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Recent Gas News/GasBuddy Blog

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How low can gasoline go?

Fuel Fix -- For nearly three months, consumers across the country have enjoyed a welcome site: fuel prices that decline daily.

Nationally, the average price of unleaded gasoline has declined every single day for the last 82 consecutive days, according to a FuelFix analysis of data compiled by AAA.

But that streak may be coming to an end.

“(I)’m worried the decline may soon begin slowing — oil prices have held in the mid-$50s, and the concrete may be setting in,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst with GasBuddy, which compiles data on fuel prices.

On Friday, the price of West Texas Intermediate — the U.S. benchmark oil price — closed at $52.56 per barrel. That was an increase of $0.61 over the course of the week.

Still, gasoline prices remain relatively low, and Americans traveling thi  (go to article)

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Fill'er Up: Booming biz for gas station stocks

CNBC -- As oil prices hold near five-year lows, gas stations may be the best way to play the energy sector right now, analysts said. CST Brands, Murphy USA and Marathon Petroleum are small, pure plays to watch, they said.

"Retailers of gasoline enjoy their largest profit margins in falling price environments like we are in right now," said John Kilduff, founding partner of Again Capital.
 (go to article)

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Missouri Shuts Down A Dozen Speed Trap Towns

TheNewspaper.com, a journal of the politics of driving -- More than half of all traffic tickets issued in Missouri come from St. Louis and its suburbs, and state Attorney General Chris Koster decided to do something about it. On Thursday, Koster took steps to shut down the ability of thirteen towns to use their municipal court to generate cash from speeding tickets.  (go to article)

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Oil falls below $61 on supply outlook

Reuters -- Oil fell below $61 a barrel on Monday, reversing gains after Saudi Arabia indicated it could increase its output.

Saudi Arabia is prepared to increase output and gain market share by meeting the demands of any new customers, Monday's edition of the Saudi-owned al-Hayat newspaper quoted the kingdom's oil minister Ali al-Naimi as saying.
 (go to article)

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Oil prices likely to rebound in second half of 2015: Reuters poll

r -- Reuters) - Crude oil prices are likely to bottom out in the first half of 2015, until a possible slowdown in U.S. shale production counters a supply glut exacerbated by OPEC's decision not to cut output, a Reuters monthly survey showed.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' agreement last month to stand pat on output meant the onus for any supply cutbacks was now on non-OPEC producers, primarily led by U.S. shale oil, analysts said.

"Oil prices will be lower, making shale oil production less attractive for investments, which are necessary to keep shale oil production growing," Commerzbank's Carsten Fritsch said.

Oil is seen recovering in the second half as non-OPEC production responds to lower prices, while demand picks up in the course of the year, the poll showed.

 (go to article)

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What Would Santa Claus Drive?

fox -- Comedian Tim Allen, a noted car enthusiast, drove a Ford Taurus SHO sedan in the 1994 movie, “The Santa Clause.” But what would the real Santa Claus drive?  (go to article)

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Cadillac unveils 200 mph 2016 CTS-V

fox -- When the current, second-generation CTS-V first hit the scene back in 2008, the car’s 556 horsepower pretty much blew most of the competition out of the water. However, the next dedicated performance model from Cadillac, the ATS-V unveiled at the recent Los Angeles Auto Show, is outmatched in the power stakes by its rivals from Lexus and Mercedes-Benz. This has left some fans concerned that the new third-generation CTS-V may not eclipse the outputs of its rivals.  (go to article)

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National average plunges another week

GasBuddy Blog -- GasBuddy Heat MapAs Americans take to the road for Christmas travel, they've all been given a gift that keeps on giving: falling gas prices. Americans are saving over $13 million dollars an hour versus gas prices a year ago- adding up to over $315 million every day. The national average this morning stands at $2.379/gal across the United States, a 15.7c/gal decline over just the last week.

The biggest weekly declines were witnessed in Montana, Michigan, Indiana, Idaho, and Ohio, where average prices fell over 20 cents on average just in the last seven days but every state has seen big drops. This morning, just 1 in 4 stations are charging over $2.50/gal for gasoline, while a year ago, 100% of stations were over that level....  (go to article)

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NC Gas Prices Drop Near $2 Christmas Week

WFMY-TV -- Amid the start of Christmas week, several North Carolina cities are nearing the $2 mark for a gallon of gasoline.

Monday morning, three gas stations on Dixie Drive in Asheboro are selling gas for $2.12. Two stations in Haw River and one in Mebane have gas for $2.25. Seven pumps in Thomasville have gas for $2.26. Greensboro's average Monday morning is $2.39 -- down four cents from Sunday and down 12 cents from last week.
 (go to article)

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Oil prices likely to rebound in second half of 2015

Reuters --
Oil is seen recovering in the second half as non-OPEC production responds to lower prices, while demand picks up in the course of the year, the poll showed.

The survey of 30 economists and analysts projected Brent LCOc1 to average $74.00 a barrel next year and $80.30 in 2016.
 (go to article)

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Oil’s 50% Drop From 2014 High Stokes Faith in Rally

Bloomberg.com -- The slump in oil that drove U.S. prices down as much as 50 percent from this year’s high is spurring the most bullish bet by hedge funds in four months.

Speculators expanded their net-long position in West Texas Intermediate crude by 14 percent in the week ended Dec. 16, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show. Long wagers increased the most since February.

Money managers have increased their net-long position by 34 percent in three weeks, even as prices kept tumbling as OPEC ministers reiterated pledges to keep pumping. Their bullishness is also reflected in exchange-traded funds that track oil, which attracted the most money in four years this month.

“People are starting to feel that we not only hit the bottom but we are turning around  (go to article)

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Geneva’s army of oil traders embraces profits a crash brings

FuelFix -- Crude oil’s worst slump since the financial crisis means profits for Geneva’s army of traders.

After years of steady prices, the crash has brought back the volatility on which traders thrive. While the fall in benchmark Brent to five-year lows has rocked economies from Russia to Venezuela, the world’s biggest commodity trading houses, which buy and sell about a third or world’s oil from the Swiss city, are relishing the return to a bear market.

Lower prices have cut financing costs, provided an opportunity to lock in profits by storing fuels and heralded the return of big price swings that can help firms from Vitol Group to Trafigura Beheer BV generate higher returns.

“Commodity traders are in a much more optimistic mood these days,” Roland Rechtsteiner, a Zurich-based partner at Oliver  (go to article)

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Saudi Arabia says won't cut oil output

Reuters -- Saudi Arabia said on Sunday it would not cut output to prop up oil markets even if non-OPEC nations did so, in one of the toughest signals yet that the world's top petroleum exporter plans to ride out the market's biggest slump in years.

Referring to countries outside of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi told reporters: "If they want to cut production they are welcome: We are not going to cut, certainly Saudi Arabia is not going to cut."

He added he was "100 percent not pleased" with prices but they would improve, although it was unclear when.

He blamed the fall in prices to half their levels of six months ago on speculators and what he called a lack of cooperation from non-OPEC producers.  (go to article)

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Too late to cut Opec output, says Saudi oil chief

The National -- It is too late for Opec to cut its output, the Saudi oil minister said yesterday as a chorus of Arabian Gulf energy ministers blamed non-Opec producers for the collapse in the price of oil.

The comments emerged from a meeting of the Organisation of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries in Abu Dhabi.

The gathering was held against a backdrop of global oil market volatility with the price of crude shedding almost half its value since the summer.

“I think it’s too late” said Ali Al Naimi in reply to a question whether Opec would cut production if non-Opec producers offered to do so. “If they want to cut production they are welcome. We are not going to cut. Certainly Saudi Arabia is not going to cut.”

Oil futures rallied as much as 5 per cent yesterday as the market reacted to Mr Al Naimi,...  (go to article)

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Oil groups taking action to help North Sea firms

City A.M -- THE LEADER of Aberdeen City Council has called on the Scottish and UK governments to attend a summit on the “emerging crisis” in the North Sea oil industry.

Jenny Laing announced yesterday that the council was aiming to bring together governments, trade unions and industry bodies to develop a strategic plan to save jobs in Scotland’s North East as the price of oil continues to tumble. Brent crude fell below $60 last week.

“Aberdeen is a global city that has achieved so much success thanks to the oil and gas industry being on our doorstep,” said Laing.

“We are the energy capital of Europe and, in order to sustain our position and compete against other global cities, we must have a strategy that meets the needs of the oil and gas industry in Aberdeen.”

Meanwhile, oil and gas companies...  (go to article)

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The most ticketed car in America is

Market Watch -- The Subaru WRX may be an all-wheel drive sport-compact, but the drivers of this car are either driving too fast, or having difficulty parking: It receives the most violations of any vehicle.

More than one-in-three drivers of the Subaru WRX has had a recent traffic violation, according to data on 526 models from more than 557,000 recent customers released by Insurance.com, a car insurance comparison website. Making it three times to the Top 20 most ticketed cars, the Scion was the car brand with the most violations.
t’s no surprise that the list includes other sporty cars like the Mitsubishi 3000 GT and Scion FR-S, says Des Toups, managing editor of Insurance.com, but it also name-checks the hybrid Toyota TM, +1.82% Prius C, three sport-utility vehicles and even the now-defunct Mercury T  (go to article)

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Gas flares in Eagle Ford Shale continue upward

CBS -- SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Gas flaring in the most profitable shale field in the U.S. is on pace to surpass to 2013 levels of waste and pollution in South Texas, according to a newspaper analysis of state records published Sunday.

The Eagle Ford Shale burned off more than 20 billion cubic feet of natural gas in the first seven months of this year, according to the Railroad Commission of Texas, which oversees the oil and gas industry. The tons of pollutants released into the air already exceed levels for 2012.

Experts say plummeting oil prices likely won't stifle Eagle Ford production anytime soon.

The San Antonio Express-News (http://bit.ly/1ATJFNW ) also found some of the top sources of flaring in 2014 lacked state-mandated permits to flare natural gas.  (go to article)

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Diesel prices remain high as gas prices tumble

Fox -- KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Gasoline prices in West Michigan have tumbled to a more than five year low, but diesel prices statewide remain more than a dollar higher.

“It’s because diesel fuel is also essentially the same as heating oil, and heating oil is used in much of the Northeast,” said Patrick DeHaan of GasBuddy.com. “Most homes there don’t use natural gas, they use heating oil.”  (go to article)

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Ohio has cheapest gas in US

Cincinnati Sun Times -- Gas is the cheapest it’s been in several years. Forbes has recently published an article showing each state’s cheapest gas price. Ohio has the lowest price in the country with at least one gas station selling gasoline for $1.85.
The cheapest price per gallon of gasoline as of Dec. 15 is located in Ohio, selling at $1.85 per gallon, despite a state average of $2.40, according to data compiled by GasBuddy.com. A gas station in Louisiana is not far behind Ohio, selling at $1.86 a gallon.

The map below shows the lowest listed price of gasoline in each state. States with a green background are ones that have at least one gas station that’s selling gasoline for under $2 per gallon.  (go to article)

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California puzzles over safety of driverless cars

CBS News -- LOS ANGELES (AP) — California's Department of Motor Vehicles will miss a year-end deadline to adopt new rules for cars of the future because regulators first have to figure out how they'll know whether "driverless" vehicles are safe.

It's a rare case of the law getting ahead of an emerging technology and reflects regulators' struggle to balance consumer protection with innovation.

Safety is a chief selling point, since self-driving cars — thanks to an array of sensors — promise to have much greater road awareness and quicker reaction time than people. Plus, they won't text, drink or doze off.

Though the cars are at least a few years away from showrooms, seven companies are testing prototypes on California's roads, and regulators have questions: Do they obey all traffic laws?  (go to article)

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Resurgent U.S. helps RBC’s McKay stay bullish despite falling oil

The Globe and Mail -- The chief executive of Canada’s biggest bank believes plummeting oil prices and 3-digit market swings are no cause for panic

Despite the current turmoil, he is optimistic about the country’s growth potential

As 2014 comes to a close, there are concerns that a flurry of global shocks, both at home and abroad, will derail N Am’s economic recovery. RBC’s CEO, however, swears by his rosy outlook and what it means for his bank’s profit, something that has put him at odds with some peers

The root of this optimism: The reawakening of the U.S. consumer

For the first few years after the financial crisis, U.S. consumers were sleepy, burdened by debt and unable to find jobs. Those weights are now lifting, and that means Canada’s biggest trading partner is coming back to life

U.S. consumers are s  (go to article)

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How will connected cars shake up the insurance industry?

Saint Paul Pioneer Press -- Car insurance industry, meet potential disrupters Google and Apple.

Currently, nearly all mainstream insurers that offer driver-monitoring programs use relatively expensive devices that plug into a portal under the dashboard. Usage-based insurance programs, also called telematics, are a small but growing segment of the auto insurance business.

Developing Android and iPhone smartphone apps, in contrast, would cut carriers' up-front costs when they offer telematics insurance programs, which track policyholder habits such as mileage and braking in exchange for potential savings on insurance.

THE DATA COLLECTORS

The prospect of smartphones becoming the central nervous system of usage-based insurance could disrupt the property and casualty industry, which historically has gathered its own l  (go to article)

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Oil Swings After Biggest Gain in Two Years as Saudis See Rebound

bloomberg -- Oil fluctuated after the biggest increase in more than two years as Saudi Arabia said it was confident that prices would rebound as global economic growth boosts demand.

Brent in London swung between gains and losses after climbing 3.6 percent on Dec. 19, the most since October 2012. A global glut that has driven prices lower was created by a lack of cooperation from producers outside the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, according to Saudi Arabia’s oil minister, Ali Al-Naimi. The market is oversupplied by 2 million barrels a day, said Mohammed Al Sada, Qatar’s energy minister.  (go to article)

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US-Cuba thaw could spell end for island's iconic cars

AFP -- Cuba's iconic stock of refurbished vintage American sedans from the 1950s may be facing their last trips to the garage soon, following the historic thawing of ties between Havana and Washington.

Flashy Pontiacs, Plymouths, Dodges and Chevrolets, as well as crudely patched and rickety classics make up the Communist island's 70,000 "almendrones," cars affectionately called large almonds for their rounded shape.
 (go to article)

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Oil industry dials in efficiency as prices plunge

The Globe and Mail -- Calgary-based Packers Plus Energy Services is facing some tough months as oil producers slash budgets to cope with lower prices, but the well-completions company also sees opportunity as its customers look to extract more oil for less cost

Throughout the oil fields of Canada and the U.S., companies are shifting quickly from a growth-at-any-cost mentality to focus on productivity. Packers Plus provides custom hydraulic fracturing and well-completion services that it promises will boost production per well and thereby cut barrel costs

"80% of the market is using inefficient methods” for drilling and completing wells

Producers across N Am are cutting their 2015 capital budgets, deferring large projects and reducing drilling programs. But they are also looking to get better results for the  (go to article)

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Cheaper Oil, Fatter Wallets and a National Opportunity

New York Times -- Oil prices have plunged so rapidly that financial markets are treating them less as an opportunity than a danger, like a falling knife.

Currency rates are gyrating, oil-producing countries like Russia, Venezuela and Iran are hurting, and sectors of the bond market are threatened.

But unless you’re directly involved in the commodity markets, you may not be following the futures price of a barrel of oil. What hits home, especially if you drive a car with an internal combustion engine, is the price of gasoline: It has become spectacularly cheap.

Even in New York City, where gas prices are among the highest in the continental United States, drivers are beginning to smile...

And for the nation as a whole, average prices are staggeringly low, at least when compared with recent levels.  (go to article)

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World’s Top Oil Producer Says It Will Ride Out Price Slump

Reuters -- The world’s top petroleum exporter, Saudi Arabia, said on Sunday that it would not cut output to prop up oil markets even if non-OPEC nations did so, in one of the toughest signals yet that it planned to ride out the market’s biggest slump in years.

Referring to countries outside of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Ali Al-Naimi, Saudi Arabia’s oil minister told reporters: “If they want to cut production they are welcome: We are not going to cut, certainly Saudi Arabia is not going to cut.”

He added he was “100 percent not pleased” with prices but they would improve, although it was unclear when.

He said speculators were responsible for the fall in prices to half their levels of six months ago and what he called a lack of cooperation from non-OPEC producers.  (go to article)

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Gov. Jay Inslee proposes a 12-year, $12 billion transportation plan, saying fees on the state’s big

Seattle Post -- After two years of watching gas-tax increases tank in the Legislature, Gov. Jay Inslee proposed Tuesday to take a new approach: Charge major polluters for the right to emit carbon.

Inslee’s plan, featuring a “cap-and-trade” system, would generate $400 million a year, he said, to cover nearly 40 percent of his $12 billion, 12-year transportation improvement plan. The remainder would come from bond debt, existing gas taxes, tolls and an assortment of vehicle fees.  (go to article)

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D.C. plans experiment for downtown parking

Washington Post -- One of the most congested travel zones in downtown Washington will become a lab for experiments in street parking regulation.

As with so many other transportation programs across the D.C. region, the goal is to make better use of street space rather than expand it. If the program works the way the District Department of Transportation hopes, drivers will find street parking more available in the Gallery Place, Chinatown, Penn Quarter area, and some congestion-causing behavior will be reduced.  (go to article)

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Don’t speed: it could get your EZ Pass suspended

WTOP-FM, Maryland -- Speeding through toll plazas can get your EZ Pass privileges suspended.

Maryland, for example, has a 30 mph speed limit for EZ Pass drivers traveling through toll plazas. If drivers clock 12 miles per hour over the limit, they are mailed a warning. If a driver is issued two warnings in 6 months, their EZ Pass could be suspended.

VDOT, on the other hand, says they do not penalize drivers for speeding through toll plazas. Virginia drivers must sign a customer service agreement when they sign up for EZ Pass.

Other states that impose penalties for speeding are: New York and Pennsylvania.  (go to article)

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NY farmers lament lost opportunity for gas riches

Associated Press -- While environmental groups are doing a victory dance over New York's decision to ban fracking, farmers such as apple grower David Johnson are grieving for dashed hopes and dreams.

"I'm devastated," Johnson said after Gov. Andrew Cuomo's health and environmental commissioners announced Wednesday that they were recommending a fracking ban. "I have concerns about how to continue this farm that's been in the family for 150 years."
 (go to article)

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Gulf oil producers stand firm on OPEC output

Yahoo -- Oil-rich Arab Gulf countries stood firm against non-OPEC crude producers on Sunday, vowing they will not cut output nor hold an emergency cartel meeting to support slumping prices.
OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia and Kuwait said they would not cut production even if non-OPEC members reduce their output, while the United Arab Emirates and Iraq shrugged off calls for an emergency meeting of the group.

"If they (non-OPEC countries) want to cut production they are welcome. We are not going to cut, certainly Saudi Arabia is not going to cut," Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi told reporters on the sidelines of an energy conference in the United Arab Emirates.
Kuwaiti Oil Minister Ali al-Omair agreed.

"I don't think we need to cut.  (go to article)

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Florida could have fracking problem on its hands

Orlando Sentinel -- TALLAHASSEE – Florida has a fracking problem. Voters want cheap energy, environmental protection, cleaner water, lower taxes and less government in their lives.

Florida ratepayers rebelled against utilities seeking to charge them for nuclear power plant construction. Voters overwhelmingly passed a mandate to spend more than $800 million annually to protect waters and lands. Yet, property owners don't want government inspecting their leaky septic tanks.

In short, public sentiment on energy use is a bit schizophrenic – people want inexpensive living in an age of energy transformation and fossil fuel exhaustion, natural beauty without the beastly bills.  (go to article)

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TransCanada’s Quebec strategy for Energy East: Just say ‘yes’

Financial Post -- Opposition to the proposed Energy E pipeline is galvanizing in Québec

So far, the Calgary-based company that is proposing the $12B project to carry AB oil to the E Coast has kept its cool by just saying ‘yes

CEO Girling said his company has taken note that QC has its own sensitivities — and that it’s a fertile place for pipeline opponents to stir the pot

The latest Energy E sniping came this week from the QC ELC, which is demanding that company’s entire 30,000-page application to the NEB be translated in French

The parts of the application that are relevant to QC are already in French, but TC will translate the rest — including portions that deal with the pipeline’s impact in the rest of the country. “It’s not a huge burden for us,” Girling said

he also slammed the request as another  (go to article)

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Saudi Arabia Confident in Oil Rebounding on Global Growth

Bloomberg -- Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, is confident that crude prices will rebound with global economic growth boosting demand.  (go to article)

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North Sea oilfields ‘near collapse’ after price nosedive

Andrew Critchlow, The Telegraph | -- The North Sea oil industry is “close to collapse,” an expert has warned, as a slump in prices piles pressure on drillers to cut back investing in the region.

Robin Allan, chairman of the independent explorers’ association Brindex, told the BBC that it is “almost impossible to make money” with the oil price below $60 per barrel.

“It’s a huge crisis. This has happened before, and the industry adapts, but the adaptation is one of slashing people, slashing projects and reducing costs,” he said
 (go to article)

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Russia: Why oil crash could threaten Vladimir Putin with a palace coup

MSN News -- When Vladimir Putin was asked at his annual marathon press conference whether he feared the possibility of a “palace revolution” at some point in the future, the Russian president cracked a smile. “I can assure you that we don’t have palaces, so a palace coup isn’t really possible,” he said. Immediately photographs of the vast mansions of some of Putin’s inner circle, photographed from the air by anti-corruption campaigners, began doing the rounds online

But the question last week had a more serious substance to it. While a popular revolution against corrupt officials has never looked very likely in Russia, what about a split in the elites?  (go to article)

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Experts Expect Gas Prices To Spike Come New Year’s Day

CBS Los Angeles -- LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Motorists better take advantage of the historically low gas prices they have been enjoying recently, because that trend will end come New Year’s Day.

On Jan. 1, gas and diesel fuel will be subject to California’s cap and trade market because of a law passed in 2010. The program puts a price on the emissions coming out of drivers’ tailpipes.
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The agency estimates the gas fee increase will be at most 10 cents a gallon – but the Western States Petroleum Association believes the spike could be as much as 76 cents a gallon.
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Critics of the cap and trade program say Californians will see their money slipping away at the grocery store because everything bought at the market is shipped on trucks that use fuel – and that cost will get passed on to consumers.  (go to article)

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Non-OPEC Producers Called on to Cut Oil Output After Rout

Bloomberg News -- Oil producers outside of OPEC should cut their “irresponsible” output with excess supplies harming the market, the United Arab Emirates energy minister said.

The oil market is oversupplied by 2 million barrels a day, Mohammed Al Sada, Qatar’s energy minister, said in an interview on the sidelines of a conference in Abu Dhabi. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has produced about 30 million barrels a day since January 2013 while global output climbed more than 2 million barrels a day to 93.6 million barrels, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.  (go to article)

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No oil price conspiracy: Saudi chief

Yahoo News -- Saudi Arabia's oil chief says allegations the kingdom conspired to bring oil prices down to harm its neighbours are false.

Petroleum Minister Ali Naimi said at an oil summit in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday that "the best thing for everybody is to let the most efficient produce."

"Recently, certain analyses and articles have spoken of a politically motivated Saudi plot, using oil and its prices against this country or that... This is baseless," he said.

His remarks were likely meant to alleviate concerns by some of the oil giant's neighbours that the kingdom is forcing lower oil prices to damage their economies.

An OPEC meeting last month failed to agree on production cuts, mainly because of Saudi opposition. OPEC controls about 40 per cent of the world oil market.  (go to article)

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Your car's hidden 'black box' and how to keep it private

Fox News -- Most commercial airplanes have an indestructible flight recorder known as a "black box” — even though the casing is actually bright orange — that records information from the flight computers. Another box records cockpit audio and other sources around the plane. In the event of a crash, investigators can recover the black boxes and find out exactly what happened.

Cars can have black boxes, too. In fact, it's a good bet your current car has one.

(...)

The information includes vehicle speed, throttle position, airbag deployment times, whether the brakes were applied, whether seat belts were worn, engine speed, steering angles and more.  (go to article)

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US says traffic deaths fell 3 percent in 2013

The Charlotte Observer -- The number of traffic deaths nationwide dropped about 3 percent last year, and the rate of deaths per 100 million miles traveled tied a record low, according to government statistics.

But the number of people killed on the roads rose in two categories: Crashes involving big trucks and bicycles.

A total of 32,719 people died in U.S. crashes in 2013, down from 33,782 in 2012, according to figures compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That's about 90 deaths per day, compared with 92 in 2012.

People died at a rate of 1.1 per 100 million miles driven, tying a record low set in 2011. Deaths caused by drunken and distracted drivers also fell.
 (go to article)

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Red light cameras do not make driving safer, according to a new study

United Press International, Inc. -- According to a new study out of Chicago, red light cameras do not make driving safer and actually cause more rear-end accidents.

The study found there was a 15 percent reduction in cars crashing at a right angle, but rear-end crashes increased 22 percent in the presence of red light cameras, meaning there was an overall 5 percent increase in crashes.

It would appear that red light cameras cause cars to enter intersections after a red light less often, but drivers are more likely to slam on their brakes to avoid entering the intersection, which can cause an accident. Chicago has the most red light cameras of any U.S. city, and this is the first time such a comprehensive study has been done of the program.
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Oil investors can’t seem to pick the bottom

FINANCIAL POST-Bloomberg News -- Investors betting on a rebound in oil prices are nothing if not tenacious.

They have poured the most money in more than four years into exchange-traded products that track oil as prices fell 18 percent this month. It’s the third consecutive month that the four biggest U.S. funds have received money, during which time futures have plunged 41 percent.

“It’s a testament that after such a wild selloff people are more and more eager to step in and wait for this eventual rebound,” said Stoyan Bojinov, a Chicago-based analyst at ETF Database. “Oil looked cheap a month ago and it’s even cheaper today, that’s why we continue to see these inflows.”

Oil prices have tumbled by half since June amid surging production and slower than expected demand growth. Output in the U.S. is the highest in...  (go to article)

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Hopes, fears, doubts surround Cuba's oil future

yahoo -- MIAMI (AP) — One of the most prolific oil and gas basins on the planet sits just off Cuba's northwest coast, and the thaw in relations with the United States is giving rise to hopes that Cuba can now get in on the action.

It's a prospect welcomed by Cubans desperate for economic growth yet deeply concerning for environmentalists and the tourism industry in the region.

But a Cuban oil boom is unlikely anytime soon even if restrictions on U.S. businesses are relaxed because of low oil prices and far better drilling opportunities elsewhere.

"(Cuba) is not going to be the place where operators come rolling in," says Bob Fryklund, chief strategist for oil and gas exploration and production at the analysis firm IHS.  (go to article)

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Getting a new car? A few tips are in order

Star Tribune -- “Oh what fun it is to ride” intones the mellifluous voice in the holiday commercial for Mercedes-Benz. We’ve all seen the “December to Remember” TV commercials that make us simple folks wonder, “Why didn’t I think of giving my spouse five years of car payments for the holidays?”

The holiday auto buying promotions do work, said Scott Lambert, executive vice president of the Minnesota Auto Dealers Association. “Years ago, the holiday time was slow, but I give Lexus a lot of credit for changing that,” he said. “It must work because all the manufacturers have holiday promotions now. It’s generally a good time of year, and with gas prices down, that’s helping too.”

I’ve never thought of giving anyone a new vehicle for Christmas. I don’t travel in the circle of people who can. I don’t even tra  (go to article)

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Feds approve another pipeline expansion to accommodate Marcellus Shale

NPR -- The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved an addition to the interstate Transco pipeline that will help more Marcellus Shale gas get to New Jersey. The Leidy Southeast line is essentially a series of “loops” totaling about 30 miles planned for both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. FERC overruled objections from environmentalists who say the line would damage wetlands and farms. The $738 million project is part of a push to expand pipeline capacity in Pennsylvania in order to transport Marcellus Shale gas to places of high demand.

The proliferation of new gas and other pipelines has become a big issue in New Jersey, largely because many of the projects that have been approved go through lands set aside with taxpayer funds for preservation, including the New Jersey Highlands and the  (go to article)

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US Virgin Islands legislators reject bill to sell Hovensa oil refinery

Fox News -- Legislators in the U.S. Virgin Islands have rejected a proposal to sell the former Hovensa oil refinery in St. Croix.

Senators voted against an agreement that would have allowed a local company to buy the refinery that closed in early 2012 after years of weak demand and high operating costs. Atlantic Basin Refining Inc. had pledged to employ more than 700 workers and make more than $1.6 billion in fixed payments.

Several senators said in a statement late Friday that they believed the deal would not have benefited the government financially.

Gov. John de Jongh Jr. warned that the legislative action would have serious repercussions on the local economy.

Hovensa was once one of the region's largest oil refineries and employed 2,000 workers when it announced the closure.  (go to article)

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Rush to see gravely ill son lands woman in a UHP escort

KUTV 2 News -- Helen "Skeeter" Smith got the dreaded phone call---her son, Randy, was gravely ill in the hospital.

So Helen, 87 years old, hopped in her car in southern Nevada on Friday, jumped on I-15, and started heading north for a 350 mile trip to Ogden.

In central Utah, she "buzzed past" a Utah trooper, who pulled her over and gave her a warning. "He was all nice," said Helen. "Oh yeah, he was just doing his job."

Then Helen had perhaps the best accident she could have hoped for; instead of pulling forward to ease onto the interstate, she put her car in reverse and hit Trooper Jeff Jones' patrol car.  (go to article)

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Move afoot to make city streets nationwide safe for pedestrians

MarketWatch.com -- After a variety of safety efforts have successfully reduced deaths from car crashes, transportation officials around the country are now focusing on another traffic-related problem: a general increase in pedestrian deaths since 2009.

The U.S. saw 4,735 pedestrian deaths in 2013, a slight decline from the previous year but still 15% higher than in 2009, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data released Friday. That compares with the overall 32,719 traffic deaths the U.S. saw in 2013, a 3.1% decline from the previous year and continuing a long-term downward trend.

From shortening crosswalks with “pedestrian safety islands” to lowering speed limits and beefing up enforcement, transportation officials in New York, Los Angeles and other big cities are rethinking how pe  (go to article)

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Car-crash injuries and fatalities in decline

MarketWatch.com -- Deaths in car crashes have fallen by about a quarter in the last decade, new federal data released on Friday show, as safety features built into the latest models have powered a drop in fatalities even as auto-safety recalls have surged.

The fall in deaths in newer cars has been especially sharp, a Wall Street Journal analysis of federal data shows. The number of fatalities in the latest model released each year has fallen by nearly two-thirds in the past decade. In 2013, new cars had a lower fatality rate than cars fresh off the line did just a few years earlier.

Overall, auto deaths fell 3.1% last year over the prior year and the number of people injured in auto crashes fell 2.1%, according to figures...  (go to article)

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