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U.S. EPA Said to Drop Renewable Fuel Quotas Planned for 2014

Bloomberg -- The Environmental Protection Agency today will abandon its proposed rule setting renewable-fuel targets for 2014, according to people familiar with the decision.

The EPA plans to instead propose standards for 2014, 2015 and 2016 next year, according to an administration official who requested anonymity. The EPA could waive the requirements for 2014 altogether or accept whatever has been produced as meeting the mandate.

The agency will announce the change at 11 a.m. Washington time today, the people in contact with administration officials said. The people spoke on the condition they not be identified to discuss the matter before the EPA announcement.

The EPA is about a year late in setting the quotas for ethanol and other renewable fuels for 2014, and with less than six weeks left in th  (go to article)

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How Americans have saved 15 billion gallons of gas

The Globe and Mail -- In 1923, the average vehicle managed 14 mpg and, for the next 50 years, fuel efficiency went downhill.

By 1973, the average was 11.9 mpg. Disappointing, but understandable. This was an era of cheap and plentiful oil. However, the industry’s gas-guzzling ways spun the image of a voracious and wasteful business.

While that image was grounded in fact 40 years ago, something different is true today. A recent study by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute shows fleet-wide fuel economy began to improve after 1973. By 1991, it hit 16.9 mpg, and while it then stalled for a decade and a half, fuel economy across the automotive fleet has taken a dramatic turn for the better since 2007.  (go to article)

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Oil above $80 on China rate cut, possible OPEC move

www.cnbc.com -- Brent crude oil traded above $80 a barrel on Friday after China cut interest rates and on speculation OPEC could agree next week to reduce oil production.

China's central bank cut its benchmark interest rates for the first time in more than two years on Friday to lower borrowing costs and support an economy on track for its slowest annual growth in 24 years.

The rate cut added to a positive mood among oil traders anticipating an agreement by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries on Nov. 27 to trim production in an attempt to bolster oil prices.

Brent rose $1.05 to trade at $80.38 shortly after 9:30 a.m. EDT after touching a high of $81.61 earlier in the morning. The benchmark looked set to snap an eight-week losing streak if the gains were sustained on Friday.  (go to article)

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Toyota Lexus to recall some 2006-2011 models due to fuel leak

Reuters -- (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) will recall 422,509 of its luxury brand Lexus vehicles in the United States because of a possible fuel leak that increases the risk of fire, U.S. regulators said on Friday.

The recall covers Lexus LS from model years 2007 to 2010, Lexus GS from 2006 to 2011 and Lexus IS from 2006 to 2011.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said fuel might leak where the fuel pressure sensor is attached to the fuel delivery pipe. If a spark occurs, fire could start.
Toyota told the NHTSA that it was not aware of any fires or injuries caused by this condition.

Beginning next month, Toyota is to notify owners of various versions of the three models affected and tell them to bring their vehicles into dealerships for repair.  (go to article)

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Carjackers scam Maryland drivers by putting $100 bills on windshields

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS -- You may think a $100 bill randomly appearing on your windshield is an early Christmas present.

But cops in Maryland are warning people to beware — it could be a scam by thieves who want to boost your car.

Heartless criminals are said to be targeting naive vehicle owners by placing the Benjamin in full view on the front window.
 (go to article)

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GasBuddy Outsmart the Pump Sweepstakes Winner Announced

GasBuddy Blog -- If you think gas prices have been low lately, imagine paying $0 at the pump for the entire year. That’s what Brenda Price of Lilburn, Georgia will be paying as GasBuddy’s “Outsmart the Pump” summer sweepstakes winner.

Price and her husband Allen Price are retirees and active volunteers at the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Georgia, a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the poor and disadvantaged in the community. When asked what they plan to do with the winnings, the couple said they plan to volunteer even more, now that gas costs won’t be much of a concern.

“I couldn’t believe we won!” Brenda Price said. “You never think something like this could actually happen to you. We are very blessed. It’s overwhelming.”...  (go to article)

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Buffett’s BNSF Sees Lower Crude Growth on Oil-Price Drop

Bloomberg -- BNSF Railway Co. Chairman Matt Rose said expansion of crude-oil shipments is threatened with the commodity’s decline in price, even as a strengthening U.S. economy boosts rail freight.

The growth of shale-oil production will slow with crude in the $70 dollar-per-barrel range and will be eliminated in the $60 range, Rose said yesterday at the RailTrends conference in New York. If prices drop into the $50 range, output would decline.

“As oil prices come down, the rate of new wells being drilled will fall. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that,” Rose said in an interview. “So the opportunity for more growth goes down as oil prices continue to fall.”
BNSF, owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., has benefited from the surge in crude production at shale fields including  (go to article)

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Canadians Protest TransMountain Pipeline

The Canadian Press -- Pipeline protesters shouted and chanted at Kinder Morgan survey crews, as they arrived under a police escort on Burnaby Mountain.The expanded pipeline would triple capacity to transport Alberta oil to a terminal in Burnaby BC through a tunnel in the mountain.  (go to article)

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Nearly 300 attend public hearing on pipeline plan

The Washington Times -- PEARISBURG, Va. (AP) - Nearly 300 people attended the Giles County Board of Supervisors’ public hearing on a proposed natural gas pipeline from West Virginia to Virginia.

The Roanoke Times reports (http://bit.ly/11BCMVu ) that executives of the two companies pushing the 300-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline fielded questions Thursday night about the proposed route and the project’s environmental impact. They also were targeted by critics, including one person who shouted, “How do you sleep at night?”

 (go to article)

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Russia's foreign minister: there should be no intervention in global oil production

Fox News -- MOSCOW – Russia's foreign minister says there should be no intervention in global energy production, even as the country's economy takes a hit from rapidly falling oil prices.

After a meeting with his Saudi counterpart in Moscow, Sergei Lavrov said both Russia and Saudi Arabia did not want oil production targets to be affected by "political or geopolitical designs."

The theory that the United States has manipulated global oil production to bring down prices is a popular theme on state-owned television in Russia, where the economy and state budget are heavily dependent on oil exports.  (go to article)

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Oil nears $80 on possible OPEC cut, strong U.S. data

Yahoo Finance -- LONDON (Reuters) - Brent crude oil rose towards $80 a barrel on Friday on speculation OPEC could agree output cuts at a meeting next week, with strong U.S. economic data also bolstering prices.

Venezuela reiterated its call for production cuts, with Foreign Minister Rafael Ramirez saying it was willing to curb its own output if the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed to reduce production at its Nov. 27 gathering.

Libya and Ecuador have also called for OPEC to cut output.

Iran urged fellow OPEC members to shore up oil prices, which have fallen 30 percent since June as new supplies from North America have overwhelmed demand at a time of lacklustre global economic growth.

"I hear more and more sounds indicating that markets are expecting a possible cut in OPEC product  (go to article)

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Colorado to test pay-by-the-mile fee as gas-tax alternative

Denver Business Journal -- Don't like paying the gas tax at the pump? How about a tax on the miles you drive?

The Colorado Department of Transportation is planning to launch a small pilot study of the "vehicle miles traveled" (VMT) fee with about 100 volunteers in 2015, Don Hunt, the agency's executive director, said Thursday.

VMT is seen as an alternative way to raise money for transportation and highway construction projects that traditionally have relied on money raised from taxes on every gallon of gasoline purchased.  (go to article)

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Cold triggers tire sensors: don't ignore your TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) !

GasBuddy Blog -- Image From ..bostonglobe.comWhile much of the country was blanketed with snow this week and more may be  on the way in the Great Lakes... maybe the last thing you want to worry about is your tire pressure.  After all, if you've been buried in places like Buffalo, it may be some time before you even find your vehicle, let alone drive it. 

Once you turn the heat on and get behind the wheel, don't be surprised if there's a light on your dashboard that you're not familiar with. When it comes to our cars, steep temperature drops can trigger a sign of winter that we don’t welcome: a yellow or orange low tire pressure warning light.When your light comes on, your car is simply telling you that you need more air in your tire and this time of year, the warning is usually related to steep drops in temperature. What should you do?  Don't ignore it. ...  (go to article)

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U.S. regulator to Chrysler's Marchionne: get act in gear on Jeep recall

Reuters -- WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. government safety regulators on Thursday told Chrysler Group LLC Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne that the company "have to get their act in gear" to speed up repairs of recalled Jeep SUVs that face a heightened fire risk.

David Friedman, deputy director of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, was asked by reporters if he was satisfied with Chrysler's performance in adding trailer hitches to affected Jeep SUVs to protect them in lower speed rear-end crashes.

"No. In fact, this morning I sent a letter to the chairman and CEO of Chrysler telling them they have to get their act in gear. They have to make sure they're getting those parts in the hands of consumers," Friedman said.

Chrysler is a unit of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Marchionne is chair  (go to article)

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Takata executive warns about ability to fix deadly air bag flaw

Reuters-Yahoo -- WASHINGTON/DETROIT (Reuters) - An executive from Japan's Takata Corp told U.S. senators on Thursday the supplier is urgently trying to ramp up replacement parts for millions of vehicles fitted with potentially deadly air bags, but said it may not be able to move quickly enough.

The U.S. auto safety regulator also warned of the risks of moving to a nationwide recall, as senators have urged, saying such a move could divert replacement parts from humid regions where the defective air bags are more likely to rupture upon deployment, shooting metal shards into cars.

At least five fatalities have been linked to the defect so far, mostly in the United States.

 (go to article)

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Iran Vows to Guard Oil-Market Share as OPEC to Review Output

Bloomberg -- Iran will protect its share of global crude sales under all circumstances, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said, as OPEC members prepare to meet next week to review production levels.

The Persian Gulf nation can double oil exports in two months if sanctions against are removed, Zanganeh said, according to the ministry’s news website Shana.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will gather on Nov. 27 in Vienna to assess its collective output amid a supply glut and a 30 percent drop in prices this year. Iran’s crude output has languished under international economic sanctions that deter foreign energy investors and limit its exports to approximately 1 million barrels a day.

“Under no circumstance will Iran decrease its share of the global market, not even by one barrel,”...  (go to article)

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TransCanada Energy East faces new hurdle with demands from Quebec

Bloomberg News -- TransCanada Corp.’s proposed Energy East pipeline is facing another obstacle in Quebec as the province sets conditions for the project linking the oilsands to the East Coast.

Quebec is requiring TransCanada meet seven conditions before allowing construction of the pipeline, according to a copy of a Nov. 18 letter by David Heurtel, the provincial environment minister, to TransCanada Chief Executive Officer Russ Girling obtained by Bloomberg News and first revealed by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. Nov. 20.

Mounting criticism from environmental groups is stalling plans for pipelines to expand markets for Canada’s rising heavy crude supplies. Quebec’s conditions risk delaying Energy East and are the latest setback for TransCanada, after the defeat of a U.S. Senate measure this week to ex  (go to article)

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Region's motorists give thanks for cheaper gas, plan to hit the road

Saint Paul Pioneer Press -- Average gas prices have fallen below $3 a gallon in Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Dakotas, encouraging more drivers to hit the road for the Thanksgiving weekend since 2007.

In Minnesota, the average price was $2.79 this week, according to AAA, with some stations in Bemidji and Twin Cities suburbs reporting prices as low as $2.55, and the lowest price since the fall of 2010.

The current average price in Wisconsin was $2.89. Among the state's metro areas, Milwaukee has the lowest average price at $2.84, down from $3.18 a month ago.

For the first time in four years, the average price for gas in North Dakota has dropped below $3 per gallon, and that price could be here to stay, officials said. North Dakota gas stations reported an average of $2.99 per gallon this week, dropping 18 cents from  (go to article)

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Explosion kills 1, injures 3 on oil and gas platform in Gulf of Mexico off Louisiana coast

Star Tribune -- NEW ORLEANS — An explosion occurred on an offshore oil and gas platform in the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday, killing one person and injuring three.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said Fieldwood Energy reported the explosion on its Echo Platform just before 3 p.m. about 12 miles off Louisiana's coast. A telephone call to the Houston, Texas-based company was not immediately returned.

The bureau said in a statement that the platform was not in production at the time of the explosion and damage was limited to the area. The statement said there was no indication that any oil had spilled into the ocean.

Bureau spokeswoman Chauntra Rideaux said the injured workers were being treated at a medical facility. She did not say where or have their conditions.

She said the explosion  (go to article)

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CSX Warns Buffalo Snow May Cause Delays on Main Crude Oil Route

Reuters via Downstream Today -- CSX Corp warned customers on Thursday that a massive snowstorm in Buffalo, New York, may cause delays of up to 48 hours on deliveries along its main crude oil by rail route.

"Customers with shipments over the high-volume Buffalo line should continue to expect delays up to 48 hours," the company said in a customer service advisory.

The CSX line carries crude from Chicago to Albany, New York, where it is loaded onto ships that sail to Irving's refinery in St. John, in New Brunswick, Canada, or taken to refineries in the Philadelphia area. It passes through Buffalo, which is digging out of more than five feet of snow, with more expected.

Many trains bypass Albany and head south along the River Line to Phillips 66's refinery in Linden, New Jersey or Philadelphia Energy's Solutions refinery  (go to article)

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The Lexus LF-C2 Concept: Topless, Not Convertible

New York Times -- LOS ANGELES — The Lexus LF-C2 concept, introduced here on Wednesday at the 2014 Los Angeles auto show, is the ultimate in topless motoring. Seriously. It has no top at all. That’s because, Lexus announced, it’s a “roadster concept.” In Lexus’ thinking, it doesn’t need a top.

Lexus revealed little about the car at the show.

“Today we’re here to share with you what happens when we take our signature look, which is critical to our identity in the luxury market, and incorporate it into a fun ‘what if’ concept,” Jeff Bracken, the group vice president and general manager of Lexus, who introduced the car, said in a statement. “The result is the LF-C2. This concept celebrates our design identity and kicks it up a notch — actually, make that several notches. Open top, gorgeous at a glance and jus  (go to article)

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Oil News: Royal Dutch Shell Plc Explains the Real Problem with Oil Prices

Motley Fool -- The spot price of Brent Crude has fallen more than 20% over the last six months. That's taken oil from over $100 a barrel to around $80 a barrel. There have been many reasons given for the drop, including the U.S. energy boom. However, Royal Dutch Shell Plc (NYSE: RDS-B ) provided what could be the most frightening reason of all.

A global commodity
Oil is a global commodity; what happens in one country impacts what's goes on around the world. For example, the United States has pretty much kept its oil from the export market since the 1970s. That's caused all sorts of dislocations domestically.

Recently so much shale oil found its way to the Cushing Oklahoma hub that the inventory range between 2009-2013 was well above historical averages, according to the U.S. Energy Information Adminis  (go to article)

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Oil and schools don't mix, enviro groups say

Rochester Democrat & Chronicle -- About 350 New York state schools, including at least 63 in Monroe County, lie within a mile of railroad tracks used by trains carrying volatile crude oil, a coalition of environmental and other advocacy groups said Thursday.

The groups urged state and federal official to bolster emergency planning at those educational facilities and to require crude-oil trains to travel more slowly near schools.

"We are deeply concerned about the growing number of crude oil rail cars passing through the Hudson Valley and across New York State every day," said Claire Barnett, executive director of the Albany-based Health Schools Network. "A catastrophic event, should it happen near an occupied school, could devastate a community for a generation or more."
 (go to article)

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Low Gas Prices Will Increase Thanksgiving Traffic

www,baltimore.cbslocal.com -- This Thanksgiving, Maryland traffic is expected to be at its highest volume since 2007.

AAA Mid-Atlantic estimates Maryland holiday travel will increase by 3.2 percent compared to last year. Almost 100,000 Marylanders are expected take road trips this Thanksgiving because gas prices are the lowest they’ve been since 2009.

“The nation’s overall economic picture is brighter than it was this time last year, helping to fuel consumer confidence and drive the increase in travel for this year’s Thanksgiving holiday,” said Ragina Cooper Averella, Manager of Public and Government Affairs at AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Improvements in several key economic factors, including employment, GDP and disposable income, are motivating consumers to open up their wallets and get away for the holiday.”

The Maryland  (go to article)

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North Dakota conditioning rules draw ire of Bakken operators

Platts -- North Dakota oil and gas operators claim that pending state rules to condition Bakken crude oil before it is shipped by rail could cost them tens of millions of dollars, imperil pipeline and gas gathering infrastructure and create a jurisdictional clash with federal regulators.

In dozens of comments submitted to North Dakota's Industrial Commission Wednesday, companies, including Hess, Marathon Oil and Continental Resources, and oil industry groups pushed against the rules which would require Bakken crude to have an RVP of 13.7 psi or below before it is shipped by rail.

Nathan Savage, a senior vice president of Savage Services Corporation, which owns and operates a petroleum services hub in Trenton, North Dakota, said the requirements are "unworkable, from a logistical, operational and c  (go to article)

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TransCanada Sees Crude-by-rail Investment Even if Keystone Built

Reuters -- TransCanada Corp is in talks to get into the crude-by-rail business and will probably do so even if its long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline gets its U.S. permits next year, its chief executive said on Wednesday.

While Canada's No. 2 pipeline operator has not yet signed any definitive agreements, it is in active negotiations with producers and other shippers on opportunities, CEO Russ Girling said on a conference call.

"If I were to put a probability one it, I'd say there's a better than 50-50 chance that we will be in that business in some form or fashion in the future," he said.

Girling added that with Canadian and U.S. oil production rapidly expanding, TransCanada expects rail will be a larger part of the transportation mix going forward, "so it's likely a business that we're in long-t  (go to article)

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Thanksgiving travelers will see cheaper gas, but pricier airfares, hotels

Marketwatch -- SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — More U.S. residents will travel for Thanksgiving this year than any other year since 2007, but holiday travel will be pricier for some, travel and leisure group AAA said Thursday.

AAA predicted that 46.3 million people in the U.S. will travel 50 miles or more during the holiday, a 4.2% increase from 2013.

Of those, almost 90% will travel by car and see the lowest Thanksgiving gasoline prices in five years, AAA said.

U.S. retail gasoline averaged $2.85 a gallon on Wednesday. It averaged $3.28 a gallon on Thanksgiving 2013. Gasoline prices have fallen as crude-oil prices have slumped to multiyear lows in recent months, with the perception that supplies have outstripped demand.

Air travel for the holiday — which AAA defines as Wednesday, Nov. 26, t  (go to article)

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Oil halts losing streak, pushes higher ahead of OPEC meeting

Marketwatch -- SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Crude-oil futures rose Thursday, snapping a string of losses as investors awaited for the upcoming OPEC meeting — just a week away — for a firmer direction on supplies and thus on prices.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures for delivery in December CLZ4, +0.94% rose 56 cents, or 0.7%, to trade at $75.01 a barrel. Futures on Wednesday closed lower for a third straight session.

January Brent crude LCOF5, +1.23% on London’s ICE Futures exchange rose 73 cents, or 1%, to $78.86 a barrel. Brent has also closed lower for three consecutive sessions.

Chinese factory activity fell to its lowest level in six months in November, with the preliminary HSBC China Manufacturing PMI falling to 50.0, compared with a final reading of 50.4  (go to article)

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Diesel consumers see little drop in price, some see spikes

GasBuddy Blog -- It's been a lousy time for diesel consumers, who have been forced to watch on the sidelines as gasoline prices have fallen an average of 82c/gal since the end of June. In the same time frame, average diesel prices have only dropped 29c/gal. So what in the world is going on?

For diesel consumers, you've probably noticed over the last few years that the gap in price between diesel and gasoline has remained high. Several factors have led to this- diesel demand has been strong around the globe as gasoline demand has continued to weaken over the last few years. Because of the strong demand, U.S. refineries have increased the amount of fuel they've been exporting. In the chart provided, you can see the amount of distillates (diesel is a distillate fuel) exported has risen to near 1.5 million barrels per day. ...  (go to article)

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Prepare for $95 oil in 2015: HSBC

Yahoo Finance -- In the latest contribution to the heated debate over the price of oil, HSBC has trimmed its forecast for Brent crude next year by $5, but added that it was not convinced of persistent weakness throughout 2015.
HSBC cut its Brent crude price assumption for the full year next year to $90, down from $95, but predicted that short-term price pressure will "sow the seeds" for higher prices in the longer term.

Read More US shale and OPEC oil: Game of chicken?

The bank has also lowered its Brent price forecast for the fourth quarter of this year from $92 to $85, and sees the oil price climbing $5 a quarter in 2015 to end the year at around $95.

The forecast comes at odds with a number of other market predictions, including that of the International Energy Agency, which said prices could fall  (go to article)

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Seven Commodities With Collapsing Prices

MSN Money -- Several factors behind the commodities drop


Earlier this year, the International Energy Administration (IEA) and Bank of America both said that the United States has become the world’s largest oil producer, passing Saudi Arabia and Russia. American oil production growth and a rallying dollar have not only increased oil supplies, but have also led to dramatic price drops.

In addition to oil, the United States is also among the world’s largest producers of corn, soybeans, cotton, and wheat. However, the prices of these commodities — which are all traded on the futures market — have dropped noticeably in the last year.

For some commodities, the drop in prices has been tied to increased supplies. Notably, for many crops, increases in production have created a supply glut, which has lea  (go to article)

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Cadillac's New Boss: We're Going To Build A $250,000 Super-Caddy Someday

Forbes -- Cadillac’s new president, Johann deNysschen, envisions a $250,000 ultra-luxury car in the brand’s showroom one day, a prospect that seems hard to fathom for a carmaker still struggling to find its footing among European rivals in the $40,000-$50,000 price range.

But deNysschen, the former president of Audi and Infiniti, says with time, it can happen.

“It’s too early today for a $250,000 Cadillac, but in 15 years it won’t be,” he said in an interview at the Los Angeles Auto Show. “We have to earn our worth.”

In his first three months in Cadillac’s top job, deNysschen has already made some big moves: a plan to relocate the brand’s headquarters to New York and a new naming strategy for its model lineup, similar to the letters and numbers used by European luxury brands. At the L.A. show,...  (go to article)

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Encana’s CEO is stepping on the accelerator even as oil prices plunge 30%

Bloomberg News -- Facing a 30% slide in the price of crude in the past 5 months, the gas giant capped a year of asset sales and purchases worth more than $14B to focus more on crude, just as oil fell into a slump

Suttles remains confident in the shift and plans to expand drilling to capitalize on properties that promise higher returns, even after crude prices declined from a high in Jun of $107 to $75

“We’re looking at this as an environment to accelerate, not to slow down.” A 3rd-gen W TX oil man reassured employees that the oil price decline is “annoying, but it’s not threatening

Suttles, who took over Encana in Jun 2013, has cut head count by 25% and sold lower-margin gas properties to snap up drilling acreage that will still be profitable if prices drop to $50.

Encana brought in 50% more cash  (go to article)

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Brent Gains First Time in 4 Days as Investors Weigh OPEC

Bloomberg -- Brent crude gained for the first time in four days as investors weighed the potential outcome of next week’s OPEC meeting.

Leading members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries are resisting calls to reduce output while others including Venezuela seek action to support prices at a Nov. 27 meeting in Vienna. An OPEC production cut looks increasingly likely, Morgan Stanley said in a report yesterday. Trading volatility rose to the highest in more than two years.

“The market is eyeing next week’s OPEC meeting for some kind of movement,” said Gene McGillian, a senior analyst at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut. “OPEC needs to take action and make the cuts. The market is still under pressure but we are close to the bottom.”

Brent for January settlement gained 83 cents  (go to article)

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Oil at $75 Means Patches of Texas Shale Turn Unprofitable

Bloomberg -- With crude at $75 a barrel, the price Goldman Sachs Group Inc. says will be the average in the first three months of next year, 19 U.S. shale regions are no longer profitable, according to data compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Those areas, which include parts of the Eaglebine and Eagle Ford in East and South Texas, pumped about 413,000 barrels a day, according to the latest data available from Drillinginfo Inc. and company presentations. That compares with the 1.03 million-barrel gain in daily national output over the past year, government figures show.
The expansion of U.S. oil supply to more than 9 million barrels a day is contributing to a global glut, driving down prices by as much as 32 percent since June. The data compiled by BNEF, which take into account the costs of drill  (go to article)

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Cheap-Oil Era Tilts Geopolitical Power to U.S.

Bloomberg -- A new age of abundant and cheap energy supplies is redrawing the world’s geopolitical landscape, weakening and potentially threatening the legitimacy of some governments while enhancing the power of others.  (go to article)

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Minivans do poorly in new crash tests

Detroit Free Press -- The Honda Odyssey was the only minivan to earn the highest safety rating in new crash tests by the insurance industry.  (go to article)

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U.S. consumer prices unchanged in October

Detroit News -- Washington — U.S. consumer prices were unchanged in October as a fourth straight decline in gasoline costs helped to keep inflation at bay.

The steady reading for inflation last month followed a tiny 0.1 percent increase in September and a 0.2 percent drop in August, the Labor Department said Thursday. Energy prices fell 1.9 percent last month while food costs edged up a slim 0.1 percent.

Core inflation, which excludes volatile energy and food, rose 0.2 percent in October. For the past 12 months, overall inflation is up 1.7 percent while core inflation is up a similarly modest 1.8 percent.

Both gains are well below the Federal Reserve’s 2 percent inflation target, giving the central bank leeway to keep interest rates low to boost the economy without worrying about inflation.  (go to article)

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Iran nuclear talks may drive OPEC decision

Financial Post -- Whether or not the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) decides to cut production at its Nov. 27 meeting may hinge on Iran’s nuclear negotiations.
Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (U.S., China, Russia, Britain and France) plus Germany are meeting in Vienna to try to establish a long-term agreement on Iran’s nuclear program before a Nov. 24 deadline.
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Drivers talk on cell phones less but surf, e-mail more

USA Today -- A survey that has tracked driving behavior for six years finds that talking on hand-held phones while driving is dropping while surfing the Internet, reading email and scanning social media is rising.

Despite nearly a decade-long national fight against distracted driving, the percentage of drivers engaging in smart phone-related activities behind the wheel has steadily increased over the past six years, a new study shows.

State Farm has conducted an annual survey since 2009 to measure drivers' attitudes and behaviors related to distracted driving. Over that period, the percentage of drivers who report talking on a hand-held cell phone while driving has decreased, and those who admit to texting behind the wheel has remained stable.  (go to article)

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Showdown looms between US gov't, air bag maker

ABC Channel 27 - Pennsyvania -- A showdown is looming between U.S. safety regulators and a Japanese company that makes air bags linked to multiple deaths and injuries. Car companies and the driving public are caught in the middle.

The air bag inflators can explode with too much force, sending metal shrapnel into the passenger compartment.

Takata Corp. insists that current recalls covering 8 million U.S. cars in high-humidity areas are sufficient. But the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wants millions more added to the recalls, citing evidence the problem can occur outside of high-humidity regions.

"Takata's initial response, yes, an unwillingness to move forward," David Friedman, the agency's deputy administrator, said Tuesday. "Everyone needs to understand that Takata needs to act."

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Transocean idles three more rigs, stock falls

Houston Chronicle -- HOUSTON – Rig contractor Transocean has shuttered three more offshore drilling rigs, including two ultra-deepwater floaters off the coast of Nigeria, it said Wednesday.  (go to article)

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TransCanada plans to spend big, but project uncertainty looms

Globe and Mail -- TransCanada Corp. has laid the groundwork for a multibillion-dollar capital plan over the next decade, but the bulk of the spending is earmarked for projects with an uncertain future.

The Calgary-based pipeline and power giant said Wednesday that it would spend as much as $46-billion through to 2020 to connect surging supplies of shale gas and oil sands crude in Western Canada to growth markets. But roughly 70 per cent of the total, or $33-billion, is dedicated to projects bogged down by political wrangling or economic inertia.
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Gulf to reject OPEC cuts to guard oil market share: analysts

AFP -- Kuwait City (AFP) - Gulf oil producers led by Saudi Arabia will likely reject output cuts at an OPEC meeting next week unless they are guaranteed their market share in a highly competitive market, analysts say.

The stance of Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia is seen as crucial for a positive OPEC decision on reducing supplies to boost crude prices, which have shed a third of their value since June.

The four pump a total 16.2 million barrels per day, or 52 percent of the 12-member Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, but they account for two-thirds of the cartel's exports, according to figures from OPEC and other agencies.  (go to article)

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Ford Recalls Fusions for Software Problem

Associated Press (AP) Published in Product Design and Development -- Ford is recalling about 65,000 Fusion midsize cars in North America because the ignition keys can be removed if the transmission is not in park due to a software problem.

The recall covers certain Fusions, including gas-electric hybrids, from the 2014 and 2015 model years. Ford traced the problem to a computer program in the instrument cluster. Keys can be removed 30 minutes after the ignition switch is turned off if the cars are left in gear. That violates U.S. safety regulations and increases the risk of cars rolling away unexpectedly.
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Agency proposes fee for electric cars

Associated Press (AP) Published by ECN -- Wisconsin would join five other states that impose special fees on owners of electric vehicles, in an attempt to help make up for revenue drivers of those fuel-efficient cars aren't paying in gas taxes, under a road-funding proposal put forward by Gov. Scott Walker's administration.

The $50 annual charge, which would raise about $4 million a year, is part of $751 million in new taxes and fees proposed Friday by Walker's Department of Transportation to pay for road projects. Walker hasn't commented specifically on the proposal, which he can alter before releasing his state budget early next year. The budget then goes to the Legislature for consideration.
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GM: Parts are now ready to fix SUVs that can catch on fire

GasBuddy Blog -- For the owners of 189,000 General Motors SUVs, the days of parking them outside the garage for fear that they could catch fire will soon come to an end.AP reports that GM said it will start notifying customers this week that they can take their SUVs to dealers, who will replace faulty power window switches.The recall of SUVs, mostly from the 2006 and 2007 model years, was announced June 30, but it took more than four months to get replacement parts ready. It covers the Chevrolet TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy, Buick Rainier, Isuzu Ascender and Saab 97-X, mainly in North America. It was the third recall for the same problem, but the first two didn't work. ...  (go to article)

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Senate vote could end traffic cameras in Ohio

Jourmal News -- COLUMBUS — Ohio moved a step closer to effectively shutting down traffic cameras that automatically spit out tickets to red light runners and speeders in a move that is angering officials for local governments that rely on the millions of dollars in revenue those tickets bring.  (go to article)

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Gas Is Only Fossil-Fuel Loser as Coal Gains Share

Bloomberg -- Natural gas was the only fossil fuel to experience a slowdown in global demand growth last year as coal and renewables gained market share in power generation, the International Center for Natural Gas Information said.

Demand for gas gained 1 percent in 2013 after rising 2.4 percent a year earlier and 2.8 percent in the decade to 2012, the Paris-based center, known as Cedigaz, said today in an e-mailed report. Coal consumption advanced 3 percent last year and crude-oil usage gained 1.4 percent, said the group, which counts companies from OAO Gazprom to BP Plc among its members.

“As seen in Europe, the double whammy of cheap coal and an increasing share of renewable power seriously undermines the business model of gas-fired power plants,” Cedigaz said. “Even in emerging economies, gas...  (go to article)

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Special fund started to provide military families heating assistance

The Augusta Chronicle -- Natural gas provider SCANA Energy is joining forces with United Military Care to help Georgia service members, veterans and their families stay warm through a special fund they’ve started.

The fund, launched on Veterans Day, has raised around $5,650 and so far helped pay heating bills or open new accounts for 10 military families in Georgia who depend on natural gas for warmth.

United Military Care President Kim Scofi said the nonprofit organization also has around 10 other families who have applied for heating assistance through the program.

SCANA Energy started the fund with a $5,000 donation and plans to match every dollar donated above $5,000 – up to $10,000 – through February.

The fund is open to families of active-duty service members, including National Guard and Reserve, and...  (go to article)

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Thanksgiving driving, what to expect on the highways and why

Cleveland.com -- Here's what you need to know about Thanksgiving holiday driving. And why it can be a nightmare.

•Only four in 10 Americans say their Thanksgiving plans include traveling.

•But most of them will drive rather than fly.

•And about 30 percent are planning round trips of 500 miles or more, meaning the interstate highways will be busy as usual.

•Another 31 percent are driving between 200 and 500 miles.

•Two-thirds of these families are planning to drive either on Wednesday before Thanksgiving or on Thanksgiving Day itself -- helping to create the annual surge that clogs even the largest interstate highways.

•More than 20 percent of these families will head home Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. Another 42 percent will drive home over the weekend.  (go to article)

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