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Can New Titanium-Dioxide Battery Last 20 Years, Recharge In 5 Minutes?

www.auto.yahoo.com -- Lithium-ion batteries help make modern electric cars possible, but they're also responsible for those vehicles' limitations.

That's why so much attention is given to improving lithium-ion chemistry, which can help electric cars overcome current limits of range, charging times, and battery lifespan.
Researchers at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore (via Engadget) say they've developed a lithium-ion battery that can be recharged to 70 percent capacity in two minutes, and last up to 20 years.

That would allow an electric car to fully recharge in around five minutes--about the same time it takes to refuel a gasoline car--and ease concerns over short battery lifespans and the need to replace battery packs.
 (go to article)

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The World's New Biggest Ship? Maybe. Niftiest Ship? For Sure

BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK -- What’s most impressive about the Pieter Schelte isn’t its size, though, it’s what the megaship can do.

The Pieter Schelte is a cross between a ship and a giant very dexterous robot. Its job is partly to lay undersea pipelines for oil and gas and partly to install and remove offshore drilling platforms. All of this means that platforms can be built onshore then delivered to their location; when they’re no longer needed they can be taken to a new location or brought back to shore for disassembly.

To that end it has eight arms on its bow that can clamp to the supporting struts of an oil platform, holding it perfectly still even in 11-foot waves, using its “active motion compensation system.” Its massive lift system can pop an oil platform off its supports as if picking a 48,000-ton flower.  (go to article)

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Islamic State was making $1 million a day from oil sales before airstrikes began

The Washington Post (VIDEO) -- The Islamic State sells oil from territory it controls in Syria and Iraq to Turkish middlemen, Iraqi Kurds and even the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad, according to the Obama administration’s point man on terrorist financing.

Before the United States began targeting refineries in militant-occupied areas of Syria last month, the Islamic State was making about $1 million a day from oil sales, Treasury Department Undersecretary David S. Cohen said Thursday.

Its total income of “millions of dollars per month” from oil kidnapping ransom and extortion in occupied areas and the speed with which it has amassed funds, make the Islamic State unlike any other terrorist entity the United States has confronted, Cohen said.

The group also differs from other organizations, including...  (go to article)

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South Central Ohio gas prices down four cents

Jackson County Daily -- South Central Ohio gas prices fell four cents to $3.093 a gallon, according to AAA East Central’s Fuel Gauge Report.

This week’s South Central Ohio average price: $ 3.093.

Average price during the week of Oct. 14, 2014: $ 3.136.

Average price during the week of Oct. 22, 2013: $ 3.409.

The average price for unleaded regular gasoline in Ohio is $3.044.

On the National Front

Today’s national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $3.09 per gallon. This is a dime less than one week ago, 25 cents less than one month ago and 26 cents less than one year ago. Drivers are saving an average of 61 cents per gallon compared to the 2014 high of $3.70 (set on April 28).  (go to article)

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A World Without OPEC?

The New York Times -- Forty-one years ago this month, the Arab oil embargo began. The countries that were part of it belonged, of course, to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries — OPEC — which had banded together 13 years earlier to strengthen their ability to negotiate with international oil companies. The embargo led to widespread shortages in the United States, higher prices at the gas pump and long lines at gas stations. By the time it ended, the price of oil had risen to $12 a barrel from $3.

Perhaps more important than the price increases themselves was the new world order the embargo signaled. The embargo “set in motion geopolitical circumstances that eventually allowed [OPEC] to wrest control over global oil production and pricing from the giant international oil companies — ushering in  (go to article)

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Maine’s high court upholds Passadumkeag wind project approval, confirms citizen board’s authority

Bangor Daily News -- PORTLAND, Maine — Maine’s Supreme Judicial Court has allowed a 14-turbine wind farm on Passadumkeag Mountain to move ahead in a decision clarifying that the citizen-led Board of Environmental Protection has a broad power to review the decisions of state regulators.

The Board of Environmental Protection approval last year overturned a denial by Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Patricia Aho, who decided last year that the project in Grand Falls Township would negatively affect the scenic character of the area, specifically around Saponac Pond.

The project generated local opposition from the group Passadumkeag Mountain Friends, which had appealed the Board of Environmental Protection’s approval to the state’s top court.

A key question during oral arguments heard in early  (go to article)

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Emera proposal would increase power reliability in Aroostook

Bangor Daily News -- FORT KENT, Maine — Emera Maine is looking to increase the availability of reliable power in northern Maine with the proposed construction of a new substation in Monticello and 4.2 miles of transmission lines connecting it to New Brunswick Power’s Woodstock substation.

The total project cost, including upgrades to equipment on both sides of the border, is estimated at between $33 million and $35 million, according to a request for construction approval filed earlier this month with the Maine Public Utilities Commission.

The Emera plan is one of four currently under PUC consideration after the state agency launched an investigation in December 2012 into the reliability of electric service in northern Maine, according to Harry Lamphrey, PUC spokesman.

All energy coming in or out of Aroosto  (go to article)

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Syrian Regime, Iraqi Kurds Among Those Buying ISIS Oil: Official

NBC News -- ISIS makes its fortune by selling oil from seized territory to its enemies, including the Syrian government it has vowed to topple and to Kurds in Iraq, a U.S. official said Thursday.

The official, Undersecretary David Cohen of the Treasury Department, is in charge of cracking down on ISIS finances. In remarks prepared for a speech to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, he said that ISIS “has amassed wealth at an unprecedented pace.”

Unlike al Qaeda, he said, ISIS gets only a small share of its money from deep-pocketed donors. It relies mostly on black-market oil sales, extortion and ransom payments, Cohen said. Estimates of how much ISIS makes selling oil have varied widely, but it is believed to be at least $1 million a day.

ISIS, which controls oil refineries in the vast  (go to article)

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BP, Chevron strike oil at major deepwater Gulf of Mexico prospect site

New Orleans Times-Picayune -- Chevron and BP have hit oil at a key exploration site in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. This is BP's second major discovery in the deepwater Gulf since the 2010 oil spill.

The discovery, known as Guadalupe, is in the Keathley Canyon region of the Gulf of Mexico about 300 miles southwest of New Orleans in nearly 4,000 feet of water.

The Guadalupe prospect targets oil in a Paleogene-era layer of sand more than 30,000 feet under the ocean floor. Chevron and BP did not say how much oil they estimate is in the reservoir.

Chevron and BP each own a 42.5 percent share in the well. Venari Resources, a Texas oil and gas exploration company focused on the deepwater Gulf, owns the remaining share.

Chevron Corp. Vice C  (go to article)

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NHTSA apologizes for botched air bag warnings

CNBC -- The nation's top automotive safety official has issued an apology regarding the issuance of incorrect information about the number of vehicles equipped with faulty Takata air bags, which left motorists scrambling for answers earlier this week.  (go to article)

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Saudi Arabia’s Crude Oil Supply Said to Fall in September

bloomberg.com -- The amount of oil Saudi Arabia supplied to markets fell last month, according to a person familiar with the country’s oil policy. Its production climbed.

The world’s biggest crude exporter supplied 9.36 million barrels a day last month, a reduction of 328,000 barrels daily from August, according to the person, who asked not to be identified, citing policy. The supply figure excludes what’s stored. Saudi Arabia produced about 100,000 barrels a day more than in August, the person said.

Crude collapsed into a bear market this month as Saudi Arabia and other producers deepened price discounts for their oil, amid speculation they’re competing for market share in Asia. Global supplies are rising as the U.S. pumps the most in almost three decades and Russia’s output nears a post-Soviet record.  (go to article)

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Honda Air-Bag Deaths Draw Congress Query as Recalls Widen

Bloomberg -- The congressional investigators who dug into fatal defects in General Motors Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. cars are now asking U.S. safety regulators to brief them about potentially deadly air bags.  (go to article)

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Wind energy is dominating Michigan's investment in renewable energy

MLIVE -- GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Wind energy is generating most of the dollars being invested in renewable energy in Michigan, according to a study released by the Pew Charitable Trust on Thursday, Oct. 23.

More than $2 billion was invested in renewable energy between 2009 and 2013, according to the study, which examined the impact of Michigan’s 2008 Clean, Renewable, and Efficient Energy Act, which required state utilities to produce 10 percent of their power via renewable energy.  (go to article)

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GM posts higher-than-expected profit on strong North American demand

Reuters -- General Motors Co (GM.N) on Thursday reported a higher-than-expected profit in the third quarter on strong demand for its redesigned full-size pickup trucks in North America.

"Clearly, high transaction prices - the new trucks and SUVs are more profitable than the ones they replace - that certainly helps," GM Chief Financial Officer Chuck Stevens said at the company's Detroit headquarters.

The positive results provided a respite from the drumbeat of negative news this year surrounding faulty ignition switches that led to massive recalls and have been blamed for at least 29 deaths.
Shares in the No. 1 U.S. automaker were off 13 cents at $31.18 in midday trade.
Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas lauded GM's "Audi-style" profit margins in North America that approach German luxury levels. Ho  (go to article)

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Tribal leaders testify against Canada pipeline

Associated Press -- SEATTLE (AP) - U.S. tribes told Canadian regulators on Wednesday they're opposed to a proposed pipeline expansion project..which
could increase by seven-fold the number of oil tankers that transit Washington state waters.

The risk of oil spills with devastating consequences for tribes' way of life, culture and the environment, as well as their U.S. treaty right to fish, they said.

"It's not if, but when, one of these tankers run aground somewhere," said Brian Cladoosby, chairman of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community near Anacorte  (go to article)

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Car Care Council: Multiply gas savings with vehicle maintenance

GasBuddy Blog -- As gas prices continue to drop, motorists can take advantage of their savings at the pump and invest it back into their vehicles. By spending a little now to increase fuel efficiency, drivers can multiply fuel savings and save more money at the pump, says the Car Care Council.The national average of the cost of a gallon of gas has been above $3 since 2010 but is expected to dip below that mark this year, according to a recent forecast by GasBuddy.com."Gas prices are expected to fall below $3 per gallon on average, and that means motorists can count on significant savings at the pump," said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. "A small investment in simple and inexpensive auto care will add up to better fuel economy and even more savings."...  (go to article)

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Canada’s biggest banks say the worst is to come for the Canadian dollar

Bloomberg News -- The oil boom that powered Canada’s recovery from its 2009 recession is turning into a bust for the nation’s dollar

Canada’s currency tumbled this month to a 5-year low of C$1.1385/US as the price of oil, the country’s biggest export, fell 30% from a Jun peak. Without a sustained increase in crude, the local $ will weaken at least another 4% to C$1.18

The risk is, a sustained push lower in oil prices cuts Canadian growth. The risk is, a sustained push lower in oil prices cuts Canadian growth

The slide in oil, caused by a combination of oversupply and falling global demand, is a setback for Canada. Since the recession, most new business investment and jobs have come from the oil-rich AB

The nation’s trade surplus turned into a deficit in Aug, and economic growth stalled the previous mont  (go to article)

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Canadians may be ‘buying too much car': Moody’s sounds alarm on bank auto loans

Financial Post -- Bank auto lending has grown at a compounded annual rate of 20% since 2007, “significantly outpacing” the growth of even red-hot mortgages, credit cards, and lines of credit., according to the ratings agency report released Thu

In 7 years, vehicle loans have jumped from $16.2B to $64B

The concerted push into auto lending – buoyed by low interest rates and longer amortization periods that reduce a buyer’s monthly payments — has exposed Canadian banks to the risks of soured loans and lower recovery rates in the event of a downturn

“If the economy takes a turn for the worst, we could see these loans becoming problematic for the banks

Auto loans have taken a backseat to mortgage concerns among policy makers over the past couple of years, but there are signs the focus on them could be increa  (go to article)

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A Mysterious Oil Tanker Might Hold the Key to Kurdish Independence

Businessweek.com -- At any given time, the Gulf of Mexico is crawling with oil tankers, many of them delivering some of the 7.5 million barrels of foreign crude the U.S. imports each day. On July 23 a Greek-owned oil tanker named the United Kalavryta came around the tip of Florida and into the Gulf of Mexico. For the previous month, as it crossed the Atlantic, its destination had been Brazil. Now it was headed for Galveston, Texas, a gateway to some of the biggest refineries in the U.S. What made the Kalavryta special was that its cargo was from Kurdistan, the semiautonomous region in northern Iraq that boasts an estimated 45 billion barrels of oil reserves. The Kurds contend it’s theirs to produce and sell as they choose. The government in Baghdad disagrees.

By the time the Kalavryta reached the edge of U.S  (go to article)

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China SPR fill could help rebalance market, support oil prices

Platts -- China's continued filling of its strategic crude reserves could give support to current depressed oil prices and help rebalance the global market, Bernstein Research suggested in a new report issued Wednesday.

While China's oil demand growth has been weak this year, its crude imports have surprised to the upside, with inflows rising 8.3% over the first nine months of the year to an average 6.14 million b/d. This has outpaced the 5.3% growth seen over the same period of 2013.

This year has been the strongest year of crude oil import growth in China since 2010, according to Bernstein.

"The key factor that explains such discrepancy could be China's filling of SPR [strategic petroleum reserves], which could further accelerate given the low oil prices and elevated geopolitical risk," Bernste  (go to article)

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Crude exports and re-exports continue to rise

EIA -- The United States exported 401,000 barrels per day of crude oil in July 2014 (the latest data available from the Census Bureau), the highest level of exports in 57 years and the second highest monthly export volume since 1920, when EIA’s published data starts. Recent crude oil exports are also noteworthy for both their origins and destinations. Typically, crude exports are sourced domestically and are sent only to Canada. However, since April, crude exports have included modest amounts of Canadian-produced barrels that were moved through the United States and re-exported to Switzerland, Spain, Italy, and Singapore.

To export crude oil from the United States, a company must obtain a license from the Bureau of Industry and Security of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Pursuant to Section  (go to article)

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Why you should never try to charge your electric car with a mobile charger: Chinese showroom set on

Daily Mail -- A Chinese car salesman started a fire in a busy exhibition hall after he used a phone charger to try and restart a car with a dead battery.

The incident happened at an exhibition in Wuhan city, in central China's Hubei province, while the vehicles were being put in position and as the public queued up outside.

Some of the cars needed to be started for the show, including a Cadillac Escalade, but it wouldn't turn over because its battery was flat.

A salesman then offered his phone charger, suggesting that might do the job.

But instead of firing up the ignition, the charger caused the truck to catch fire, sparking a major alert as dozens of fire engines rushed to the congress centre.

 (go to article)

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U.S. prosecutors probe Takata Corp over statements: WSJ

Yahoo News - Reuters -- U.S. federal prosecutors are trying to determine whether Japanese auto parts maker Takata Corp misled U.S. regulators about the number of defective air bags it sold to automakers, including Toyota Motor Corp and Honda Motor Co Ltd, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.
Word of the investigation follows a notice on Tuesday from the U.S. auto regulator, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which increased the number of cars potentially affected by defective air bags made by Takata to at least 7.8 million, up from the roughly 4.74 million it announced a day earlier.
According to Wednesday's article in WSJ, the investigation by the U.S. attorney's office for the Southern District of New York is in very early stages. The company has not been accused of any wrongdoing.  (go to article)

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Oil will tumble to $70 says new 'bond king'

CNN -- The meltdown in the oil market is not over yet.

Jeffrey Gundlach believes Saudi Arabia loves 'turning the screws' on rival Iran.

That's the message from Jeffrey Gundlach, the star bond investor who predicts oil will plunge another $10 (it's $80 a barrel now).

While another decline in oil prices would bring smiles to American consumers -- think around $2.70 a gallon at the pump as a national average -- it could spell trouble for the boom in shale projects boosting the U.S. economy.

"I think it's going to $70 and if it does, it's bye, bye fracking. Goodbye all of the great job creation from fracking because fracking becomes too expensive if you can buy oil at $70 a barrel," Gundlach said on Wednesday at ETF.com's Inside Fixed Income Conference.  (go to article)

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Rising supplies sink oil prices to 27-month lows

USA Today -- Crude oil prices renewed their multi-month slide Wednesday, falling to 27-month lows in a move that's likely to continue pushing gasoline prices toward below $3 a gallon.

Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for mid-December delivery dropped 2.4% to $80.49 a barrel, a level not seen since June 2012. The slide came after the U.S. Energy Information Administration said crude oil supplies were at their highest levels since July. The unexpected rise in inventories comes at a time when post-summer travel demand continues to wane.

Wholesale gasoline futures for mid-November delivery fell 3% to $2.15 a gallon, a key signal for another fall in retail gas prices. Nationally, the price of regular unleaded gasoline is now $3.08 a gallon, down from $3.34 a gallon last month. The bear market melt  (go to article)

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Investors Pulling Money From Shale Put Brakes on Wall Street-Funded Boom

Bloomberg -- Falling oil prices are testing investors' commitment to the Wall Street-funded shale boom.

Energy stocks led the plunge earlier this month in U.S. equities and the cost of borrowing rose. The Energy Select Sector Index is down 14 percent since the end of August, compared with 3.8 percent for the Standard & Poor's 500 Index. The yield for 190 bonds issued by U.S. shale companies increased by an average of 1.16 percentage points.

Today, shale companies are outspending their cash flow by 50 percent thanks to borrowed money, according to the IPAA. They're selling more than twice as much equity to the public as they did 10 years ago, according to Tudor Pickering Holt & Co., a Houston-based investment bank.
 (go to article)

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Can a $5.4-billion tunnel plan fix the notorious 710 gap?

LA Times -- Officials have long blamed the unfinished 710 Freeway for congestion on nearby freeways and local streets. Opposition from cities led by South Pasadena has always quashed finishing the 710, but now, authorities are considering extending it with 4.9-mile-long twin tunnels. Light rail, enhanced bus service and wider streets are also being explored. Opponents who have sued to block construction before call the tunnel idea “public works boondoggle.”  (go to article)

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Environmental group lists Ionia County oil well in its call for end to 'Halliburton Loophole'

MLive.com -- WASHINGTON, D.C. – A national environmental group calling for an end to the “Halliburton Loophole” on hydraulic fracturing of oil wells said an Ionia County well that was drilled and plugged in 2013 was "fracked" with some of the dangerous chemicals they are hoping to ban.

According to a report by the Environmental Integrity Project, an Orange Township well drilled by Rosetta Resources nearly two years ago was completed, or “fracked,” with fluids containing ethylbenzene, a probable carcinogen.

The Ionia County well was among 153 wells across the U.S. that were “fracked” with the toxic petroleum product, according to the group’s report titled, “Fracking’s Toxic Loophole.”

Besides the single well in Michigan, other wells using ethylbenzene were drilled in Oklahoma (77 wells), North Dakota  (go to article)

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Fords go mechanical on outside, organic on inside

Detroit News -- If it can be recycled or composted, chances are Debbie Mielewski wants to put it into your next car.

For years, Mielewski and her team of six have turned old jeans, soybeans and coconut fiber into seat cushions, coin bins and floor mats in Mustangs, Escapes and Flexes. She's Ford Motor Co.'s senior technical leader of sustainable materials, in charge of replacing petroleum-based substances used to make plastic and fabric with more environmentally friendly, cost-effective materials.

She often finds those materials in the trash cans and compost piles of local farmers.

"I'll take anybody's junk," she joked.

Her latest experiments include partnering with Ohio State University to take the white, sticky substance from dandelion roots to make rubber seals and gaskets. She's also testing the  (go to article)

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Will EV automakers follow Tesla's lead and offer a 'battery swap'?

GasBuddy Blog -- Tesla has announced that its first 'battery swapping' station will open in California before year's end.Somewhere between Los Angeles and San Francisco, Tesla is planning to bring its first battery swapping station online, reports SlashGear.com, which will offer drivers of the Model S a 90-second way to “refuel” their vehicle.  Intriguing to say the least... Will those automakers producing electric vehicles be pressured to follow Tesla's lead?  ...  (go to article)

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Mini Cooper gas mileage overstated, U.S. regulator says

CBC -- The U.S. government has told BMW to reduce the gas mileage estimates on the window stickers on four of its Mini Cooper models after an audit found the figures were overstated.

The discrepancy, which varies from one to four miles per gallon depending on model, was discovered in testing at the Environmental Protection Agency's lab in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the agency said in a statement Wednesday.

The reductions affect the 2014 Mini Cooper three-door and Mini Cooper three-door S models with manual and automatic transmissions. The biggest discrepancy was in highway mileage, but city and combined mileages also must be reduced.  (go to article)

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Saudi Arabia raises stakes in oil war with steady production, price cut

The Washington Times -- Consumers are enjoying a break from high gas prices, which have fallen below $3 a gallon in many areas, but the drop has precipitated a cold war among oil producers that has all the intrigue, suspense and looming destruction of a Tom Clancy novel.

Premium crude prices since June have plunged by 25 percent, landing Wednesday at levels near $80 a barrel in New York. That makes it painful or uneconomic for producers in Russia, Venezuela and Iran, for the pioneering shale oil drillers in America’s heartland and for Canada’s oil sands extractors.

The key player in the unfolding drama is Saudi Arabia. Despite uncomfortably low prices even for the wealthy kingdom, Saudis last week made it clear that they will not curb oil production in an effort to stabilize the market.

 (go to article)

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Wide Range of Gas Prices Seen Across Ohio Valley

WTRF.com -- WHEELING - While gas prices are slowly climbing once again, there are a wide range of prices across the Ohio Valley. 7News spoke to a local economics professor on why there's almost a $0.50 difference at gas stations within about 35 miles.

West Liberty University Economics Professor Serkan Catma said he finds the large gap in prices interesting, especially for such a short distance. For example, prices are in the higher range, around $3.39 a gallon in New Martinsville, while they are around $3.29 in the Wheeling area. At the Circle K in Bellaire, prices are as low as $2.85.

Catma said the difference could be due to low competition that may be happening in Wetzel County, how remote the gas station is, or just high state taxes.  (go to article)

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As Oil Prices Fall, Global Tensions Rise

FOX BUSINESS -- Bullish and bearish forces are slugging it out in the oil complex and something has to give. On one hand, Russia seemed to move the goalpost on an expected gas deal with Ukraine while the European Central bank is leaking stories that they may be in the market to buy cooperate bonds in an effort to thwart deflationary forces that have plagued the Eurozone.

The sharp drop in oil prices as well as an economic slowdown in Europe, in particular Germany, is creating tension between Prince Al Waleed bin Talal, and Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi that seemed to reach a fever pitch on the Opening Bell with Maria Bartiromo. For oil today it is about supply and demand but it is also about the rising specter of deflation. The Consumer Price Index and the Energy Information Administration will be...  (go to article)

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Market Wrap: Energy Sector Declines Sap Stocks More Broadly

Associated Press -- NEW YORK -- Stocks fell broadly on Wednesday, snapping a four-day winning streak for the Standard & Poor's 500 index, as investors shaken by recent swings in the market sold some of their holdings.

A slide in the price of oil dragged down energy stocks. Eight of the 10 industry groups in the S&P 500 fell, led by a 1.7 percent drop in energy. Small-company stocks also fell as traders unloaded riskier assets....
The price of oil fell sharply after the Energy Department reported an increase in oil inventories that was far larger than analysts expected. The benchmark U.S. crude contract fell $1.97 to $80.52 a barrel in New York.

Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, fell $1.51 to close at $84.71 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other  (go to article)

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EPA: Gas Mileage Inflated on 4 Mini Cooper Models

ABC News -- The U.S. government has told BMW to reduce the gas mileage estimates on the window stickers on four of its Mini Cooper models after an audit found the figures were overstated.

The discrepancy, which varies from one to four miles per gallon depending on model, was discovered in testing at the Environmental Protection Agency's lab in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the agency said in a statement Wednesday.

The reductions affect the 2014 Mini Cooper three-door and Mini Cooper three-door S models with manual and automatic transmissions. The biggest discrepancy was in highway mileage, but city and combined mileages also must be reduced.

It's the fourth time in the past two years that the EPA has found that an automaker overstated gas mileage test results. The automakers do their own estimates based o  (go to article)

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Occidental’s California Unit Sees Profit Dive on Costs

bloomberg.com -- Occidental Petroleum Corp. (OXY) said profit from the California oil producer it’s spinning off to shareholders next month fell in the third quarter as crude prices slid and production costs increased.

California Resources Corp. (CRC-W), as the unit will be known when it becomes a stand-alone company, had net income of $188 million in the July-to-September period, down from $235 million a year earlier, Houston-based Occidental said in a statement today.

Occidental Chief Executive Officer Stephen Chazen is spinning off the unit as part of a wider plan to improve returns to investors by dismantling much of the international oil and natural gas empire cobbled together by his predecessor and mentor, Ray Irani.

Oil wells in California accounted for about one-fifth of Occidental’s output last  (go to article)

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Famed Texas Oilman Nelson Bunker Hunt Dead at 88

Fox Business -- Nelson Bunker Hunt, the Texas oilman once considered the world's richest man before his fortunes were undone by Muammar Gaddafi and his own epic overreaching in the silver market, died on Tuesday at age 88.

The Dallas Morning News reported that Hunt died at an assisted-living center in Dallas suffering from dementia and cancer. Hunt's sister-in-law, Nancy Hunt, confirmed the death on Tuesday night.

Hunt, born in El Dorado, Arkansas, on Feb. 22, 1926, was one of seven children in the "first family" of H.L. Hunt, one of the pioneers of the first Texas oil boom, who also had relationships with two women who gave him eight other children.  (go to article)

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US appeals court rejects lawsuit over E15 labeling rules

Platts -- A federal appeals court on Tuesday tossed out a lawsuit filed by several industry trade groups seeking to repeal US Environmental Protection Agency rules requiring labels for pumps selling gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol.

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the plaintiffs, including the American Petroleum Institute and the Engine Products Group, did not have legal standing to challenge the rules.

"Petitioners fail to establish Article III standing because they cannot show that their members have suffered or are threatened with suffering an injury in fact that is traceable to the regulation and redressable by a favorable decision," the judges wrote in their opinion.

The plaintiffs had sought in their petition to overturn an EPA rule that requires labels  (go to article)

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US Gulf Coast CBOB spot price dips below $2/gal for first time in four years

Platts -- The assessed spot price of Gulf Coast CBOB dipped below $2/gal Wednesday for the first time in four years with the transition to winter-grade gasoline in the market and under pressure from worldwide crude values.

Platts assessed CBOB at 13.5 RVP at NYMEX November RBOB futures minus 17 cents/gal and at an outright of $1.9863/gal.

The blendstock last was below $2/gal on October 29, 2010.

"I have to think that $80 crude is a good chunk of the reason," a US products trader said about the drop. "Also refiners are slowly coming back from maintenance. What I don't get is that there are bearish markets, with flat prices, yet [the market keeps] the structure in backwardation."

Gulf Coast cash markets reflected backwardation of 17 to 20 points/day on Wednesday.

"I thought a week ago when the w  (go to article)

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Environmental concerns trip up Enbridge oil pipeline project in Ontario

MLIVE -- Canadian officials have halted an energy company that ships oil under the Straits of Mackinac in the final stages of an Ontario pipeline expansion project, citing concerns the plan doesn't include enough environmental protections.

The Canadian National Energy Board this month did not clear Enbridge Inc. of the final hurdle before the company could begin reversing the flow in Line 9B, a 397-mile pipeline segment that would carry 300,000 barrels a day eastward to refineries in Quebec from western Canada and North Dakota.  (go to article)

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Plunging crude prices could delay interest rate hikes: Bank of Canada

The Globe and Mail -- The sudden drop in the price of crude has become a new wild card for the BoC, knocking the wind out of inflation and delaying any move to hike interest rates

The central bank left its benchmark overnight lending rate unchanged at 1% Wed

Stalled growth virtually everywhere else in the world means less demand and lower prices for oil and the other major commodities that Canada exports

Lower crude prices will cut into Canadians’ incomes and “weigh” on household and business spending, according to the bank’s Monetary Policy Report, also released Wed

Uneven global growth is having the opposite effect on overall inflation. The recent slide in energy prices would sap inflation pressures in the months ahead, leaving the rate well below the bank’s 2% target through all of next year  (go to article)

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Crude oil settles at $80.52 a barrel, lowest since June 2012

CNBC --

Oil prices slipped on Wednesday after data showed a second consecutive weekly jump in U.S. crude oil stockpiles, with trading choppy as dealers tested the notion that last week's four-year low may have set a bottom.

Prices rose and fell several times, even after the U.S. Energy Information Administration said crude inventories rose by 7.11 million barrels, more than the 2.7 million-barrel increase analysts had expected.

"The large crude oil build is the dominant feature of the report, making it bearish overall," said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital LLC in New York.

Crude settled down $1.97 at $80.52 a barrel, lowest since June 2012.
Brent has tumbled from $115 in June on abundant supply, OPEC's reluctance to curb output and concerns that slowing economic growth in Europe and Ch  (go to article)

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Jury rules against Texas company in guardrail case

The Associated Press -- DALLAS — A jury has decided that a Texas company should pay $175 million in a case involving the safety of thousands of guardrails on highways around the country.

A whistleblower charged that the company changed the design of caps at each end of the guardrails a decade ago that made them more dangerous, then failed to properly test the units or tell government transportation officials about the change for years.

The verdict against Trinity Industries Inc. was handed down Monday in federal district court in Marshall, Texas. The company issued a statement suggesting that it would appeal
 (go to article)

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Natural gas prices may not climb with exports

Fort Worth Star-Telegram -- FORT WORTH — Promoting the economic benefits of expanded liquefied natural gas exports, state and energy officials said selling gas overseas does not mean prices here will automatically climb.

Texas Railroad Commission Chairman Christi Craddick said Tuesday at a panel discussion in Fort Worth that LNG exports could generate as much as $86 billion in net benefits to the U.S. economy and up to 2.4 million jobs by 2035, without making natural gas more expensive domestically.  (go to article)

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Manchin, Whitehouse tour W.Va. energy production, look for climate solutions

The Charleston Gazette -- On environmental issues, Sen. Joe Manchin represents the most conservative wing of Senate Democrats, while Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., is pretty close to the party’s left wing. But the two are working to find common ground on climate change, looking to develop new technologies that could limit the carbon dioxide emissions of burning fossil fuels and help slow the persistent warming of the planet.

While much of the national Republican Party (and West Virginia’s entire delegation in the U.S. House) continues to question the scientific reality of climate change, Manchin spent Wednesday giving Whitehouse a tour of energy production in West Virginia.  (go to article)

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Oil futures at two-year low after higher supply increase

Marketwatch -- SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — U.S. oil prices fell Wednesday to a two-year low on Wednesday, reversing course after a weekly supply report showed a higher-than-expected increase in supplies of the commodity.

Crude futures for December delivery CLZ4, -2.35% declined $1.97, or 2.4%, to settle at $80.52 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That was oil’s lowest settlement since June 28, 2012.

December Brent futures LCOZ4, -1.62% fell $1.51, or 1.8%, to $84.71 a barrel on London’s ICE exchange. That settlement is Brent’s third lowest of the year.

Both benchmarks are about 25% lower from peak prices hit in June.

Earlier Wednesday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said U.S. crude-oil supplies rose by 7.1 million barrels in the week ended Oct. 17. Analysts surv  (go to article)

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California Bay Area refiners face heightened regulations

Oil & Gas Journal -- California’s Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), the public agency responsible for regulating stationary sources of air pollution in the nine counties that surround San Francisco Bay, has launched an aggressive plan to cut emissions from the region’s five refineries.
By unanimous vote on Oct. 15, BAAQMD’s board passed a resolution that commits the agency to completing a series of actions over the next several months to further a newly announced goal of reducing local refinery emissions by 20%, or “as much as feasible,” by 2020, BAAQMD said.  (go to article)

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US stocks decline with oil; Canadian shooting cited

CNBC -- U.S. stocks turned lower on Wednesday, following the S&P 500's biggest jump in a year, as investors considered the fatal shooting of a soldier in Ottawa, reports of gunfire in the halls of Canada's Parliament and oil falling to a more-than two-year low.

"For the market to regain footing, we need the price of oil to stabilize," said Anastasia Amoroso, global market strategist at J.P. Morgan Funds.

"It hits close to home, and with everything going on in the world, perhaps it's a contributor," Stephen Carl, head equity trader at the Williams Capital Group, said of the situation in Canada's capital, where lawmakers reportedly had barricaded themselves in their offices. "You don't know what going on there is Ottawa; as we've seen over the last couple of weeks, people buy protection on news o  (go to article)

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Exploding airbags: NHTSA urges car owners in warm climates to take 'immediate action'

GasBuddy Blog -- The government is urging nearly five million drivers to take “immediate action” to protect themselves against “defective” airbags – airbags that a safety expert says can explode in the vehicle and harm passengers. “This message comes with urgency,” says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as it urges owners of “certain Toyota, Honda, Mazda, BMW, Nissan and General Motors vehicles to act immediately on recall notices to replace defective Takata airbags.” The message is especially urgent for drivers in warm climates like Florida, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, Saipan, American Samoa and the U.S. Virgin Islands, NHTSA said....  (go to article)

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WTI Falls as U.S. Inventories Increase More Than Expected

Bloomberg.com -- West Texas Intermediate crude fell after an Energy Information Administration report showed U.S. inventories increased more than forecast last week.

Stockpiles climbed 7.11 million barrels in the week ended Oct. 17, the EIA said in a weekly report. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had expected a gain of 3 million. Refiners operated at the lowest level since March, reducing gasoline inventories.

“It’s definitely a surprise and a bearish report,” said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC, a New York-based hedge fund that focuses on energy. “The further decline in the utilization rate obviously causes crude oil inventory to back up.”

WTI for December delivery slid $1.27, or 1.5 percent, to $81.22 a barrel at 1:31 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The November contract expired  (go to article)

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