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U.S. Oil Imports May Fall as Gulf Prices Drop Below Brent

Bloomberg -- U.S. crude imports may drop from last week’s two-month high as prices on the Gulf Coast, home to 51 percent of refining capacity, slipped below Brent.

Imports climbed 337,000 barrels a day in the week ended July 25, the EIA reported today. Light Louisiana Sweet crude on the Gulf traded below Brent, benchmark for half of global oil trade, for a fourth day, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

LLS surged $4.52 a barrel above Brent on July 23, the biggest premium in one year, as strong refinery demand depleted crude inventories in the Gulf region. For the past year, the grade averaged $4.26 cheaper than Brent. Refineries slowed their operation last week amid rising fuel inventories.

“This is a short-term reaction,” said James Williams, an economist at WTRG Economics,“But it’s not going  (go to article)

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Pony Express Oil Pipe Line-fill Starts; Shipments Seen in Oct.

Reuters -- Line fill on the Pony Express Pipeline carrying crude from Wyoming to Oklahoma began last week although commercial shipments are expected to be delayed until the fourth quarter, market sources said on Tuesday.

The 230,000-barrel-per-day pipeline, which was originally set to start up in August, has been pushed back by several months, two trading sources said. They indicated that the majority of shipments was now expected to start for October.

Line fill on the pipeline was first reported by Genscape, which said it would take 25-40 days to fill with a total of 2 million barrels at a rate of 50,000-80,000 bpd.

Pony Express...includes a 430-mile converted natural gas pipeline and a new 260-mile line that will carry light crude in North Dakota's Bakken
shale plays from Guernsey, WY, into Cus  (go to article)

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WTI Drops Below $100 as U.S. Fuel Supplies Rise; Brent Declines

Bloomberg -- West Texas Intermediate dropped for a fourth day and slipped below $100 as gasoline stockpiles rose and demand declined in the U.S., the world’s biggest oil user. Brent decreased in London.

Futures fell as much as 1.1 percent in New York. Gasoline supplies expanded by 365,000 barrels last week to 218.2 million, the highest level in four months, the Energy Information Administration said yesterday. Average consumption shrank 0.5 percent over the past four weeks to the lowest since May, even as the country’s peak driving season started with the Memorial Day holiday on May 26.

“This should be a period of peak demand,” said Jonathan Barratt, the chief investment officer at Ayers Alliance Securities in Sydney.  (go to article)

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EPA SIEZES LAND ROVER

IJR Review -- Heavily armed agents sieze Land Rover  (go to article)

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Winemakers want NY to deny gas storage permits

The Oklahoman-AP -- Finger Lakes winemakers and other business owners asked Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday to deny permits for natural gas and propane storage facilities in former salt mines along Seneca Lake, saying the projects would bring heavy industry, more truck traffic and an unacceptable risk of catastrophic accidents to a region that thrives on tourism.

Opponents of Houston-based Crestwood Midstream's project said at a news conference in Albany that it would endanger drinking water, the local economy and the region's wine and tourism industry.

"There is no justification for jeopardizing the Finger Lakes' place as an international destination for world-class agri-tourism," said Lou Damiani, owner of Damiani Wine Cellars. "There is no propane shortage and we have worked too hard to get where we...  (go to article)

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New bus barn will hold 400 compressed natural gas buses

CBC -- The federal government is going to put $48 million towards a new bus barn for Calgary, the first to be built since 1975.

It will allow the City of Calgary to store and maintain the 400 new compressed natural gas (CNG) buses it's going to be buying.

The city is currently testing four different types of buses that run on compressed natural gas. They're quieter, better for the environment than diesel and more reliable.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi says it will be a new kind of bus facility for the city.

“The new facility will be designed for indoor bus storage; will include the ability to fuel buses with CNG. In fact it will have a direct link into a CNG pipeline.”

A decision will soon be made on a bus supplier — and...  (go to article)

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Pure Lithium in Battery May Generate More Powerful Battery

Scientific American -- A team of Stanford University researchers, including former Energy Secretary Steven Chu, believes it has achieved the "holy grail" of lithium battery design: an anode of pure lithium that could boost the range of an electric car to 300 miles.

Lithium-ion batteries are one of the most common types of rechargeable batteries on the market today. But most of the batteries—found in technologies like smartphones and electric cars—use an anode made of graphite or silicon.

The lithium in a lithium-ion battery today is found in the electrolyte. The electrons in the electrolyte flow to the anode during recharging, and if the anode were also made of lithium, the battery would be able to generate much more power and weigh much less.

Until now, however, lithium anodes have been unusable. The materia  (go to article)

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City: Emails show ‘cozy’ ties of PG&E, regulator

Fuel Fix -- SAN FRANCISCO — Top California regulators communicated often and enthusiastically with executives at Pacific Gas & Electric Co., even offering unsolicited advice on handling the media while they presided over a case to decide how much the utility should pay for a deadly explosion in a San Francisco Bay Area suburb, according to a trove of emails released Monday.  (go to article)

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Senators Took Donations From Lobbyists Representing Pro-Keystone Alberta Government

Hoff Post -- WASHINGTON -- A high-powered Washington lobbying firm representing the government of Alberta, Canada, made $17,000 in donations to senators it was courting for support of the Keystone XL pipeline, according to an investigation by the Toronto Star.  (go to article)

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MM&A train from Lac-Mégantic rail disaster pulled from U.S. auction

Canadian Press -- The police stepped in after a report by The Canadian Press revealed that locomotive MMA 5017 was slated to be sold on Aug 5 at a ME rail yard

The locomotive played a key role in the events that led to the Jul 2013, oil-train derailment that destroyed part of the QC town and killed 47 people

Police wanted to prevent the engine from being sold until after the judicial process is complete

The starting bid had been set at $10K

The locomotive is being held at the Derby Rail Yard in Milo, ME, on TSB's behalf

Prosecutors have charged train engineer Harding, railway traffic controller Labrie and manager of train operations Demaître. Each one faces 47 counts of criminal negligence causing death

The ME locomotive auction is scheduled to move ahead and will feature two dozen locomotives fro  (go to article)

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Driverless Cars to Hit Public Roads in Britain by January 2015

Time -- Driverless cars will be hitting British streets for test runs by January 2015 — the British government plans to announce on Wednesday — although the Highway Code will need to be revised to allow for the changes, industry experts say.

The self-driving cars for civilians will be an extension of ones already used by the British army, which are provided by MIRA, a vehicle-engineering and design company.  (go to article)

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Hydropower plan vital in climate change fight, officials say

Boston Globe -- State environmental officials are vigorously lobbying lawmakers to pass a controversial energy bill they consider critical to cutting greenhouses gases that contribute to climate change, but they worry it won’t get a vote with the legislative session ending this week.

The so-called Clean Energy Resources bill, opposed by some environmental advocates and industry groups, remains stalled in committee. With three days left in the session, administration officials have even drafted a last-ditch amendment that they hope to tack on other legislation.

“Frankly, it’s up for grabs . . . and they’re almost out of time,” Governor Deval Patrick told reporters on Monday as he entered a private meeting with legislative leaders.

The bill would require utility companies in the state to sign long-term a  (go to article)

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The Sun Is Going to Sleep, Global Cooling Next

PP - -- If current solar projections are any indication, the globe may be entering a new period of global cooling. SI meteorologist Paul Dorian explains: “It appears that the solar maximum phase for solar cycle 24 may have been reached and it is not very impressive. This solar cycle continues to rank among the weakest on record which continues the recent trend for increasingly weaker cycles. There have been two notable historical periods with decades-long episodes of low solar activity. The first period is known as the ‘Maunder Minimum’ and it lasted from around 1645 to 1715. The second one is referred to as the ‘Dalton Minimum’ and it lasted from about 1790 to 1830. Both of these historical periods coincided with below-normal global temperatures in an era now referred to as the 'little' ice age  (go to article)

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No One’s Going to Stop Using Phones in the Car. Here’s How We Make That Safer

Wired -- My wife’s 10-year-old car has an expensive built-in navigation system, but anytime she drives out of Portland, she uses Waze on her iPhone. Besides being free, this “social driving” app (now owned by Google) is dramatically smarter and more useful than anything her Lexus offers, and proves its worth regularly, as it did when helping us route around a 30-minute traffic jam last month, on our way back from the Oregon coast. The dark screen of the car’s nav system makes a fine backrest for the phone, while Waze gleefully chimes in with accurate, crowdsourced traffic updates over the sound system via Bluetooth.

For all its utility, this is clearly not an ideal situation: It’s redundant, and the interface is far from optimal, or even entirely safe.  (go to article)

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Ax Nearly Impales Woman in Car on Highway

abc7.com -- Topsfield, Mass. (KFSN) -- It was a scary moment on a highway north of Boston when an ax smashed through the windshield of a car.

Massachusetts State Police say the ax bounced out of a landscaper's dump truck at about 11 a.m. Wednesday on southbound Interstate 95 in Topsfield. They released a photo showing the ax with a corner of its blade stuck in the passenger side of the car's dashboard. The handle was sticking through the windshield.

Police say the car's passenger was "shaken up" but not hurt.

The truck driver, from Peabody, Massachusetts, was cited for failing to secure the ax, which carries a $200 fine.

Police say it could have been worse if the car's driver hadn't been obeying the 65 mph speed limit.

"The man whose car was struck was obeying the speed limit.  (go to article)

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UN puts new momentum behind its radical green agenda for 'climate change'

Fox News -- EXCLUSIVE: The United Nations is putting new momentum behind the radical green effort to reduce global carbon emissions and drastically reshape the world’s economy — a campaign that is wobbling badly due to international defections and the huge cost of cutting back economic growth in the name of controlling “climate change.”

The world organization is doubling down — hoping to breathe new life into the current effort, but also to keep the juggernaut rolling toward a much more ambitious climate change treaty to be negotiated by September 2015 and take effect in 2020.

“We know that we are not on track, and time is not on our side,” declared U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon this month, as he unveiled a U.N.-backed report proposing drastic — and very hypothetical — ways to carry ou  (go to article)

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Manchin drops coal provision from Ex-Im Bank bill

The Hill -- Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) introduced his bill to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank's charter Wednesday evening without a controversial provision to roll back the bank's restrictions on financing overseas coal plants.

After initially pushing language of the bill with the provision, which blocks guidelines the bank implemented in December that prevent funding of coal plants abroad unless they adopt carbon capture technology, Manchin opted to propose the measure as a separate amendment.  (go to article)

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LETTER: Prevent seismicblasting, offshore drilling

Asbury Park Press -- I am writing in response to the article, “NJ back to court to stall seismic study,” July 15. Although I am disappointed with the ruling to not stop the blasting, it is extremely encouraging to see Governor Christie working with environmental groups like Clean Ocean Action to oppose seismic airgun use off New Jersey’s coast.  (go to article)

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Convenient hike?

Louisville Courier-Journal -- Gas went up 40 cents a gallon. I thought raising the prices only happened on Thursday. Then I realized the NSRA Street Rod Nationals Show started on Wednesday.

BOB DYE

Prospect, Ky. 40056 –  (go to article)

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Religious Conservatives Embrace Proposed E.P.A. Rules

NY Times -- The E.P.A. on Tuesday held the first of two days of public hearings on its proposed regulation to cut carbon pollution from power plants, and mixed in with the coal lobbyists and business executives were conservative religious leaders reasserting their support for President Obama’s environmental policies — at a time when Republican Party orthodoxy continues to question the science of climate change.

More than two dozen faith leaders, including evangelicals and conservative Christians, are expected to speak at the E.P.A. headquarters in Washington by the time the hearings conclude on Wednesday.  (go to article)

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In state elections, voters decline to punish pols for raising transportation taxes

T4America -- In at least two states where legislators raised gas taxes or other fees in the last two years, voters have responded by sending almost all of the supportive members of both parties back to their state houses.

States are finding it more and more difficult to find funding for transportation and other infrastructure. The 2012 MAP-21 law kept federal funding essentially flat, even as the lingering effects of the long recession have left states in desperate need of infrastructure repair and renovation. Meanwhile, gas taxes are not yielding what they once did, thanks to rising construction costs, growing fuel efficiency and a drop in miles driven per person. With no other solution in sight, some states have concluded they have little choice but to increase gas taxes to maintain and build a 21s  (go to article)

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14 car hacks every driver should know

Business Insider via Yahoo News -- For as long as there have been cars on the road, there have been innovative car owners who have thought of some truly ingenious solutions to their car woes.

We came up with 14 awesome car hacks that may make your next car ride a little more pleasant (thanks to Farmers Insurance for the idea).

1. De-ice your locks with hand sanitizer.

Car locks can ice over in the winter. So squirt a little waterless hand sanitizer on your key and insert it in the lock. The same alcohol content that kills germs on dirty hands also melts away the ice in the lock.
 (go to article)

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Many choosing Capital Bikeshare over Metro, bus transportation

DC News -- Maybe the buses and Metro trains in D.C. would be a little more crowded if not for those red and yellow bikes with the fat tires.

Capital Bikeshare riders are choosing bikes over Metro rail and buses in the city, according to a DCist survey.  (go to article)

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U.S. Commerce Department Seeks Details, Not Delay, on Oil Export Requests

Reuters -- The U.S. Commerce Department is holding requests for permission to export lightly processed crude oil for longer than the normal two-week period so it can gather more information, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Reuters reported on Monday that at least three companies' requests for "commodity classification" decisions - effectively private interpretations of trade rules - had been marked as "held without action." That designation allows the agency to study the request beyond two weeks.

Sources who declined to be identified said on Tuesday they were told by officials from the Bureau of Industry and Security that the measure was not meant as a policy effort to slow down exports of U.S. shale oil but was an administrative step to allow time to get more technical specifica  (go to article)

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Pirates, ample port space drive US gasoline exports to Togo

Platts -- Togo has emerged this year as the primary destination for gasoline from the Gulf Coast-driven US export market, partly as a way to thwart pirates, according to US Energy Information Administration data and market sources.

US sources delivered 3.245 million barrels of conventional gasoline to Togo from January through May, the most recent month for which data is available, according to EIA data released Wednesday. That total represents about 11 full cargoes of gasoline.

2014 also has seen the largest month for exports to Togo so far, 1.387 million barrels in April, and is on a pace to trump the 2013 total of 3.998 million barrels. US-to-Togo exports fell to 317,000 barrels in May. April marked the biggest month for Gulf Coast-to-Togo gasoline shipments yet by a whopping margin of 600,000  (go to article)

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HitchBOT update: Hitchhiking robot takes a wrong turn attempting to reach Quebec

National Post -- The nomadic robot attempting to hitchhike its way across mainland Canada, saw its journey take a wrong turn on Tue as it attempted to reach QC

The rubber dish glove-wearing device, made from a plastic bucket, solar panels and a tablet computer, is an experiment run by a team at McMaster U to see if people can be trusted to help the innocent robot reach its destination

It is seeking to travel 3,500mi by hitchhiking from Halifax to Victoria, without being destroyed or stolen

After it was picked up Mon afternoon from Campbellton, NB, HitchBOT’s attached GPS unit showed that it travelled E — backwards towards Bathurst, NB, along Hwy 11, reaching halfway between Dalhousie and Bathurst

It soon reversed its path, and checked into a campground near Dalhousie at some point. As of press time, hi  (go to article)

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Oil and gas stocks most likely to beat second-quarter earnings forecasts

The Globe and Mail -- While spring is typically seasonally slow for Canadian E&P's, mild weather saw fewer road bans and drilling activity well above average norms. Couple this with buoyant oil prices and we may see capital acceleration and potential dividend increases

A litany of 3rd-party outages hampered gas production for some operators. The relatively cool (in the E) summer has put near term pressure on gas prices though we remain bullish on Canadian E&P's given the still glaring shortfall in Canadian storage and likely AECO-to-NYMEX premium

WTI prices continued to outperform our expectations largely due to geopolitical events in Iraq, Libya and Ukraine though a stronger Canadian dollar provided a partial offset from the Edmonton Par perspective. We continue to anticipate a declining WTI price amidst  (go to article)

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Pennsylvania pushes toward 70 mph speed limit on major highways

GasBuddy Blog -- More than three dozen states have speed limits of 70 m.p.h. or higher, with some roads in Texas and Utah allowing motorists to travel as fast as 80 or 85 m.p.h.Now Pennsylvania is looking to join the 70 mph club. The speed limit on much of the entire Pennsylvania Turnpike could rise to 70 m.p.h. by next summer, Turnpike officials said this Interstate 380 in northeastern Pennsylvania, which will go to 70 m.p.h next month....  (go to article)

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Arizona utility wants to install free solar panels on 3,000 homes

AP -- A major Arizona utility wants to install rooftop solar panels on thousands of homes for free.

If approved by state regulators, the request filed Monday by Arizona Public Service Co. would allow the Phoenix-based company to partner with installers to put rooftop systems on 3,000 homes.

The proposal would help the company satisfy the Arizona Corporation Commission's mandates for renewable energy use, and the company said its proposal also would provide access to solar for consumers who can't afford to buy or lease a rooftop system.

Under the proposal, consumers would save money by receiving monthly credits, and Arizona Public Service would pay for installation and maintenance. The customers would get a $30 credit each month for the 20 years, or $7,200 over the course of the 20-year progra  (go to article)

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Marshals ordered not to seize any Kurdish crude

Fuel Fix -- U.S. marshals have been ordered not to seize any Kurdish crude offloaded from an oil tanker off Galveston’s coast after a federal judge said Tuesday the disputed cargo was too far outside the court’s jurisdiction.  (go to article)

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Texas lawyer sues GM over ignition switch defects on behalf of 658 plaintiffs

Associated Press -- DETROIT – A Texas lawyer has sued General Motors on behalf of 658 people injured or killed in crashes allegedly caused by faulty ignition switches  (go to article)

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Alternative fuel infrastructure and application

FE -- For fleet managers, putting an alternative fuel truck—specifically natural gas—to work depends on two major factors: Infrastructure and application.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy Alternative Fuels Data Center, there are currently 713 public and 666 private CNG fueling stations and 54 public and 41 private LNG fueling stations in the U.S. The Department of Energy, which recently began collecting information about commercial vehicle accessibility at CNG fueling stations, estimates that more than 400 of the 713 public CNG stations are large enough to accommodate Class 6, 7 and 8 trucks. Meanwhile, the total number of public and private LNG and CNG fueling stations has nearly doubled from about 750 in 2007 to a little over 1,400 seven years later.  (go to article)

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Bugatti Veyron Super Sport hits 246 mph on public road

Motor Authority --
Going fast on a private stretch of race track is quite enjoyable. Especially when there happens to be enough room to really let the car stretch its legs. That is why Volkswagen owns the Ehra-Lessien testing facility in Germany, which comes with a 5.4-mile long straight. It's also the perfect place to find the upper limits of a Bugatti Veyron. Sometimes though, an owner might get a chance to push his machine in a setting that's not quite as prepared for such an endeavor.  (go to article)

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Building boom in N. Dakota's oil patch

AOL-News -- WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) -- President Theodore Roosevelt once came to North Dakota's Badlands to find solitude and solace amid the area's "desolate, grim beauty." But Roosevelt's Dakota is barely visible today.

The area's oil boom has resulted in an infrastructure-building frenzy as the rush for jobs and oil demands more roads, homes, food trucks and stores.

The epicenter is a 45-mile stretch of U.S. Route 85 between the towns of Williston and Watford City. Once a sleepy two-lane road across the lonely prairie, it's being transformed into a four-lane highway with bypasses cutting around towns. In the spring and summer, oil patch roadwork slows traffic to a trickle akin to a major metropolis' rush hour.

Oil patch towns - outposts of oil production now struggling to become livable cities - ar  (go to article)

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Sanctions will damage Russia if not lifted quickly

The Richmond Times Dispatch -- MOSCOW (AP) -- U.S. and European sanctions against Russia's energy and finance sectors are strong enough to cause deep, long-lasting damage within months unless Moscow persuades the West to repeal them by withdrawing support for Ukrainian insurgents.

The U.S. and European Union released details Wednesday of new sanctions aimed at hurting Russia's economy without doing undue damage to their own trade interests, punishment for alleged Russian support for Ukrainian rebels and Russia's annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea.

The sanctions go further than earlier penalties - which had largely targeted individuals - by broadly limiting the trade of weapons and of technology that can be used in the oil and military industries. The EU also put its capital markets off-limits to Russian  (go to article)

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U.K. Launches Driverless Car Campaign

pcmag.com -- The U.K. began testing driverless cars on public roads late last year, but this marks the first time the British government is turning to its constituents for help. The project is being funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and the Department for Transport, in partnership with the Technology Strategy Board.
Project candidates must be business-led and need to demonstrate close collaboration with partners like tech developers, supply chain companies, and manufacturers.  (go to article)

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Princeton grad from Dartmouth nears 'holy grail' of green energy storage

The Chronicle Herald Halifax Nova Scotia -- When Danielle Fong was taking her PhD in plasma physics at Princeton University at the age of 17, she wasn’t driven to be the best — she was driven by an urgency to solve the world’s energy problem.

Though she missed her mother’s cooking back home in Dartmouth — “My mom makes the best omelettes” — Fong focused on her mission to make green energy a practical reality for everyone.

“Solving the energy problem is the problem of my generation,” she said Tuesday.

And the 26-year-old believes she has come up with a way to do that — she just has to prove it to the industrial sector.

Fong believes she has cracked the problem of how to store renewable energy, like wind power, so the resource can still be used when the wind isn’t blowing. Think about it: storage is critical when you’re relying o  (go to article)

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Hyundai recalls 883,000 Sonata sedans in U.S. for transmission issue

msn money -- DETROIT, July 30 (Reuters) - South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Co will recall about 883,000 Sonata mid-sized sedans in the United States and Puerto Rico because a potentially defective transmission-shift cable could increase the risk of a crash.

The recall affects certain Sonata cars from model years 2011 to 2014, in which the transmission-shift cable could detach from the shift-lever pin, causing the gear selection not to match the indicated gear, according to documents posted Wednesday by U.S. safety regulators.

That would cause the cars to move in an unintended or unexpected direction, the documents by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said.

The automaker identified 1,171 warranty claims and seven incidents related to this issue, the documents said.

Hyundai offic  (go to article)

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Maine Police Officer Pulls Over Driver for Speeding, Saves His Life

HuffingtonPost.com --

KENNEBUNK, Maine (AP) — Not many people can say they owe their lives to a near speeding ticket.

But 86-year-old Gavin Falconer can. He was pulled over Saturday by a police officer in Kennebunk, Maine. But shortly after handing over his license....  (go to article)

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Ford and GM sued for millions over CD-ripping tech in cars

Computerworld -- The copyright protection arm of the U.S. music industry is suing Ford and GM because the companies sold cars with CD players that can rip music to the vehicle's hard drive.

The Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies (AARC), a non-profit group representing more then 300,000 artists, filed the suit against the car companies and their infotainment system tech suppliers, Denso and Clarion.

The lawsuit calls out a feature in Ford vehicles called Jukebox, which records songs from CDs to the infotainment system's hard drive. The Jukebox function has been available on Ford vehicles since at least the 2011 model year.

For example, the owner's manual explains, "Your mobile media navigation system has a Jukebox which allows you to save desired tracks or CDs to the hard drive for later access.  (go to article)

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Six Unsung Fracking Fortunes

Forbes -- The shale-drilling revolution is quickly transforming the U.S. economy, and the biggest winners are not the only people drilling for oil and natural gas. (Also See: LyondellBasel, The Greatest Deal Of All Time)

The Chao Family

The family of the late Ting Tsung Chao runs and owns more than a third of Westlake Chemical , the Houston-based chemical producer whose profits are being supercharged now by cheap natural-gas-based feedstock. Siblings James, Albert and Dorothy are worth a combined $4.3 billion after Westlake’s stock rose sixfold in the last five years.

Warren Buffett and Carl Icahn

Two of the nation’s richest investors have benefited from insufficient pipeline capacity. Millions of barrels of oil are being moved around America by train, and Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway owns railr  (go to article)

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Mazda5 and Nissan Leaf lose their Consumer Reports recommendation

Consumer Reports -- Only one among a dozen small cars earned a Good score in the latest crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS): the Mini Cooper Countryman. Four others—Fiat 500L, Mazda5, Nissan Juke, and Nissan Leaf— earned the lowest score of Poor.

As a result, Consumer Reports will withdraw its recommendation of the Mazda5 and Nissan Leaf. (The 500L and Juke did not score high enough in our tests to be recommended.) Our long-standing criteria for recommending vehicles stipulates that a model score well in our testing, have average or better reliability, and perform adequately if included in crash tests performed by the government and/or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The Mazda5 is an affordable, versatile vehicle that we have enjoyed and endorsed, but this  (go to article)

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The Secret Life of Your Car's VIN

Insure.com -- Your car's vehicle identification number, commonly known as a VIN, may look like a meaningless string of random numbers and letters.

But together those 17 digits make up an impressive one-of-a-kind combination, following the car from the factory to the scrap heap.
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EIA: Crude inventories drop again, gasoline supply steady

GasBuddy Blog -- The Energy Information Administration released its weekly report on the status of petroleum inventories in the United States today. 
Here are some highlights:

CRUDE INVENTORIES:
Crude oil inventories decreased by 3.7 million barrels to a total of 367.4 million barrels. At 367.4 million barrels, inventories are 2.8 million barrels above last year (0.8%) and are in the upper half of the average range for this time of year.

GASOLINE INVENTORIES:
Gasoline inventories increased by 0.4 million barrels to 218.2 million barrels. At 218.2 million barrels, inventories are down 5.2 million barrels, or 2.3% lower than one year ago. Here's how individual regions and their gasoline inventory fared last week: East Coast (-0.2mb); Midwest (-0.7mb); Gulf Coast (+2.0mb); Rockies (-0.1mb); and West Coast (-0.5mb). It is important to note which regions saw increases/decreases as this information likely drives  (go to article)

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Chevy Volt is insurance group's Top Safety Pick

CNN Money -- What's the safest car on the road? It's the one that can avoid getting into a crash all together.

That's why General Motors' Chevy Volt won top marks for safety in small cars.

The Volt was named "Top Safety Pick Plus" Wednesday by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, because besides earning an "acceptable" rating in an actual crash test, the hybrid electric vehicle also has an optional forward collision warning system. It was the only car out of the 12 models tested to have the crash prevention technology.

IIHS submitted twelve small vehicles through a tough crash test called the "small overlap front test." In the test, 25 percent of the vehicle's front end on the driver's side strikes a rigid barrier at 40 miles per hour. It simulates a common head-on collision, ...  (go to article)

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Fla. baby survives after being left in hot minivan

Associated Press -- A 2-month old baby is recovering after being left for about an hour inside a hot minivan parked outside a doctor's office in Florida.

Orlando broadcast stations report the baby's mother told investigators she was inside Timber Creek Pediatrics with her 9-year-old around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday when she realized she'd left the little girl in the van.

Orange County Sheriff's deputies say the mother rushed the baby into the clinic, where doctors were able to stabilize her. She was then taken to Nemour's Children's Hospital.
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U.S. gas prices drop 9 cents. Miracle? Just law of supply and demand

Tech Times -- A nationwide survey called Lundberg Survey indicates that the average price for regular grade gasoline has dropped 9 cents per gallon in the U.S. Refineries are said to have processed more petroleum, which has resulted in the price decline.

Analysts suggest that the drop in fuel prices has come despite the rising tensions in the Middle East and surge in the global crude oil price. Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg, the president of Lundberg Survey, suggests that U.S. refineries are believed to have abundant supplies of crude oil and now they are reducing the wholesale price to achieve higher sales.

"It's really a mid-summer gift," says Lundberg. "Refiners have been on a kick to run more crude, run at high rates and to cut price. There is an abundance of gasoline, inventories are high, ...  (go to article)

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Oil Market Losing Faith in Libya’s Ability to Ramp Crude

Bloomberg News -- Escalating conflicts in Libya are thwarting a revival of oil output from Africa’s largest crude reserves after a yearlong blockade of eastern ports, just as Societe Generale SA and Barclays Plc predict rising demand.

While the government said in early July that traders could buy cargoes again from Es Sider and Ras Lanuf, the biggest blocked ports, neither has shipped anything. In Tripoli, the capital, firefighters are still battling a blaze at a fuel-storage depot caused by clashes between militias that have been struggling for political power in the three years since the ouster and killing of longtime leader Muammar Qaddafi.

Brent crude futures have been trading as if supplies would be ample. Near-term contracts are priced at a discount to deliveries later in the year, a pattern known a  (go to article)

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WTI Trades Near Two-Week Low Before Stockpile Data

Bloomberg News -- West Texas Intermediate crude rebounded from the lowest price in two weeks before government data that may signal the strength of fuel consumption in the U.S., the world’s biggest oil user. Brent was steady in London.

Futures gained 0.6 percent in New York. U.S. crude inventories probably shrank by 1.25 million barrels to 369.8 million, a Bloomberg News survey showed before Energy Information Administration data today. Supplies dropped by 4.4 million barrels nationwide and by 914,000 at the main storage hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group in Washington, was said to have reported yesterday.

“The API inventories report yesterday was fairly bullish for the market, after showing a large unexpected decline of 4.4 in crude oil stocks, offering upside m  (go to article)

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Toyota is top automaker in first half of 2014; GM slips to 3rd

Detroit News -- Toyota Motor Corp. remained the world’s largest automaker in the first half of 2014, selling 5.097 million vehicles, up 3.8 percent, the automaker said late Tuesday.

The Japanese automaker said in Japan its Toyota unit sold 4.53 million vehicles in the first half of the year, up 3.1 percent, while its Daihatsu unit was up 10.4 percent to 488,000 and its Hino Motors unit was up 2.6 percent to 80,000.

General Motors Co. fell to third place, selling 4.92 million vehicles, up 1.4 percent, while Volkswagen AG sold 4.97 million vehicles in the first half of the year, up 5.9 percent.

Including heavy truck sales, VW topped GM for second place in 2013 with 9.73 million cars and trucks in 2013, compared to GM’s 9.71 million.

The German automaker’s tally includes heavy-duty truck sales from its  (go to article)

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U.S. Oil Prices Fall After Kansas Refinery Fire

Wall Street Journal -- The benchmark U.S. and global oil contracts diverged Tuesday after a refinery fire in Kansas fueled concerns that U.S. crude-oil demand would fall.

Light, sweet crude for September delivery fell 70 cents, or 0.7%, to $100.97 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude on the ICE futures exchange rose 15 cents, or 0.1%, to $107.72 a barrel.  (go to article)

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