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U.K. Launches Driverless Car Campaign

pcmag.com -- The U.K. began testing driverless cars on public roads late last year, but this marks the first time the British government is turning to its constituents for help. The project is being funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and the Department for Transport, in partnership with the Technology Strategy Board.
Project candidates must be business-led and need to demonstrate close collaboration with partners like tech developers, supply chain companies, and manufacturers.  (go to article)

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Princeton grad from Dartmouth nears 'holy grail' of green energy storage

The Chronicle Herald Halifax Nova Scotia -- When Danielle Fong was taking her PhD in plasma physics at Princeton University at the age of 17, she wasn’t driven to be the best — she was driven by an urgency to solve the world’s energy problem.

Though she missed her mother’s cooking back home in Dartmouth — “My mom makes the best omelettes” — Fong focused on her mission to make green energy a practical reality for everyone.

“Solving the energy problem is the problem of my generation,” she said Tuesday.

And the 26-year-old believes she has come up with a way to do that — she just has to prove it to the industrial sector.

Fong believes she has cracked the problem of how to store renewable energy, like wind power, so the resource can still be used when the wind isn’t blowing. Think about it: storage is critical when you’re relying o  (go to article)

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Hyundai recalls 883,000 Sonata sedans in U.S. for transmission issue

msn money -- DETROIT, July 30 (Reuters) - South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Co will recall about 883,000 Sonata mid-sized sedans in the United States and Puerto Rico because a potentially defective transmission-shift cable could increase the risk of a crash.

The recall affects certain Sonata cars from model years 2011 to 2014, in which the transmission-shift cable could detach from the shift-lever pin, causing the gear selection not to match the indicated gear, according to documents posted Wednesday by U.S. safety regulators.

That would cause the cars to move in an unintended or unexpected direction, the documents by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said.

The automaker identified 1,171 warranty claims and seven incidents related to this issue, the documents said.

Hyundai offic  (go to article)

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Maine Police Officer Pulls Over Driver for Speeding, Saves His Life

HuffingtonPost.com --

KENNEBUNK, Maine (AP) — Not many people can say they owe their lives to a near speeding ticket.

But 86-year-old Gavin Falconer can. He was pulled over Saturday by a police officer in Kennebunk, Maine. But shortly after handing over his license....  (go to article)

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Ford and GM sued for millions over CD-ripping tech in cars

Computerworld -- The copyright protection arm of the U.S. music industry is suing Ford and GM because the companies sold cars with CD players that can rip music to the vehicle's hard drive.

The Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies (AARC), a non-profit group representing more then 300,000 artists, filed the suit against the car companies and their infotainment system tech suppliers, Denso and Clarion.

The lawsuit calls out a feature in Ford vehicles called Jukebox, which records songs from CDs to the infotainment system's hard drive. The Jukebox function has been available on Ford vehicles since at least the 2011 model year.

For example, the owner's manual explains, "Your mobile media navigation system has a Jukebox which allows you to save desired tracks or CDs to the hard drive for later access.  (go to article)

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Six Unsung Fracking Fortunes

Forbes -- The shale-drilling revolution is quickly transforming the U.S. economy, and the biggest winners are not the only people drilling for oil and natural gas. (Also See: LyondellBasel, The Greatest Deal Of All Time)

The Chao Family

The family of the late Ting Tsung Chao runs and owns more than a third of Westlake Chemical , the Houston-based chemical producer whose profits are being supercharged now by cheap natural-gas-based feedstock. Siblings James, Albert and Dorothy are worth a combined $4.3 billion after Westlake’s stock rose sixfold in the last five years.

Warren Buffett and Carl Icahn

Two of the nation’s richest investors have benefited from insufficient pipeline capacity. Millions of barrels of oil are being moved around America by train, and Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway owns railr  (go to article)

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Mazda5 and Nissan Leaf lose their Consumer Reports recommendation

Consumer Reports -- Only one among a dozen small cars earned a Good score in the latest crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS): the Mini Cooper Countryman. Four others—Fiat 500L, Mazda5, Nissan Juke, and Nissan Leaf— earned the lowest score of Poor.

As a result, Consumer Reports will withdraw its recommendation of the Mazda5 and Nissan Leaf. (The 500L and Juke did not score high enough in our tests to be recommended.) Our long-standing criteria for recommending vehicles stipulates that a model score well in our testing, have average or better reliability, and perform adequately if included in crash tests performed by the government and/or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The Mazda5 is an affordable, versatile vehicle that we have enjoyed and endorsed, but this  (go to article)

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The Secret Life of Your Car's VIN

Insure.com -- Your car's vehicle identification number, commonly known as a VIN, may look like a meaningless string of random numbers and letters.

But together those 17 digits make up an impressive one-of-a-kind combination, following the car from the factory to the scrap heap.
 (go to article)

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EIA: Crude inventories drop again, gasoline supply steady

GasBuddy Blog -- The Energy Information Administration released its weekly report on the status of petroleum inventories in the United States today. 
Here are some highlights:

CRUDE INVENTORIES:
Crude oil inventories decreased by 3.7 million barrels to a total of 367.4 million barrels. At 367.4 million barrels, inventories are 2.8 million barrels above last year (0.8%) and are in the upper half of the average range for this time of year.

GASOLINE INVENTORIES:
Gasoline inventories increased by 0.4 million barrels to 218.2 million barrels. At 218.2 million barrels, inventories are down 5.2 million barrels, or 2.3% lower than one year ago. Here's how individual regions and their gasoline inventory fared last week: East Coast (-0.2mb); Midwest (-0.7mb); Gulf Coast (+2.0mb); Rockies (-0.1mb); and West Coast (-0.5mb). It is important to note which regions saw increases/decreases as this information likely drives  (go to article)

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Chevy Volt is insurance group's Top Safety Pick

CNN Money -- What's the safest car on the road? It's the one that can avoid getting into a crash all together.

That's why General Motors' Chevy Volt won top marks for safety in small cars.

The Volt was named "Top Safety Pick Plus" Wednesday by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, because besides earning an "acceptable" rating in an actual crash test, the hybrid electric vehicle also has an optional forward collision warning system. It was the only car out of the 12 models tested to have the crash prevention technology.

IIHS submitted twelve small vehicles through a tough crash test called the "small overlap front test." In the test, 25 percent of the vehicle's front end on the driver's side strikes a rigid barrier at 40 miles per hour. It simulates a common head-on collision, ...  (go to article)

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Fla. baby survives after being left in hot minivan

Associated Press -- A 2-month old baby is recovering after being left for about an hour inside a hot minivan parked outside a doctor's office in Florida.

Orlando broadcast stations report the baby's mother told investigators she was inside Timber Creek Pediatrics with her 9-year-old around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday when she realized she'd left the little girl in the van.

Orange County Sheriff's deputies say the mother rushed the baby into the clinic, where doctors were able to stabilize her. She was then taken to Nemour's Children's Hospital.
 (go to article)

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U.S. gas prices drop 9 cents. Miracle? Just law of supply and demand

Tech Times -- A nationwide survey called Lundberg Survey indicates that the average price for regular grade gasoline has dropped 9 cents per gallon in the U.S. Refineries are said to have processed more petroleum, which has resulted in the price decline.

Analysts suggest that the drop in fuel prices has come despite the rising tensions in the Middle East and surge in the global crude oil price. Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg, the president of Lundberg Survey, suggests that U.S. refineries are believed to have abundant supplies of crude oil and now they are reducing the wholesale price to achieve higher sales.

"It's really a mid-summer gift," says Lundberg. "Refiners have been on a kick to run more crude, run at high rates and to cut price. There is an abundance of gasoline, inventories are high, ...  (go to article)

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Oil Market Losing Faith in Libya’s Ability to Ramp Crude

Bloomberg News -- Escalating conflicts in Libya are thwarting a revival of oil output from Africa’s largest crude reserves after a yearlong blockade of eastern ports, just as Societe Generale SA and Barclays Plc predict rising demand.

While the government said in early July that traders could buy cargoes again from Es Sider and Ras Lanuf, the biggest blocked ports, neither has shipped anything. In Tripoli, the capital, firefighters are still battling a blaze at a fuel-storage depot caused by clashes between militias that have been struggling for political power in the three years since the ouster and killing of longtime leader Muammar Qaddafi.

Brent crude futures have been trading as if supplies would be ample. Near-term contracts are priced at a discount to deliveries later in the year, a pattern known a  (go to article)

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WTI Trades Near Two-Week Low Before Stockpile Data

Bloomberg News -- West Texas Intermediate crude rebounded from the lowest price in two weeks before government data that may signal the strength of fuel consumption in the U.S., the world’s biggest oil user. Brent was steady in London.

Futures gained 0.6 percent in New York. U.S. crude inventories probably shrank by 1.25 million barrels to 369.8 million, a Bloomberg News survey showed before Energy Information Administration data today. Supplies dropped by 4.4 million barrels nationwide and by 914,000 at the main storage hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group in Washington, was said to have reported yesterday.

“The API inventories report yesterday was fairly bullish for the market, after showing a large unexpected decline of 4.4 in crude oil stocks, offering upside m  (go to article)

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Toyota is top automaker in first half of 2014; GM slips to 3rd

Detroit News -- Toyota Motor Corp. remained the world’s largest automaker in the first half of 2014, selling 5.097 million vehicles, up 3.8 percent, the automaker said late Tuesday.

The Japanese automaker said in Japan its Toyota unit sold 4.53 million vehicles in the first half of the year, up 3.1 percent, while its Daihatsu unit was up 10.4 percent to 488,000 and its Hino Motors unit was up 2.6 percent to 80,000.

General Motors Co. fell to third place, selling 4.92 million vehicles, up 1.4 percent, while Volkswagen AG sold 4.97 million vehicles in the first half of the year, up 5.9 percent.

Including heavy truck sales, VW topped GM for second place in 2013 with 9.73 million cars and trucks in 2013, compared to GM’s 9.71 million.

The German automaker’s tally includes heavy-duty truck sales from its  (go to article)

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U.S. Oil Prices Fall After Kansas Refinery Fire

Wall Street Journal -- The benchmark U.S. and global oil contracts diverged Tuesday after a refinery fire in Kansas fueled concerns that U.S. crude-oil demand would fall.

Light, sweet crude for September delivery fell 70 cents, or 0.7%, to $100.97 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude on the ICE futures exchange rose 15 cents, or 0.1%, to $107.72 a barrel.  (go to article)

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Gas prices in central Indiana drop to $3 a gallon

Fox -- Gas prices across Indiana are among some of the lowest in the nation. Several stations in Noblesville and Greenfield were selling regular unleaded gasoline for $3.00 a gallon Tuesday. One Shell station near 146th St. and State Road 37 posted $2.99 a gallon.

According to Indygasprices.com, the average price in Indianapolis Tuesday morning was $3.29 and the average price in Indiana was $3.37. The national average is $3.50. One year ago, Americans were paying $3.63 a gallon at the pump.

Triple A experts credit high refinery production for the dip in prices during a time of year when gas is usually most expensive. Prices have dropped for more than 30 days in a row.  (go to article)

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10 Most Power Hungry States in America

Wall St. Cheat Sheet -- Earlier last month we profiled the ten most energy efficient states in the U.S. Well, these next ten states represent an altogether different group. These are the ten states that consume the most energy per capita, according to data and reports from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), and the U.S. Census Bureau.

Surprisingly, many of the states on our list are rural, several boasting less than ten people per square mile according to Census Bureau data, making them among the smallest states in the nation per capita.

These rural states are often also big energy producers, as is the case with states like Texas, Alaska, and Wyoming, all of which appear on our list and all which actually produce more energy than they consume, though they remain some of the biggest energy consumers...  (go to article)

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US to restrict exports of energy technologies to Russia for oil projects

PLATTS -- The US on Tuesday said it will impose restrictions on exports of US energy technologies to Russia for use in deepwater, Arctic offshore or shale oil projects, as part of a sanctions packaged aimed at punishing Moscow for further escalating the crisis in Ukraine.

The export restrictions dovetail with similar measures the EU is expected to impose on Russia later this week.

Under the sanctions, US companies wishing to export such technology to Russia would need to receive permission from the US Department of Commerce.

US officials said the restrictions should not impact Russia's current oil production and sales.

"But it will have a cumulative impact on the development of future fields," an official, who spoke on condition of anonymity told reporters. "The impact of these restrictions...  (go to article)

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How Dodge Packed 707 HP Into the Hellcat Without Destroying It

Wired -- The 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is the most powerful production car a major American automaker has ever produced. The supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI V8 engine delivers a ludicrous 707 horsepower. To put that in perspective, an Oshkosh M1070A1 heavy equipment transporter has 700 horsepower, and it tows 70-ton tanks around battlefields for a living. That’s way more than any passenger vehicle needs, and it’s way more than the average car is built to deal with.

For Dodge engineers, stuffing a huge engine under the hood was the easy part. The real work was in taking a car that’s used to offering 470 hp and making sure it could handle nearly double that. They had to beef up key parts of the engine, exhaust, and transmission to withstand a beating. They had to address federally mandated ...  (go to article)

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EVs, small cars get mixed ratings in crash tests

Detroit News -- Washington— Only one small car out of 12 — BMW’s Mini Cooper Countryman — earned a “good” rating earning from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in its latest round of tough, new front-end crash testing.

The latest testing marked the first time electric cars have been subjected to the challenging IIHS small-overlap front crash test: General Motors Co.’s plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt earned an “acceptable” rating, while the EV Nissan Leaf was rated “poor.”

The Volt was the only car to receive a Top Safety Pick+ award, because it is the only one with an available front crash prevention system. The other five cars that got “good” or “acceptable” ratings were given Top Safety Pick awards. They include the Mini Cooper and the four other cars with “acceptable” ratings ...  (go to article)

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Coordinated Sanctions Aim at Russia’s Ability to Tap Its Oil Reserves

The New York Times -- The United States and Europe kicked off a joint effort on Tuesday intended to curb Russia’s long-term ability to develop new oil resources, taking aim at the Kremlin’s premier source of wealth and power in retaliation for its intervention in Ukraine.

In announcing coordinated sanctions, American and European leaders went beyond previous moves against banking and defense industries in an effort to curtail Russia’s access to Western technology as it seeks to tap new Arctic, deep sea and shale oil reserves. The goal was not to inhibit current oil production but to cloud Russia’s energy future.

The new strategy took direct aim at the economic foundation of Russia, which holds the largest combined oil and gas reserves in the world.  (go to article)

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Study: It Is Feasible to Power California With Renewables

Daily Fusion -- A new Stanford study discovers that it is economically and technically feasible to convert California’s energy infrastructure to renewables like solar energy, wind and hydroelectricity.

Published in Energy, the plan shows the way to a sustainable, inexpensive and reliable energy supply in California that could create tens of thousands of jobs and save billions of dollars in pollution-related health costs.

“If implemented, this plan will eliminate air pollution mortality and global warming emissions from California, stabilize prices and create jobs—there is little downside,” said Mark Z. Jacobson, the study’s lead author and a Stanford professor of civil and environmental engineering.  (go to article)

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Energy Department takes steps to plug methane leaks

Fuel Fix -- The Obama administration on Tuesday rolled out a series of initiatives meant to help pare the amount of methane escaping the nation’s natural gas pipelines, following a government report that faulted the Environmental Protection Agency for doing too little to plug the leaks.

The administrative actions include plans to write efficiency standards for energy-hungry natural gas compressor units and launch a new research and development program aimed at devising better ways to find and plug leaks.

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz also is urging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to consider ways it can give gas transmission companies the certainty that they will recover the costs of replacing leak-prone pipes, swapping out inefficient compressors and making other retrofits. Right now, mos  (go to article)

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Drivers Got High On Federal Weed For A Stoned Driving Study

Huffington Post -- For several months in 2013 and 2014, federal researchers administered free marijuana and alcohol to a group of people and set them loose in a driving simulator -- all in the name of science.

In what may be the most comprehensive study yet of cannabis' effects on drivers, around 20 volunteers, all between the ages of 21 and 55, got high on weed grown at the University of Mississippi, home of the federal government's only sanctioned marijuana farm. On some occasions, the volunteers were also given small amounts of alcohol. Once sufficiently high and/or buzzed, the subjects then performed a series of tests in the National Advanced Driving Simulator at the University of Iowa as researchers looked on.  (go to article)

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The Islamic State appears to be the globe’s newest petrostate

Merced Sun-Star -- WASHINGTON — The Islamic State, like many shady and not-so-shady groups before it, are apparently getting into the oil business. And it seems to suit them as they reportedly are making millions of dollars a day off of it.

The militants, who have conquered broad swaths of Iraq and Syria, are turning to good old-fashioned crime – oil smuggling, in this case – to underwrite its main line of work. The money it can earn from illicit oil sales further bolsters the group’s status as one of the richest self-funded terrorist outfits in the world, dependent not on foreign governments for financial support but on the money its reaped from kidnappings and bank robberies. The group has also managed to steal expensive weaponry that the United States had left for the Iraqi military, freeing it from the  (go to article)

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Senate changes highway bill, risks construction shutdown

The Hill -- Funding for federal highway projects were at a crossroads on Tuesday after the Senate approved legislation that House Republican leaders say is a nonstarter in the lower chamber.

The Senate bill extends funding for the highway projects until December instead of May, as the House prefers.

The differences mean the House and Senate could be ping-ponging legislation back and forth, right up until they are scheduled to leave Washington on Thursday for a five-week recess.

The Transportation Department has warned that, by Friday, it will begin cutting payments to state and local governments for road and transit projects by as much as 28 percent if Congress doesn’t take quick action.  (go to article)

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Iowa GOP hopeful wants higher ethanol mandate

The Hill -- Iowa Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Tuesday to increase the amount of ethanol and biodiesel refiners must use, a day after she was accused of not supporting the mandate that is popular among Iowa farmers.

The EPA has proposed to reduce the volume of ethanol that must be blended into gasoline this year, while keeping the biodiesel mandate the same under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

“As you know, the RFS ensures our national fuel supply provides increased consumer choice, less dependence on foreign oil, improves the environment, and creates jobs for those in my home state of Iowa — and across the country,” Ernst wrote to EPA head Gina McCarthy.
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Canada’s first grid storage system launches in Ontario

PV TECH -- The first grid-connected energy storage facility in Canada, in the country’s leading solar province, Ontario, is now operational.

The 2MW flywheel storage facility will provide regulation service to Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator, allowing it to balance increasing volumes of intermittent renewables on the grid.

Developed by storage specialist start-up NRStor and built by Temporal Power, the facility uses a spinning steel flywheel on magnetic bearings to store energy in the form of kinetic motion, rather than chemicals, as are used in battery systems.

To 'charge' the system, grid to power is used to drive a motor that accelerates the flywheel to high speeds. When discharging, momentum from the wheel drives the motor in reverse to act as a generator.

The so-called Mint  (go to article)

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Euro 6 regs will boost car engine sensors

Electronics Weekly -- The new Euro 6 car emissions standards coming into force in September will require at least 20 sensors per auto engine, says IHS.

Most of the new sensors are related to exhaust aftertreatment because of new emissions laws with NOx reduction a focus alongside that of carbon dioxide.

As a pollutant, NOx has long been a stronger focus for US legislation, which also dictates that the emission parameters are measured under realistic driving cycle conditions.

But European legislators have also become tougher on this gas in recent years. IHS forecasts that the market for NOx sensors will grow at a CAGR of 9.3% during the next five years from 2014 to 2019.

The global market for sensors used in internal combustion engines (ICE) is on the road of steady growth for the next few years, propell  (go to article)

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Condensate Oil Export Decisions 'Not Coordinated' with White House

Reuters -- The U.S. Commerce Department's decision to give two companies permission last month to export lightly processed crude oil was not coordinated with the White House, a top adviser to President Barack Obama told reporters.

"Those were decisions made at the Commerce Department, and were not coordinated with the White House, to my knowledge," said John Podesta, counselor to the president.

"The Commerce licenses were in the regular order of applying their current standards to two license applications," Podesta said, replying to a question on Monday on a call about unrelated White House climate initiatives.

Podesta, who oversees climate change and energy policy, emphasized that the Obama administration has not changed its policy on crude oil exports.

But the administration is continuing to e  (go to article)

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Kansas refinery shut after fire at small iso unit; four injured

Reuters -- CVR Refining's 115,000-barrel-per-day refinery in Coffeyville, Kansas, was shut on Tuesday after a fire broke out at a unit that upgrades gasoline, injuring four employees.

The fire in the isomerization unit began just after midnight and was extinguished just over an hour later, but news of the closure fuelled a $1 drop in U.S. crude oil prices because the refinery is a large consumer of benchmark West Texas Intermediate and is located near the Cushing storage hub.

The Kansas refinery produces mainly clean-transportation products such as gasoline, diesel fuels and propane. An isomerization unit helps produce isobutane and higher-octane gasoline. The plant has one such unit with a capacity of 8,500 bpd...

Crude oil traders on Tuesday said the Coffeyville refinery runs a lot of Cushing cr  (go to article)

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GM offers job training for U.S. army veterans

Grace Macaluso -- General Motors, the U.S. Army and Raytheon Company announced Monday they are teaming up to provide eligible American soldiers with skills to become service technicians at GM dealerships after they return to civilian life.

The Shifting Gears Automotive Technician Training Program, a multi-year partnership between the two companies and the military, will begin next month at Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas.

Shifting Gears will be part of the Army’s Soldier for Life support program, which helps soldiers reintegrate into their communities after leaving the army. Upon successful course completion and program graduation, veterans receive career counseling, job-placement recommendations and employment assistance from Army Soldier for Life centers, and access to available GM technician employment  (go to article)

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Building the nation’s first per-mile road charging system

Oregon.Gov -- The implementation team for Oregon’s Road Usage Charge Program is now seeking private-sector companies to build and manage services for Oregon’s mileage charge collection system. “Our vision is to create a reliable, easy-to-use, low-cost, enforceable, and publicly acceptable ‘open’ system that replaces the fuel tax,” said Jim Whitty, Manager of ODOT’s Office of Innovative Partnerships and Alternative Funding. Prospective account managers will submit proposals in July. Selected account managers will be under contract in fall 2014 to launch the program July 1, 2015  (go to article)

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Zhou Yongkang: oil man whose well of power finally ran dry

AFP -- Embattled former top Communist Zhou Yongkang rose through China's state oil industry to become the country's internal security chief -- and amassed so much power, according to analysts, that he brought about his own downfall.

The investigation into him announced Tuesday comes on the back of President Xi Jinping's much-publicised anti-corruption drive, but experts say it is driven more by internal politics within the factionalised ruling party.
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Natural gas injection season continues on pace for record refill

EIA -- Nearly midway through the summer storage injection season, working natural gas in storage is on pace to meet EIA's expectations for a record overall build. The current Short-Term Energy Outlook projects a record build of close to 2,600 billion cubic feet (Bcf) from the beginning of April through the end of October, which would put inventories at 3,431 Bcf at the end of October.
Following an extremely cold winter, storage inventories at the end of the heating season were only 857 Bcf, the lowest level since 2003. Inventories were around 1,000 Bcf less than the five-year (2009-13) average. While the refill season began slowly in April, injections quickly ramped up in May and have substantially exceeded five-year average levels each week since then. For eight straight weeks, the weekly net in  (go to article)

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Poll: Drivers love idea of driverless cars

USA Today -- More than three out four U.S. drivers of the 2,000 surveyed say they are "very likely" to buy or consider buying a car with self-driving capabilities, says the survey by Insurance.com. Even more, 86%, found the idea appealing when the notion of cheaper car insurance was dangled as a possibility, the result of self-driving cars being safer than those with human drivers.

"People are aware that they already drive cars controlled partly by computers," says Insurance.com Managing Editor Des Toups in a statement. "Now they see features like collision avoidance on new models and hear about Google cars hitting the roads in a couple of years. An autonomous car is not science fiction anymore."  (go to article)

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Nissan Chief Outlines Launch for Autonomous Drive Tech

GasBuddy Blog -- Carlos Ghosn, president and CEO of Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., last week announced the Japanese carmaker's launch timetable for the latest vehicle automation technologies aimed at accelerating consumer adoption of Autonomous Drive systems. 
The Nissan CEO said new technologies including automated lane controls and highway traffic management systems, to be introduced over the next four years, would demonstrate to consumers the viability and value of Autonomous Drive systems, which Nissan intends to make commercially viable by 2020. 
Autonomous Drive technologies, which are being introduced progressively by Nissan, are designed to enhance road safety and driving conditions by automating everyday tasks for motorists. Unlike pilot-projects for completely self-driving vehicles, currently undergoing preliminary tests elsewhere in the industry, drivers remain in control and `at the wheel' in Nissan models equipped with Autonomous Drive functions....  (go to article)

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2 railroads sue Md. to prevent disclosure of crude oil shipments

The Baltimore Sun -- Two major Eastern railroads have filed lawsuits against the Maryland Department of Environment to block it from disclosing their shipments of crude oil through the state, according to court records.

Norfolk Southern Railway and CSX Transportation claim the release of the information would pose a security threat and compromise commercially sensitive information, according to complaints filed in Baltimore Circuit Court.

The federal government began requiring railroads in May to report all shipments of more than one million gallons of Bakken crude oil to emergency officials in the states the shipments pass through, following several rail accidents involving the volatile fuel. Norfolk Southern and CSX say Tom Levering, director of emergency preparedness planning for the environment departmen  (go to article)

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Woman forgives husband who left son in hot car

Richmond Times Dispatch -- NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) -- A Connecticut woman whose 15-month-old son died this month after her husband left him in a car on a hot day says she forgives him.

Lindsey Rogers-Seitz (SITES), of Ridgefield, says that her husband, Kyle Seitz, was extremely distraught after bringing their son to a hospital. She says she told her husband she loved him and made sure he looked at her.

Rogers-Seitz, who also has two daughters, said in an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press that her family is grieving together.

Police say the father was supposed to bring Benjamin to daycare but went to work and left his son inside the car on July 7 for "an extended period of time."

A police investigation is continuing. The official cause of death has not been determined.  (go to article)

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Tesla, Panasonic reach 'gigafactory' deal

Marketwatch -- SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA) and Japan's Panasonic Corp. (jp:6752) have reached a deal for Panasonic to invest in Tesla's 'gigafactory,' according to reports Monday citing Japan's Nikkei. Panasonic would invest about $200 million to $300 million in the factory, and an official announcement is expected by the end of the month. Shares of the electric car maker rose 2.5% on the news.  (go to article)

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Impact of Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on Coral Communities Is Deeper and Broader than Predicted

Penn State Science -- A new discovery of two additional coral communities showing signs of damage from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill expands the impact footprint of the 2010 spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The discovery was made by a team led by Charles Fisher, professor of biology at Penn State University. A paper describing this work and additional impacts of human activity on corals in the Gulf of Mexico will be published during the last week of July 2014 in the online Early Edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"The footprint of the impact of the spill on coral communities is both deeper and wider than previous data indicated," said Fisher.  (go to article)

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3 oil-train protesters jailed for blocking tracks to Anacortes refinery

Seattle Times -- The Skagit County Sheriff’s Office says three oil-train protesters have been arrested for blocking the railroad tracks at the Tesoro refinery near Anacortes.

About two dozen people were taking part in the demonstration Monday morning when deputies arrived. Most agreed to leave, but three remained locked to each other on the tracks.

The sheriff’s office says they ultimately unlocked themselves and were arrested for criminal trespass.

Emily Johnston, a spokeswoman for the protesters, identified the three as 62-year-old Annette Klapstein, a retired lawyer from Bainbridge Island; 28-year-old Adam Gaya, of Seattle; and 60-year-old Jan Woodruff, of Anacortes.

Johnston says the derailment last Thursday in Seattle of a train carrying volatile Bakken oil from North Dakota to the refinery highli  (go to article)

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2 arraigned, denied bail in deadly Pa. carjacking

Associated Press -- Two men accused of carjacking a woman in north Philadelphia and plowing into a family selling fruit on a street corner, killing three children, have been ordered held without bail.

Court documents show that 23-year-old Cornelius Crawford and 19-year-old Johnathan Rosa were arraigned early Tuesday on charges including murder, kidnapping, conspiracy, robbery, aggravated assault and sexual assault.
 (go to article)

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Diesel cars face £10 charge for driving into central London

BBC News -- Plans to charge drivers of diesel cars about £10 ($16.97) to drive into central London are being considered.

The levy would be on top of the current £11.50 ($19.52)congestion charge for driving into the centre of the capital.

Only diesel vehicles meeting the Euro 6 emissions standard will be exempt, while petrol cars registered before 2006 will also have to pay.  (go to article)

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States with texting-while-driving laws have lower traffic fatalities

Birmingham Business Journal -- A new study by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health suggests texting-while-driving laws are curbing traffic fatalities.
Accidents caused by distracted drivers killed 3,331 people and injured 387,000 more across the country in 2011, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the main cause of those distractions is a phone.
The UAB study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, said 31 percent of drivers aged 18 to 64 had read or sent text or email messages while driving at least once in the 30 days prior to the study.
But the study found that states that have enacted laws completely banning texting-while-driving for all age groups are saving lives, according to head researcher Alva Ferdinand.
 (go to article)

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National lab: New oil additive saves 2% on gas

Detroit Free Press via USA Today -- Projects under way at Oak Ridge National Laboratory include:

•An oil additive that may reduce any vehicle's fuel consumption at least 2% and cut U.S. oil consumption by billions of gallons a year.

•A way to slash the cost of carbon fiber so everyday cars and trucks can use the strong, light material that's currently reserved for exotic sport cars.

•A charging system to eliminate the batteries that currently account for much of electric cars' cost and weight.

The labs and research centers here have worked with the auto industry since the energy crises of the 1970s and 1980s. Oak Ridge helped develop materials, fuels and systems used by millions of vehicles.

The Department of Energy has final approval over all projects with private companies, said Ron Graves, director of the lab's ...  (go to article)

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Oil Prices Dropping, Refiners Sink

Barrons -- Refiner stocks are falling this morning, in line with the margin squeeze that could result from the drop in crude oil prices.

Tensions in Libya continue to affect energy assets, the BBC reports. But attempts for detente between Israel and the Palestinians over the weekend, while failed, may be taking some of the risk out of energy markets. Prices for the international oil benchmark, Brent, are down more than 1% this morning to $107.13 per barrel, narrowing the spread with the U.S. benchmark, which is off 0.8% this morning to $101.28 per barrel.

Refiners set their prices based on the difference, the spread, between their domestic oil input costs and the international benchmark.  (go to article)

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SUVs & Crossovers: Now More Popular Than Sedans

GasBuddy Blog -- Image from...fullcarsreview.comSUVs and crossover vehicles have overtaken sedans as the most popular vehicle body style in the U.S., according to a study from IHS Automotive.
SUVs and crossovers now account for 36.5 percent of the new vehicle market versus 35.4 percent for sedans, according to IHS' analysis of new vehicle retail registrations. Consumers appreciate the SUVs' higher seating position, higher ground clearance, more interior space and towing capacity, the study said.  So are we sacrificing fuel efficiency for comfort? ...  (go to article)

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Safety of oil tankers in question as crude oil production soars, new report finds

The Times -- The risks posed by shipping crude oil by rail were highlighted last week when the Department of Transportation announced new proposals to increase the safety of tank cars. But according to a new report by the Congressional Research Service, shipping domestic crude oil by water poses a number of safety and financial challenges that are often overlooked in debates over oil pipelines and tank car derailments...

The report, written by transportation policy specialist John Frittelli, notes that new sources of crude oil from North Dakota, Texas and parts of western Canada have forced the U.S. transportation industry to find new ways of shipping it. Pipelines can no longer accommodate the rise in domestic oil production, the report says, placing greater demands on railroads, barges and tankers.  (go to article)

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UN takes aim at Islamist oil grab in Syria, Iraq

The Peninsula -- UNITED NATIONS, United States: The UN Security Council yesterday backed a Russian initiative to bar trade in oil with Islamists in Iraq and Syria.

The 15-nation Council warned in a joint statement that buying oil from groups such as the Islamic State and Jabhat Al-Nusra fighting in Iraq and Syria could lead to sanctions.

“Such engagement constitutes financial support for terrorists and may lead to further sanctions listings,” the council said.

Russia presented the statement in late June, seeking to clamp down on middle-men who are selling the oil from Islamist-controlled areas.

Islamic groups such as ISIL, which rebranded itself as the Islamic State and Al-Nusra have seized oilfields and pipelines to bankroll their offensives.

The council said control of oil facilities “could...  (go to article)

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