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Robert Rubin: How ignoring climate change could sink the U.S. economy

The Washington Post -- Robert E. Rubin, co-chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations, was treasury secretary from 1995 to 1999.
Good economic decisions require good data. And to get good data, we must account for all relevant variables. But we’re not doing this when it comes to climate change — and that means we’re making decisions based on a flawed picture of future risks. While we can’t define future climate-change risks with precision, they should be included in economic policy, fiscal and business decisions because of their potential magnitude.

The scientific community is all but unanimous in its agreement that climate change is a serious threat. According to Gallup, nearly 60 percent of Americans believe that global warming is caused by human activity. Still, for many people, the effects of climate c  (go to article)

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Why Lifting the Oil Export Ban Won't Kill Cheap Gas

The Street -- NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The Commerce Department's approval in June for Pioneer Natural Resources (PXD_) and Enterprise Products Partners (EPD_) to export condensates lifted investors' hopes that this signaled a shift to end the U.S. oil export ban.

The decision received praise from advocates to end the ban, including Senate Energy Committee ranking member Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska), who called it a "step in the right direction" for what she termed an "outdated policy."

But oil analysts said it's unlikely that Congress or President Obama will lift the 40-year ban, instead arguing that companies will circumvent the divided legislative process and apply for exemptions.

"There's a legislative channel, which I am not really holding my high hopes for, you know, legislation is really ha  (go to article)

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Two drilling companies file suit against Broadview Heights over city’s voter-approved drilling ban

Akron Beacon Journal -- For the past 10 years, Ohio communities have been told they have no authority to control drilling for natural gas and oil.

Ohio’s legislature stripped that power from communities and gave it solely to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

In November 2012, voters in Broadview Heights, by a 2-1 margin, approved a community bill of rights that effectively banned drilling and hydraulic fracturing — commonly called fracking — in a city where drilling was booming. No new wells have been drilled since then in the Cleveland suburb, even though legal experts questioned whether such a bill of rights move is legal in Ohio.  (go to article)

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Suniva Sees Bright Solar Future in U.S., Mexico

Global Atlanta -- Five years ago, exports accounted for about 90 percent of solar cell and panel manufacturer Suniva Inc.’s sales, while only 10 percent came from the U.S. Now, that proportion has flipped as an increasing appetite for solar energy and an evolving regulatory landscape have made the U.S. one of the top three markets for the industry globally.In response, Suniva is expanding its domestic manufacturing capacity and adjusting some of its sourcing in China, where it works with contract manufacturers to make panels. The company still makes all its cells - the brains of the panels which contain their most valuable intellectual property - in Norcross, where the Georgia Tech spinoff is based and employs 250 people.But Suniva has begun construction on a second solar-panel plant in Saginaw, Mich.  (go to article)

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Minnesota crossed by 50 oil trains a week, almost all in Twin Cities

Minneapolis Star Tribune -- Fifty oil trains, each loaded with more than 1 million gallons of North Dakota crude oil, pass through Minnesota each week, and almost all of them go through the Twin Cities, according to the first detailed reports on the state’s crude-by-rail traffic obtained by the Star Tribune.

Almost all of the oil trains passing through Minnesota cross into Wisconsin, traveling along the Mississippi River before turning east, often to East Coast oil refineries. About three oil trains a week travel BNSF’s tracks through the far southwest corner of the state, where rail lines lead into Iowa or South Dakota.

Duluth and Rochester have no Bakken oil train traffic, according to the reports. But Dave Christianson, senior rail planner for freight at the Minnesota Department of Transportation, said a few tra  (go to article)

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Shares Of A Major US Trucker Are Crashing After Management Says It Can't Find Drivers For Its Trucks

Business Insider -- Shares in Swift Transportation, the largest truckload carrier in North America, were down 14% Friday after management warned it was going to have to invest more to address a driver shortage.

The New Jersey-based firm now says it's going to have to spend more on wages and training to hold onto and attract ore drivers.

...We were constrained in the truckload and (central refrigerated systems) segments by the challenging driver market. Our driver turnover and unseated truck count were higher than anticipated. Therefore, we sold more trucks in the second quarter to offset the impact of idle equipment, which drove additional gains on sale of equipment this period.  (go to article)

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Delta refining arm charters Jones Act tanker amid trading revamp

Yahoo Finance -- Delta Air Lines's refining unit has chartered a U.S.-flagged oil tanker for the first time, allowing it to tap directly into cheap Texas shale oil as the company overhauls its supply strategy.

Monroe Energy, the Delta subsidiary that runs the airline's 165,000
bpd Trainer refinery, has time-chartered the 330,000-barrel MR Seabulk Arctic, a Jones Act vessel built in 1998, for two years beginning in August, according to sources familiar with the deal.

The ship was previously chartered to leading U.S. refiner Valero Energy Corp, which sources say has moved to reduce its exposure to the Jones Act shipping market, a once-quiet niche that has surged in recent years on growing demand to ship Texas shale crude to East Coast refiners.

Monroe is paying upward of $80,000 per day for the Seabulk Ar  (go to article)

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Top 10 most overlooked new cars

Yahoo -- 1. 2015 Mazda6
The Mazda6 is one of the rare family sedans that is both fun to drive and fuel-efficient; it's rated as high as 28/40/32 mpg city/highway/combined with an automatic transmission and the optional GT Technology Package, which includes regenerative braking and active grille shutters. But even the base automatic gets 38 on the highway. Good cabin quality, intuitive controls, comfortable seating and a striking design also fall into the Mazda's favor.

2. 2014 Dodge Durango
3. 2014 Hyundai Elantra GT
4. 2014 Volkswagen Passat TDI
5. Kia Optima
6. 2015 Hyundai Genesis
7. Chrysler 300
8. Volvo XC60
9. 2015 Volvo S60
10. Lexus CT 200h
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GM Recalls Damage Used Car Value

24/7 Wall -- When General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) recalled the more than 5 million vehicles with an ignition switch defect, the company reserved more than $1 billion to pay for its recalls and set up an unlimited fund to compensate victims of crashes where the vehicle’s airbags failed to deploy properly. But millions of other owners will also get hit in the pocketbook because of the recall and there is nothing they can do about it.

If you own one of the vehicles recalled to repair the defective ignition switch, that fact alone has lowered your car’s value by 14% from March through June 2014, compared with March through June of 2013 and adjusted for inflation. That is double the average 7% for a GM car not involved in the recall and more than double the 6.7% drop for all cars of similar size and age.

Th  (go to article)

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Driving the 2015 Ford F-Series Super Duty, the big dogs in Detroit

Motoramic -- The Big Three duke it out in pretty much every corner of the market, and some rivalries—like between their respective muscle cars—are juicier than others. But in no battle do GM, Chrysler and Ford compete more fiercely than in that of full-size pickups. And not just the light-duty models, but in their heavy duty forms, as well. In the case of the latter, the winner is typically the one with the most power. Or hood-twisting torque, to be specific.

The reigning horsepower and torque champ is the 2015 Ford Super Duty pickup that, with its optional 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel V-8, produces an otherworldly 440 hp at and 860 pound feet of torque, up from the 2014 model’s still unfathomable 400 hp and 800 lb-ft of torque and far more powerful than its standard gas-powered 6.2-liter V-8, with i  (go to article)

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After 4 years, major cleanup on the Kalamazoo River coming to a close

MPR -- It's been four years since the Enbridge pipeline Line 6B broke, creating the largest inland oil spill in U.S. history.

More than a million gallons of tar sands oil have been cleaned up from Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River. This summer, crews are dredging areas of Morrow Lake.

Steve Hamilton is a professor of ecosystem ecology at the Kellogg Biological Station at Michigan State University. He’s served as an independent scientific advisor to the Environmental Protection Agency throughout the cleanup. I talked with him for today's Environment Report.  (go to article)

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Cheniere to ‘reassess’ bonus plan for its CEO

Bloomberg -- Cheniere, based in Houston, gave CEO Charif Souki a $142 million compensation package in 2013, which included 6.3 million stock units valued at $133 million  (go to article)

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California’s Progressive, Divisive Cap and Trade Plan

Andrew Topf of Oilprice.com -- California is claiming the environmental high ground by preparing to take the next step in its carbon reduction plan, but the result may leave drivers fuming.  (go to article)

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Texting Ban does not reduce accidents

Downtrend.com -- Whether it’s texting or not using a “hands-free” device, proponents of these laws claim if we put the cellphone away while we’re driving, we can reduce the number of accidents. But it’s not true.
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New-car sales running higher than forecasts

Detroit News -- Consumers are increasingly hitting dealerships this summer to buy or lease a new car, truck or SUV, keeping car sales for 2014 on a rate that is higher than many analysts had expected just a few months ago.

Some analysts in recent weeks have increased their new-car sales predictions for 2014 based on stronger-than-expected sales in May and June. And some believe July sales could be the best since 2006.

Analysts at TrueCar, an automotive pricing and information website, this month raised its U.S. new-car sales estimate for the year to 16.35 million from 16.1 million, based on industry sales from March to June that were higher than predicted.

LMC Automotive also increased its 2014 sales outlook by about 100,000, after healthy May and June sales, said Jeff Schuster, senior vice president  (go to article)

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ExxonMobil considers massive expansion at Beaumont, TX refinery: 800,000 barrels per day

GasBuddy Blog -- Image From ..beaumontenterprise.comExxonMobil is weighing a possible multi-billion dollar expansion of its 344,000 barrel per day Beaumont, Tex. refinery that could make it the largest in the U.S. by 2020, Reuters reports. The potential expansion to 700K-800K bbl/day in total refinery capacity at Beaumont, which would surpass Motiva's 600K-plus bbl/day Port Arthur refinery. Exxon Mobil is focusing on the possible addition of a third crude distillation unit at the refinery, and its size would determine how much capacity would increase; the plans also would include replacing four coking unit drums and adding two new coker drums. The drums turn residual crude oil into petroleum coke, a coal substitute....  (go to article)

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What's behind the spike in pump prices where you are?

NBC News -- With more Americans hitting the road as the summer driving season kicks off, they’re paying a lot more attention to the price of gasoline at the pump.

After a sharp jump in May, the average U.S. price of a gallon of regular gasoline has dropped two cents over the past three weeks to $3.64, according to the Lundberg Survey of fuel prices released Sunday.

But after prices spiked much higher than that average in several parts of the country, a lot of drivers are wondering why they're suddenly shelling out more to fill up.

As usual, there are number of forces at work – from refinery outages to spot shortages. And any time prices spike, many drivers suspect that someone may be rigging the market. Are they right?

Gasoline prices are all over the place. Why are prices so different from one pl  (go to article)

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Kurdish oil tanker near Texas signals US policy change

Anadolu Agency -- A tanker fueled with Kurdish oil is two days away from reaching a U.S. port, might signal a change in the U.S.' position towards Iraq, say experts.

A ship, the United Kalavrvt, loaded with oil from Iraqi Kurdistan which left the Turkish port of Ceyhan in June is just two days away from reaching Texas' Galveston port, despite U.S.' long standing position against Kurdish oil sales without Iraqi central government's consent.

Experts told Anadolu Agency this is a sign of a change in U.S.' position in favor of Iraqi Kurds.

The Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL) and its allies have splintered the Iraqi government's control of the country when they seized Iraq's second-largest city Mosul and its surrounding area on June 10. As they seized the Baiji refinery - the largest oil refinery...  (go to article)

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Longmont’s Fracking Ban Tossed as Colorado Vote Looms

Bloomberg -- A fracking ban in the city of Longmont, Colorado, was thrown out by a judge amid petition drives to hold a statewide vote in November on restricting oil and gas drilling that generate $30 billion a year.

Judge Dolores Mallard yesterday granted a request by the Colorado Oil & Gas Association to overturn a voter-approved ban on the use of fracking. Mallard rejected Longmont’s argument that the ban is legitimate because the fracking amounts to a purely local matter.

“The judge has invited us to seek the change we need either through the higher courts or the legislature,” Bruce Baizel, director of Earthworks Energy Program, a group that supported the ban, said in an e-mailed statement. “We fully intend to pursue the former on appeal while the latter underscores the need for the citizens...  (go to article)

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Coal bankruptcy highlights pain from cheap gas, tight regulation

Sun Herald -- The coal business, after fueling the Industrial Revolution and powering U.S. growth for much of the past century, is now beset by a glut of cheap natural gas and tighter regulation.James River Coal Co. in many ways epitomizes these ills. After filing for bankruptcy almost four months ago with plans to sell its business, the Richmond, Va.-based company has delayed an auction twice without announcing a buyer.Lower prices, rising competition and oversupply have taken their toll on coal, cutting profits and pushing a number of companies to the brink of insolvency.

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Summer Heat Causing Flat Tires for North Texans

NBCFDW -- Things you can expect to see while driving in North Texas this summer include more construction, more law enforcement patrols and more stranded motorists changing a flat tire.

Arlington driver Arash Ghoreyshi's trip home from the airport was ruined Friday evening by a flat tire on State Highway 360.

"It really sucks. It's, like, hot! I was wearing a long-sleeve shirt, because I was coming from Seattle," said Ghoreyshi.  (go to article)

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Biofuels are included in latest U.S. Navy fuel procurement

EIA -- Recently the Department of Defense (DoD) released its annual procurement for bulk fuels to be delivered to its facilities in the eastern and inland United States and Gulf Coast. For the first time, this procurement requests military-specification diesel fuel and jet fuel that are blended with biofuels. The biofuels components, however, are optional and will only be accepted if certain cost and performance requirements are met. A similar procurement for the Rocky Mountain and West Coast regions is expected to be released later this year.
The U.S. Navy's interest in biofuels is part of its goal to generate 50% of its energy from alternative sources by 2020: nuclear energy, electricity from renewable sources, and biofuels. The Navy currently sources about 17% of its energy supplies from renew  (go to article)

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U.S. oil trades around $102 a barrel

AP -- Wholesale gasoline rose 2.9 cents to $2.87 a gallon.
The price of oil traded around $102 a barrel on Friday, nearly unchanged, as worries over supplies and geopolitical tensions eased.
Oil prices had slipped Thursday after spiking earlier in the week on lower U.S. inventories and tensions in Ukraine and the Middle East.
Benchmark U.S. crude for September delivery rose 2 cents to $102.09 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Thursday, the Nymex contract had dropped $1.05 to close at $102.07.
Lower-than-expected U.S. crude inventories in a weekly Energy Department report had driven prices up on Wednesday, but expectations of stronger growth in demand were later countered as gasoline supplies were nearly three times larger than predicted.
Brent crude, a benchmark for international  (go to article)

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Can Letting Trucks Drive Faster Make Roads Safer?

Wired -- When it comes to reducing traffic deaths, one common-sense move is reducing the speed limit. There’s clear evidence that an increase in speed leads to an increase in crashes, and the likelihood of surviving a crash drops as speed goes up. Cutting the speed limit has the extra upsides of reducing emissions and encouraging people to get out of their cars entirely and take mass transit. Yet Britain is raising the speed limit for trucks on some highways, and it expects to save lives.

It seems counterintuitive, but there’s solid reasoning behind the change. The country’s Department for Transport says allowing trucks to drive 50 mph on single carriageway roads (what we in the states call two-lane highways) will limit congestion and reduce overtaking.  (go to article)

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Five Fatal Flaws of Solar Energy

American Thinker -- The sun is the most important energy source on Earth. Solar energy powers the growth of all trees, grasses, herbs, crops and algae; it creates the clouds and powers the storms; it is the source of all hydro, photo-voltaic (PV), solar-thermal, bio-mass, and wind energy. Over geological time, it also creates coal.

PV solar panels are useful in remote locations and for some portable applications. With enough panels and batteries, standalone solar can even power homes.

But solar energy has five fatal flaws for supplying 24/7 grid power.

Firstly, sunshine at any spot is always intermittent and often unreliable. Solar panels can deliver significant energy only from 9am to 3pm – a maximum of 25% of each day. Solar can often help supply the hot afternoon demand for air conditioning, but de  (go to article)

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Energy boom makes oil a surprising safe haven

msn.com -- The idea of US crude being a shelter from turmoil abroad may not be as far fetched as it seems.
The U.S. -- and the global economy -- may have a new safe haven asset: the growing American oil bounty.
The sociopolitical upheaval in places like Iraq, Libya and Venezuela has kept oil prices propped up at more than $100 per barrel, underscoring the unstable nature of many oil-producing nations.
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EPA's Water Contamination Investigation Halted In Texas After Range Resources Protest

Huff Post Gren -- WEATHERFORD, Texas (AP) — When a man in a Fort Worth suburb reported his family's drinking water had begun "bubbling" like champagne, the federal government sounded an alarm: An oil company may have tainted their wells while drilling for natural gas.  (go to article)

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Big Polluters Cry Wolf Over EPA Plan to Protect Health and Fight Climate Change

Huff Post -- Next week the Environmental Protection Agency will host four public hearings on its plan to reduce climate change pollution from power plants. The speakers list is already filling up. Physicians will outline the health hazards linked to climate change.  (go to article)

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German Utilities Bail Out Electric Grid at Wind’s Mercy

bloomberg.com -- Germany’s push toward renewable energy is causing so many drops and surges from wind and solar power that the government is paying more utilities than ever to help stabilize the country’s electricity grid.

Twenty power companies including Germany’s biggest utilities, EON SE and RWE AG, now get fees for pledging to add or cut electricity within seconds to keep the power system stable, double the number in September, according to data from the nation’s four grid operators. Utilities that sign up to the 800 million-euro ($1.1 billion) balancing market can be paid as much as 400 times wholesale electricity prices, the data show.

Germany’s drive to almost double power output from renewables by 2035 has seen one operator reporting five times as many potential disruptions as four years ago, rai  (go to article)

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State orders Enbridge to fix pipeline through Mackinac straits

MPR -- Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and the state Department of Environmental Quality have sent a warning letter to Enbridge Energy. It says the company has to do a better job of securing an oil pipeline that runs through the Straits of Mackinac.

“We just want to make sure that this pipeline’s going to be safe," said Dan Wyant, director of the DEQ. He says a leak in the pipeline would have implications throughout the Great Lakes.  (go to article)

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Climate Models Overestimated Global Warming For The Last 55 Years

The Daily Caller -- Climate models relied upon by scientists and governments may be greatly overstating the warming that has occurred since the late 1950s, argues a paper analyzing the discrepancies between modeled and observed temperatures.

The paper, which was published in the journal Environmetrics, found that observed temperatures differed greatly from modeled temperatures in the tropical lower troposphere and mid-troposphere.

“Over the 55-years from 1958 to 2012, climate models not only significantly over-predict observed warming in the tropical troposphere, but they represent it in a fundamentally different way than is observed,” says Ross McKitrick, economist with the University of Guelph in Canada and co-author of the study.  (go to article)

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Listening devices found at Ford HQ; recently fired engineer investigated

The Detroit News -- The FBI searched Ford Motor Co.’s world headquarters while investigating one of the automaker’s engineers and seized listening devices, computers and financial records, according to search warrants obtained by The News on Thursday.

A lawyer for the mechanical engineer said Ford’s security team feared she was stealing trade secrets by hiding secret recording devices in conference rooms at the Dearborn automaker’s headquarters, nicknamed the Glass House.

Court records that would explain why the FBI had probable cause to search Ford and the engineer’s home are sealed in federal court. The government’s lawyer on the case, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Tukel, heads the National Security Unit in Detroit, successfully prosecuted underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab...
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Jacksonville car dealer gives woman refund in pennies

First Coast News -- JACKSONVILLE, FL-- Irena Mujakovic purchased a 2003 Saab from Holiday Motors in January. She now regrets her decision.

[She had transmission problems and was sold a warranty that didn't cover labor, but wasn't told that. It broke again.]

She filed a complaint with the DMV's district office. The state agency investigated and told the dealer to give her a refund. [...]

This week when she went to pick up her refund, she was surprised. She said the dealer had two bags of coins and some dollar bills.

"There were some one dollar bills, but mostly pennies, like two full bags," she said. [...]

When asked if the coins are retaliation for her complaint, he said business has been slow, that he's pulling money to give her a refund, that it is what it is.

"I am doing what DMV asked me to do."  (go to article)

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Maine City Council Votes To Keep Tar Sands Out Of Its Port

NPR -- Can one small port city make a difference? South Portland, home to an oil tanker facility that has long received crude from abroad, has blocked the owner from exporting tar sands crude and hopes to spur other cities to act.

The city council of South Portland (pop. 25,000) voted 6-1 on July 21 to pass the Clear Skies Ordinance [PDF] that "prohibits the bulk loading of crude oil onto marine tank vessels," said Mayor Jerry Jalbert. Susan Sharon, deputy news director of Maine Public Broadcasting, reports on the story for NPR in addition to MPBN.  (go to article)

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Arizona Residents Ditching Cars, Taking Transit

Streetsblog USA -- Between 2005 and 2012, the average number of miles driven by each Arizona resident declined 10.5 percent, according to PIRG. They are now driving fewer miles per capita than they did in 1994. These trends closely track national driving declines, and show the phenomenon isn’t limited to compact coastal metro areas.

In notoriously sprawling Phoenix, people are starting to ditch their cars. Between 2006 and 2011, the share of households with two or more vehicles decreased 2.9 percent, PIRG reports. And the total number of cars and trucks on the state’s roads is dropping, even as the population grows. Between 2007 and 2012, the number of registered vehicles in Arizona declined 4 percent.  (go to article)

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Hydrogen fuel production may need to be cleaner

Hydrogen Fuel News -- HyperSolar, a developer of hybrid technology that produces hydrogen from sunlight, is beginning to stress the importance of environmentally friendly hydrogen production solutions. Hydrogen is quickly becoming a contender as one of the most widely used energy sources of the modern world. The auto industry is beginning to commercialize vehicles equipped with fuel cells and these energy systems are now seeing more use in the residential sector as well. As fuel cells become more common, the efficient and “green” production of hydrogen fuel is becoming more important.  (go to article)

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CHP 'lane splitting' guidelines taken down

Sanjose Mercury News -- The California Highway Patrol has taken down safety guidelines for a sometimes criticized but legal driving maneuver in which motorcyclists pass stopped traffic by driving between lanes.  (go to article)

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9 Hybrid Sedans With 5-Star Safety Ratings for 2015

Wallstreet Cheatsheet -- Since fuel economy and safety routinely top the list of priorities of auto consumers, hybrid sedans have an obvious appeal for American families. Unlike the variable factors involved with mpg ratings, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has a rigorous battery of crash tests automakers must pass to get themselves a five-star safety rating posted on Safercar.gov.

For cars to receive an overall score of five stars, the vehicle must receive a perfect five stars in at least one of the three tests (frontal crash, side crash, and rollover) while receiving at least four out of five stars in the other two tests. Among 2015 model-year vehicles tested by the NHTSA, only one hybrid sedan scored a perfect five stars, while five notched perfect ratings in two tests...  (go to article)

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The downside of low-end luxury cars

Yahoo! Autos -- This spring, Irene Yaymadjian, a graduate student in Studio City, Calif., decided she was ready to trade up from her sporty Mini Cooper. “I wanted a nice car but something that won’t put you under,” she says. A few years ago, a Honda, Toyota, or a used luxury car might have made her shortlist. But after looking at the CLA, the entry-level model Mercedes introduced last year, Yaymadjian settled on an Audi A3, another recent arrival in the low-end luxury market. Yaymadjian, 29, paid $38,000 for her car, just a little more than she would have paid for a high-end Honda Accord or Ford Fusion.

That sounds like a win for Audi, but wooing younger drivers on a budget has a downside. The market’s getting crowded, and luxury carmakers risk tarnishing their brands by courting comparisons.  (go to article)

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Baby dies after being left in hot car in Kansas

Associated Press -- Police have arrested the foster parent of a 10-month-old girl who died after being left inside a hot car in Wichita, Kansas.

Lt. Todd Ojile said Friday the 29-year-old man was booked on suspicion of aggravated endangerment but has not been charged.

Ojile says the man had "somehow forgotten" leaving the girl in the back seat after picking her up from the baby sitter late Thursday afternoon. He went inside the house with a 5-year-old child but left the baby strapped in the car seat outside.
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6 cars that need to be revived

Yahoo! Autos -- The rumors are constantly flooding into our inboxes of cars X, Y and Z being revived with hybrid powertrains, all-wheel drive and a bunch of other claims that no one can really back up. But can you blame them? Of course I’d like to see a new Supra with 500 horsepower, or an RX-7 with twin-rotaries and a six-speed. For the most part though, we take these rumors with a grain of salt.

The fun part of it, really, is thinking about your favorite childhood cars coming back to life. Those icons of your generation living on in a new form. That being said, here’s six that we think need a new chance at life.

DeLorean DMC-12
Lancia Stratos
Mazda RX-7
Pontiac Fiero
Toyota Supra
TVR Sagaris  (go to article)

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Understanding the Ups and Downs of Gas Prices - Going Beyond the Pump

GasBuddy Blog -- Do you ever wonder why the price at your nearest gas station changes from day to day? With summer season in full swing, people across the U.S. are packing up their cars and taking off for vacations, contending with fluctuating fuel prices at gas pumps along the way. In fact, U.S. travelers just paid the highest Fourth of July weekend gas prices since 2008. But what goes into determining the price of gasoline? Who makes those decisions, and when do they get passed on to you, the driver? To understand, you need to consider the whole story....  (go to article)

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California courts Tesla for its battery 'Gigafactory'

USA Today -- California's Legislature has another bill on deck that could bolster its chances of becoming home to Tesla Motor's giant battery plant, and the up to 6,500 jobs it could create.

It already passed another measure earlier this month that could property tax credits for Tesla to locate its $4-billion to $5-billion battery "Gigafactory" in California, and Gov. Edmund G. "Jerry" Brown signed it into law.  (go to article)

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Volvo’s New SUV Stops You From Making Risky Left-Hand Turns

Wired -- Turning left while driving can be stressful. You’re headed into traffic, with other cars blocking your view of what’s ahead. Mistiming your move can lead to a potentially catastrophic crash. That’s why Volvo—which wants to eliminate fatalities and injuries in its cars by 2020—built its new XC90 SUV to automatically apply the brakes if the driver turns in front of an oncoming car.

Cars have had crash detection systems for a while now, but this is the first time sensors and software have been applied to the left-turn scenario (it also works when you’re going right, so English and Japanese drivers need not worry).

The feature is obviously valuable for city driving, and is also meant to prevent accidents at high-speed intersections where cars have little time to brake or swerve to avoid an i  (go to article)

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EPA’s new rules would clear the air near oil refineries: Editorial

Daily Breeze -- Oil refineries in the South Bay and Long Beach are likely to be facing some tough and long-needed restrictions that will help residents breathe a little easier. It’s too bad it took a lawsuit to get there.

Last week the Environmental Protection Agency held a public hearing in Wilmington — home to three major refineries — on proposed regulations that would cut the level of pollutants refineries can emit by 25 percent and expand monitoring of toxic air pollutants.

The proposed regulations on the country’s 149 refineries only came after pro-environmental groups Earthjustice and the Environmental Integrity Project, on behalf of several local groups, sued the agency in 2012 for failing to update its toxic air emissions and monitoring rules intended to protect public health. Be glad they did.  (go to article)

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Exxon weighs expansion of Beaumont, Texas, refinery

Reuters -- Exxon Mobil is weighing a possible multibillion-dollar expansion of its 344,600 barrel-per-day Beaumont, Texas, refinery that could make it the nation’s largest by 2020, according to sources familiar with the company’s deliberations.

The deliberations at Exxon are focused on the possible addition of a third crude distillation unit, the sources said, and its size would determine how much capacity would increase.

Exxon has also made plans to replace four coking unit drums in 2015 and add two new coker drums in 2017 at the Beaumont refinery, the sources said. The drums turn residual crude oil into petroleum coke, a coal substitute.

The Exxon investment, if made, would bolster the U.S. Gulf Coast's position as a top exporter of fuels to the world at a time when U.S. demand for gasoline and  (go to article)

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Domestic oil production approaching refinery capacity

Bismarck Tribune -- An oversupply of crude oil in the United States isn’t something mentioned very often, if at all. But as a result of surging domestic production, that could be the case in the months ahead with light sweet crude oil production likely exceeding current refinery capacity for that class of crude in the near future.

Tight oil extraction in plays like the Bakken in North Dakota and Eagle Ford in Texas, have led to a renaissance in domestic oil production. The catch - U.S. refineries are nearing full capacity for light sweet crude oil processing - is that most facilities are configured to process heavy crudes instead.

As evidence, the continued buildup of supply of light sweet crude at the U.S. coast may be an indicator that refiners are nearing capacity to process U.S. shale oil at this time.  (go to article)

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The Hits Keep Coming: GM Recalls 718,000 U.S. Vehicles for Bolts, Welds, Lights, and Steering

Car and Driver -- Perhaps to spice up an otherwise mild week—excepting that Acura NSX prototype fire—General Motors has issued six recalls to fix loose bolts, poor welding, and other miscellaneous problems, bringing the automaker’s 2014 North American total to 60 actions.

The 717,949 cars in the U.S. are all from the 2011–2015 model years and bring the total affected U.S. vehicles this year to about 25.5 million—or more than nine times the number GM sold to Americans in 2013. No filings were made available yet by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Here’s the rundown:

On various models with power height-adjustable driver and passenger seats, a bolt can come undone causing the seat to detach from the power adjuster and “move up and down freely,” according to GM. This issue affects the 2011  (go to article)

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Audi to abandon CVTs?

Autoblog -- The continuously variable transmission is one of those technologies that seems to make a lot of sense on paper, but in reality, almost always numbs the driving experience. That's one reason why Audi, according to reports, is planning to phase them out.

One of the first automakers to implement use of the CVT, Audi mates CVTs to larger engines than many other manufacturers, which typically install them on scooters, hybrids and small-displacement hatchbacks. But the time of the Audi CVT (which it calls Multimatic) may be near its end as a report from Australia indicates that Ingolstadt is moving toward a two-gearbox lineup that does not include the rubber-band transmission.

Instead, Audi is said to be focusing its attention on ...  (go to article)

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GM recalls far from calamity for some dealers who find new customers, business

Reuters Via Yahoo News -- The news about deadly crashes linked to a faulty ignition switch, followed by wave upon wave of recalls, did not bode well for General Motors dealers earlier this year. It conjured visions of worried, frustrated drivers pouring onto lots like Raymond Chevrolet, outside of Chicago.

But according to Robbie Long, service director for the dealer and nearby Ray Chevrolet, what looked like "great adversity" has turned into an opportunity.

The hundreds of customers bringing old cars into the family-owned dealerships leave in clean cars with a bucket of goodies. Some drive home a newly purchased car.  (go to article)

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Cellphone Bans Don't Reduce Accidents, Research Finds

Aol Autos -- Common sense says that talking on a cellphone while driving is not a particularly safe thing to do. But recent studies have found banning cellphone use while behind the wheel is not leading to a decrease in accidents.
 (go to article)

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