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Recent Gas News/GasBuddy Blog

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Some States See Budgets at Risk as Oil Price Falls

New York Times -- HOUSTON — States dependent on oil and gas revenue are bracing for layoffs, slashing agency budgets and growing increasingly anxious about the ripple effect that falling oil prices may have on their local economies.

The concerns are cutting across traditional oil states like Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Alaska as well as those like North Dakota that are benefiting from the nation’s latest energy boom.

“The crunch is coming,” said Gunnar Knapp, a professor of economics and the director of the Institute of Social and Economic Research at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

Experts and elected officials say an extended downturn in oil prices seems unlikely to create the economic disasters that accompanied the 1980s oil bust, because energy-producing states that were left reeling for years  (go to article)

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Americans keep driving less and less. Will cheap gasoline change that?

Vox.com -- With oil prices plummeting, gasoline is cheaper than it's been in five years. At more than 20,000 gas stations around the United States, you can now fill up your car's tank for less than $2 per gallon.

So does that mean Americans will start driving more in the coming months — taking more trips to the store, going on long drives, using more gasoline, and adding more to global warming? That would certainly be a reasonable guess.

Yet some experts are skeptical that driving in America will increase hugely — at least in the short term. A recent report from the Energy Information Administration points out that Americans have been driving less and less in recent years thanks to all sorts of cultural and demographic shifts (see chart). And these driving habits have been remarkably insensitive to  (go to article)

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Ewart: Oil price rout dominates energy sector

Calgary Herald -- The chill of winter hasn’t saved Canada’s booming oil and gas industry from “a good sweating” as the year comes to an end.

The top story in the Canadian oil and gas industry in 2014 wasn’t even on the radar in mid-June when West Texas Intermediate crude was trading for more than $107 US a barrel. Then, with little warning, the price of oil plunged nearly 50 per cent in six months.

The far-reaching implications of the oil price decline — from spending in the oilpatch and the falling price of gasoline to the value of the dollar and the performance of the stock market — shows up repeatedly in my choices for Top 10 stories in the energy sector in Canada from the past year.

While few would have predicted oil prices would be among the top stories of the year six months ago, others on the l  (go to article)

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CHP went out with a lot of models before settling on new SUV

Los Angeles Times -- The California Highway Patrol had to go big because the cars got small.

Carmakers have been discontinuing the big, heavy sedans that the CHP and other police agencies relied on: first the Dodge Diplomat, then the old version of the Chevrolet Caprice and more recently the Ford Crown Victoria.

Lately, CHP officials have been adding Ford's Explorer-based Police Interceptor SUV to the fleet because none of the remaining sedan options had the payload capacity for the personnel and equipment.
 (go to article)

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SHARE THIS Print Email More sharing A frightening tool to fight oil spills?

CNN.com -- (CNN) -- A rash of recent oil spills around the globe -- Bangladesh, Israel, Peru and New Zealand -- serve as reminders of the damage such spills can cause and of the important role responders can play in limiting such damage.

Spill responders have several tools at their disposal, including chemical dispersants. However, the legacy of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico includes a public backlash against dispersants that stands to exacerbate environmental damage from future spills.

Starting with Deepwater Horizon, dispersants seem to have become an environmental villain du jour, even creeping in to the popular vernacular. To control an oil spill that ultimately exceeded 40,000 square miles, responders released 1.8 million gallons of dispersant over 59 days  (go to article)

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Ignition locks proposed to curb state’s drunken drivers

San Francisco Chronicle -- People convicted of drunken driving in California soon may have to blow in a tube to prove they’re sober before their vehicle will start.
State Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, wants to expand a program already in place in four California counties, including Alameda, and 24 other states. Under the proposed state law Hill will introduce Monday, anyone convicted of driving under the influence would be required to install an ignition interlock device in their car for six months on a first offense and a year on a second conviction.
Drunken drivers kill 1,000 people in California each year and injure 20,000, Hill said, and research shows people convicted of drunken driving are rarely doing it for the first time: Repeat offenders account for one-third of annual convictions in the state.
 (go to article)

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New fuel policy will lead to 10-cent-per-gallon increase

Riverside Press Enterprise -- California’s long-disputed and often-misrepresented cap-and-trade policy for gasoline and diesel fuel goes into effect Jan. 1, and it will show up quickly as a roughly 10 cent-per-gallon increase at the pump.
That follows months of market actions in the United States and around the world that have dropped the global price of crude more than $50 a barrel since June and created the longest recorded consecutive-days fall of fuel prices.
The average price-per-gallon for regular unleaded gasoline in the Riverside-San Bernardino metro areas stood at $2.68 by the middle of last week , down almost 94 cents from a year ago.
The cap-and-trade increase, which will appear within days, is well below the 16 to 76 cents per gallon that the Western States Petroleum Association had forecast as recently ..  (go to article)

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As North Dakota Oil Town Booms, a Priest Steadies the Newcomers

The New York Times -- WATFORD CITY, N.D. — They made a mighty odd pair of homesteaders, Shawn and Stephanie Ray. Recession refugees from Florida, he a fashion photographer and she his favorite model, they had trekked to the fracking belt here on the High Plains in 2012 with their last credit card maxed out.

In the rearview mirror behind were the customers in Tampa who had gone bankrupt and would never be able to pay what they owed. Ahead through the windshield were 15,000 available jobs. Or so the rumors said.

But by the bitterest morning of January 2013, with the wind chill something like 45 below, the Rays were living with their two young daughters in a used camper six miles out of town, waking up with frosted breath at 2 a.m. to refill the generator.  (go to article)

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What’s Next for World Oil as Lower Prices Extend Into ‘15

Bloomberg -- The oil price decline of 2014 upended the geopolitical chessboard. Worth watching in 2015 will be who can recover and dominate play -- OPEC, Vladimir Putin or U.S. shale drillers.
Oil’s international benchmark price dropped as much as 49 percent in 2014. Those looking for a quick rebound may be disappointed, as world consumption growth slowed to the least since 2009, U.S. companies pumped more than they have since the 1980s and a price war broke out among members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

“It’s a turning point in the way people perceive OPEC, that this so-called cartel is not really driving prices,” said Jeff Colgan, a professor at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies who researches the geopolitics of energy. “The real story is going to  (go to article)

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Filling begins for gas pipeline ending at Marcus Hook

Delaware Online -- The first barrels in a potentially huge wave of natural gas liquids have started moving down a pipeline toward Marcus Hook, Pa., and a site straddling the Pennsylvania-Delaware border, although Sunoco Logistics is keeping details close.

Sunoco Logistics' opening and filling of the Mariner East 1 pipeline marks a turning point in natural gas industry projects that company officials hope will turn Marcus Hook into a world class energy hub, petrochemical center and export site. Supporting it all are hydrocarbons left behind during processing of "wet" natural gas pulled from wells in the energy-rich, sprawling Marcellus shale region.

A second project, Mariner East 2, is expected to deliver another 275,000 barrels of methane, ethane and butane to the area by the end of 2016. Company officials  (go to article)

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Rise in Loans Linke to Cars is Hurting Poor

NY Times -- The automobile is at the center of the biggest boom in subprime lending since the mortgage crisis. The market for loans to buy used cars is growing rapidly.

And similar to how a red-hot mortgage market once coaxed millions of borrowers into recklessly tapping the equity in their homes, the new boom is also leading people to take out risky lines of credit known as title loans  (go to article)

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VW's Audi to step up investments in 2015-19 on models, plants

Reuters -- Volkswagen's flagship Audi division is to increase spending on new models, plants and technology through 2019 to push its goal of surpassing German rival BMW as the world's largest luxury-car manufacturer.

Audi, which contributes 40 percent of operating profit at Europe's biggest automotive group, said on Saturday it will push up investment in car-making operations by 2 billion euros ($2.44 billion) to a record 24 billion euros over the next five years.
 (go to article)

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Tesla to Prove Roadster’s New 400-Mile Electric Range in LA-SF Test Drive

modern readers -- Tesla CEO and founder Elon Musk had been teasing it on Twitter for the past few days, where he confirmed earlier in the week that the Roadster would be capable of close to 400 miles per charge. Just as promised, Musk made everything official yesterday, announcing that Tesla will be re-launching the “Roadster 3.0 prototype” with a new battery pack that’s capable of just that, and then some – an electric range of more than 400 miles.  (go to article)

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Fracking’s biggest safety threat is on rural roads

Star Beacon (Ashtabula, OH) -- Often truck cargo isn’t labeled. Much of the byproduct from drillers’ fracking process — including the briny, chemically laced water — is classified as “residual waste.” Drilling waste has been exempt from federal hazardous waste rules since the 1980s, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. So there are rarely placards on the trucks.

While trucks pass without markings, there is little doubt about the volume of material that’s being shipped over the state’s roads. Drillers generated 32 million barrels of liquid waste and another 1.3 million tons of solid waste last year, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection.

Some of that went over the border into Ohio, where drillers shipped 3 million barrels of liquid waste, according to state records.  (go to article)

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Adam Levine, Nissan team up for 'Red Thumb Reminder' campaign against texting

GasBuddy Blog -- Whatever it takes to get people to stop texting & driving, we've got to support. U.S. Department of Transportation statistics show cell phones are involved in 1.6 million auto crashes each year. These crashes cause a half-million injuries and take 6,000 lives annually. To help raise the visibility of this critical issue, Nissan has partnered with NBC Universal and Adam Levine to promote "Red Thumb Day" – inspired by "Red Thumb Reminder," a program created by EVB advertising. Marking your thumb serves as an important reminder to not text and drive.Levine, Maroon 5 front man and coach on NBC's Emmy Award®-winning singing competition, "The Voice," has also joined in to help raise awareness for the issue. On a recent broadcast of "The Voice", Levine urged drivers to put their phones down when behind the wheel, not just on that day, but every day. ...  (go to article)

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So-called carbon 'tax' could pump up California gas prices Jan. 1

KXTV Sacramento, CA -- When you head to the pump on Jan. 1, 2015, you may have to pay more for gasoline in California. It's part of what some business groups claim is a hidden gas tax or carbon tax that was *not* approved with a public vote by Californians.

In 2006, the Legislature and Gov. Schwarzenegger passed Assembly Bill 32 which set an absolute statewide limit on greenhouse gas emissions. The program, known as the cap and trade system, required oil manufacturers pay a fee for emissions. Beginning in 2015, the provisions of AB32 expand to suppliers of gasoline and diesel fuels.
 (go to article)

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Fatal Wrecks On The Rise In Kansas

WIBW -- TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)-- Traffic related fatalities and injuries in Kansas are up on roads with newly increased speed limits.

In 2011, the speed limit was raised from 70 to 75 miles per hour on four Kansas highways. Those highways include I-35 heading north out of Wichita and rural stretches of I-35, I-70, U.S. 69 and I-470 near Topeka.

Numbers from the state’s transportation department show a 54% increase in highway deaths on those roads. The overall number of crashes on those roads has stayed steady. Injuries are also up about 13% compared with the two year before the new speed limit went into effect.

State transportation officials say that it is too early to start drawing any conclusions on the connection between higher speed limits and the increased number of accidents.
 (go to article)

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Mexico Withdraws $3.4 Billion From Pemex as Oil Revenue Shrinks

Bloomberg -- Mexico’s Finance Ministry took out 50 billion pesos ($3.4 billion) from the state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos, according to a statement sent to the Mexican Stock Exchange.

The payment this month was meant to “make management of public-sector finances more efficient,” according to the filing from the oil company, known as Pemex. The withdrawal marks a departure from the government’s usual methods of obtaining revenue from Pemex, which include taxes and royalties.

Pemex typically provides about a third of the federal budget, and its contributions dropped this year as the oil company faced production declines and falling crude prices. During the first 11 months of 2014, taxes paid by Mexico City-based Pemex declined by about 260 billion pesos, or 22 percent, from the same period of 2013  (go to article)

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Here's Where You'll Find All Of America's Shale Energy

Business Insider -- "Advanced drilling and hydraulic fracturing technologies, especially since 2008, have enabled large-scale oil and gas production in lower-permeability rock such as shale," the EIA writes. "Tight oil and shale gas plays span much of the continental United States and include both new and well-established oil and gas drilling locations."

Indeed, the American shale boom has been a source of excitement as it has been a source of new jobs, economic growth, and energy independence.

But with oil and gas prices crashing, many of these shale plays have become uneconomical, stoking fears of fiscal and economic problems in energy-driven states like Texas, North Dakota and Alaska.

For reference, here's where the major shale plays are across the continental US.(Map)
 (go to article)

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1,000-HP Diesel Rat Rod Will Eat Your Prius for Breakfast

CarBuzz -- This thing will tear your house down. You may have seen this insane rat rod on the Discovery Channel’s Vegas Hotrods TV show, or perhaps you saw it featured during last month’s 2014 SEMA show. But thanks to 1320video, what has to be the most badass diesel hot rod on the planet comes to you in glorious 1080p HD. Created by Welderup, the chopped 1928 Dodge comes powered by a twin-turbocharged Cummins diesel engine that delivers 1,000 hp and an enormous 2,000 lb-ft of torque.As you’ll see, it performs the most epic of burnouts, and has more than enough twisting power to pull your house down. A similarly insane Ford truck also features here. Check it out, but make sure the Prius isn't watching before you do.  (go to article)

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Diesel prices will remain higher than gas prices

Fox -- LOXLEY, Ala. (WALA) – Few people will says a highlight of their day is going to fill up at the gas station. But with weeks of falling gas prices, the pain at the pump has been lessening for folks.

The cost of diesel is also on the decline, but still holds at about a dollar higher per gallon. That wasn’t always the case.

“When the economy worldwide is red hot, diesel fuel is seeing a very robust demand,” Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst at Gasbuddy.com, said.

DeHaan told Fox10 News over the phone that demand for diesel overseas has been robust for years and helps drive up prices domestically.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, between 2002 and 2008, there was a large global demand for the product during that period of high growth and a relatively small am  (go to article)

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As gas prices plummet, workaday consumers delighted, but benefits don't go far beyond pump

Star Tribune -- Delighted consumers are pumping gas at less than $2 per gallon in some parts of the Twin Cities, thanks to three months of steady price declines that have produced tangible savings for long-suffering commuters while leaving others awaiting their own reprieve.

The sinking prices have helped drive a record holiday-travel season. Some 98.6 million people have driven or flown this holiday week, up 4.2 percent from last year, the largest increase since 2009 over 2008, Weinholzer said.

“I haven’t seen gas this cheap since I was in high school,” Mychael Harris, 36, said Friday at a BP station in south Minneapolis where unleaded was $1.99 a gallon. “This is a blessing. This is around the same price I paid when I got my first car. It’s almost too good to be true.”

Nationally, the average price f  (go to article)

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US crude settles at $54.73 a barrel; down 4% on the week

CNBC -- U.S oil futures ended lower on Friday, tumbling as the dollar strengthened and a supply glut in top consumer the United States trumped worries about falling production from Libya.

U.S. crude settled down 2 percent, or $1.11, at $54.73 a barrel in thin trade as many countries were still on Christmas holiday. The contract has declined some 4 percent this week.

Brent crude was last trading about 70 cents lower at $59 a barrel.

The market had come under pressure from Wednesday's DOE report, which showed a 7.3 million-barrel rise in crude inventories to their highest December level on record. Analysts had expected a seasonal decline.

Read MorePrice plunge puts oil patch jobs at risk
The slide was exacerbated as oil prices reacted to a strengthening dollar index.

"There's still significant  (go to article)

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Oil states brace for price bust

Saint Paul Pioneer Press -- States dependent on oil and gas revenue are bracing for layoffs, slashing agency budgets and growing increasingly anxious about the ripple effect that falling oil prices may have on their local economies.

The concerns are cutting across traditional oil states like Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Alaska as well as those like North Dakota that are benefiting from the nation's latest energy boom.

In Houston, which proudly bills itself as the energy capital of the world, Hercules Offshore announced it would lay off about 324 employees who work on the company's rigs in the Gulf of Mexico at the end of the month. Texas already lost 2,300 oil and gas jobs from October to November, according to preliminary, seasonally adjusted data released last week by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the  (go to article)

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Gasoline prices keep tumbling

Fortune -- Fuel costs are at their cheapest level in more than five years with the price in one state falling below the $2 threshold.

Filling up at the pump is lot less painful than it used to be.

Average nationwide gasoline prices tumbled to $2.32 Friday, their lowest point in more than five years, according to AAA.

The drop marks a dramatic turnaround from this time last year, when fuel cost nearly 50 cents more per gallon. As a result, drivers are on track to save hundreds if not more than $1,000 annually in gas costs.

A slump in the oil market is driving the lower fuel prices. Increased supply, particularly by U.S. producers, has driven down oil prices by nearly half over the past six months. On Friday, U.S. crude fell below $55 a barrel.

The result is gas prices that seem like a mirage.  (go to article)

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Oil will be the wild card in 2015 economic outlooks

Montreal Gazette -- Some forecasters, like those at TD Economics, are hanging their outlook on oil in the $60-65 range during the 1st half of next year. That will be followed by a gradual price recovery heading into in 2016 as some production is scaled back and as world demand firms

Even so, these price levels will deal a blow to GDP growth in oil-producing regions and set Canada up for much more level growth than we’ve seen in a while. For example, ON is expected to lead the country in real growth next year at 2.6% — ahead of AB’s 2.3%. Even QC will be in the game, with a 2.1% rate of growth

The energy-producing provinces of AB, SK and NL are bracing for tough times

TD expects C$ to slip to 84c U.S. before reviving in the 2nd half of the yr

That will give an additional push to manufacturing in QC and ON  (go to article)

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Can Gas Vehicles Survive Elon Musk's Next Announcement?

Bostinno -- Electric vehicles today don’t measure up to gas-powered cars and trucks on plenty of counts—but the largest issue holding back the electric-car market is the range offered between charges. Going on a road trip? Better make sure there are charging stations every 200 miles or so.

On Friday, Tesla Motors is expected to announce that a new era is here for electric vehicles—with a new battery pack that offers a 400-mile range between charges. That's a longer reach than many gas vehicles (though it still can't touch the range of diesel cars like the Volkswagen Passat driven 1,600 miles on a tank of gas, back in 2012).

To start, the new battery pack will be offered for the Tesla Roadster (Tesla’s original vehicle), CEO Elon Musk tweeted on Christmas. They're set to eventually make their way int  (go to article)

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Oil drillers are under pressure to scrap rigs to cope with downturn

FuelFix.com -- 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.  (go to article)

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Drop in crude oil prices resulting in drilling permits being cut in half

San Antonio Business Journal -- The Texas Railroad Commission is definitely seeing a slowdown in activity as the price of crude oil nosedives.
The state agency issued 1,508 original permits to drill compared to 3,046 permits in October. The price of crude oil has fallen more than $50 a barrel since June. Fewer permits will trickle down to the oil fields where companies will likely begin cutting jobs. The Dallas Federal Reserve projects that Texas will lose 125,000 jobs related to the falling price of oil by mid-2015.  (go to article)

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Suncor wraps maintenance at Montreal refinery

OGJ Editors -- Suncor Energy Inc. has concluded 3 months of planned maintenance at its 137,000-b/d Montreal, Que., refinery.

Designed to support safe, reliable operation of the refinery, the maintenance work began on Sept. 22 and was scheduled to last about 11 weeks, the company said (OGJ Online, Sept. 23, 2014).

The scheduled maintenance at Montreal involved ongoing work to modify the plant’s hydrocracking unit, which will improve overall production yields and energy efficiency at the refinery, according to Suncor’s third-quarter 2014 and 2013 annual reports to shareholders.

The project, due to be completed by 2015, is designed to enable the refinery to receive and process heavier crude feedstock, the company said.
 (go to article)

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Missouri 1st to see average gas price below $2

Associated Press -- Missouri became the first state Friday to have an average statewide gas price fall below $2 per gallon since 2009, while Oklahoma's average was expected to drop below that threshold sometime over the weekend, according to AAA.

The national average gas price was at $2.32 per gallon Friday, which AAA spokesman Michael Green said was the lowest since May 2009. That average has dropped for 92 days in a row, he said, which is the longest streak since AAA started keeping daily records in January 2000.
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Immigrants get warning on driver's licenses

Associated Press -- While tens of thousands of immigrants living in the United States illegally are preparing to apply for a long-sought driver's license in California starting Jan. 2, others are being urged to think twice.

Immigrant advocates say the vast majority should be able to get licenses without trouble, but they want anyone who previously obtained a driver's license under a false name or someone else's Social Security number to speak first with a lawyer, fearing a new application could trigger a fraud investigation.
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Audi's A8 shows the diesel difference

USAToday -- Big luxury cars mean big gas consumption, but that's starting to change -- and Audi's A8 is a good example.

German automakers have been at the forefront of diesel technology in passenger cars with all of them offering some form of it, and the fuel economy gains are significant. A standard Audi A8 L with the supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 engine is rated at 19/29/22 miles per gallon city/highway/combined. Not bad for such a big car.

Move up to the turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 and your mileage drops to 18/29/22 mpg, a nearly identical rating. Splurge for the slick W-12 engine and you'll get only 14/22/17 mpg. But tick the diesel box and your big, comfy A8 L could return 24/36/28 mpg. The combined city/highway rating is 27 percent higher than that of the base engine.

Those are some impressive nu  (go to article)

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Natural Gas Drops Below $3 for First Time Since 2012

Bloomberg -- Natural gas slumped below $3 per million British thermal units in New York for the first time since 2012 on speculation that record production will overwhelm demand for the heating fuel.

Futures settled at the lowest in 27 months and have plunged 26 percent in December, heading for the biggest one-month drop since July 2008, as mild weather and record production erased a surplus to year-ago levels for the first time in two years. Temperatures will be mostly above average in the eastern half of the U.S. through Dec. 30, according to Commodity Weather Group LLC.
 (go to article)

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AutoTrader’s most popular vehicles in 2014

Atlanta Business Chronicle -- Interest in sports cars surged in 2014 among car buyers using Atlanta-based AutoTrader.com, but the truck remained king.

The Ford F-150 retained its place as the most popular nameplate on AutoTrader.com across new, used and certified pre-owned vehicles (CPO), the company says.

The F-150's rival, the Chevrolet Silverado, was the second-most popular new and CPO vehicle, but it came in third behind the Jeep Wrangler on the used side. Among new cars, trucks and SUVs took seven of the top ten spots, including vehicles like the RAM 1500, GMC Sierra, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ford F-250. Trucks and SUVs were five of the top ten used cars, and four of the top ten CPO vehicles, AutoTrader said in a press release.

"The preponderance of large vehicles indicates an improving economy, as sales of pick  (go to article)

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Gimme-gimme: Test Drive's five favorite vehicles in 2014

USA Today -- Busy year for auto intros, and plenty of good ones among them.

In fact, they include some jewels that buzzed up both the mind and the body. They were the ones hard to give back. The ones that would make our shopping list and stand a solid change of parking in our garage.

Not all are the wild ones. Some are plain enough but do what they do with such aplomb, such grace, that they are irresistible. Often, they also are the ones realized with such clear thinking and purpose that they have the power to change the entire auto industry.

And, of course, to jack up a shopper's "want" levels unsustainably high.

Here are our five favorites among 2014's Test Drives.
 (go to article)

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Oregon LNG sues for right to build Columbia River terminal

The Oregonian -- Oregon LNG and its predecessor have been fighting for a decade to build a liquefied natural gas terminal in Warrenton, a small city at the mouth of the Columbia River. The company wants to use Warrenton as a staging ground to eventually ship the Canadian natural gas to Asia.

The company quietly filed suit against the Army Corps of Engineers in August, seeking to nullify a 57-year-old land-use easement.

That sets up a legal battle that could affect Oregon LNG’s ability to build its planned terminal on the mouth of the Columbia River.  (go to article)

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Oil declines in light trading, extending losses on bearish US data

CNBC -- Oil futures declined slightly Friday, after paring gains from early in the session, as a supply glut in top consumer the United States trumped worries about falling production from Libya.

The market had come under pressure from Wednesday's DOE report, which showed a 7.3 million-barrel rise in crude inventories to their highest December level on record. Analysts had expected a seasonal decline.

"The numbers on Wednesday were really bearish, and it's possible the market is still trying to digest them," said Andrew Lebow of Jefferies in New York. "Maybe the path of least resistance is down here, given that we've been in a long down trend."

Crude imports by Japan, the world's fourth-biggest oil buyer, dropped 17.3 percent in November from a year earlier to 14.68 million kilolitres (3.08 mil  (go to article)

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Oil rises as fighting intensifies around Libya’s biggest port

Fuel Fix / Houston Chronicle -- in

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(AP Photo/Hussein Malla, File)

Oil traded above $60 a barrel amid concern about Libyan supply after government forces struck Islamist militias close to the nation’s largest terminal at Es Sider.

Brent moved between gains and losses in London. Libya’s government said its action was prompted by a militia attack on Es Sider where loadings were halted earlier this month.
 (go to article)

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Saudis hit 'panic button' at $40 oil: Energy CEO

CNBC -- Saudi Arabia has insisted that OPEC will keep oil production at 30 million barrels per day no matter the cost of crude, but even the world's biggest oil exporter has a limit, the CEO of Breitling Energy told CNBC on Friday.  (go to article)

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Saudis hit 'panic button' at $40 oil: Energy CEO

CNBC -- Saudi Arabia has insisted that OPEC will keep oil production at 30 million barrels per day no matter the cost of crude, but even the world's biggest oil exporter has a limit, the CEO of Breitling Energy told CNBC on Friday.

"I think the panic button is at $40," Chris Faulkner said in a "Squawk Box" interview. "They can say whatever they want, but at the end of the day, they can't just bleed out money forever."

With the Saudis' deficit for 2015 projected to reach $50 billion—the official figure is $39 billion—the country's leaders will face challenges in maintaining its subsidies, he said. Young people will not stand for planned wage cuts, either, he added.
That said, Faulkner expects oil prices to rebound to the low $70s by the end of 2015, after initially sliding further into the low $5  (go to article)

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Could oil’s nosedive be the shock that will finally brings global stocks back to earth?

Financial Post -- When the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries failed to cut production quotas last month, the initial investor reaction was: Hallelujah! Lots more savings for energy buyers! Blowout Christmas spending by consumers!

The celebrations may have been premature.

True, the $1 decline in U.S. gasoline prices since April is the equivalent of a 1 per cent rise in consumer spending power. Of course, some of that may be saved and not spent, at least initially. And in countries with fixed fuel taxes, including China, the economic effect will be greater. At the same time, U.S. auto makers may benefit from increased sales of low-mileage SUVs and light trucks, which are highly profitable.

 (go to article)

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Auto sales spike in December, says Edmunds

GasBuddy Blog -- Looks like the lower gas prices are leading potential buyers to new car dealers, according to an Edmunds forecast. Edmunds forecasts that 1,511,309 new cars and trucks will be sold in the U.S. in December for an estimated Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) of 16.8 million. The projected sales will be a 16.4 percent increase from November 2014, and an 11.4 percent increase from December 2013.
Based on Edmunds.com's December forecast, overall U.S. light vehicle sales will be 16.5 million for the 2014 calendar year, a 6.0 percent increase over 2013. U.S. spending on new cars is expected to have risen from $90.8 billion in 2013 to approximately $100 billion in 2014....  (go to article)

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Canadian inflation takes surprise dip as gas prices fall

Financial Post -- OTTAWA — A big drop in gasoline prices slowed Canada’s annual pace of inflation in November, reversing a spike the previous month and providing the Bank of Canada with plenty of reason to keep interest rates firmly in neutral.

The consumer price index rose 2% last month — the lowest since September and spot on the central bank’s inflation target — after a surprisingly strong 2.4% increase in October.

Core inflation, a reading that strips out many volatile items, such as energy and food products, eased to an annual rate of 2.1%, down from a 2.3% year-over-year increase in October, Statistics Canada said Friday.  (go to article)

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Recent drop in US land drilling permits due to holiday, not prices

Platts -- A recent decline in US land drilling permits is most likely the result of holiday-related lulls, rather than sharply lower oil prices, analysts said this week.

As NYMEX oil prices have fallen to the mid-$50s/barrel level and held there for the past week or so, the number of issued land drilling permits appears to be largely in line with historical averages.

A look at permitting activity stretching back to mid-June, when oil began its descent from about $107/b, shows that while permitting is down from six months ago, the drop has not been severe.

And even the sizable late-November decline in permitting was in line with the typical seasonal pattern given that permitting activity usually falls during the US Thanksgiving Day holiday, analysts said.

A few weeks ago "some people were sayi  (go to article)

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The surprising return of cheap gas prices is threatening to derail the green movement. But how long

Driving.ca -- The year 2014 proved topsy-turvy for the automotive world, beginning in Jan with the continuation of the electric revolution and ending with the shocking return of cheap — and EV-killing — gas. In between, distraction took over from alcohol as the scourge of our highways, fuel cells made a return from the dead and seemingly everyone wants a self-driving car

If the electric car wasn’t already dead, then the recent precipitous drop in gas prices is fast hammering the final nails in its coffin. Oh, Tesla and its moneyed, pretentious acolytes might continue fighting the good fight but already there are signs that automakers are hedging their bets. Fuel cell powered vehicles, so often castigated by the EV crowd are being developed anew

It’s unlikely that any alternative powertrains are going  (go to article)

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America Is Shaking Off Its Addiction to Oil

Bloomberg -- Gasoline in the U.S. is the cheapest its been since 2010. ...  (go to article)

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3 Reasons Why New York's Fracking Ban Changes Everything

Fox Business -- New York is officially frack free. On Wednesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that New York would ban hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") for good. Over the past few days, citizens and corporations have rejoiced in awe and erupted in anger. Here are three reasons why New York's fracking ban changes everything.

Environmental activists aren't exactly mainstream -- but this latest ruling is evidence that Governor Cuomo and other politicians are increasingly interested in their message. The New York decision didn't happen overnight. Demonstrators protested at events around the states. Celebrities like Sean Lennon and Yoko Ono even sang their dissent.

In November, a Pew Research center survey found that more Americans oppose increased fracking (47%) than favor it (41%). Another poll conducte  (go to article)

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Regulations Would Expand Coastal California Sanctuaries

FuelFix -- Starting Jan. 20, the incoming Republican-led Congress will have 45 working days to raise any objections to the expansion before it would go into effect.

The designation would bar oil and gas production off Northern California’s Marin and Sonoma counties. While that stretch of coast is not known to hold significant petroleum reserves, opposition in previous U.S. Congresses to restrictions on drilling helped kill an earlier effort to expand the sanctuaries through legislation, rather than the current federal rule changes.

....

The sanctuary designation does not limit fishing or most recreational uses, including swimming and diving.
 (go to article)

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U.S. city sues Petrobras for corruption-related bond loss: report

Reuters -- The U.S. city of Providence, Rhode Island, is suing Brazil's state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA and some of its executives for bond losses stemming from an alleged kickback and bribery scheme, a leading Brazilian newspaper reported on Friday.

The court case is the latest problem for Petrobras, whose stock price has recently fallen to its lowest in nearly 10 years as a widening corruption probe caused the company to delay the release of its third-quarter earnings.
 (go to article)

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Oil futures edge back up

Market Watch -- LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) — After wild price swings in recent sessions, crude-oil futures took it slow in electronic trading early Friday, with both the New York and London benchmarks making relatively moderate gains.

New York Mercantile Exchange-traded February crude CLG5, +0.61% improved by 0.5% to $56.11 a barrel on Globex, clawing back a bit of its 2.2% drubbing Wednesday when the market was heading into the Christmas holiday.

London-traded Brent North Sea crude for February LCOG5, +0.30% also added 0.5% to trade at $60.54 a barrel after taking a 2.4% loss Wednesday.

The Wednesday pullback for Nymex crude was generally blamed on a surprise increase in weekly U.S.crude stockpiles, as reported by the American Petroleum Institute. Writing following the data, Citi Futures analyst Timo  (go to article)

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