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AG Bill Schuette vows to move forward in Chesapeake Energy Corp. bid-rigging case

MLIVE -- LANSING, MI – State Attorney General Bill Schuette said his office will move forward against Chesapeake Energy Corp. on a single charge of violating anti-trust laws related to Oklahoma company’s alleged role in a bid-rigging scheme prior to an October 2010 auction of oil and gas leases on state land.

Schuette also said he would appeal the dismissal of two other charges by Cheyboygan County District Judge Maria Barton. Those charges alleged Chesapeake engaged in bid-rigging against individual landowners.  (go to article)

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10 most stolen SUVs in the US

msn autos -- The National Insurance Crime Bureau, which has been tracking statistics related to car and motorcycle theft for years, recently released a study of SUV and crossover (CUV) thefts. Covering thefts of 2011-2013 model-year vehicles in the time between the beginning of 2010 and the end of 2013, the NICB analyzed 21,711 incidents for its report. Crossovers accounted for 73 percent of those thefts, and CUVs make up nine of the NICB's top 10 most stolen SUV and CUV models. Here's a countdown of the most stolen SUVs and CUVs: Where does your SUV stand in the affections of car thieves?  (go to article)

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Enbridge pushes Flanagan South oil pipeline start date to Q4

By Catherine Ngai, Reuters | -- Construction of the 600,000-barrel-per-day Flanagan South oil pipeline from Illinois to Oklahoma will be complete late in the third quarter, with the first oil flowing early in the fourth quarter, operator Enbridge Inc said.  (go to article)

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One milllion gallons of oil drilling byproducts leak into ground and bay near North Dakota Indian re

Josh Wood And James MacPherson, Associated Press | -- MANDAREE, N.D. — A pipeline has leaked 1 million gallons of oil drilling saltwater into the ground at a North Dakota Indian reservation, and some of the byproduct ended up in a bay that feeds the lake that provides the reservation’s drinking water, company and tribal officials said.  (go to article)

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10 best cars for resale value after 5 years

Yahoo! Autos -- 10. Dodge Challenger

9. Chevrolet Silverado

8. Honda CR-V

7. Chevrolet Camaro

6. Toyota Tundra

5. Chevrolet Corvette

4. Toyota 4Runner

3. Jeep Wrangler

2. Toyota Tacoma

1. Toyota FJ Cruiser  (go to article)

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Shale Seen Shifting Flows at America’s Biggest Oil Port

bloomberg.com -- For more than 30 years, the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port LLC has been a symbol of U.S. dependence on foreign oil, pumping Nigerian and Saudi Arabian crude from the world’s biggest supertankers into underground storage caverns beneath the marshes of southern Louisiana.

Now, with domestic production at a 28-year high, LOOP’s managers are thinking the previously unthinkable: They want to reverse the flows and send North American oil out as well as take foreign oil in.

To be an outbound hub, the port needs financial commitments from shippers to build needed infrastructure, and even under the most optimistic scenario, it will be a year before it loads the first tanker, Barb Hestermann, LOOP’s business development manager, said by phone yesterday. Still, the fact that LOOP is considering the pr  (go to article)

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Russia's Rosneft, Zarubezhneft To Agree On Cuban Offshore Block This Week

RigZone -- MOSCOW, July 10 (Reuters) - Russian state oil companies Rosneft and Zarubezhneft plan to sign an agreement with Cuban state oil company Cubanpetroleo to develop an offshore block 37, a senior Russian official said.

Yuri Ushakov, an aide to President Vladimir Putin who plans to visit Cuba on July 11, told reporters the companies were aiming to agree on the deal during his visit. He did not provide any other details.

A number of factors are working against Cuba's oil hopes, among them the political and logistical difficulties imposed by the long-standing U.S. trade embargo against the island.
 (go to article)

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No joke: NYC church is on George Carlin Way

Associated Press -- A bureaucratic error has put a Catholic church on a New York City street named after comedian George Carlin.

Carlin skewered the church in his act and gained fame with his foul-mouthed "seven dirty words" routine.

After he died in 2008, fellow comedians proposed naming the stretch of 121st Street where he grew up George Carlin Way.
 (go to article)

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Uber Fires D.C. Driver Who Kidnapped His Passengers

The Wire -- Earlier this week, businessman Ryan Simonetti had a very unpleasant ride in an Uber. In an attempt to avoid a fine, the driver of his hired car kidnapped Simonetti and his two colleagues, taking them across state lines as a taxi inspector tracked behind him. Since the incident, Uber has fired the driver, but the situation has called into question Uber's vetting process for their drivers.

As Simonetti and his two coworkers approached the car they had ordered from UberBLACK, they noticed a D.C. taxi inspector speaking to their driver. It seemed the inspector requested some documents, and after the Uber driver handed them over, he took off with the passengers instead of waiting for the inspector to check the paperwork.  (go to article)

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Poll: Most Americans want Sarah Palin to be quiet

MSNBC -- NBC News’ Mark Murray joins to discuss results from a new WSJ/NBC/Annenberg News poll, which indicates that 54% percent of Americans are tired of hearing about political issues from Sarah Palin.  (go to article)

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Business Leaders Brief Biden on HTF Insolvency & Infrastructure Deterioration Concerns

Business Forward -- Business leaders briefed Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx yesterday on business issues associated with transportation infrastructure during a meeting hosted by the White House Business Council and Business Forward.
“Transportation used to have bipartisan support, but now we’re busy having philosophical discussions about government spending. Our job right now is to create a moment when something greater can happen. The business community will have a critical role in standing together to support smart public investments in infrastructure projects,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
Meeting participants included executives from large manufacturers, shipping companies, trade associations, and a range of other businesses, including Doug Ob  (go to article)

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$10,000 prize offered to hack a Tesla car

FOX News -- A Beijing security conference is offering $10,000 to anyone who can hack into a high-tech Tesla electric car.

The Symposium on Security for Asia Network (SyScan) has launched a hacking competition for security gurus attending its event. The competition’s goal is to examine the safety of a Tesla car, according to a note on the conference website, which says that the rules will be announced soon.  (go to article)

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Mexican Train Derails, Stranding 1,300 Migrants Headed Toward U.S.

The World Post -- MEXICO CITY, July 9 (Reuters) - A cargo train used by Mexicans and Central Americans to travel toward the U.S. border derailed in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca on Wednesday, stranding about 1,300 migrants, emergency services said.

Many of the migrants aboard were young people and nobody was injured when the train nicknamed "the Beast" came off the tracks, a spokesman for local emergency services said.

Since last October, more than 50,000 unaccompanied minors, most from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, have been caught illegally crossing the southwest border of the United States.

Children say that they are fleeing violence at home and hope that they will be able to stay in the United States.

Several days of heavy rain in southern Mexico may have caused the train to derail, au  (go to article)

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Ready to Fly

My City Magazine -- Traditionally, the term “supercar” was synonymous with exotic, foreign brands like Lamborghini or Ferrari (Italian) or Porsche (German). But there’s a new supercar on the street shattering that stereotype, and its maker boasts the Stars and Stripes. Introducing the Falcon F7.

While it’s no shock that an American supercar would be built in Michigan, birthplace of the automotive industry, it may come as a surprise to learn that Falcon is not a Detroit product. The world headquarters of Falcon Motorsports is situated in the village of Holly. Jeff Lemke, owner, was producing aftermarket parts for the Dodge Viper (hard tops and body kits) in his shop until 2009, when he decided to follow his dream of building his own car. He invested the profits from his fabrication work into the creation of  (go to article)

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Union official: Local coming for Volkswagen plant

AP -- NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — An official with the United Auto Workers, which suffered a stinging defeat in its attempt to unionize Volkswagen's assembly plant in Tennessee earlier this year, said Thursday that it is forming a new local at the plant.

The union is confident the German automaker will recognize the union if it signs up a enough workers at the Chattanooga plant, UAW Secretary-Treasurer Gary Casteel told The Tennessean newspaper (http://tnne.ws/1qNfSn7) that. If successful, it would become the first unionized foreign auto plant in the South.

"We would fully expect that Volkswagen would deal with this local union if it represents a substantial portion of its employees," Casteel told the paper. "It's dependent on the employees and what they want to do."

Gov. Bill Haslam and his staf  (go to article)

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Soup it up: Livonia firm turns autos on to propane

Detroit News -- What’s the most commonly used fuel source for cars and trucks around the world?

If you guessed gasoline, you are correct.

And in second place … yes, diesel.

But can you guess what is the third-most used fuel? Not ethanol. Not hybrids. Not electricity. No. 3 is propane, which propels 23 million vehicles worldwide, though only some 250,000 in the United States.

But that last figure is growing, thanks in large part to Livonia-based Roush CleanTech. Yes, the folks who brought us the high-performance Roush Mustang and all those race-winning NASCAR stock cars are at the forefront of converting vehicles to run on the same fuel that may heat your house or barbecue your burgers.

Right now, such conversions are for commercial vehicles, be they school buses or delivery trucks. But the head of  (go to article)

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Ford teams with Heinz, producing car parts made with tomato waste

GasBuddy Blog -- Here's a new one for you: in Ford's efforts to boost sustainable use, it has teamed with Heinz to use tomato waste in various car parts.
According to Ford, researchers from both Ford and Heinz are collaborating on how to use tomato fibres in developing sustainable composite materials for use in vehicle manufacturing.To be specific, Ford is looking at dried tomato skins which would be incorporated into wiring brackets, storage bins, and other small objects in the vehicle. “We are exploring whether this food processing byproduct makes sense for an automotive application,” commented Ellen Lee, plastics research technical specialist for Ford. “Our goal is to develop a strong, lightweight material that meets our vehicle requirements, while at the same time reducing our overall environmental impact,” she added....  (go to article)

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Strong global demand has Canada’s oil production on target to almost double by 2030

Financial Post -- Canada’s oil production is on target to almost double over the next two decades, from 3.5 million barrels per day in 2013 to 6.4 million barrels per day by 2030. This is the result of strong demand from markets in North America and around the globe, says a fore- cast released by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP)  (go to article)

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Parole of convicted mob killer notorious for his explosive temper tested by road raging motorist

National Post -- One danger of road rage is never knowing who is driving the car that is the target of your fury. This was highlighted when a man confronted a driver after a traffic incident and behind the wheel was a serial-killing Mafia hit man notorious for his explosive temper and propensity for violence.  (go to article)

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America the Oil Exporter

POLITICO-The United States is already a budding export powerhouse. -- The United States is once again the top oil producer in the world, surpassing Saudi Arabia and Russia. This year, America is on pace to pump out an average of 12 million barrels a day of crude oil plus gas liquids, an all-time record level. Add in biofuels and volumetric gains from refining, and the United States is effectively producing 14 million barrels a day. All this is the extraordinary result of the shale-oil revolution, in which new extraction technology—hydraulic fracturing, or fracking—has made vast reserves suddenly economically viable

Yet by law, much of this bounty must stay in the United States. Since the 1970s, America has banned the unlicensed export of crude oil, a policy put in place after the crippling Arab embargo that followed the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
 (go to article)

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Ford Motor Company's Apology and Open Checkbook Resonated With Americans

Motley Fool -- Recently, in one of very few mishaps, the folks at the Blue Oval were forced to announce a reduction in a handful of its hybrid and electric vehicles' fuel-economy ratings. Ford's biggest error was found with its estimates for the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, which has been a more popular option than the company anticipated, partially because of the vehicle's previously stated combined city and highway rating of 45 miles per gallon. Ford has now dropped that rating to 38 miles per gallon.

While the Lincoln MKZ was the biggest fuel-efficiency loser, Ford's fuel-economy reduction also negatively affected five additional models.

Ford issued an official apology and also wrote "goodwill" checks, ranging from $200 to $1,050 per vehicle, to reimburse owners.

"We apologize to our customers and will  (go to article)

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Why California Pushes Hydrogen Compliance Cars Over Electric Ones

Green Car Reports -- We're starting to hear a lot about hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles from Hyundai, Toyota, and Honda--and we're going to hear a great deal more about them in the years to come.

The first 2015 Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell was leased last month, and Toyota will bring its own hydrogen-powered vehicle into selected California dealerships starting sometime next year.
Honda is expected to follow with a production version of the FCEV Concept it showed at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show, most likely launching sometime in 2016.
Offered only in California, these fuel-cell cars will not make money for the automakers, at least initially--just as hybrids and electric cars didn't when each new technology was first introduced.

But there's a strong incentive for automakers to offer hydrogen vehicles.

 (go to article)

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Miss. regulators oppose federal carbon dioxide rule

The Clarion-Ledger -- The Mississippi Public Service Commission is seeking input from others, including utilities, in its efforts to fight proposed federal rules that would cut carbon dioxide emissions from Mississippi's power plants.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as part of a nationwide effort, proposed in June that Mississippi's carbon dioxide emissions from power plants be 38 percent lower in the year 2030 compared to 2005.

Commissioners voted Tuesday to open the proceeding, acknowledging that it could also become a way to cope with the rules if they're finalized in their current form. They voted in June to submit comments opposing the rules.

"We're adamantly opposed to some of the rules," said Central District Commissioner Lynn Posey, a Republican. "We want to explore every possibility we...  (go to article)

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Crude Oil Price Falls Below $102 a Barrel

Minneapolis Star Tribune -- The price of oil continued to fall Thursday, trading below $102 a barrel as the outlook for supply remained robust. Oil has been falling steadily for more than a week partly because worries about disruptions of the oil supply from Iraq have subsided and Libyan oil is returning to the global market.  (go to article)

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Oil on track for 10th straight daily decline

MarketWatch -- NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — Nymex oil futures were on track for a 10th straight daily drop Thursday, pressured on increased supply from Libya, decreased demand from China and financial turmoil in Portugal.

Crude for August delivery /quotes/zigman/2196851/delayed CLQ4 -0.24% fell 27 cents, or 0.3%, to $102.03 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. September Brent crude /quotes/zigman/2648929/delayed UK:LCOQ4 -0.17% is down 20 cents, or 0.2%, at 108.27 a barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange.

Nymex crude ended lower on Wednesday for a ninth straight session, marking the longest losing streak since December 2009. Oil was pressured Wednesday by a smaller-than-expected drop in U.S. crude supplies and signs Libyan production is rebounding faster than had been expected.


Getty Ima  (go to article)

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Rooftop solar power is making coal obsolete in Australia

Yahoo! News -- Rooftop solar panels are becoming such a powerful factor in the energy market that they now can push the price of electricity to negative territory in the sunniest regions of the world. This is possible because powering down fossil fuel energy generators during peak solar power periods would be more expensive than paying customers to use the electricity.

The negative energy price barrier was breached in Queensland, Australia, where low demand and high rooftop solar power generation pushed the wholesale electricity price to AUD -$100 per megawatt-hour on Wednesday afternoon, July 2.
 (go to article)

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Pentagon Uses Wrong Oil Price and Fails to Hedge Fuel Bill

Reuters -- The Department of Defense has been using the wrong oil price in its budget, leaving the largest single buyer of fuel in the world with liabilities potentially hitting billions of dollars.

The Pentagon continues to rely on WTI prices even though Brent oil is more relevant to the cost of fuels it buys on behalf of the armed forces.

Using the wrong benchmark has introduced increasing risk into the military budget, according to a critical report published on Tuesday by the Government Accountability Office.

Moreover, the Department of Defense still does not hedge its exposure to changing fuel prices, even though the Pentagon's Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) buys more than 100 million barrels of fuel each year at a cost of $10 billion to $20 billion, according to the GAO.

The DLA purchased  (go to article)

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Stolen Tesla’s Fatality-Free L.A. Crash Surprises Experts

Bloomberg News -- A high-speed crash and fire that left alive the driver of a stolen Tesla Model S last week was so intense that it could have killed the person, according to safety experts who reviewed images of the calamity.

That the driver lived may be a testament to the safety features built into the car, one of them said. The car, stolen from Tesla Motors Inc.’s service center in west Los Angeles early July 4, outran police before crashing at high speed into vehicles on La Brea Avenue in West Hollywood. The Model S then struck a steel pole and split in two, igniting a fire in the luxury sedan, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff and Fire Department reports. The unidentified Tesla driver was thrown from the car and injured, as were seven other people the vehicle collided with on La Brea.  (go to article)

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Xunlight solar-panel manufacturer shutting down

The (Toledo) Blade -- A Toledo solar-panel manufacturer has shut down and dozens of employees are out of
work.
Xunlight Corp., a flexible solar-panel manufacturer that uses technology developed at
the University of Toledo and is based on Nebraska Avenue, closed its doors June 30
to “resolve some matters,” CEO John Buckey said. Mr. Buckey declined to elaborate
on the cause of the shutdown, but a letter provided to The Blade that appears to have
been sent by Mr. Buckey to employees on July 2 said the company is closing and
makes no reference to any potential reopening.
“Unfortunately, payments that were committed to be paid to Xunlight contractually
have not been sent as agreed, and the company does not have the funds necessary to meet its obligations, including this week's
payroll, and to continue its operations  (go to article)

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Can the WTO Successfully Police Global Auto-Parts Industry?

PickupTrucks.com -- A recent World Trade Organization ruling that favors U.S. automakers may pave the way for an advantageous ruling on another U.S. complaint; however, such a ruling could hit consumers in the pocketbook.

In May the WTO ruled that Chinese tariffs on vehicles exported from the U.S. to China violated world trade policies; those tariffs have been eliminated. Now the U.S. government is hoping the WTO will provide a similar outcome to its charge that China subsidizes its auto-parts exporters. This practice gives Chinese exporters an unfair advantage over U.S. auto-parts suppliers, according to the Obama administration. The subsidies allow Chinese auto-parts makers to undercut the prices of their competitors. This explains why American consumers see so many "Made in China" labels on parts in U.S.  (go to article)

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Freight train derails near Brockville, spewing cargo across tracks and halting busy VIA Rail route

Postmedia News and Canadian Press -- The busy VIA Rail corridor between Toronto and Montreal to be shut down indefinitely

CN police and emergency crews were on the scene and were expected to continue working for at least several more hours

Of the 26 derailed train cars, two were fully-loaded automobile carriers, 5 contained carbon powder and 13 were unloaded fuel tanks. The fuel tanks are empty, but do contain fuel residue

 (go to article)

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Growth In Diesel Car And Truck Sales Outpaces Market Growth This Year

Green Car Reports -- Drivers in the U.S. are finally coming around to the idea of diesel cars, it seems--as sales have increased by 25 percent during the first six months of 2014.

In data compiled by HybridCars and Baum and Associates (via Diesel Technology Forum), diesels show six consecutive months of sales growth in the States, the biggest increase coming in April when sales rose over 60 percent.

By contrast, hybrid sales have dropped in five of the last six months--largely following the rise and fall of Toyota Prius sales, the biggest seller in the hybrid market.

Diesel's sales increase reflects the increasing number of diesel vehicles available to consumers.

Numbers have consistently risen over the last four years, and are outpacing growth in the market as a whole--4.2 percent in the first six  (go to article)

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Why a 2016 Tacoma Diesel makes more sense than a Tacoma Hybrid

TourqueNews -- Which future engine would make more sense in a small truck for the US market? A Toyota Tacoma Diesel would have decent torque. A Tacoma Hybrid would have tremendous fuel economy advantages. Is there a wrong answer?

In our recent story we applied our knowledge of the Toyota/Lexus family of drivetrains and speculated on what a Toyota Tacoma Hybrid might be like. Readers liked the idea of a 31 MPG Tacoma. However, many have pointed out to us since the story that a Tacoma diesel might make a lot more sense. Does it? Let’s compare the pluses and minuses of both.

Tacoma Diesel
A Tacoma diesel is difficult to imagine since Toyota has no diesel engines in the US right now. We could speculate on what a Toyota diesel from another market might do in the US, but as Mazda has recently proven, a  (go to article)

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Connecticut among the best on list of bad driving states

WFSB - CBS 3 -- Connecticut ranks as one of the best states when it comes to bad drivers.

In fact, it was 45 on Car Insurance Comparison's list of the worst driving states.

The company ranked the states in terms of road rage, careless driving, swerving cars and other things that may upset drivers during their commutes.

The scores were based on statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the National Motorists Association and Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

The statistics taken into account were the fatalities rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, failure to obey (traffic signals and seat belts), drunk driving, tickets and careless driving.

The study said Connecticut's best ranking factor was fourth for fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled.  (go to article)

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U.S. senators press for probe of report that oil companies blocked ethanol

Reuters -- Two U.S. farm-state Senators on Wednesday urged federal regulators to investigate allegations raised by a biofuel trade group that the oil industry uses "strong arm tactics" to prevent widespread use of higher blends of ethanol in gasoline.

A report from the Renewable Fuels Association this week said major oil companies have discouraged the sale of ethanol at levels of 15 percent per gallon (E15) and 85 percent per gallon (E85) at retail stations, by using distribution contracts that make it expensive or nearly impossible for franchises to offer the blends.

Senators Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota, and Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, said on Wednesday that the report bolstered the case for the Federal Trade Commission to evaluate whether the oil industry has engaged ..  (go to article)

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Search on for 132 mph racer on NH turnpike

WCVB TV Boston -- New Hampshire State police say one person has been charged and they are searching for a second after a trooper saw two cars racing along the Everett Turnpike on Wednesday.

According to authorities, the trooper saw the Toyota Supra coupe and a Gray Subaru WRX racing in Nashua near exit 4. The officer clocked the cars traveling 132 mph as they changed lanes.  (go to article)

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Trudeau's carbon tax will hurt the Canadian economy

Toronto Sun -- The only people who make money consistently are clever profiteers who have learned how to apply for “green” subsidies. And the whole thing is prone to corruption.

That is what Justin Trudeau wants for Canada.

But Trudeau’s idea gets worse. He wants Canada to be a role model for the world by adopting a price on carbon even if our major competitors don’t do the same.

The Americans don’t have a price on carbon. Nor do the Chinese, or the Australians or the Russians.

On energy and mineral exports, the Europeans aren’t really our competitors. So the fact they have a fake price on their carbon doesn’t really matter.

Trudeau’s thinking on most issues is strained when it gets past Twitter’s limit of 140 characters. But it seems especially shallow on this matter.

Why in heaven’s name would T  (go to article)

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North Dakota pipeline spill cleanup may take weeks

Associated Press -- Company and tribal officials say a pipeline on North Dakota's Fort Berthold Indian reservation has leaked 1 million gallons of saltwater, with some of the fluid finding its way to a bay that leads to a lake that provides drinking water for the reservation.

Cleanup continued there Thursday and Miranda Jones, vice president of environmental safety and regulatory at Houston-based Crestwood Midstream Services Inc., said it was expected to last for weeks.
 (go to article)

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How technology could help prevent kids' deaths in hot cars

CBS News -- The news is always tragic, and seems to happen far too often: a child left in a hot car is found dead of heat stroke when a caregiver forgot or did not know they were there.

"It could happen to anyone. This is not a bad parenting problem," laments Kristy Arbogast, the lead author of a 2012 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report on technologies to prevent heat stroke for children in hot cars. She is the co-scientific director of the Center for Injury Research an Prevention at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

A car's temperature can rise rapidly in the hot sun -- topping 120 degrees inside, on an 80 degree day -- and children should never be left alone in a parked car, not even for a minute.

Could a smart car seat or some other technology help harried, distracte  (go to article)

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The Dodge Grand Caravan is dead, long live the Grand Caravan

Detroit News -- I’ve lived a sheltered life. Yes, I admit it. I had never driven a minivan.

I grew up in the back of my Mom’s Pontiac station wagon. My own cars have ranged from pocket rockets to sports cars. And when our rug rats ruled our carpets, Mrs. Payne banned the mom-ivan from our auto shopping list. Indeed, my sporty mate is a walking demographic study of why minivan sales have faltered in recent years. She finds them frumpy, square, uncool.

So when I got a taste of a Dodge Grand Caravan recently, I naturally rebelled. The forbidden fruit. I loved it.

Maybe it’s the fact that the Caravan has as much third row legroom as the second row of a Caddy ATS (we XL types love that). Maybe it’s the dozens of terrifying, tire-squalling, turns-on-two-wheels laps I’ve taken in Ford Econoline vans at Barber  (go to article)

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CRUZ: ‘Fahrenheit 451’ Democrats

Washington Times -- 45 Democrats in the U.S. Senate are supporting a constitutional amendment to repeal the free-speech provisions of the First Amendment and give Congress power to regulate political speech.

It’s all because a group of conservative filmmakers made a documentary film in 2008 about then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton that did not speak favorably about her record. Senate Democrats are now supporting a constitutional amendment from Sen. Udall of New Mexico to stop Americans from showing movies like the one Citizens United created during the 2008 election.

Senate Democrats are willing to rewrite the Constitution to take away the right of Americans to speak or create art that is critical of politicians.

Never before has Congress tampered with the First Amendment.
 (go to article)

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Mercedes Benz to upstage Rolls Royce with $1 million S-Class Pullman

GasBuddy Blog -- If you're ready to invest $1 million for your next car, this may be the way to go.  The Mercedes-Benz S-Class Pullman will have three rows and cost as much as double the top-of-the-line Rolls-Royce, setting it up to become the world’s most expensive sedan when it goes on sale next year. Priced at about $1 million with armor plating, Bloomberg News says the vehicle will be reminiscent of past Mercedes models owned by the likes of John Lennon, designer Coco Chanel and former Philippine leader Ferdinand Marcos. The four rear seats will face each other and be separated from a front chauffeur compartment by a partition window to guarantee discretion, according to a person familiar with details of the brand’s strategy....  (go to article)

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Lawmakers hit the gas to save highway fund Read more: http://thehill.com/policy/transportation/infr

The Hill -- A sense of urgency took hold in the Capitol on Tuesday, as lawmakers ramped up work on legislation to prevent states from suffering a 28 percent cut in transportation funding next month.

But even with the burst of activity, top tax writers in both the House and the Senate stopped short of saying they had a deal that would avert sidelining thousands of construction workers in the heat of an election year.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) pushed a short-term fix for the Highway Trust Fund and said his committee would consider a measure on Thursday that would finance projects through next May.  (go to article)

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Crude oil will head north of the border to Canada

The Washington Times-Delays on Keystone pipeline benefit Canada -- While Congress and the White House have been fighting over whether to build the Keystone XL pipeline so the U.S. can import more oil from Canada, U.S. energy companies have quietly turned that debate on its head and are now exporting growing amounts of oil to Canada.

Canada has ironically become the biggest beneficiary of a gusher of premium crude coming out of shale oil wells in America’s Midwest. Moreover, the question of what to do with the U.S. oil glut has — as least for the time being — trumped concerns about how and whether to secure a steady stream of crude from Canada for decades to come through its proposed pipeline.

In a sign of how the debate has subtly shifted this year, even as the Obama administration has resisted growing pressure to make a decision on the Keystone issue..  (go to article)

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Shale oil and gas gives the U.S. more leverage around the world

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette -- Since midpoint in the last decade, America’s shale-energy balance sheet has grown ever more positive. The abundance today of shale-enabled oil and natural gas defines many places where investment and economic activity had once been scarce. Just look at Pennsylvania, North Dakota, Texas and many other states.

But there’s another benefit — albeit one which few Americans easily discern: The shale revolution is generating national security and geopolitical assets, real-world consequences moving more sharply into focus in recent weeks.

Just the potential for sizable U.S. energy exports gives pause to petro-dictators and expansionist bullies, forcing Russian President Vladimir Putin, for example, to downscale his ambitions.

Central Europe’s game of power poker these days rests not on tanks...  (go to article)

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The Climate Optimists

Slate -- Conservatives have a new line on climate change: “It’s real, but it’s nothing to worry about!”

[...]

It’s tempting to find irony in the spectacle of hundreds of climate change deniers staging their convention [in Las Vegas] amid a drought of historic proportions. But, as the conference organizers are quick to tell you, they aren’t actually climate change deniers. The majority of this year’s speakers readily acknowledge that the climate is changing. Some­ will even concede that human emissions are playing a role. They just think the solutions are likely to be far worse than the problem.

“I don’t think anybody in this room denies climate change,” the Heartland Institute’s James M. Taylor said in his opening remarks Monday.  (go to article)

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CHEVRON APOLOGIZES FOR PREMIUM GAS DRIVER SAYS RUINED CAR'S ENGINE

KTRK-TV (ABC 13 in Houston) -- There's an update on the problems with Chevron premium gasoline. We told you one Tomball man was afraid to drive his truck after the company suddenly stopped selling premium; now another driver says his car's engine was ruined by the gas. In an Eyewitness News exclusive, Chevron is now promising to make things right.

The signs were still on some gas stations on Wednesday told telling the stations cannot sell premium or mid-grade fuel, and while Chevron has not said what's wrong with the gas, one driver tells us it ruined his cars engine.

This is not Jamal Caliste's Subaru, his car is in the shop with a ruined engine.

"He said there was something in the gas that totaled my engine," said Caliste.
 (go to article)

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LOOKING FOR MID OR PREMIUM-GRADE GAS? WON'T FIND IT AT ALL CHEVRON GAS STATIONS

KTRK-TV (ABC 13 in Houston) -- When you pay for premium gasoline, you expect it to be the best at the station, but that's not what some Chevron customers are saying after they paid for the high-price fuel.

Instead of premium or even mid-grade gasoline, this sign greets customers saying the stations can not sell it -- but not until some filled up and now they want to know what's wrong with the fuel.

Marshal Carpenter has a truck with a full tank of gas but he's afraid to drive it.

"Should I drive my vehicle? Should I not," asked the Tomball resident.

Carpenter says he became concerned last week after finding several Chevron gas stations unable to sell supreme or mid-grade fuel. Instead, he found only signs that did not explain the reason the fuels were off the market.
 (go to article)

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Minivans are too practical to have the reputation they have

Automotive News -- If all vehicles represent compromises to necessity, I would argue that minivans are the least compromised of any segment. They comfortably and safely haul people or cargo and they do so very efficiently compared to large crossovers, SUVs or pickups.

Minivans provide nearly unparalleled interior creature comforts and access within the cabin, superior visibility for the driver, and are relatively safe compared to similar vehicles. Their biggest weakness -- even a ‘mini’ van is exceedingly large as a one-person commuter -- is shared with every other vehicle that could be described as a people-hauler.

Yet so many people view minivans like a socially awkward class valedictorian -- a best friend when you need help with your chemistry project, an embarrassing social pariah when you don’t.  (go to article)

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Gas prices could drop up to 25 cents by August

19kytx -- USA TODAY- Gasoline prices could fall up to 25 cents a gallon in parts of the USA within the next two weeks, thanks to slumping crude oil prices, weakening demand and robust supplies.

Now averaging $3.64 a gallon - vs $3.48 last July -prices could soon drop to $3.50, with some Southern states falling below $3, says Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for price tracker gasbuddy.com.

Crude oil prices are down again Wednesday, with benchmark West Texas crude off$$1.22 to $102.18 a barrel and Brent crude off 67 cents to $108.27 - a ninth straight daily drop.

"The tipping points were cooling tensions in Iraq and Hurricane Arthur come and being no big deal,'' says DeHaan. "Oil bulls had no where to go, and oil prices are higher than they should be and unjustified at this level."

With Ir  (go to article)

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Van Carrying Several People Crashes Into White Oak Bayou in Texas

abc30.com -- HOUSTON -- A group of workers are recovering at the hospital after their van crashed into the White Oak Bayou off the North Freeway at Cavalcade. The men, two with severe injuries, were forced to jump onto the roof of their van as Houston Firefighters used a boat to rescue them.

Video from Skyeye HD showed several people sitting on top of the van which was about halfway down in the water.

Houston Police said around 7am, a witness saw the driver of the van headed southbound on the North Freeway then exit Calvacade at a high rate of speed. Police say the driver swerved to miss traffic, hit the median then went airborne and took a nose dive into the bayou. The van landed on its tires, floating in the water.

Houston fire officials said six of the passengers were able to get on the roof...  (go to article)

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