

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Oil’s collapse has cost North American investors $390-billion since June

Bloomberg News -- Investors have a message for suffering U.S. oil drillers: We feel your pain
They’ve pumped $1.4T into the oil and gas industry the past 5 years as oil prices averaged $91. The cash infusion helped push U.S. crude production to the highest in 30 yrs
Now any euphoria over cheaper energy will be tempered by losses that are starting to show up in investment funds, retirement accounts and bank balance sheets. The bear market has wiped out $393B since Jun — $353B from the shares of 76 cies, and $40B from high-yield energy bonds
“The only thing people are noticing now is that gas prices are dropping. People haven’t noticed yet that it’s also hitting their portfolios
The crash caught investors and lenders by surprise. 8 mths ago, Energy XXI sold $650M in bonds. The debt is now trading for 50c/$  (go to article)

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Trucker pulling loose tooth triggers backup on Alabama freeway: r

Reuters -- Reuters) - A truck driver distracted by yanking free his loose tooth veered off the road and caused a miles-long backup on an Alabama freeway, a local newspaper reported on Friday.

The unnamed 57-year-old trucker was driving on Interstate 20/59 near Tuscaloosa when the accident occurred late on Sunday, the Birmingham News reported.

"The driver stated he lost control when he was pulling a tooth with his hands," an Alabama Highway Patrol incident report said, according to the newspaper. "He had the tooth in his shirt pocket as proof."

After veering off the road, the truck went into a ditch before jackknifing into a stand of trees, the newspaper reported.

The accident caused no serious injuries but it triggered a complete shutdown of a three-mile stretch of the freeway and caused delays  (go to article)

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OPEC Sees Oil Prices Exploding to $200 a Barrel

Motley Fool -- Right now the oil market is totally focused on finding a bottom for oil prices. However, according to OPEC's Secretary-General Abdulla al-Badri we've already hit bottom. Not only that, but he sees a real possibility that oil prices could explode higher to upwards of $200 per barrel in the future. He's far from the only one that sees a return of triple-digit oil prices.
Finding a bottom
According to the Secretary-General, the oil market doesn't need to look for oil prices to bottom as the market has already bottomed. Instead, he offered quite bullish comments by saying, "Now the prices are around $45-$55, and I think maybe they [have] reached the bottom and we [will] see some rebound very soon." Now, normally that type of remark would be just another layer of noise, but this is coming from  (go to article)

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Ethanol industry gets its own biotech corn

Star Tribune -- Some ethanol makers are cheering a new biotech corn engineered strictly to produce biofuel. Six Midwestern ethanol plants now use the hybrid called Enogen, the first corn genetically enhanced for ethanol production. Seven other ethanol makers, including Chippewa Valley Ethanol Co. in Benson, Minn., are trying it out. “Enogen technology is truly a unique advancement in our industry,” said Mick Miller, general manager of Denco II, a farmer-owned ethanol plant in Morris, Minn., that did a trial run with the ethanol-tailored corn. Scientists for seed giant Syngenta altered the corn to produce — within the kernel — an enzyme needed to refine biofuel. Ethanol plants using Enogen say its embedded enzyme works better than enzymes purchased separately — producing more ethanol per bushel of corn and  (go to article)

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Tesla's Gigafactory May Not Be a Game Changer After All

Motley Fool -- To be fair, the Gigafactory is audacious. According to Tesla, the goal is to produce more batteries by 2020 in this one factory than the entire world created in 2013. So it's not like Procter & Gamble opening a new factory to make soap; it's like P&G opening a factory that makes more soap than all of the soap factories in the entire world (insert maniacal laughter here, Mini-Me). Tesla's goal is to reduce battery costs by as much as 30% by 2017.

This is big because batteries are one of the most expensive components of an all-electric car. Cut the cost, and you can materially reduce the cost of the car. That, in turn, will help to bring electric cars to a point where they can better compete with gasoline-powered autos. Musk and industry watchers are right to be excited about the Gigafactor  (go to article)

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Oklahoma worries over swarm of earthquakes and connection to oil industry

Washington Post -- GUTHRIE, Okla. – The earthquakes come nearly every day now, cracking drywall, popping floor tiles and rattling kitchen cabinets. On Monday, three quakes hit this historic land-rush town in 24 hours, booming and rumbling like the end of the world.

Scientists implicated the oil and gas industry — in particular, the deep wastewater disposal wells that have been linked to a dramatic increase in seismic activity. But in a state founded on oil wealth, officials have been reluctant to
crack down on an industry that accounts for a third of the economy and one in five jobs.

“I understand the oil and gas industry is the economic lifeblood of the state. I get some of my paycheck from the oil and gas industry,” added Lisa Griggs, 56, “But they don’t get to destroy my house.”

State officials insist  (go to article)

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ConocoPhillips tells employees to expect layoffs

Fuel Fix -- HOUSTON — ConocoPhillips has told its employees layoffs could be on the way, as the independent producer looks to reign in spending amid lower crude prices.

The layoffs and an accompanying pay freeze will supplement cost-control steps the Houston company has already taken, such as slashing its exploration and production budget, Daren Beaudo, a spokesman for ConocoPhillips, said in an emailed statement.

The company did not detail how many workers would be let go or when the job cuts could take place.

“As with our capital program we will be deferring, delaying or eliminating controllable costs where we can,” he said. “As part of that we are reviewing our workforce levels in light of a potential for an extended period of low prices. We’ve informed our workforce that reductions should be ex  (go to article)

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Drivers: Return to your dealers for a 2nd air bag recall fix

Associated Press -- The U.S. government says more than 2 million Toyota, Chrysler and Honda vehicles need a second fix for air bags that may inadvertently inflate while the car is running.

The recall includes some Acura MDX, Dodge Viper, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Honda Odyssey, Pontiac Vibe, Toyota Corolla and Toyota Avalon models made from 2002 to 2004.
 (go to article)

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$1.1B ‘surge’ funding bill for western North Dakota passes Senate

WDAZ8ABC/FargoND --
BISMARCK – A $1.1 billion spending bill designed to give oil-impacted cities and counties in western North Dakota a jumpstart on the 2015 construction season was fast-tracked through the Senate on Thursday and is now headed to the House.

Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner, R-Dickinson, said he knew a lot of members had concerns about the amount of money in Senate Bill 2103, the so-called “surge” funding bill, “and probably rightfully so.”

But he said the $720 million in early funding for road projects approved by the 2013 Legislatures paid dividends, and the entire state has reaped the benefits of oil tax revenue in the form of water projects, education funding and property tax relief.

“I can’t think of a more important priority than helping the political (subdivisions) in western....  (go to article)

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King Coal Is Merrily Fiddling the Taxpayer

Newsweek -- In 2002, the Powder River Basin (PRB) in Wyoming and Montana surged past the Appalachian coalfields that stretch from Pennsylvania to Tennessee to become the nation’s largest coal-producing region. Today, the PRB occupies a 40 percent share of the U.S. coal market.

Although market forces, mechanization and technological changes help explain some of the coal industry’s decision to shift more production from privately owned lands in the East to federal lands in the American West, the U.S. Department of the Interior’s (DOI) coal policies have played an equally important—though largely unnoticed—role in this transition.

Specifically, the DOI’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Office of Natural Resources Revenue (ONRR) use their royalty-collection authority to subsidize coal production on  (go to article)

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Crude settles up 8% at $48.24, best day since June 2012

CNBC -- Crude oil settled up 8 percent, or $3.71, at $48.24 on Friday, its best day since June 2012, after data showed U.S. drillers were slamming the brakes on the shale drilling boom.
The commodity still ended the month lower, for a seven-month decline.
Oil spiked $3 heading into the close on Friday as products were set to expire on the last day of the month and after oil companies made further cuts to capital expenditures and took more rigs offline.
 (go to article)

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Fracking likely linked to 4.4 magnitude quake in Fox Creek

CBC News -- Alberta's provincial energy regulator says a significant earthquake in northern Alberta was likely caused by hydraulic fracturing.

If fracturing is confirmed as the cause, scientists say, it will have been the largest earthquake ever to result from using the method.

Residents in the town of Fox Creek noticed the earthquake a week ago on Jan. 22. It was of 4.4 magnitude, severe enough to cause minor damage.

 (go to article)

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Driverless cars will mean the end of mass car ownership

Vox -- self-driving cars have the potential to reduce accident rates, make commuting less stressful, save energy, and put a lot of truck and taxi drivers out of work. But it could also have an even bigger consequence: ending personal car ownership altogether. And that would be a good thing.
Right now most middle-class people own cars, in part because only rich people can afford to take a taxi everywhere they go. Self-driving cars will flip the relative costs of ownership and renting upside down, leading to a world where renting cars is the affordable norm and owning cars is the pricey exception.

We take consumer car ownership for granted because it's how things have always worked. That blinds us to how profoundly wasteful it is. Not only do our cars spend 90 percent of their lives sitting unuse  (go to article)

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Seven Reasons Cheap Oil Can't Stop Renewables Now

bloomberg.com -- Oil prices have fallen by more than half since July. Just five years ago, such a plunge in fossil fuels would have put the renewable-energy industry on bankruptcy watch. Today: Meh.
Here are seven reasons why humanity’s transition to cleaner energy won’t be sidetracked by cheap oil.
1. The Sun Doesn't Compete With Oil
Oil is for cars; renewables are for electricity. The two don’t really compete. Oil is just too expensive to power the grid, even with prices well below $50 a barrel.
Instead, solar competes with coal, natural gas, hydro, and nuclear power. Solar, the newest to the mix, makes up less than 1 percent of the electricity market today but will be the world’s biggest single source by 2050, according to the International Energy Agency. Demand is so strong that the biggest limit to in  (go to article)

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Fargo Zamboni driver arrested on suspicion of DUI when game spectators report erratic ice-cleaning

Inforum.com -- FARGO – The man who was arrested here Friday night on suspicion of driving a Zamboni while drunk during a high school hockey game was also arrested a month ago for drunk driving. Steven James Anderson, 27, was arrested during the Davies and Williston girls game Friday night at South Arena after spectators and school officials noticed him driving erratically while resurfacing the ice. A school official called police to the arena, where he was arrested.  (go to article)

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BP Injects Humor Into New Fuels Advertising

Convenience Store News -- CHICAGO — BP launched a new advertising campaign featuring two rotating television and digital video spots, complemented by a radio spot in select areas, for its BP gasoline with Invigorate.

The ad campaign, slated to run throughout 2015, features two TV spots “Bachelor” and “Concert,” as well as a radio spot “Driving Stick,” which focus on the stories of travelers who are in the midst of humorous travel situations where their sole focus is getting to their destination.

BP gasoline with Invigorate is the trusted solution on which they rely, according to the ads. The spots close with the phrase, “You have places to go. Let us worry about getting you there.”  (go to article)

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Who Will Scoop Up Esso? Answer depends on whether, how Imperial Oil decides to move ahead with brand

CSPnet.com -- CALGARY, Alberta -- Initiating a non-binding bid process that will begin in the coming weeks, Imperial Oil Ltd. said on Tuesday that it is evaluating the potential transition of its remaining company-owned Esso retail gas stations to a branded wholesaler operating model. It will also evaluate the growth opportunities for the On the Run convenience store brand.

The move prompted analyst speculation that Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., the Laval, Quebec-based convenience store retail giant that operates Mac's and Couche-Tard stores in Canada and Circle K stores in the United States, will go after the Esso network.  (go to article)

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Duke Energy ices solar farm idea for mid Pinellas County, Florida

tampabay.com -- Duke Energy Florida has iced its idea to build a solar farm in mid Pinellas County or anywhere else, at least for now.
The Tampa Bay Times reported last summer that Duke was considering about 22 acres of county-owned land for a solar farm. The site off 119th Street N between Ulmerton and Walsingham roads is a former landfill adjacent to Heritage Village, the County Extension Office and the Florida Botanical Gardens.
Duke officials called the county last month to report that the proposal had been put on hold. Ivey said the company was waiting for the PSC's decision before starting engineering and design studies to determine if the site was suitable.  (go to article)

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Oil bottom could be right around the corner

CNBC -- Jim Cramer is gearing up for another event-packed week. But the reality is, the U.S. just can't save the world. We can't make the Chinese spend more money or force Europe to make real structural changes any more than we can direct the Japanese in finding a new way to grow besides dumping cars on us.  (go to article)

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Cullen/Frost CEO: We can handle oil at $37

CNBC -- From drilling and exploration names, to companies that service America's fracking industry, oil's massive price drop over the past 6 months has had ripple effects across the country. Still, one Texas bank CEO insists that even if crude falls another 20 percent, his firm can weather the storm  (go to article)

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Lac-Mégantic disaster by the numbers: Catalogue of a tragedy

CBC News -- 54% of town's residents suffered from depression, PTSD after explosion: health report

Lac-Mégantic coroner says 47 deaths were 'violent, avoidable'

In July 2013, a freight train carrying 72 cars of oil derailed and exploded in the centre of Lac-Mégantic.

The explosion killed 47 people, and hundreds of thousands of litres of oil spilled into the Chaudière River as a consequence of the derailment.

Lac-Mégantic Mayor Colette Roy-Laroche said Wednesday the recovery period will be extensive for residents.

In the direct aftermath of the tragedy, resources were rushed in to meet the town’s immediate needs and its citizens were well cared for, she said.

The fear, she said, is that those services may not be there in the longer term. She urged officials to recognize ongoing mental-health supp  (go to article)

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Energy may see further weakness as key names report

Reuters -- Stock prices in the U.S. energy sector have been under pressure in 2015, and there could be more bad news to come when several key players report their fourth-quarter results next week.

The group has been falling alongside crude oil prices, which are down about 60 percent since June. That drop has led to not only weaker shares - the S&P Energy index is one of the worst-performing groups of 2015, and it was last year's worst - but also sharply lower earnings estimates for both the current quarter and the full year.
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The Car of the Future May Run on Gasoline

The Wall Street Journal -- When most of us picture the high-tech personal mobility of the future, we tend to imagine a sleek, dead-quiet electric car, packed with voice- or motion-directed gizmos and self-driving features. We see ourselves gliding around almost effortlessly, free to talk, work or text as we see fit.

What few of us conjure up is having this sort of experience in a gasoline-fueled car. But that may be changing in the face of recent design advances. The internal combustion engine—the workhorse of the industrial age—is proving to be much more than a stubborn technological incumbent.

More than a century after becoming the dominant way that people move around, gas-powered cars are challenging ostensibly more advanced electric vehicles. It has proved hard to beat engines in which fuel is ignited, drive  (go to article)

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A Quirky Car Collection on the Cape, in Red and Mostly British

NY Times -- Housed in a custom-built storage building, the collection is a snapshot of a period in auto history when Britain was a major automaker and its sports cars captured the imagination of America’s postwar generation.

The cars, packed in tightly as if in a New York parking lot, are each lettered Minuteman Racing, a nod to the days when the owner, BillPutman,competed in races staged by the Sports Car Club of America.  (go to article)

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Eastern refineries processing more foreign oil as crude price gap narrows

The Globe and Mail - CALGARY -- Canadian refineries are taking in a surge of foreign oil supplies as the price difference between U.S. and international crude narrows
In QC, imports of crude from Angola, Nigeria and Ivory Coast climbed in Q4 while U.S. deliveries fell sharply by 37%
Irving’s 300Kbpd plant in NB has cut back on N Am supplies and is buying a range of water-borne crudes, including more from W Africa and the N Sea
The Atlantic trade is a reflection of renewed competition for market share in a region that benefitted most from the U.S. shale boom
For years, E refineries in QC and NB sought to replace overseas imports with cheaper N Am production. Companies invested heavily in rail capacity and backstopped pipelines
"But certainly we’re going to see E Coast refineries source both
NL's 115Kbpd Come by Chance ref  (go to article)

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GM cuts starting prices on 4 vehicles by up to $2,600

Detroit News -- General Motors Co. is introducing four cheaper base models on big-selling vehicles to better compete and attract value-minded buyers.

For the 2015 model year, GM has new starting prices for the Chevrolet Cruze and Equinox, the Buick LaCrosse and GMC Terrain. Sticker prices for the new base models vary, but GM cut between $1,500 and $2,600 from previous starting prices. In some cases, they are now lower than competitors'.

"This approach is designed to increase awareness and consideration of our vehicles," Buick and GMC spokeswoman Kelly Cusinato said in an email.

Alex Bernstein, a car-pricing analyst with CarsDirect.com, a California-based online car-buying service, said he happened upon the starting price of the Cruze L compact car about a month ago. It was $1,575 cheaper (before destin  (go to article)

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Big Oil needs to go on a diet now that the $100 a barrel party is over

Fortune -- High oil prices gave the oil industry several bad habits, including runaway spending, poor planning, and engineering mistakes. Now that oil prices have declined, the industry needs to change its ways, quickly.

Energy companies will need to do more than just cut costs and renegotiate service contracts to remain afloat at $40 a barrel oil—they need to quit being so darn sloppy.

A decade of strong oil prices made Big Oil rich and fat, which has led to waste across the industry. This not only translated into runaway spending at the corporate level—including everything from executive jets to overly-generous pay packages—it also led to poor planning and greater engineering mistakes on the field. The energy companies could hide their bungling when oil was at $100 a barrel...  (go to article)

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