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GM cuts starting prices on 4 vehicles by up to $2,600

Detroit News -- General Motors Co. is introducing four cheaper base models on big-selling vehicles to better compete and attract value-minded buyers.

For the 2015 model year, GM has new starting prices for the Chevrolet Cruze and Equinox, the Buick LaCrosse and GMC Terrain. Sticker prices for the new base models vary, but GM cut between $1,500 and $2,600 from previous starting prices. In some cases, they are now lower than competitors'.

"This approach is designed to increase awareness and consideration of our vehicles," Buick and GMC spokeswoman Kelly Cusinato said in an email.

Alex Bernstein, a car-pricing analyst with CarsDirect.com, a California-based online car-buying service, said he happened upon the starting price of the Cruze L compact car about a month ago. It was $1,575 cheaper (before destin  (go to article)

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Big Oil needs to go on a diet now that the $100 a barrel party is over

Fortune -- High oil prices gave the oil industry several bad habits, including runaway spending, poor planning, and engineering mistakes. Now that oil prices have declined, the industry needs to change its ways, quickly.

Energy companies will need to do more than just cut costs and renegotiate service contracts to remain afloat at $40 a barrel oil—they need to quit being so darn sloppy.

A decade of strong oil prices made Big Oil rich and fat, which has led to waste across the industry. This not only translated into runaway spending at the corporate level—including everything from executive jets to overly-generous pay packages—it also led to poor planning and greater engineering mistakes on the field. The energy companies could hide their bungling when oil was at $100 a barrel...  (go to article)

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Woman drives to NY State Police barracks; gets booked for DUI

GasBuddy Blog -- Image From ..nydailynews.comEarlier this week New York State Police arrested a 23-year old woman on for DUI.  Since she was driving with a blood alcohol content three times over the legal limit of blood alcohol content, this incident certainly could have ended with tragic consequences...

But instead, it turned out better than anyone could ever have expected.  No crashes, no fatalities. No injuries.  Allison Sobczak apparently wanted to register a complaint with someone... And, (whether she was aware of where she was going we'll leave up to you) she drove her vehicle to NY state trooper barracks in Batavia.

The police smelled the alcohol and booked her after she failed field sobriety tests and breathalyzer test that reportedly revealed she had a 0.24 per cent blood alcohol content — which is more than three times the legal limit.  ...  (go to article)

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Hackers Could Unlock BMWs Remotely

Tom's Guide -- While a BMW is arguably one of the safest cars you can buy in terms of performance, it's not especially secure when it comes to wireless features. German automotive researchers recently confirmed that malefactors can take advantage of BMW's ConnectedDrive feature to use a smartphone to break into almost any BMW, Mini or Rolls-Royce vehicle that comes equipped with ConnectedDrive.

ADAC, a prominent automobile club in Germany, has just released information about this vulnerability, for which a patch has already been pushed out to vehicles (which have their own cellular connections) and mobile phones. BMW tells ADAC that all affected models should be patched by Jan. 31.

It's not possible using this flaw to unlock a BMW that isn't yours, nor is it possible to start the car, but a savvy thief  (go to article)

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Chevron CEO: $50 oil will not meet world’s energy need

Fuel Fix -- The CEO of oil giant Chevron Corp. said Friday that $50 crude oil wouldn’t be enough to meet the global economy’s longer-term energy needs.

Crude oil has fallen by more half since highs reached this summer as global supply has outpaced demand. But on fourth-quarter earnings call with investors, Chevron CEO John Watson said that long-term prices would have to be high enough to support the kinds of billion-dollar projects his company – and other majors – pursue.

For the quarter, the news was bleak: Chevron reported falling profits, slashed its budget and hinted at layoffs on the way. Longer-term, Watson was more optimistic for big oil.

“It’s very clear that the incremental barrels are coming for more complex developments over time,” Watson said. ”With all the enthusiasm around shale, I...  (go to article)

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Union not happy with latest company offer in refinery negotiations

FuelFix -- Members of the United Steelworkers union are preparing for a strike and companies are training supervisors in case they’re needed to keep plants running as labor talks go to the wire.

At 12:01 a.m. Sunday, contracts covering 30,000 workers at refineries, pipelines, oil terminals and petrochemical plants nationwide —including about 5,000 in Houston — are set to expire.

A team of union negotiators is meeting with representatives of Shell Oil Co., which is negotiating on behalf of the industry. The contracts cover 64 percent of the nation’s refining capacity, according to the United Steelworkers.

If a tentative deal is reached at the national bargaining table, local unions will vote on it. If it gets a thumbs up, the agreement would set the national standard for wages and benefits.
 (go to article)

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Florida Power and Light looks to add solar power to the Suncoast

abc7 WWSB MySuncoast -- They may look like something straight out of science fiction, but these panels are actually gathering sunlight and turning it into energy to power our homes and offices. Now -- Florida Power and Light is hoping to use this energy to their advantage.
"Right now we use a lot of natural gas and we use nuclear and we're very excited to bring more solar into the mix," says Sarah Gatewood, a spokesperson for FPL.
FPL's plan is to take the area around their natural gas plant in Manatee County and turn it into a farm of solar panels. The same goes for Desoto and Charlotte counties.
"It will be hundreds of acres of solar panels and all of the electricity generated there goes straight to the grid for all of FPL's customers to enjoy."  (go to article)

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Xcel proposes low-cost, off-peak rates for plug-in cars

Star Tribune -- Plugging in an electric vehicle soon will get significantly cheaper for Minnesota customers of Xcel Energy Inc., the state’s largest power company.

The utility asked state regulators Friday to approve a rate for overnight home charging of electric cars at a 43 percent discount to residential service. The rate, if approved as proposed, likely will roll out in about six months, Xcel said.

“We are trying to provide more options for customers,” Chris Clark, president of Xcel’s Minnesota regional operations, said in an interview Friday. “This is really how we’re seeing the future. We think customers are going to want to tailor their energy services to what their particular uses are.”

Clark said electric vehicle owners would save about $9 per month under the proposed rate of 3.3 cents per kil  (go to article)

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New Jersey mayors join opposition to drilling in Atlantic

CBS News -- Mayors of several New Jersey shore towns are joining with members of Congress from the state to oppose allowing oil drilling in the Atlantic Ocean.

President Barack Obama's administration this week proposed allowing drilling rights to areas 50 miles off the coasts of Virginia, North and South Carolina and Georgia to be auctioned off no sooner than 2021, when Obama is long out of office.

While some officials in the region closest to the drilling support the concept, officials from New Jersey are vigorously opposing it, arguing that the U.S. should be pushing for more renewable energy and that it's not even known what kind of oil reserves are under the ocean in the region. But their main concern seems to be the possibility of a spill.

Don Guardian, the Republican Mayor of Atlantic City,  (go to article)

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Mexico cuts spending by $8.4 billion because of oil price drop, high-speed rail put on hold

Associated Press -- MEXICO CITY — Mexico said Friday it will cut government spending by $8.4 billion this year because of a drop in revenues due to declining oil prices.

Finance Minister Luis Videgaray said the government will put on hold plans for a high-speed rail project that has been marred by allegations of favoritism.

Mexico has seen prices for its oil fall in recent months from around $100 to $38.42 per barrel. The government relies on oil revenues for about a third of its budget.

The cuts, to be borne mainly by the state-owned oil and electricity companies, are equivalent to about 0.7 percent of Mexico's GDP.

A Mexican firm allied with Chinese companies won the high-speed rail contract in November. They were the only bidders for the proposed railway, which would connect Mexico City with the nearby  (go to article)

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Honda invests $340 million in Ohio for fuel-efficient cars

Bloomberg -- DETROIT (Bloomberg) -- Honda Motor Co. will invest $340 million to build fuel-efficient, gasoline engines in Ohio, as it plans a slate of new electric cars in a push for more vehicles with lower emissions.

Honda has added an assembly line at its Anna, Ohio, plant to build the new turbo-charged, four-cylinder gasoline engines, set to debut later this year.  (go to article)

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5 Keystone XL pipeline hurdles still ahead

CBC News -- Obama's veto power may be the last major hurdle for pipeline
Despite the vote, the TC pipeline project still faces big hurdles in the U.S
2.Falling oil prices
DoS report also says that at prices below $75 "higher transportation costs could have a substantial impact on oilsands production levels
3.The Keystone XL price tag
The projected cost of Keystone XL has gone from an initial $5.4B to $8B.The company has already spent $2.4B
4.The NE court case
Some of the landowners who brought the original suit have now launched 2 new cases because the court didn't answer a constitutional question at the centre of the case
5.Public opposition
Keystone XL has become a focus of the U.S. environmental movement and some Native American groups, with the support of a number of celebrities, including Neil Yo  (go to article)

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Did Alberta just break a Fracking Earthquake World Record

RCI a.k.a. CBC -- Fox Creek, Alberta, Canada has experienced a magnitude 4.4 earthquake, which residents ascribe to ongoing and extensive fracking operations in the area. Other reports and related stories state that Alberta seismologists have previously linked the increasing frequency of earthquakes to fracking, although they say that it is too early to say definitively that the Fox Creek quake is fracking-induced.  (go to article)

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PA Gov. Wolf Signs Moratorium On Fracking On State Lands

CBS local TV station KDKA Pittsburgh -- Using one of Pennsylvania's 120 state parks as back-drop, Gov. Tom Wolf signed his third executive order on Thursday. Watch/listen to video  (go to article)

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Nuclear Waste Dump Troubling Residents Of Armstrong Co. Town

CBS local TV station KDKA Pittsburgh -- What may be the most dangerous nuclear waste dump in the nation sits just 40 miles north of Pittsburgh, in Armstrong County.
As the government plans to excavate that waste, people who live nearby are nervous.  (go to article)

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‘Bomb Train’ Suits Seen Slowing U.S. Oil Independence

Bloomberg -- Rail yard projects vital to the flow of crude from the shale oil boom are being waylaid by legal challenges that may slow the march to U.S. energy independence.

Crude-oil handling facilities along rail lines in cities from Albany, New York, to Richmond, California, are mired in lawsuits by community and environmental groups claiming they were kept in the dark about the projects. They accuse local regulators of giving cursory review and rubber-stamping operating permits for proposals that pose threats to their safety and the environment.

In Albany, pollution regulators who examine such projects for dirty-air potential are grappling with 19,000 comments from residents more worried about exploding trains.

Citizen complaints about the move to rail as a new means of transporting oil initiall  (go to article)

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Enterprise U.S. Oil Annual Tender Fails on Low Bids -Traders

Reuters -- Enterprise Products Partners failed to award a one-year tender to sell processed condensate after a round of low bids, U.S. and Asian trade sources said on Friday.

High freight costs and a narrowing in prices for Brent and West Texas Intermediate crude have made it difficult for traders to export U.S. oil to Asia and Europe.

Last week, Enterprise offered to sell a monthly 600,000-barrel cargo of processed condensate over a year-long period, with deliveries starting in March, a tender document showed.

But, without securing the annual commitment, Enterprise has turned to offering spot cargoes for the ultra-light oil, a U.S.-based trader said.

Traders say the main issue is that the tender for the typically discounted product was not attractive, given the arbitrage between Brent and U.S. c  (go to article)

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Oil crash has graduates rethinking careers

Thé Globe and Mail -- 6 MOHs ago, a degree in petroleum engineering was a ticket to a job with a six-figure salary. Now it’s looking like a path to the unemployment office.
The oil crash that’s forcing companies to slash billions from their budgets and cut tens of thousands of workers is derailing an industry campaign to attract top college graduates. It comes at a time when the future of drilling is increasingly tied to new technology that lets companies pull more oil and natural gas from the ground, faster and cheaper
Young people who swarmed to newly designed energy programs at schools from TX to CA are now questioning whether they can count on crude for their future, according to interviews with students, counsellors and company officials
“It’s time for me to do a reassessment of how I plan to begin my care  (go to article)

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Oil rig count falls by 94 in biggest drop since 1987

FuelFix -- HOUSTON – Petroleum producers took 94 oil-drilling rigs off the market in the United States this week as sub-$50 oil continued to wreak havoc on the oil industry, Baker Hughes reported Friday. It was the biggest one-week decline for oil rigs since 1987, the earliest year of Baker Hughes data available. That year, the oil industry had faced another oil bust that left hundreds of rigs idle or repossessed by banks, which sold them for scrap.  (go to article)

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Oil surges 8 percent as U.S. rig count plunges, shorts cover

Reuters -- Oil prices rocketed more than 8 percent higher on Friday, their biggest one-day gain in two and a half years, after data showed U.S. drillers were slamming the brakes on the shale drilling boom.

In a rally that may spur speculation that a seven-month price collapse has ended, global benchmark Brent crude shot up to more than $53 per barrel, its highest in more than three weeks, after Baker Hughes data showed the number of rigs drilling for oil in the United States fell by 94 - or 7 percent - this week.

Two weeks of relatively stable oil prices have helped shift sentiment after months of decline, setting the stage for the violent rebound on Friday afternoon. Short traders raced to cover their positions on fears that the rout was nearing its end.  (go to article)

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Safest and the most lethal late-model cars

Consumer Reports -- What would you suppose was the safer car, a Mini Cooper or a Chevrolet Suburban? Turns out it’s the Cooper. That’s one of the more surprising findings in a new Driver Death Rate report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.  (go to article)

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Gas prices back up — what’s the deal?

KOIN News -- The reason prices are rising

There are a few reasons we may be seeing this rise, according to DeHaan. He said reports from the Energy Information Administration make it clear: oil inventories are going up, but gas coming out of refineries is going down. “This is economics 101. Classic supply and demand,” said DeHaan. Crude inventories increased this week by nine million barrels. At the same time, gasoline inventories decreased by two-and-a-half million barrels.

“If you’d like to point fingers, it would be at the refineries that are only using 88% of capacity this week. One month ago, it was 92-95%,” DeHaan said. “Some of the slowdown in production may also be related to extremely cold weather. Cold temperatures can disrupt equipment exposed to the elements.”

DeHaan also said it’s about  (go to article)

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Markets brace for Big Oil profit plunge

AP -- NEW YORK — It's just a forecast, and for only one of 10 industry groups in the stock market. Yet it has almost singlehandedly turned what had been a promising earnings season into a grim one.  (go to article)

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Chevron slashes spending as oil prices crash

CNN Money -- Another day, another problem for Big Oil. Chevron (CVX) on Friday became the latest energy company to scale back its ambitions this year due to falling oil prices.

The second-largest U.S. oil company plans to spend $35 billion this year on projects to discover and pump crude. That's down 13% from 2014.

 (go to article)

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Ask an analyst! Today: branded vs. unbranded gasoline

GasBuddy Blog -- Figuring out where to fill up can be a daunting task given all the different brands of gas stations. In this week's episode of GB-TV "Ask an Analyst" we explain what the differences are between branded gas vs. unbranded. Is it worth the extra money?

Check out the video below for the answer! We'll be answering more of the questions that you've asked us about in the weeks ahead, right here on the blog. 

You'll also notice our educational clips when you load up GasBuddy.com on a desktop computer, so feel free to check it out again!
Want to see more? Check out our GasBuddy YouTube channel! ...  (go to article)

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Libyan crude oil came to US Gulf Coast in November, first time since mid-2013

Platts -- Crude oil from Libya was imported to refiners in the US Gulf Coast in November for the first time since August 2013, according to data released Wednesday by the US EIA.

In November, two Aframaxes arrived in the Gulf Coast from Libya, chartered by BP and Citgo, carrying 32.5 and 36.6 API crude, respectively, and both with a sulfur content of 0.14%, the data showed.

The BP-chartered cargo delivered to Oil Tanking PL in Houston carrying 449,000 barrels, while the cargo chartered by Citgo headed to Lake Charles, Louisiana, where Citgo owns a 425,000 b/d refinery, contained 552,000 barrels.

The rare Libyan exports to the USGC came amid production and logistical issues for the OPEC member nation, as it saw political turmoil and fighting in October.

"[The imports] probably are not going to be  (go to article)

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More Oil Trains Could Roll Through Puget Sound To Shell Refinery

NPR -- Shell Oil wants to build more tracks at its refinery in Anacortes, Washington, to receive oil by rail. At a packed hearing in Skagit County on Thursday, more than 100 people turned up to comment on the proposal.

Shell's refinery in Anacortes is the last of Washington's five oil refineries to apply for permits to receive oil by rail from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota.

Skagit County had previously approved the necessary shoreline permits granting the go-ahead to Shell to construct expand rail at its Anacortes refinery to receive mile-long oil trains, six of them per week. Environmental groups appealed the decision, calling for a more comprehensive review of the potential health and environmental impacts.

The room was packed Thursday, when the Skagit County Hearing Examiner heard p  (go to article)

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Chevron earnings, revenue beat expectations

CNBC -- Chevron reported fourth-quarter earnings and revenue that beat analysts' expectations on Friday.
Shares of the oil giant moved higher in premarket trading following the announcement. (Get the latest quote here.)
 (go to article)

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OPEC oil output rises in January as key members stand firm: survey

Yahoo -- OPEC's oil supply has risen this month due to more Angolan exports and steady to higher output in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf producers, a Reuters survey showed, a sign key members are standing firm in refusing to prop up prices.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries at a November meeting decided to focus on market share rather than cutting output, despite concerns from members such as Iran and Venezuela about falling oil revenue.

Supply from OPEC has averaged 30.37 million barrels per day (bpd) in January, up from a revised 30.24 million bpd in December, according to the survey based on shipping data and information from sources at oil companies, OPEC and consultants.
At the Nov. 27 meeting, OPEC retained its output target of 30 million bpd, sending oil prices to a four-  (go to article)

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Oil set for record bear run as OPEC output grows

Yahoo -- Oil fell below $49 a barrel on Friday and was on course for its seventh straight month of declines, the longest such bear run on record as a supply glut showed no signs of easing with OPEC increasing production in January.

Benchmark Brent crude prices have kept within a band of $45-$50 a barrel since hitting a six-year low on Jan. 13, but analysts have not ruled out further declines as global inventories continue to rise.
Supplies from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) rose in January to 30.37 million barrels per day (bpd), a Reuters survey showed, a sign key members are standing firm in refusing to prop up prices by cutting output.

Data this week also showed U.S. crude oil inventories had reached their highest levels since the 1930s.  (go to article)

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Oil on track for seventh monthly fall as supply glut weighs

Reuters -- Oil prices were steady near $49 a barrel early on Friday with some support from new Chinese reserve regulations yet remained on track for a seventh monthly fall weighed by a global supply glut.

Data this week showed U.S. crude oil inventories had reached their highest levels since the 1930s.
 (go to article)

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NTTA Impounds Vehicle of Toll Scofflaw

Dallas Morning News -- Dallas-area toll dodgers who think the North Texas Tollway Authority has been bluffing about towing your car, take note: The agency impounded a scofflaw’s vehicle for the first time this week.
NTTA spokesman Michael Rey said a state trooper Tuesday pulled over Rochelle Sanders on the Dallas North Tollway in Plano after she’d been told multiple times that she was banned from agency roads for not paying her tolls.
The Garland resident owed the agency $2,700 in unpaid tolls and fees for 1,300 unpaid violations dating back to May. That pales next to the tens of thousands of dollars that some drivers owe for violations that stretch back for years.
Sanders could not be reached for comment. Rey said she opened a TollTag account Thursday morning and began paying what she owes.  (go to article)

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Some Motorists Wait Months For DMV Appointments After Immigrants Law Goes Into Effect

CBS Los Angeles -- The Department of Motor Vehicles is so overwhelmed with requests for new driver’s licenses and vehicle registrations that it can take up to three months to get an appointment or a half-day wait in the lobby.

A DMV spokesman told KCAL9 Political Reporter Dave Bryan there has been a crush of applications for new licenses for undocumented immigrants, a program that began earlier this month. The spokesman said the DMV is working to address the problems, but some people are having to take a day off of work to handle a 15-minute transaction.

At the Hollywood DMV office, where they handle drivers license issues, the long lines outside and packed waiting areas inside are testimony to the long, grueling process that California drivers have to endure before getting service.
 (go to article)

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Markets brace for Big Oil profit plunge

AP via Yahoo News -- It's just a forecast, and for only one of 10 industry groups in the stock market. Yet it has almost singlehandedly turned what had been a promising earnings season into a grim one.

Profits for companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 index are expected to grow at one of the lowest rates in years, just 1.4 percent. The culprit: Energy companies that suffered as oil prices plunged. Their profits are expected to drop 25 percent, a collapse of fortune nearly unheard of outside of a recession, and one that has weighed on the stock market.

Investors will find out just how ugly the earnings are as oil companies report results over the next several days.  (go to article)

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Exploding Air Bag May Have Killed Texas Man

ABC News -- Federal safety regulators are looking into the death of a Texas man who may be the latest victim of exploding automobile air bags made by Takata Corp. of Japan.

The man, identified by authorities as Carlos Solis, 35, died in a low-speed crash in the Houston area when an air bag inflated and sent shrapnel into his neck, U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, D-Fla., said Thursday on the Senate floor.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it was gathering information on the crash, which involved a 2002 Honda Accord and occurred Jan. 18. Honda said in a statement that the car was part of a 2011 national recall to fix the driver's air bag inflators, but records show the repairs had not been made. The company urged anyone with a vehicle recalled for air bag problems to take cars to deale  (go to article)

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Chevron quarterly profit drops 30 percent on cheap oil

Reuters -- Chevron Corp, the second-largest U.S. oil producer, said on Friday its quarterly profit fell 30 percent due to plunging crude prices CLc1.

The company posted fourth-quarter net income of $3.47 billion, or $1.85 per share, compared with $4.93 billion, or $2.57 per share, in the year-ago period.

Foreign currency conversion charges dented earnings by $432 million, Chevron said.

Production between the quarters held steady at 2.58 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd).

Shares of the San Ramon, Calif.-based company are down about 22 percent in the past six months, closing Thursday at $103 per share.  (go to article)

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Record 9 Models Have Zero Driver Deaths, IIHS Says

NBC News -- The highway death toll has been plunging rapidly in recent years, and safety experts are crediting a number of factors, including improved roadways and a crackdown on drunk driving. But a new study puts the spotlight on vehicle design and improved technology for both preventing crashes and keeping motorists alive when they do occur.

A record total of nine models sold during the 2011 model-year have had a death rate of zero, meaning no driver was killed in a crash involving those vehicles during the period studied by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. IIHS released a report on the findings Thursday.

Significantly, these are not ultra-exotic products. They include mainstream models like the Honda Odyssey minivan and Subaru Legacy sedan, as well as the big Mercedes-Benz GL SUV.  (go to article)

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U.S. crude oil stocks return to 1930s crisis levels

Reuters -- .S. commercial crude oil stocks last week hit their highest level since 1931 - when the opening of giant oil fields in the United States coincided with the Great Depression to create an enormous glut and sent prices tumbling to just 13 cents per barrel.

Commercial crude stocks at refineries and tank farms across the country rose to almost 407 million barrels on Jan 23, up from 398 million the week before, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) (link.reuters.com/jax83w).

Commercial stocks were the highest since the agency started collecting weekly data in 1982.

The parallels are not exact because production and consumption are so much higher now than in the 1930s. In 1931, stocks of 407 million barrels were equivalent to 160 days of nationwide production, ...  (go to article)

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Senate OKs Keystone pipeline bill despite veto threat

yakima herald -- In a 62-36 vote, 53 Republicans and nine Democrats approved a bill seeking to force completion of the 840-mile pipeline that Obama has vowed to veto while federal environmental reviews continue.  (go to article)

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Five new transportation players to watch in 2015

The Hill -- Change is in the air on Capitol Hill as Republicans take control of both houses of Congress for the first time since 2006, resulting in a host of changes to the key players on transportation issues.  (go to article)

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Ohio to begin largest highway project in state's history

GasBuddy Blog -- Image From ..dispatch.comThe Columbus Dispatch says that when shovels hit the ground in Scioto County this year, construction crews will begin working on the largest project in the Ohio Department of Transportation’s history.The $429 million Portsmouth Bypass will snake around the city, linking Rts. 23 and 52 via a 16-mile, four-lane limited-access highway. The project has been discussed for decades, and it might have remained an idea if not for rules adopted by the state in 2011.It’s ODOT’s first public-private partnership: a new mechanism that allows the private sector to build and pay for public transportation projects while the state repays them over time. ...  (go to article)

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Free Tesla with every unit purchased at new condo

Statesman -- It’s not unusual for some high-end developments to throw in a few freebies to sweeten the pot, but one West Palm Beach, Florida project is taking it to a whole new level.

The Z Palm Beach condominium is offering a complimentary Tesla Model S with each unit. The luxe electric car costs about $71,070, according to the Tesla website.

The unique development will have just eight units starting at $2.3 million. They are expected to be open by the end of the year.

“The innovative Z Palm Beach Residences lifestyle extends to the road with a complimentary Tesla Model S,” the Z Palm Beach website says. “The car will be parked in their dedicated spot and will be titled to them to complement their residential purchase.”
 (go to article)

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Shell urges shareholders to accept climate resolution

The Guardian -- Shell is set to confront the risk that climate change may pose to its future, after backing a resolution from activist shareholders. The move came on the same day it announced $15bn (£10bn) in cost cutting due to plummeting oil prices and said it wanted to resume drilling for oil in the Arctic.

The resolution, filed by 150 investors who control hundreds of billions of pounds, requires the oil major to test whether its business model is compatible with the pledge by the world’s nations to limit global warming to 2C.

The 2C target means only a quarter of existing, exploitable fossil fuel reserves are burnable, according to a series of recent analyses. That implies trillions of dollars of oil, gas and coal held by investors could become worthless  (go to article)

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Iowa could be Battleground Ethanol in 2016

The Des Moines Register -- Iowa will be Battleground Ethanol in the 2016 presidential race if a couple of seasoned political strategists have their way.

Their underlying message: Candidates who don't support a federal renewable fuels rule have a history of losing races in corn-intense Iowa.

A coalition of Iowans led by Democrat Derek Eadon and Republican Eric Branstad intends to spend the next few months bringing presidential hopefuls up to speed on why they believe the Renewable Fuel Standard is crucial to the economy in Iowa and the nation. After that, they'll make sure Iowa voters know which side each candidate has taken.

Their new nonprofit political organization, America's Renewable Future, will make a multimillion-dollar push backed by some of Iowa's top elected officials and influencers in the agriculture  (go to article)

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Energy hypocrisy: Ethanol isn't a good fuel, but it's not going away anytime soon

The Guardian -- Bad policy has entrenched ethanol in the US energy industry despite its many drawbacks. Lawmakers have introduced legislation to end its use and make way for other biofuels, but with gas prices on the downswing, it may not be enough.

Ethanol was supposed to do a lot for the US.

It was supposed to help reduce our dependence on foreign oil. It was supposed to combat climate change. It was supposed to be a gateway for more renewable fuels technology. It was supposed to reduce gasoline prices because it was cheaper.

So when Congress mandated in 2005 that 10% of the nation’s fuel supply had to be blended with ethanol, which is derived from corn, there were some idealistic hopes that renewable fuels would wean us off fossil fuels.

It hasn’t worked that way.

The US is reducing its dependenc  (go to article)

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Where's the bottom? Traders spooked by oil drop fear getting 'face ripped off' as bets go awry

FOX BUSINESS-AP -- The plunge in oil has crushed the Russian ruble, erased $80 billion from Exxon Mobil's market value and pushed Venezuela to the brink of economic collapse.

But to Justin Thomas, the real drama in oil unfolds on a smaller scale, a story told in tiny, second-by-second moves in prices on his computer screen. Lately, most of the moves have been down, taking a toll on him and other traders who believe oil should have turned up by now.

"It was quiet, then there was chaos," said Thomas after a few losing bets earlier this month from his one-man office in Boise, Idaho. "The market changes, and you lose your confidence."

Thomas is one of thousands of oil traders who have helped turn market fundamentals — lots of oil, not enough demand — into a plunge of nearly 60 percent in the price of crude...  (go to article)

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Wall St finishes higher in afternoon rally as oil gains

Reuters -- U.S. stocks enjoyed a late afternoon rally and closed higher on Thursday as an upturn in oil prices and a rally in Apple and Boeing shares helped offset some disappointing earnings and lingering questions over U.S. monetary policy.

The S&P 500 had fallen as much as 0.6 percent earlier, led by energy stocks, which then reversed direction along with crude prices.

While the afternoon rise in crude was not huge, it was enough to cheer up the market after two weak days, said Randy Frederick, managing director at Charles Schwab in Austin.

"Technically the market was a little oversold, so we were in a pretty good position to bounce, so we just needed a little bit of positive news to spark an afternoon rally," he said.  (go to article)

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Study: Newer vehicles getting safer

Detroit News -- The chance of dying when behind the wheel of a newer car is falling dramatically as automakers add high-tech safety features, a report released Thursday finds.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said death rates for drivers in late-model vehicles fell by more than one-third over three years — but there is a wide range between the safest models and those with the highest death rates.

Gloria Bergquiest, a spokesman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a trade group representing Detroit’s Big Three automakers, Toyota Motor Corp. and others, said newer vehicles are safer.

“Today’s new vehicles come with many safety advancements, and we urge everyone to consider buying a new vehicle with automatic braking or one of the other advanced crash-avoidance systems,” she said.  (go to article)

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Shell planning to restart Arctic drilling this year

Fuel Fix -- Shell is planning on spending $1 billion to drill exploratory oil wells in Arctic waters north of Alaska this year as long as it clears legal and permitting hurdles, the company’s chief executive said Thursday.

Ben van Beurden, CEO of Royal Dutch Shell, noted the many legal and logistical obstacles standing in the way of the company’s quest to resume drilling in the Chukchi Sea once ice clears this summer. But he stressed Shell’s commitment to the project.

“We are minded to drill this year in the Chukchi,” he told reporters on an earnings call Thursday morning. “We have retained a very significant capability to be ready for this year to go ahead.”

“We have kept all our capability in place, tuned it, upgraded it just to be ready to drill this coming summer season,” Van Beurden added. Sh  (go to article)

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U.S. crude drops below $44 as inventory builds scare market

Yahoo -- U.S. crude oil fell below $44 a barrel for the first time since April 2009 on Thursday while benchmark Brent sharply pared early gains after data showing additions to already record-high U.S. oil inventories.

Oil prices had risen broadly earlier in the session after preliminary U.S. weekly jobless claims data hit a nearly 15-year low, indicating further strength in the world's largest economy.

But crude futures in New York were near a six-year low by midmorning after a report from oil services firm Genscape, which a market source said showed fresh builds of 1.6 million barrels at the Cushing, Oklahoma delivery point for U.S. crude in the period of Jan. 23 through Jan. 27.  (go to article)

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Keystone XL bill passes in Senate, faces Obama veto

Reuters -- WASHINGTON - The U.S. Senate passed a bill on Thursday to approve the long-pending Keystone XL oil pipeline, despite the White House saying earlier in the day that President Barack Obama would veto the measure.  (go to article)

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