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GM offers job training for U.S. army veterans

Grace Macaluso -- General Motors, the U.S. Army and Raytheon Company announced Monday they are teaming up to provide eligible American soldiers with skills to become service technicians at GM dealerships after they return to civilian life.

The Shifting Gears Automotive Technician Training Program, a multi-year partnership between the two companies and the military, will begin next month at Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas.

Shifting Gears will be part of the Army’s Soldier for Life support program, which helps soldiers reintegrate into their communities after leaving the army. Upon successful course completion and program graduation, veterans receive career counseling, job-placement recommendations and employment assistance from Army Soldier for Life centers, and access to available GM technician employment  (go to article)

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Building the nation’s first per-mile road charging system

Oregon.Gov -- The implementation team for Oregon’s Road Usage Charge Program is now seeking private-sector companies to build and manage services for Oregon’s mileage charge collection system. “Our vision is to create a reliable, easy-to-use, low-cost, enforceable, and publicly acceptable ‘open’ system that replaces the fuel tax,” said Jim Whitty, Manager of ODOT’s Office of Innovative Partnerships and Alternative Funding. Prospective account managers will submit proposals in July. Selected account managers will be under contract in fall 2014 to launch the program July 1, 2015  (go to article)

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Zhou Yongkang: oil man whose well of power finally ran dry

AFP -- Embattled former top Communist Zhou Yongkang rose through China's state oil industry to become the country's internal security chief -- and amassed so much power, according to analysts, that he brought about his own downfall.

The investigation into him announced Tuesday comes on the back of President Xi Jinping's much-publicised anti-corruption drive, but experts say it is driven more by internal politics within the factionalised ruling party.
 (go to article)

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Natural gas injection season continues on pace for record refill

EIA -- Nearly midway through the summer storage injection season, working natural gas in storage is on pace to meet EIA's expectations for a record overall build. The current Short-Term Energy Outlook projects a record build of close to 2,600 billion cubic feet (Bcf) from the beginning of April through the end of October, which would put inventories at 3,431 Bcf at the end of October.
Following an extremely cold winter, storage inventories at the end of the heating season were only 857 Bcf, the lowest level since 2003. Inventories were around 1,000 Bcf less than the five-year (2009-13) average. While the refill season began slowly in April, injections quickly ramped up in May and have substantially exceeded five-year average levels each week since then. For eight straight weeks, the weekly net in  (go to article)

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Poll: Drivers love idea of driverless cars

USA Today -- More than three out four U.S. drivers of the 2,000 surveyed say they are "very likely" to buy or consider buying a car with self-driving capabilities, says the survey by Insurance.com. Even more, 86%, found the idea appealing when the notion of cheaper car insurance was dangled as a possibility, the result of self-driving cars being safer than those with human drivers.

"People are aware that they already drive cars controlled partly by computers," says Insurance.com Managing Editor Des Toups in a statement. "Now they see features like collision avoidance on new models and hear about Google cars hitting the roads in a couple of years. An autonomous car is not science fiction anymore."  (go to article)

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Nissan Chief Outlines Launch for Autonomous Drive Tech

GasBuddy Blog -- Carlos Ghosn, president and CEO of Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., last week announced the Japanese carmaker's launch timetable for the latest vehicle automation technologies aimed at accelerating consumer adoption of Autonomous Drive systems. 
The Nissan CEO said new technologies including automated lane controls and highway traffic management systems, to be introduced over the next four years, would demonstrate to consumers the viability and value of Autonomous Drive systems, which Nissan intends to make commercially viable by 2020. 
Autonomous Drive technologies, which are being introduced progressively by Nissan, are designed to enhance road safety and driving conditions by automating everyday tasks for motorists. Unlike pilot-projects for completely self-driving vehicles, currently undergoing preliminary tests elsewhere in the industry, drivers remain in control and `at the wheel' in Nissan models equipped with Autonomous Drive functions....  (go to article)

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2 railroads sue Md. to prevent disclosure of crude oil shipments

The Baltimore Sun -- Two major Eastern railroads have filed lawsuits against the Maryland Department of Environment to block it from disclosing their shipments of crude oil through the state, according to court records.

Norfolk Southern Railway and CSX Transportation claim the release of the information would pose a security threat and compromise commercially sensitive information, according to complaints filed in Baltimore Circuit Court.

The federal government began requiring railroads in May to report all shipments of more than one million gallons of Bakken crude oil to emergency officials in the states the shipments pass through, following several rail accidents involving the volatile fuel. Norfolk Southern and CSX say Tom Levering, director of emergency preparedness planning for the environment departmen  (go to article)

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Woman forgives husband who left son in hot car

Richmond Times Dispatch -- NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) -- A Connecticut woman whose 15-month-old son died this month after her husband left him in a car on a hot day says she forgives him.

Lindsey Rogers-Seitz (SITES), of Ridgefield, says that her husband, Kyle Seitz, was extremely distraught after bringing their son to a hospital. She says she told her husband she loved him and made sure he looked at her.

Rogers-Seitz, who also has two daughters, said in an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press that her family is grieving together.

Police say the father was supposed to bring Benjamin to daycare but went to work and left his son inside the car on July 7 for "an extended period of time."

A police investigation is continuing. The official cause of death has not been determined.  (go to article)

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Tesla, Panasonic reach 'gigafactory' deal

Marketwatch -- SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA) and Japan's Panasonic Corp. (jp:6752) have reached a deal for Panasonic to invest in Tesla's 'gigafactory,' according to reports Monday citing Japan's Nikkei. Panasonic would invest about $200 million to $300 million in the factory, and an official announcement is expected by the end of the month. Shares of the electric car maker rose 2.5% on the news.  (go to article)

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Impact of Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on Coral Communities Is Deeper and Broader than Predicted

Penn State Science -- A new discovery of two additional coral communities showing signs of damage from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill expands the impact footprint of the 2010 spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The discovery was made by a team led by Charles Fisher, professor of biology at Penn State University. A paper describing this work and additional impacts of human activity on corals in the Gulf of Mexico will be published during the last week of July 2014 in the online Early Edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"The footprint of the impact of the spill on coral communities is both deeper and wider than previous data indicated," said Fisher.  (go to article)

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3 oil-train protesters jailed for blocking tracks to Anacortes refinery

Seattle Times -- The Skagit County Sheriff’s Office says three oil-train protesters have been arrested for blocking the railroad tracks at the Tesoro refinery near Anacortes.

About two dozen people were taking part in the demonstration Monday morning when deputies arrived. Most agreed to leave, but three remained locked to each other on the tracks.

The sheriff’s office says they ultimately unlocked themselves and were arrested for criminal trespass.

Emily Johnston, a spokeswoman for the protesters, identified the three as 62-year-old Annette Klapstein, a retired lawyer from Bainbridge Island; 28-year-old Adam Gaya, of Seattle; and 60-year-old Jan Woodruff, of Anacortes.

Johnston says the derailment last Thursday in Seattle of a train carrying volatile Bakken oil from North Dakota to the refinery highli  (go to article)

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2 arraigned, denied bail in deadly Pa. carjacking

Associated Press -- Two men accused of carjacking a woman in north Philadelphia and plowing into a family selling fruit on a street corner, killing three children, have been ordered held without bail.

Court documents show that 23-year-old Cornelius Crawford and 19-year-old Johnathan Rosa were arraigned early Tuesday on charges including murder, kidnapping, conspiracy, robbery, aggravated assault and sexual assault.
 (go to article)

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Diesel cars face £10 charge for driving into central London

BBC News -- Plans to charge drivers of diesel cars about £10 ($16.97) to drive into central London are being considered.

The levy would be on top of the current £11.50 ($19.52)congestion charge for driving into the centre of the capital.

Only diesel vehicles meeting the Euro 6 emissions standard will be exempt, while petrol cars registered before 2006 will also have to pay.  (go to article)

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States with texting-while-driving laws have lower traffic fatalities

Birmingham Business Journal -- A new study by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health suggests texting-while-driving laws are curbing traffic fatalities.
Accidents caused by distracted drivers killed 3,331 people and injured 387,000 more across the country in 2011, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the main cause of those distractions is a phone.
The UAB study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, said 31 percent of drivers aged 18 to 64 had read or sent text or email messages while driving at least once in the 30 days prior to the study.
But the study found that states that have enacted laws completely banning texting-while-driving for all age groups are saving lives, according to head researcher Alva Ferdinand.
 (go to article)

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National lab: New oil additive saves 2% on gas

Detroit Free Press via USA Today -- Projects under way at Oak Ridge National Laboratory include:

•An oil additive that may reduce any vehicle's fuel consumption at least 2% and cut U.S. oil consumption by billions of gallons a year.

•A way to slash the cost of carbon fiber so everyday cars and trucks can use the strong, light material that's currently reserved for exotic sport cars.

•A charging system to eliminate the batteries that currently account for much of electric cars' cost and weight.

The labs and research centers here have worked with the auto industry since the energy crises of the 1970s and 1980s. Oak Ridge helped develop materials, fuels and systems used by millions of vehicles.

The Department of Energy has final approval over all projects with private companies, said Ron Graves, director of the lab's ...  (go to article)

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Oil Prices Dropping, Refiners Sink

Barrons -- Refiner stocks are falling this morning, in line with the margin squeeze that could result from the drop in crude oil prices.

Tensions in Libya continue to affect energy assets, the BBC reports. But attempts for detente between Israel and the Palestinians over the weekend, while failed, may be taking some of the risk out of energy markets. Prices for the international oil benchmark, Brent, are down more than 1% this morning to $107.13 per barrel, narrowing the spread with the U.S. benchmark, which is off 0.8% this morning to $101.28 per barrel.

Refiners set their prices based on the difference, the spread, between their domestic oil input costs and the international benchmark.  (go to article)

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SUVs & Crossovers: Now More Popular Than Sedans

GasBuddy Blog -- Image from...fullcarsreview.comSUVs and crossover vehicles have overtaken sedans as the most popular vehicle body style in the U.S., according to a study from IHS Automotive.
SUVs and crossovers now account for 36.5 percent of the new vehicle market versus 35.4 percent for sedans, according to IHS' analysis of new vehicle retail registrations. Consumers appreciate the SUVs' higher seating position, higher ground clearance, more interior space and towing capacity, the study said.  So are we sacrificing fuel efficiency for comfort? ...  (go to article)

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Safety of oil tankers in question as crude oil production soars, new report finds

The Times -- The risks posed by shipping crude oil by rail were highlighted last week when the Department of Transportation announced new proposals to increase the safety of tank cars. But according to a new report by the Congressional Research Service, shipping domestic crude oil by water poses a number of safety and financial challenges that are often overlooked in debates over oil pipelines and tank car derailments...

The report, written by transportation policy specialist John Frittelli, notes that new sources of crude oil from North Dakota, Texas and parts of western Canada have forced the U.S. transportation industry to find new ways of shipping it. Pipelines can no longer accommodate the rise in domestic oil production, the report says, placing greater demands on railroads, barges and tankers.  (go to article)

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UN takes aim at Islamist oil grab in Syria, Iraq

The Peninsula -- UNITED NATIONS, United States: The UN Security Council yesterday backed a Russian initiative to bar trade in oil with Islamists in Iraq and Syria.

The 15-nation Council warned in a joint statement that buying oil from groups such as the Islamic State and Jabhat Al-Nusra fighting in Iraq and Syria could lead to sanctions.

“Such engagement constitutes financial support for terrorists and may lead to further sanctions listings,” the council said.

Russia presented the statement in late June, seeking to clamp down on middle-men who are selling the oil from Islamist-controlled areas.

Islamic groups such as ISIL, which rebranded itself as the Islamic State and Al-Nusra have seized oilfields and pipelines to bankroll their offensives.

The council said control of oil facilities “could...  (go to article)

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Iraq lays claim to Kurdish crude cargo in Texas court

Reuters -- Iraq filed suit on Monday in a Texas court to gain control of a cargo of crude oil from Iraqi Kurdistan that Baghdad says was sold without its permission.

The United Kalavrvta tanker, carrying some 1 million barrels of crude worth about $100 million, arrived off the coast of Texas on Saturday but has yet to unload its disputed cargo.

The ship, which is too large to enter the port of Galveston near Houston, was given clearance by the U.S. Coast Guard on Sunday to transfer its cargo offshore to smaller boats that would deliver it to the U.S. mainland.

Iraq, in its filing in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, asked for an order allowing the cargo to be seized by the U.S. Marshals Service.

Sale of Kurdish crude oil to a U.S. refinery would infuriate Baghdad, which sees  (go to article)

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Gas Prices Don’t Reflect Record Levels Of U.S. Refinery Output

Oil Prices ,com -- The price of gasoline in the United States will remain fairly static for the immediate future, even though refineries are working at record levels because of the surge in oil production.

 (go to article)

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IEA: $80 Billion In Power Wasted By Connected 'Things'

Forbes -- Once upon a time, you used to hear a lot about the “vampire power” load that televisions, monitors, desktops and other electronics equipment consume while in standby mode.  (go to article)

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Dealers Blamed for Dismal EV Market

Ward's Auto -- Luke Tonachel thinks he knows why battery-electric vehicles aren’t more popular: because dealership personnel aren’t well trained or motivated to sell them.

The senior analyst from the New York-based Natural Resources Defense Council spoke at a fuel-economy conference hosted last week by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute and says consumers frequently are just plain turned off by the dealership experience.

Tonachel cites ongoing research at the University of California-Davis that finds 83% of consumers are dissatisfied with the process of buying an EV. That compares with a 25% dissatisfaction rate for shoppers of conventional vehicles, he says.

“There’s a lot of opportunity to get dealers focused on understanding the benefits (of EVs) ..."  (go to article)

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Cool-burning flames in space, could lead to better engines on Earth

Science Daily -- A team of international researchers has discovered a new type of cool burning flames that could lead to cleaner, more efficient engines for cars. The discovery was made during a series of experiments on the International Space Station by a team led by Forman Williams, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of California, San Diego. Researchers detailed their findings last month in the journal Microgravity Science and Technology.
"We observed something that we didn't think could exist," Williams said.
A better understanding of the cool flames' chemistry could help improve internal combustion engines in cars, for example by developing homogenous-charge compression ignition. This technology is not currently available in cars. But it could potentially lead to eng  (go to article)

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Kemp: Forecasts for Higher Oil Prices Misjudge the Shale Boom

Rig Zone -- The world of energy may have changed forever," according to Professor James Hamilton of the University of California. "Hundred dollar oil is here to stay." Hamilton, who is one of the most respected economists writing about oil, made his bold prediction in a paper on "The Changing Face of World Oil Markets", published on July 20. "Old hands in the oil patch may view recent developments as a continuation of the same old story, wondering if the high prices of the last decade will prove another transient cycle with which technological advances will eventually catch up," he wrote. "But there have been dramatic changes over the last decade that could mark a major turning point." The shale revolution will turn out to be only a pause in the upward trend in prices, Hamilton argues, as growing dema  (go to article)

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EPA Says Industry Ahead of CAFE Curve

Ward's Auto -- ANN ARBOR, MI – The auto industry is working faster than expected and introducing new technologies that had not been foreseen by government regulators when long-term corporate average fuel-economy standards were promulgated in 2012, an Environmental Protection Agency official says.

“Innovations are coming at us faster than originally anticipated,” says Michael Olechiw, director of the EPA’s Light-Duty Vehicle Center here, at a powertrain conference hosted this week by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

The event was dedicated to an update of the midterm assessment of CAFE, which will result in a technical report issued by Nov. 15, 2017, and a final determination by April 2018.  (go to article)

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The shared role of oilfield safety

Bakken Breakout -- The Bakken is big business, but it's also a hazardous one...

Safety measures become paramount to ensure the people who live and work in the impacted areas can do so without fear of losing land, limb or even lives...

Safety issues are not taken lightly by most in the industry, and others have learned to make it a top priority based on past mistakes. Enbridge, a pipeline company, shifted its design standards to a new level after its pipeline ruptured four years ago and spilled a million gallons of crude oil in Michigan, contaminating 35 miles of the Kalamazoo River...

"It shook our organization to the core," Enbridge Vice President Paul Fisher said. "We need to operate in a safe and reliable manner. We need to regain public trust."  (go to article)

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Alternative energy failures abroad should serve as a warning

Your Houston News --
At $3.65 a gallon, gas is already expensive enough. Now imagine paying an additional "carbon tax" every time you fill up.

That's what a new report from the United Nations has recommended. To combat global climate change, the United Nations has urged governments everywhere to institute a carbon tax or cap-and-trade system to disincentive fossil fuel use.

But Germany went down a similar road almost 15 years ago. And in April, they announced a plan to scrap their green efforts. U.S. lawmakers should take note and reject the UN's push for energy policies that have already proven economically disastrous abroad.

Back in 2000, the German government implemented an "energy transformation" plan in an effort to speed up the nation's conversion to green energy. The costs hav  (go to article)

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Furor engulfs Chicago's red-light camera system

Associated Press -- Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration is scrambling to contain a furor over the city's red-light camera system, which may have ticketed thousands of motorists under questionable circumstances.

Prompted by a Chicago Tribune investigation that revealed unexplained spikes in tickets issued, eight aldermen have asked the city's top watchdog to launch a probe into the ticket surge and private attorneys are gathering information for a possible class-action lawsuit.
 (go to article)

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Exclusive: GM moves next version of big pickups ahead by nine months - sources

Reuters -- General Motors Co has pushed forward the launch of its next-generation full-size pickups by about nine months to fall 2018, hoping to narrow rival Ford Motor Co's still-sizable lead in meeting future U.S. fuel-economy standards, supplier sources said on Monday.

Redesigned versions of GM's full-size sport-utility vehicles are expected to follow about a year later, the two sources said.
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Whitehouse: House highway bill is 'pathetic'

The Hill -- Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said the House-passed highway funding bill fails to provide the kind of certainty states need to invest in long-term infrastructure projects.

“The House highway bill is woefully inadequate — frankly it’s a pathetic measure,” Whitehouse said on the Senate floor Monday.

But Whitehouse said he would still vote for the House bill later this week because anything would be better than having a funding disruption and job losses.

“The only positive thing that can be said about this bill is that it’s better than no bill at all and the collapse of the highway fund,” Whitehouse said. “But that’s not much of an accommodation.”

Earlier this month, the House passed a $10 billion bill to extend the Highway Trust Fund through May.
 (go to article)

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The week ahead: Lawmakers eye highway fund exit ramp

The Hill -- The months-long fight over the nation’s transportation funding will likely to come to end this week – for now.

The Senate is expected to approve a nearly $11 billion bill to prolong federal road and transit spending for eight months this week. The chamber is expected to debate a series of amendments to the proposal, but lawmakers are unlikely to alter the proposal with days left before the traditional August recess.

The measure, which has already been approved by the House, is intended to prevent a bankruptcy in the Department of Transportation’s Highway Trust Fund that agency officials said was likely to occur in August without congressional action.
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What a new law about cellphone unlocking has to do with coffee, cars and consumer freedom

The Switch -- So a bill allowing cellphone unlocking is headed to the president's desk. President Obama has pledged to sign the legislation, giving relief to the more than 114,000 people who signed a White House petition calling for more progressive rules on cellphone use. Now what?

The answer is a much wider battle in Congress over not only cellphone unlocking but also the underlying aspects of copyright law that made it an issue in the first place. In the coming months, expect to hear a lot about something called "circumvention"; according to a House Judiciary Committee aide, lawmakers are going to take a specific look this fall at the Copyright Act's provisions that presume cellphone unlocking and similar activities to be illegal by default.

The results of that fight, advocates say, will likely sha  (go to article)

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Coolest Summer On Record In The US

Real Science -- The frequency of 90 degree days in the US has been plummeting for 80 years, and 2014 has had the lowest frequency of 90 degree days through July 23 on record. The only other year which came close was 1992, and that was due to dust in the atmosphere from Mt Pinatubo.
See article for graph.
 (go to article)

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Why gas prices remain static despite oil production surge

Christian Science Monitor -- The price of gasoline in the United States will remain fairly static for the immediate future, even though refineries are working at record levels because of the surge in oil production.

The US Energy Information Agency (EIA) said July 24 in its weekly petroleum report that refineries took in 16.8 million barrels of crude per day for the previous two weeks, more than the last record set in 2005.

The refining output broke the old record in the week of July 13 with input levels at 16.6 million barrels a day, particularly at refineries in the Midwest and the Gulf coast, the EIA said. This was the highest level it recorded since 1989.

The record high for midwestern refineries was 3.8 million barrels per day for the week ending July 11 the report said. Gulf Coast refineries took in 8.5 milli  (go to article)

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Oil Futures Sag on Tepid Demand

Wall St Journal -- Crude-oil futures slipped Monday on low global demand, though concerns about further Western sanctions on Russia, a major oil exporter, gave some support to prices.

Light, sweet crude for September delivery fell 42 cents, or 0.4%, to $101.67 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, an eight-session low. Brent crude on ICE Futures Europe slid 82 cents, or 0.8%, to $107.57 a barrel.

Though U.S. refiners are running at unusually high rates, demand for crude oil from Asian and European refiners is weak, said Morgan Stanley in a note.

As of Friday, about 30 million barrels of West African oil had yet to be sold for August delivery, even though traders are now buying and selling cargoes for September, said Michael Wittner, head of global oil research for Société Générale, in a  (go to article)

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Diesel pick up truck owners bypass emissions controls and "Roll Coal"

Boston Globe -- Craig Wedge floors his pickup and the souped-up diesel engine of his Ford F-350 Power Stroke rumbles like a muscle car, blasting black smoke through an unfiltered exhaust pipe.

He and other diesel enthusiasts call this burst of unburned fuel “rolling coal”; for many of them, it is an act of protest against environmental regulations. In defiance of the law, coal rollers disable or discard their trucks’ pollution controls and modify their engines to maximize power and blow smoke with the flip of a switch.

“It might have something to do with being a rebel . . . and trying to prove something to other people,” said Wedge, 37, a computer engineer from Brockton who runs a popular Facebook group called Diesels of New England, which has attracted more than 5,000 members in the past four years.  (go to article)

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Iraq fights to block Kurd oil from entering Texas

CNBC -- An oil tanker docked off the coast of Texas may struggle to unload 1 million barrels of controversial Kurdish crude oil destined for an unknown buyer in the United States, as Iraq's lawyers work feverishly to stop the sale process.  (go to article)

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Pennsylvania: hundreds of water supplies contaminated while audit finds state unprepared to protect

Switchboard -- The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that oil and gas operations have contaminated Pennsylvania water supplies 209 times since the end of 2007.  (go to article)

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Good news for electric cars: boost energy density by 7X

Green Car Reports -- All electric vehicles currently in production use some form of lithium-ion chemistry in their battery packs.

Finding ways of improving that chemistry is therefore very important — the aim being to make future electric car batteries cheaper, more stable and more energy-dense for longer range.

Researchers from the School of Engineering at the University of Tokyo have found a way to develop a lithium-based battery with seven times the energy density of current lithium-ion batteries, according to Nikkei Technology.
 (go to article)

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Porsche Buys South Africa's Kyalami Race Track

Motor Authority -- No motorsport fan likes to see a classic race track get bulldozed, but the land these tracks occupy is often valuable, so there's typically no shortage of developers waiting in the wings for an operator to falter.

READ: One-Off BMW i8 Concours d'Elegance Edition Headed To Pebble Beach Auction

Demolition appeared to be the fate of the Kyalami track in Johannesburg, South Africa. After the owners ran out of cash, it was auctioned off. However, the winning bidder isn't going to turn it into condos.

That's because the official importer of Porsche cars in South Africa is now the owner of Kyalami. A winning bid of 205 million Rand (about $19.5 million at current exchange rates)—submitted over the phone by Porsche South Africa CEO Toby Venter—secured the track for the German automaker. It beat  (go to article)

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GM revamps key vehicles for 2015

GasBuddy Blog -- When Chevrolet's Colorado and Canyon mid-sized pickups hit showrooms this fall, Chevy and GMC will have churned out new generations of every pickup and SUV in their lineups in about 15 months. Next, Chevrolet's focus turns to cars. Chevy is planning launches next year for three key car redesigns: the Cruze compact, General Motors' top-selling car globally; the Volt plug-in hybrid, a high-profile launch as GM tries to fend off growing competition in electrified powertrains; and the next-generation Camaro sports car, which should arrive about one year after the launch of the redesigned Ford Mustang....  (go to article)

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Bulls Fleeing Natural Gas as Goldman Sees Further Decline

Bloomberg -- Speculators are fleeing natural gas after prices dropped below $4 for the first time since December and power plant production fell to a 13-year seasonal low.

Hedge funds reduced net-long positions, or bets on rising prices, by 11 percent in the week ended July 22, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission said. Bullish wagers have declined 51 percent since February.

Futures slid as the output from electricity generators, the biggest consumers of the fuel, fell 11 percent in the week ended July 19 from a year earlier to the least for the period since 2001, according to the Edison Electric Institute. Mild weather and a record pace of inventory gains may push prices lower in the next three months, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said.  (go to article)

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Ford's aluminum-body 2015 F-150s to cost more than previous models

Detroit News -- Ford Motor Co. said Monday that base prices of its aluminum-body 2015 F-150 pickup will be as much as $3,615 more on some models than the 2014 F-150s now in showrooms.

The new pickup is making headlines because of its aluminum body, which is more costly to produce but reduces weight by as much as 732 pounds compared to the 2014 F-150.

The Dearborn automaker said the new truck will come in five models: XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum, simplified from the 10 2014 models offered.  (go to article)

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Radical Polaris Slingshot is part car, part motorcycle, all excitement

fox -- The three-wheeled Slingshot is a daring new machine, seemingly crafted from DNA drawn from Polaris’ extensive recreation-focused portfolio of ATVs, motorcycles, side-by-sides, and snowmobiles. The result is a street machine that blurs the lines between cars and motorcycles.  (go to article)

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Good News for Tesla Motors: This 84 MPG Car Just Copied Its Business Strategy

The Motley Fool -- Tesla Motors is attempting to fix the problem at its source: the car dealership. Forget haggling with a sales representative paid on commission; each Tesla will come at the same fixed price based on model and options. That has attracted the much-expected ire of the dealership camp; but the company will soon be getting help from another unlikely automobile start-up, Elio Motors. The company is working with well-established parts suppliers such as Henkel, Lear Corporation, and Flame-Spray Industries -- which is working with Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F ) to boost fuel efficiency -- to introduce an 84-mpg, $6,800 mass-market car sold with a "No Haggle" sales policy.  (go to article)

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Britain reopens way for fracking

Associated Press -- The British government has reopened the way for energy firms to explore for shale gas, three years after seismic tremors led to the suspension of fracking.

Business and Energy Minister Matthew Hancock says shale gas has the potential to improve energy security but stresses national parks will be protected.

He said Monday that, "Done right, speeding up shale will mean more jobs and opportunities for people and help ensure long-term economic and energy security for our country."
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As Recalls Mount, Was It Worth Bailing Out the 'Old GM'?

Real Clear Markets -- The U.S. automotive industry has surged past the previous vehicle safety recall record of 33.01 million it established in 2004, reaching 39.85 million vehicles recalled through July, and with five months yet to go in this year, the final number is tragically still "blue sky" in nature. This past week, General Motors (GM) announced six additional recalls covering 717,950 vehicles in the U.S. - although none of these recalls were for faulty ignition switches. This latest recall brings to 60 for the automotive manufacturer in 2014, totaling a record-setting 26.41 million vehicles globally, and with nearly 15 million of these recalls related to potentially lethal issues concerning ignition switches. While GM acknowledges that it is aware of three vehicle crashes and two injuries related to thi  (go to article)

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Tanker full of Kurdish oil arrives in Texas

Aljazeera America -- Baghdad bristles at Kurdish region's attempt to sell oil, seeing threat to Iraq's territorial integrity. A tanker carrying crude oil from Iraqi Kurdistan was anchored near the Port of Galveston, Texas, on Sunday, a delivery that has infuriated Baghdad, which has threatened to sue anyone who buys the black gold. The Iraqi government sees such deals as smuggling, raising questions about Washington's commitment to preventing oil sales from the autonomous region — an area where most people do not speak Arabic but Kurdish, a language that is closer to Persian, and people do not consider themselves to be Arabs.  (go to article)

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A good sign for the economy: Pickups are selling

washingtonpost.com -- He’d been eyeing the truck for weeks, even since he dropped by the dealership for a free car wash and drove right past that black beauty. That truck got in his mind. Jon Rullkoetter couldn’t shake it.

The truck was sharp. Tuxedo black. Bumpers painted to match. Darkened tail lamps. The Ford F-150 Fx4 Supercrew, stickered at $53,900, sat preening just outside the showroom doors. He couldn’t miss it. And that was by design.

“I call it getting the juices flowing,” Sunset Ford salesman Brett Bergman said with a smile.
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Ram start stop

RAm Zone -- Start-Stop technology automatically shuts off your RAM’s engine at traffic lights and other travel interruptions, then automatically restarts it again when you press on the throttle. No driver intervention is required. Since the engine no longer idles for prolonged periods, the result is a significant reduction in fuel consumption, especially in city driving.  (go to article)

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