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Inventor Rethinks How Car Cup Holders Should Work — This Is the Result

TheBlaze -- For as long as cup holders have been in cars, their design has largely gone unchanged. For the most part, cup holders are a low base with higher sides, typically in a center console, that keeps the vessel containing a drink in one place.

But it’s the liquid inside that’s often the problem. As the vehicle stops, goes uphill or over a speed bump, the liquid will follow, which even with the most innovative of lids can result in a mess.

This common issue is probably why the video of new cup holder invention started going viral on Reddit. The video shows cups without lids sitting in a holder between two seats as driver puts them to the test. The holder called the Maksimatic follows each move of the car, making sure the liquid remains in the cup despite its lidless state.(VIDEO)  (go to article)

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6 Things a Flowback Supervisor Who ‘Grossed 6 Figures the Year I Turned 20' Revealed About Work in t

TheBlaze -- On Friday, one of those souls (under the username Wyojones) took to Reddit for an “Ask Me Anything,” sharing details of his life working as a flowback supervisor in Wyoming and Colorado — and how he earned six figures the year he turned 20.

1. You can make money right away — if you’re willing to work.

“Average is a 12 hour shift with 2-3 hours paid drive time to get from the hotel to job site and back,” Wyojones said of jobs in the oil fields. “Overtime after 40.”

He said it doesn’t take specialized skills to get an entry-level job.

“It’s s labor job, and at the lower levels labor is what gets you in,” Wyojones wrote. “And the lower levels still pay a couple grand a week.”

Asked for some more specifics on starting pay levels, he wrote, “$1,500 a week is pretty decent.”  (go to article)

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Alaska signs deal for natural gas plant

NewsMiner -- FAIRBANKS — The state agency overseeing the Interior Energy Project announced continued progress on Friday on a project to truck North Slope natural gas to the Fairbanks area for home heating and electricity generation.
The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority and project development firm MWH inked an agreement outlining the construction, ownership and operation of the North Slope liquified natural gas plant that’s central to the whole project.
According to a press release announcing the agreement, the state agency will own the plant while an MWH subsidiary, Northern Lights Energy, will build, operate and maintain it. Northern Lights will also sell the LNG produced by the plant to Fairbanks-area buyers. The agreement also allows the development of a financing structure for th  (go to article)

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Oil firm to hike gas price, slash diesel and kerosene prices Monday

GMA -- At least one oil firm is raising prices of gasoline but lowering prices of diesel and kerosene effective 12:01 a.m. Monday.

Flying V is rolling back kerosene and diesel prices by 20 centavos per liter starting Monday, radio dzBB reported early Sunday.

But the report also said Flying V will increase prices of gasoline by 20 centavos per liter as well.

Other oil companies have yet to announce price changes for their products for this week.  (go to article)

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U.S. crude falls for third day on dollar strength

Bloomburg -- Gasoline futures rose 2 percent to $2.6114 a gallon on the Nymex, the biggest daily increase since Sept. 3. Prices are up 3.7 percent this week. Ultra low sulfur diesel climbed 0.2 percent to $2.7166. The fuel fell 0.9 percent this week.

West Texas Intermediate crude fell Friday for a third day on rising U.S. inventories as a stronger dollar weighed on commodity prices. Brent futures rose on supply risks.

Stockpiles increased last week for the first time since Aug. 8, according to the Energy Information Administration. The dollar gained as the Federal Reserve moves closer to raising interest rates.

Brent widened its premium to WTI on signs of lower OPEC output. Gasoline futures jumped on surging Gulf Coast spot prices.

“Oil continues to come under pressure from the idea that we have am  (go to article)

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Audi first with Cali autonomous driving permit

Autonet -- California has issued Audi the state's first autonomous driving permit, allowing the automaker to test self-driving vehicles on public roads. This coincides with a broad range of new regulations taking effect regarding the testing of automated driving in California.

Autonomous technology is the new frontier in the automotive world as carmakers get ready for what they believe is the next big change set to sweep the industry. Cruise control is no longer the only way to let your car do the driving.  (go to article)

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The coming era of unlimited — and free — clean energy

the washington Post -- In the 1980s, leading consultants were skeptical about cellular phones. McKinsey & Company noted that the handsets were heavy, batteries didn’t last long, coverage was patchy, and the cost per minute was exorbitant. It predicted that in 20 years the total market size would be about 900,000 units, and advised AT&T to pull out. McKinsey was wrong, of course. There were more than 100 million cellular phones in use 2000; there are billions now. Costs have fallen so far that even the poor — all over world — can afford a cellular phone.

The experts are saying the same about solar energy now. They note that after decades of development, solar power hardly supplies 1 percent of the world’s energy needs. They say that solar is inefficient, too expensive to install, and unreliable, and will  (go to article)

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Spectra, Northeast Utilities partner on $3 billion project to bring more natural gas to New England

BDN -- PORTLAND, Maine — The Houston-based Spectra Energy announced Tuesday that Northeast Utilities, New England’s largest electric utility, plans to be a co-investor in a $3 billion effort to expand two major natural gas pipelines in the region, one of which runs through Maine.

Spectra’s pipeline expansion proposal was made public to a regional group coordinating energy policy in June, but the investment partnership with Northeast Utilities is new.

“I think it certainly signals the potential for a partnership that would really bring not only the resources but the experience to address New England’s natural gas capacity problems,” said Patrick Woodcock, director of Maine’s Governor’s Energy Office.

Marylee Hanley, a spokeswoman with Spectra, said the pipeline project, dubbed its Northeast Acc  (go to article)

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Curtain, reviews come down on taxpayer-funded climate change musical

Fox News -- The curtain has come down on Climate Change: The Musical and reviews of the taxpayer-funded play about global warming are downright icy.

The play, which is actually entitled "The Great Immensity," and was produced by Brooklyn-based theater company The Civilians, Inc. with a $700,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, ended its run early amid a storm of criticism from reviewers and lawmakers alike. It opened a year late, reached just five percent of its anticipated audience and likely fell short of its ambitious goal of informing a new generation about the perceived dangers of man-caused climate change.

Plus, it apparently wasn't very good.

“Despite fine performances, the musical mystery tour is an uneasy mix of fact and credulity-stretching fiction. It’s neither flora  (go to article)

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No leniency for Emma Czornobaj, says wife and mother of victims

CBC News -- Pauline Volikakis says she wants Emma Czornobaj to face a sentence that reflects the gravity of her decision to stop in the passing lane of a highway to help ducks trying to cross the road

That decision back in the summer of 2010 cost the lives of Volikakis’s husband André Roy, 50, and 16-yr-old daughter Jessie, whose motorcycle slammed into the back of Czornobaj’s parked car at high speed

Volikakis, who was following her husband and daughter on her own motorcycle at the time of the crash, made her case against leniency at Czornobaj’s sentence hearing on Fri

“Hey, wake up, people, you are saying that this person’s negligent driving that caused the deaths of 2 people — my husband and my daughter — is to be treated as an action that should be overlooked?

Volikakis was referring to effort  (go to article)

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Labor Shortage Alert: How the Desperate Trucking Industry Can Find Workers

The Motley Fool -- A recent survey by National Retail Systems, or NRS, a privately owned third-party logistics company, reveals interesting insights into truck drivers' job preferences, including answers to key questions like what attracts them to a job and what compels them to leave one. The results could come in handy for American trucking companies that have been spending sleepless nights trying to figure out the best ways to recruit and retain drivers even as the industry battles a severe workforce shortage. It turns out that drivers don't really care about a company's reputation as long as they get a hefty paycheck, and that a sign-on bonus fails to do what it's meant to do: attract drivers.  (go to article)

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Significant Water Recycling Achieved in Eagle Ford

RigZone -- Officials with Dow Water & Process Solutions and Omni Water Solutions Inc., an Austin-based water treatment technology company, expect the number of barrels of water treated at an Eagle Ford project to pass the one million barrel mark by the end of 2014. The partnership of technology between the two companies has allowed for the treatment of over 725,000 barrels per day (bpd) of water at an oil and gas project in Karnes County, Texas since the project began in June 2013. The project operator was having issues with boron, which occurs naturally in produced water in the play, and was interfering with the performance of the customer’s fracking and gel systems. “They needed a way to get the boron levels down,” said Warren Sumner, chief executive officer of Omni, in an interview with Rigzone.  (go to article)

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Missing driver says he woke up in field of donkeys in Roswell, N.M.

The Richmond Times Dispatch -- ROSWELL, N.M. — A driver who went missing after a one-car rollover in New Mexico says he later woke up in a field of donkeys. KOAT-TV reported New Mexico State Police say the driver called 911 seven hours after investigators failed to find any victims from the crash in Roswell late Friday. The driver, whose name has not been released, told 911 dispatchers that he was lost and found himself surrounded by the animals. Authorities say the man claims he and a passenger were drinking the night before but didn't remember what happened next. Police say the driver suffered injuries to a shoulder and his hands and the passenger suffered back injuries. The driver was issued multiple citations, but the charges haven't been released.  (go to article)

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BNSF official: Keystone pipeline won’t dent crude by rail

The State -- One of the top executives at the nation’s leading hauler of crude oil in trains said Friday that the proposed Keystone XL pipeline wouldn’t take away any of his company’s business.

Matt Rose, the executive chairman of BNSF Railway, told Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo that the controversial pipeline project would move primarily heavy crude oil from western Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast.

“Pipelines are not going to be able to handle the entire amount of that,” Rose said.

Rose’s railroad actually does business with pipeline companies such as Enbridge and Kinder Morgan. These companies build and operate many of the loading and unloading terminals for crude oil trains.

Rose said his railroad moves 800,000 of the 1 million barrels a day moving by rail in the U.S., and that t  (go to article)

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Where drivers pay the most -- and least -- for car insurance

Yahoo! Autos -- Just as with real estate values, a driver’s car insurance rates can vary greatly according to location. What is already a major long-term auto ownership cost can become a true burden if a driver is living in a zip code insurance company actuaries deem as carrying a greater risk of accident, theft or vandalism, or is rated for higher premiums based on a range of circumstances.

For 2014, the major U.S. metropolitan area in which residents tend to suffer the highest car insurance rates is Detroit, MI, where policyholders tend to pay 165 percent higher premiums than the national average. While none approach the stiff toll Detroiters face, other budget-busting burgs include New York City (36 percent above average), Miami (+34 percent) and Los Angeles (+25 percent).  (go to article)

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Why Transit Agencies Should Woo “Bohemian Boomers” and “Metro Moms”

Streetsblog USA -- A new national survey released today by TransitCenter seeks to understand not just the who, but also the why, of Americans’ increasing transit use. The survey found that Americans’ feelings towards transit and cities vary considerably by age, personal values, and whether transit provides a feasible travel option in their neighborhoods. Factors that don’t have much of an effect on transit use include having children at home, education level, having very high incomes, and the region of the country people inhabit.  (go to article)

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Finland’s Capital Plans on Making Private-Car Ownership Obsolete in 10 Years

Time Magazine -- Are you paying attention, rest of world?

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Finland’s capital, Helsinki, plans on revamping its entire transportation system by linking together several modes of shared transportation to potentially render private cars obsolete by 2025.

It might sound like a far-fetched project, but Sonja Heikkilä, a transportation engineer whose master thesis inspired the new model, says that young adults nowadays are more concerned about affordable and convenient commutes. “A car is no longer a status symbol for young people,” Heikkilä told the Helsinki Times.  (go to article)

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License plate scanner networks capture movements of all

GOPUSA.COM -- The license plate scanning systems have multiplied across the U.S. over the last decade, funded largely by Homeland Security grants, and judges recently have upheld authorities' rights to keep details from hundreds of millions of scans a secret from the public.  (go to article)

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Oil Clogging U.S. Railways Seen Limiting Exports of Grain

Bloomberg -- Shipping companies probably will miss out on exports from the record U.S. grain harvest because the shale-oil boom is clogging up rail lines to ports.

While the U.S. will reap the most crops ever, fourth-quarter export cargoes will be 15 percent lower than last year, according to RS Platou Markets AS, a Norwegian bank specialized in shipping.

The U.S. shale-oil boom means energy shipments are dominating rail networks at the expense of grains. The Association of American Railroads says crude moved by rail almost doubled last year. The bottlenecks may persist because the Energy Department is predicting the most oil output in 45 years in 2015.

The rail delays in the U.S. could lead to ships awaiting cargo and congestion at terminals, something that normally boosts freight rates. Exporters  (go to article)

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5 Most Expensive Cities for Car Insurance

Wall Street Cheat Sheet -- Owning a car is expensive. In addition to your vehicle payment, you have gasoline to pay for, maintenance, and of course, auto insurance. Car insurance is one of those bills — kind of like an old school long distance phone bill — where some people have a huge bill and others pay very little depending on location, habits, and usage. How much do you pay for auto insurance? The average U.S. consumer pays just under $800 per year, which equates to around $67 per month, according to data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

InsuranceQuotes.com conducted a study where it compared auto insurance premiums across the twenty-five largest metropolitan areas in the county (you can view the study here). The results indicate that Detroit is by far the most expensive city for  (go to article)

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How This Looming Threat Could Devastate the U.S. Energy Industry

The Motley Fool -- There is an impending energy crisis looming that almost no one has heard of, but could have dire consequences for America's energy industry.

According to Tim Osborn of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Steve Gill, senior scientist at the agency's Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services, by 2100 much of southeastern Louisiana will be under 4.3 feet of water. This area faces the fastest rate of sea level rise in the world.
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Are Gas Prices Headed Higher?

http://finance.yahoo.com/tumblr/blog-are-gas-prices-headed-higher-110059203.html -- Gas prices have been heading lower over the last several months and are down 19% since the June high. This has been great news for drivers and especially those families taking road trips during the summer. However, it appears we may start paying more at the pump as prices begin to bottom out.  (go to article)

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Why Gas Pumps Spread Disease More than Anything Else

Yahoo Autos -- “So, here’s something that you probably didn’t know. Gas pumps – the very lifeblood of our bold rides – are the most likely place to get cold and flu germs.”

“A whopping 71 percent of gas pumps were found to have high levels of the germs considered to have a high chance of making you sick, according to a major study. This is an automotive site – not Bill Nye the Science Guy – so we’ll spare you all of the chemical info, but basically in the germ busting world ATP is to be dreaded in high doses.”

“That’s what you’re finding at the pump. Forget about wearing those plastic gloves to keep the smell off your hands. Put them on to keep the germs out of your lungs.”
 (go to article)

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Could 2015 be the Year State Gas Tax Goes up to Help Roads?

KCRG -- CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa- Iowa hasn’t increased the state gasoline tax since 1989. But will state lawmakers add a little more per gallon next year to start fixing roads?

Supporters of a gas tax hike warn the state has fallen behind by about $215-million dollars annual to meet the needs of crumbling Iowa roads and bridges. Each extra penny in the state gasoline tax would bring in $20-million dollars. So supporters insist a ten cent a gallon hike is needed to bridge the gap.

Iowa currently collects $0.19 to $0.21 per gallon for the ethanol blends or regular fuel. A bill to increase the tax in stages died in the last session as did an effort to couple a five cent gas tax with a new excise tax on gasoline.  (go to article)

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GM recalling 3,200 natural gas vans for fire risks

Detroit News -- Washington — – General Motors Co. will recall about 3,200 vans powered with compressed natural gas that could leak and catch fire — the Detroit automaker's second recall for leaking natural gas since last year.
The new recall covers 3,196 2011-14 Chevrolet Express CNG and GMC Savana CNG vehicles in the U.S. and 13 in Canada.
"Some of these vehicles may have a CNG high pressure regulator that leaks natural gas into the atmosphere. This could cause an explosion or a fire if an ignition source is present," GM told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. "If a leak is suspected, the customer should not start the engine or drive the vehicle. The customer should immediately have the vehicle towed, inspected and repaired."  (go to article)

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Risk Of Cyber Threats Increase As Cars Add Active Controls

AoL Autos -- New technologies like park assist, adaptive cruise control and collision prevention are some of the first to hold an active role in driving. But because these features are specifically designed to, at times, exert control over a vehicle, it may be easier for hackers to write codes that carry nefarious intent, a first-of-its-kind study recently found.
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Congress Skewers NHTSA's Investigative Competence

AoL Auto -- There is no evidence, at least publicly, that anything has changed at the agency," the report said. "No one has been held accountable and no substantial changes have been made. NHTSA and its employees admit they made mistakes but the lack of urgency in identifying and resolving those shortcomings raises questions about the agency's commitment to learning from this recall."
 (go to article)

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Woman motorist who caused deadly collision by stopping for ducks to be sentenced in December

Postmedia News -- A Superior Court judge is expected to decide later this year whether Emma Czornobaj should serve time behind bars for causing a fatal collision when she stopped her car on a highway in an attempt to rescue a group of ducklings

Defence lawyer said what his client did “was stupid” but involved no ill will whatsoever. She stopped in the left-hand line of the highway, got out and tried to rescue 7 ducklings that were on a very narrow left-hand shoulder

A SQ expert estimated Mr. Roy’s motorcycle was travelling 75-85mph when he hit the brakes and was still moving at a speed of at least 65mph when it struck the car

On Jun 20, a jury found Czornobaj guilty of 2 counts each of criminal negligence causing death, which carries a maximum life

Prosecutor asked a 9 month prison term and 240h commun  (go to article)

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Weld County GDP growth No. 2 in nation

Greeley Tribune -- Weld County’s economic growth has surged to No. 2 in the nation, with output growing 10 percent last year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Mount Vernon-Anacortes, Wash., another oil rich area, came in at No.1 in the nation with growth of 10.6 percent.

“In a historical context, it’s a pretty remarkable number,” said Martin Shields, an economics professor at Colorado State University, of Weld’s growth. “Not many places grow that quickly over time, smaller places tend to grow faster. … It’s still quite uncommon, and the driver, the story, is oil and gas.”

Weld’s growth was chiefly a result of oil and gas drilling, but it also was fueled in part by construction, which contributed 1.33 percentage points of the growth; and trade, which grew by .87 of a percentage point.  (go to article)

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Commodities Suffer As Oil And Gas Takes Rail Priority

OilPrice.com -- The rapid pace of energy exploration, for both natural gas and oil, in North Dakota is creating a crisis for upper Midwest farmers. Grain shipments have been held up by a vast new movement of oil by rail, leading to millions of dollars in agricultural losses and slower production for everything from breakfast cereals to corn and soybeans.

Grain and other agricultural shipments are more perishable than oil, yet they are largely taking a back seat to it as shipments of fuel have overwhelmed an aging railroad infrastructure in a part of the country that’s still largely rural and struggling to keep up with housing and infrastructure for a massive influx of shale oil- and natural gas-drilling workers drawn to the Dakotas to take part in the boom.

North Dakota has a 2.8 percent unemployment...  (go to article)

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Oil pressured by glut fears, dollar rally

MarketWatch -- Oil futures lost ground Friday, on worries over a growing supply glut and a rallying U.S. dollar.

West Texas intermediate crude oil futures for October delivery fell 66 cents, or 0.7%, to settle at $92.41 a barrel. On the week, however, futures rose 0.2%, snapping a two-week losing streak.

November ICE Brent futures rose 69 cents, or 0.7%, to end at $98.39 a barrel. Gains for the week reached 0.4%.

Oil futures have been struggling with growing supplies as U.S. oil production rises. Meanwhile, the International Energy Agency, the U.S. Energy Information Administration and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries all lowered their forecasts for demand growth earlier this month.

In addition, the U.S. dollar has been in rally mode as the U.S. Federal Reserve moves toward ...  (go to article)

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ND tribal candidate: Oil industry could be slowed

Bismarck Tribune -- "I'm not a great advocate of the oil industry and rapid development," candidate and tribal tax director Mark Fox said earlier this week after primary election results showed he would remain in the race for tribal chairman. "I will slow it down if we cannot get the protections that we need so that we can have the same reservation that I grew up in and the elders grew up in."  (go to article)

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Nissan USA aims to keep electric battery production

AFP -- Japanese automaker Nissan is dismissing speculation that it intends to scale back electric car battery production at its US plant in Tennessee.

Nissan's ambitious electric vehicle program has been a signature initiative of Carlos Ghosn, the chief executive at both Renault and Nissan.
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North Dakota oil tax gusher continues

Bismarck Tribune -- BISMARCK, N.D. — North Dakota's budget director says oil tax revenue is running well ahead of what state budget planners expected.

State budget director Pam Sharp says officials had estimated oil tax revenues to be about $5.3 billion when the current two-year budget cycle ends in June 2015.

Sharp says officials are now forecasting the sum to be nearly $7.5 billion.  (go to article)

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NHTSA Worries About Your Car Being Hacked

GasBuddy Blog -- Image From ..freep.comBecause computer software is now as critical to your car as its engine and tires, automakers must figure out how to protect all that data from hackers and others with criminal intentions, the nation’s top auto safety regulator says. “The time is now: We need to make sure we move forward aggressively on cybersecurity,” said David Friedman, acting administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Friedman appeared at the Intelligent Transportation Systems World Congress. In July, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers notified NHTSA that they want to share information to improve cybersecurity and Friedman has asked the CEOs of every automaker to develop such a plan by the end of 2015. ...  (go to article)

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Oil prices at two-year low. Why OPEC might change that.

The Christian Science Monitor -- Oil prices may have gone as low as OPEC is willing to tolerate.

After several months of price declines, the secretary-general of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) says the group may cut its production target for 2015 because of an abundance of supply.

The oil cartel accounts for around 40 percent of the world’s oil supply, and although its influence has diminished in recent years as oil output has risen -- from the United States in particular -- the organization can still significantly impact the price of crude if it wants to. (Related: Low Demand, Increased Supply Conspire To Push Crude Prices Lower)
Recommended: Climate change: Is your opinion informed by science? Take our quiz!

With weak demand and a flood of American oil hitting the markets, prices have droppe  (go to article)

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Privacy advocates take another hit in debate over access to license plate scanner data

AP / Fox News -- A California judge's ruling against a tech entrepreneur seeking access to records kept secret in government databases detailing the comings and goings of millions of cars in the San Diego area via license plate scans was the second legal setback within a month for privacy advocates.

An initial ruling issued Thursday upheld the right of authorities to block the public from viewing information collected on vehicles by networks of cameras on stoplights and police cars. A judge will hear arguments Friday in the case before the ruling becomes final.

The expanding databases are the subject of a broad debate pitting privacy rights against public safety concerns. A LA judge ruled last month that authorities there don't have to disclose records of the 3 million plates they scan each week.  (go to article)

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Cost of Keystone XL likely to jump 85%: TransCanada CEO

CBCnews -- TransCanada Corp. says costs for its long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline will likely balloon to as much as US$10 billion, up from US$5.4 billion.

CEO Russ Girling told the Wall Street Journal that the price tag could rise to a "number that gets you into the high single digits to a 10 number" as the project remains in limbo.

Company spokesman Shawn Howard has confirmed those remarks, adding the higher costs will be passed on to refiners and consumers in the end.

TransCanada is marking what it calls an "unfortunate milestone" for Keystone XL — six years precisely since it applied for a U.S. permit to build the pipeline.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported this week that U.S. hedge funds are eyeing a restructuring of TransCanada.  (go to article)

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In film on alternative car fuels, former Shell executive speaks out

Reuters -- Frustrated by what he describes as a lack of political courage, a former president of the U.S. unit of Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) takes centre stage in a new documentary film that makes the case for using alternative fuels in cars.

The movie, "PUMP," blames oil companies, and what is described as their obstructive tactics, as well as political inertia for preventing the widespread adoption of cheaper and cleaner fuels based on natural gas and alcohol in the United States, world's largest economy.

The former Shell executive, John Hofmeister, has devoted himself to criticizing what he describes as an unhealthy dependence on oil and the high price of gasoline faced by consumers at the pump.

"We have more oil and natural gas than we will ever need" in the United States, Hofmeister, who...  (go to article)

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Q&A: Tea Party star heads to Wisconsin to fight for solar

midwestenergy.com -- Debbie Dooley is not a tree-hugger – in fact she bills herself as a radical right-wing grandmother, and she is a founding member of the national Tea Party and a leader of the Atlanta Tea Party.

But Dooley is also an outspoken proponent of distributed solar generation and other forms of renewable distributed energy. Dooley will be the featured speaker next week at the Wisconsin Solar Energy Industries Association’s Solar Social Speakers series – as advocates in the state say solar is under attack by elected officials, regulators and major utilities.

While in Wisconsin, Dooley will also visit a farm using manure digesters – another form of distributed renewable energy that she thinks would be embraced by many farmers in her home state of Georgia.
 (go to article)

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LED lighting saving money and labor in hog country

midwestenergy.com -- Over the past few years, LED fixtures have taken over streetlights in cities and towns across the country. Next up: American agriculture, especially Midwestern hog-confinement operations.

In Washington County, Iowa, the bullseye of hog production in the state, LEDs “are coming on, and increasing in popularity exponentially,” said Jason Prochaska, owner of Sitler’s Supplies. Since his business began selling a combined LED fixture and bulb about 18 months ago, Prochaska said, “We’ve been doing a ton of projects. We’ve probably sold close to 10,000.”

And hog-confinement buildings, which are seemingly under perpetual construction in this part of the world, use a lot of electricity.  (go to article)

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Do Wind Turbines Need to be Aesthetically Pleasing?

energydigital.com -- Here is a tale of two turbines.

One is utilitarian—maximizing efficiency while scaling back style. The other is a work of art masquerading as an energy source. In the end, they ultimately serve the same purpose—or do they?

The first turbine is a project of French energy giant EDF. The squat new turbines have several blades, are smaller, and supposedly less obtrusive than traditional turbines. However, to quote The Telegraph, to move toward this style of turbine would mean “wind turbines [would] take a turn for the uglier.”

The turbines are set to go into a new farm at Fos-sur-Mer on the Mediterranean cost, close to Marseilles and will consist of 13 turbines. The 26 MW farm has the potential to power 60,000 homes and is set to begin operations in 2016.

..The U.S.’ first offshore wind f
 (go to article)

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Loring Development Authority feeling the power of alternative energy

BDN -- LIMESTONE, Maine — On an old concrete parking lot next to a deserted building on the former Loring Air Force Base, there is something very exciting and environmentally friendly going on.

Every day, from sunrise to sundown, 720 state-of-the art solar panels mounted on 30 dual-axis tracking devices produce up to 200 kilowatt-hours of power for the Loring Development Authority.

Combined with another 216 fixed-mount panels that went on line in the fall of 2012, the arrays generate enough electricity to power 55 Maine homes and offset 250 tons of carbon annually.

“We have all the ingredients we needed for a successful large-scale solar project,” LDA President Carl Flora said. “We have a well-developed power infrastructure in place and a lot of wide open spaces. Loring is a big place and is  (go to article)

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New Traffic Radar Gun Will Detect When Drivers Are Texting

Yahoo Tech -- We’re all familiar with the radar guns that police use to catch and ticket speeding drivers. But the next stage of that technology is now poised to nab drivers who are engaged in a behavior that’s possibly even more dangerous: texting behind the wheel.

A Virginia-based company called ComSonics is developing a new type of radar gun that can actually detect whether text message radio frequencies are being emitted from passing cars. According to The Virginian-Pilot, ComSonics says the device is “close to production.”

Virginia is one of 44 U.S. states that has a ban on texting while driving.

As the topic of distracted driving continues to gain nationwide attention, ComSonics isn’t the only company attempting to create at technology designed to temper it.

Third-party apps for Android and iO  (go to article)

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Car recalls: Which brands rate best?

MSN Autos -- LONG ARTICLE

If you’ve been following the news, you’ll have noticed an unusual spike in the number of car-related recalls. The ball got rolling in March with General Motors’ recall some 6.26 million vehicles for ignition-related issues and subsequent grilling by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the American government branch responsible for automobile safety for failing to recall affected vehicles earlier. Then, Toyota was slapped with a landmark $1.2B fine in the United States for misleading consumers about defects. It promptly rolled out five recalls on many of its popular models totalling some 6.4 million cars, trucks, and crossovers.

That’s a lot of recalling – enough to make us wonder which car companies have the least recalls?  (go to article)

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IndyCar 2015: CFH Chooses Chevy Power

Gas2 -- It’s official: the newly-formed Carpenter-Fisher-Hartman unified IndyCar team will tackle the 2015 season of IndyCar racing with Chevrolet’s 675 HP ethanol power unit and aero kits urging them onward. Which, really, shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone.  (go to article)

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Trading Parking Lots for Affordable Housing

New York Times -- We are talking about citywide reform. If you add up all the street-level parking spaces on housing authority lots around town, you get more than 20.3 million square feet, well over half the size of Central Park. Mayors, of course, have known for ages about this public property gold mine. When the Bloomberg administration belatedly proposed letting private developers build market-rate towers on some of this public land to raise money for the housing authority, residents went ballistic.  (go to article)

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Mercedes Sets Up Cloud Firewall to Halt Car-Data Hacking

Bloomberg -- Mercedes-Benz, the world’s third-biggest maker of luxury vehicles, is using a cloud-computing setup to protect data as cars’ mobile links and software expand and the industry prepares for driverless travel.

Elements of the technology will include enabling people in a vehicle to control how much of their data is available to the outside world while they’re on the road, Christine Hohmann-Dennhardt, head of legal affairs at Mercedes parent Daimler AG (DAI), said today at a conference. Drivers will also have the option of erasing information automatically once they’ve left the auto.  (go to article)

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Too much carbon, too little time

The Baltimore Sun -- If increasingly extreme weather events around the world weren't alarming enough, the latest monitoring by the World Meteorological Organization shows last year was the worst ever for rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Their report released Tuesday demonstrates why efforts to curb climate change deserve to be a top priority for U.S. foreign policy. The WMO tracks not just the greenhouse gases emitted by power plants, motor vehicles, factories and other major contributors but what the net effect is on the atmosphere since a certain amount of carbon dioxide is naturally absorbed by plants and oceans. But Mother Nature clearly can't keep up with what man produces as the overall carbon levels reached a record high in 2013.Specifically, the WMO reports that CO2 was measured at 39  (go to article)

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5 reasons why Oregon, Washington gas prices are about to plummet toward $3 again

OregonLive -- After months of having to budget around the most expensive gas in the lower 48 states, Oregon and Washington drivers are about to see pump prices take a nosedive, according to economic forecasters.

In fact, on Friday, Tom Kloza, an analyst with the price-tracking site , sent out this tweet:Gusbuddy predicts gas will slide to $3 a gallon in 30 states over the next couple of months.

However, Oregon and Washington, which currently have the nation's third and fourth most expensive regular unleaded gasoline at $3.84 and $3.85, respectively, the average price will likely bottom out at about $3.15 and $3.25 a gallon, Kloza said.

"Fall is appropriately named for fuel prices," Kloza said in an interview with The Oregonian.

Yes, gas prices typically drop in October as the summer driving seaso  (go to article)

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First E85 ethanol gas station opens in Baltimore

The Baltimore Sun -- The first gas station in Baltimore to offer a type of ethanol gas called E85 opened recently on Frederick Avenue, the result of a partnership designed to help drivers who have flex-fuel vehicles. The station, A1 Auto Repair, at 3041 Frederick Avenue is offering the blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline that can be used in some 11 million vehicles in the nation. The fuel is designed to be better for the environment by reducing greenhouse emissions. Three Brothers/A1 Auto Repair and Protec Fuel, based in Boca Raton, Fla., worked together to offer the fuel at the station.  (go to article)

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