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Recent Gas News/GasBuddy Blog

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Dodge Durangos, Jeep Grand Cherokees recalled for fuel pump fix

GasBuddy Blog -- FCA US, the company previously known as Chrysler, is recalling 467,480 Dodge Durangos and Jeep Grand Cherokees worldwide to install new a relay circuit to fix a fuel pump.The automaker said the fuel pumps might be susceptible to deformation that prevents a vehicle from starting, or lead to an engine stall.Of the two issues, the failure to start is the more common. FCA US said it is unaware of any injuries or accidents caused by the defect. ...  (go to article)

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Wichita gas prices predicted to climb in next few weeks

The Wichita Eagle -- Take all of your pending road trips now, because the fuel price honeymoon is over.

Gas prices dropped significantly in mid-Oct. – to a low of $1.72 per gallon in Wichita on Jan. 11 – are expected to peak around $2.70 per gallon soon, according to predictions from GasBuddy.

Throughout February, wholesale gasoline prices across the country increased, on average, 54 cents per gallon, according to GasBuddy.
In Wichita on Friday, gas was averaging about $2.28 per gallon, said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy.

Gas increases from cheaper “winter blend” to “summer blend”, which is more costly to produce.

Thornbrugh said, “They’re going to have to get (oil) from somebody.”

Gas prices first fell to “bargain basement prices” last autumn DeHaan said.  (go to article)

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Iraq minister sees oil at $64 to $65 per barrel

REUTERS -- Iraq's Oil Minister Adel Abdel Mehdi said on Sunday world oil prices were gradually rebounding and he expected to see a barrel of crude selling at around $65.

"I don't think they will return to their previous levels. I can see that oil will be sold at $64 to $65 a barrel," he told a news conference in Baghdad.

Global benchmark Brent crude closed on Friday at $62.58 a barrel after falling as low as $45.19 in January, less than half its price in the middle of last year.

OPEC producer Iraq has been hit by the slump, with revenues falling sharply just as it faces a costly military campaign against Islamic State militants who have seized large parts of the north and west of the country.

Iraq's oil revenues for February were just a fraction under $3.5 billion, on exports of 2.535 million...  (go to article)

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Farm families fight huge legal bill from wind-farm companies

THE CANADIAN PRESS, OTTAWA CITIZEN -- TORONTO A demand that four Ontario families pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal costs to billion-dollar companies is a thinly disguised warning to anyone pondering a challenge to industrial wind farms in Ontario, the families say.

In asking the courts to set the legal bill aside, the citizens say the award would cripple them financially and undermine access to justice, even in important public-interest cases.

Court documents show the companies — K2 Wind, Armow, and St. Columban — are seeking $340,000 in costs from the Drennans, Ryans, Dixons and Kroeplins, who lost their bid to scuttle three wind-farm projects.

The families, who worry wind turbines near their homes could harm their health, had challenged the constitutionality of Ontario’s approvals process before Divisional...  (go to article)

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Oil, gas wastewater may be sent to Neb.

The Durango Hearld -- A Colorado oil company’s plan to dispose of gas and oil wastewater by injecting it into a deep well in western Nebraska is drawing strong objections from residents who live near the proposed site. Wastewater disposal certainly is not the most glamorous oilfield job, but it’s essential to keeping things running smoothly, especially in Colorado and Wyoming, where oil wells pump up significantly more water than oil.The energy company, T-Rex Oil of Broomfield, is proposing what would be the largest operation of its type in Nebraska, accepting upward of 80 truckloads and 10,000 barrels of wastewater a day at the Sioux County site, Inside Energy and NET News in Nebraska have learned. The wastewater would come from Colorado, Wyoming and possibly some from Nebraska.The brine then would be  (go to article)

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Experts: Prepare for a Gas Price Increase

ABC -- Minnesota’s average gallon of gas is $2.38, which is up about forty cents from a month ago. Nationwide in one month, the average gallon of gas has increase 54 cents. Oil refineries are starting to prepare for the warmer weather which is one of the causes for this increase.

“This is the time of year when we just started to transition to more expensive blends of gasoline’s. With that ultimate destination being that very stringent and expensive summer gasoline that will eventually show up when temperatures warm. I know it’s crazy with the snow and cold outside to be talking anything summer related but the transition has begun,” said Senior Petroleum Analyst for Gas Buddy Patrick DeHaan.

The summer blend of gasoline is a cleaner burning fuel. Because of this oil refineries have to do mainte  (go to article)

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Oil Drops as Gain in Saudi Arabian Output Boosts OPEC Production

Bloomberg -- (Bloomberg) -- Oil fell after the first monthly gain since June as Saudi Arabia stepped up production, lifting OPEC’s output beyond its collective quota for a ninth month.
Futures decreased as much as 1.1 percent in New York. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries pumped 30.6 million barrels a day in February, according to a Bloomberg survey. Oil sank almost 50 percent in 2014 as Saudi Arabia led the group’s decision in November to maintain its output target at 30 million a day, exacerbating a global glut.
West Texas Intermediate’s discount to European prices settled at the widest in more than a year on Feb. 27 as U.S. crude stockpiles expanded to the highest level in weekly data that started August 1982. The oversupply has driven U.S. drillers to cut the number of rigs in servi  (go to article)

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Tesla Model S Secures "Best Overall" Car Win from Consumer Reports

AutoEvolution -- Tesla Model S was named again, for a second year in a row, the “Best Overall” car to buy in 2015, according to Consumer Reports’ evaluation system, hitting back at those who criticized the electric sedan over the past months.

Needless to say, Tesla Motors, Elon Musk and the masterpiece called Model S have done it again. Consumer Reports named the EV “Best Overall” by describing it as “a technological tour de force, a high-performance electric vehicle with usable real-world range, wrapped in a luxury package”.

It gets even better, as the summary provided by Consumer Reports states that “for all of the impressive new vehicles released in 2014, none was able to eclipse the innovation, magnificence and sheer technological arrogance of the Tesla”.

 (go to article)

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US oil falls toward $49 after 1st monthly gain since June

CNBC -- U.S. crude futures fell towards $49 a barrel on Monday after rising more than $1 in the previous session to close February with the first monthly gain since June last year.

Economic data from manufacturing activity in China to jobs in the United States will dominate investors' radar this week.

U.S. crude futures dropped 41 cents to $49.35 a barrel by 2351 GMT after a 3 percent gain in February.

Brent crude was down 34 cents at $62.24 a barrel after posting an 18 percent gain in February, the largest monthly rise since May 2009.
Brent's premium over U.S. crude stretched to its widest since January 2014 on Friday at $13 a barrel.

Oil prices have probably touched bottom and should recover in the second half of 2015 as the collapse in the market over the last year begins to curb production  (go to article)

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As Wawa, Thorntons multiply cheaper gas prices follow

The Tampa Tribune -- The land war between gas station chains Wawa Inc. and Thorntons Inc. continues apace around Tampa Bay, as Wawa just posted a flag in the Wellswood neighborhood of central Tampa — only a few hundred yards from a Thorntons that opened a few months ago. That’s all good news for gas prices: The two brands will compete and offer lower-priced gas overall, making up for lost profit with their convenience store sales, analysts said.  (go to article)

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North Dakota counters plunging oil prices with $1.1 billion infrastructure ‘surge’

The Washington Times -- No state among the lower 48 has been hit harder by the drop in oil prices than North Dakota, which is why Gov. Jack Dalrymple, a Republican, has taken a page from U.S. military tactics in Iraq and signed off last week on a $1.1 billion “surge” designed to buck up the state’s infrastructure needs as it adjusts to changing times.

The state’s two-year budget has been adjusted downward by $4 billion as oil and gas companies scale back extraction projects and lay off workers. But eight years of trying to keep pace with the breakneck energy boom has left western North Dakota desperate for improvements to its strained roads, schools, water treatment plants and other facilities.  (go to article)

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Pipeline company didn’t use remote sensors before 3 million gallon leak near Williston

Forum News Service via WDAZ -- The pipeline that ruptured and spilled nearly 3 million gallons of saltwater, contaminating a nearby creek and two rivers near Williston, could have been monitored remotely but the system wasn’t turned on, a regulator said last week.

Meadowlark Midstream, a subsidiary of Summit Midstream, relied on checking meters by hand rather than a more sophisticated system that had been installed, said Lynn Helms, director of the Department of Mineral Resources.

The investigation into the spill is still ongoing, but Helms estimates the pipeline was leaking for more than 12 days before the rupture was discovered Jan. 6.

By being allowed to leak for so long, the spill significantly contaminated groundwater near Blacktail Creek, and a North Dakota Department of Health official says the cleanup will ta  (go to article)

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Potholes in Toronto, Montreal, New York & LA. turned into art by a Montreal pair

MSN Autos -- What happens when a fine-art photographer and a food stylist fuse their creativity? The result is 'Potholes', a series of photos showcasing the street cracks and holes that were turned into artwork by Davide Luciano and Claudia Ficca. The pair from Montreal took these pictures within and around NYC, LA, Toronto and Montreal, to explore the "urban ?aws as a playground creating a multitude of uses out of the potholes
"We started imagining different scenes that take place in a pothole. For our first scene we thought: “wouldn’t it be funny if we saw a woman washing clothes in a pothole?” so filled up our car with gallons of water, soap, laundry and a clothes rack, drove around in search of a nice pothole, unloaded the car and shot the 'Laundry' scene. We then began scouting potholes and develo  (go to article)

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Pipeline may carry crude oil through southern Illinois

Belleville News-Democrat -- CARBONDALE, ILL. — A Texas-based company is converting an existing natural gas pipeline that runs through southern Illinois to transport crude oil.

Energy Transfer Partners spokeswoman Vicki Granado says the converted line would be part of a proposed new pipeline that could transport 450,000 barrels each day from oil fields in North Dakota.

She tells The Southern Illinoisan in Carbondale (http://bit.ly/18cE38G ) the pipeline would not carry tar sands crude. That's the Canadian product involved in the Keystone XL pipeline, a project President Barack Obama vetoed last week.

The newspaper reports the conversion is underway on more than 500 miles of natural gas pipeline, part of which runs through the Shawnee National Forest.  (go to article)

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Iowa Residents React To Recent Gas Tax Increase

KELO - Sioux Falls -- LARCHWOOD, IA - If you stop to get gas in Iowa, the price at the pump is going up over the weekend.
Governor Brandstad approved a 10-cent increase on gas tax throughout the state.

Sunday, the price of gas is a little higher for Iowa drivers. A 10 cent increase was approved to help fund road and bridge repairs across the state of Iowa.

"I guess if we have to do it, we have to pay it. That's the way it is. I'm not happy. But yeah, we'll pay it," said Yvonne Wulf, Larchwood resident.

"It's not surprising. It hasn't gone up for quite a while. Roads and bridges and everything need a lot of repair, so it's not a big surprise," said Larchwood resident, Karl Dieters.

Karl Dieters is a farmer from the Larchwood area. He says the price increase won't impact him much.  (go to article)

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Keystone XL solution runs through Canada, argues Michael Bloomberg

The Financial Post -- The Keystone XL pipeline has become a perfect symbol of Washington’s dysfunction. Democrats exaggerate its environmental impact while Republicans exaggerate its economic benefits. In the debate, each side talks past the other, because each cares more about gaining a political advantage than a policy achievement. Yet a path exists for President Barack Obama to transcend these differences and allow both sides to declare victory.  (go to article)

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Putting a brake to oil train derailments

USA TODAY -- The latest derailments of trains carrying crude oil in the U.S. and Canada are putting more pressure on government officials to end the fiery crashes.

In fact, Washington is moving closer to adopting proposals that would force improvements in the tank cars and other equipment used to haul oil as well as require new restrictions on operating speeds for those trains and new assessments of rail conditions. Ottawa has taken similar steps.

But a former Obama administration official who played a key role in writing the U.S. proposals says that for all the talk about increasing the thickness and durability of tank cars, the more vital consideration may be putting better brakes on those trains.

"The more I think about it, the more I think that the ECP brakes may be more important than the tank  (go to article)

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Oil storage in US close to running out: Pro

CNBC -- U.S. crude posted its first monthly gain since June on Friday, but one expert warned that storage in the United States is filling up quickly, and that could send oil lower.

"We are really close," said Bank of America Merrill Lynch's Francisco Blanch, noting that storage could run out by the end of March or early April.

Blanch, the firm's head of global commodities and derivatives, told CNBC's "Power Lunch" that means the only option for oil producers will be to sell and therefore prices can't hold up.

"For WTI, we see those pressures being very pronounced over the next few weeks," he said.

Oil inventories in the U.S. were up 8.4 million barrels last week, according to government data.

On the other hand, the international market has held up a little better, Blanch said.

"We've seen  (go to article)

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OPEC's Oil Price War Is Paying Off, But It's Far From Over

The Motley Fool -- The impact of OPEC's decision to keep oil production at 30 million barrels per day in order to push down oil prices and squeeze marginal oil producers out of the market is starting to pay off. Drilling activity in the U.S., offshore, and internationally has slowed dramatically in the last two months as companies began to realize that OPEC wasn't playing around this time.

Flooding the market with oil is working to put pressure on marginal players, but it's a strategy that's far from over. New wells aren't being drilled, but existing wells are still producing oil and for OPEC to win this price war it will have to stick together for another 6-24 months. Understanding how OPEC's strategy is working and why it will continue can give some perspective on what will happen with energy stocks in...  (go to article)

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OPEC is its own worst enemy

Business Insider-The Motley Fool -- There's a growing rift among the nations within OPEC.

Just this past week the Nigerian oil minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, said that OPEC could need to call an emergency meeting to discuss the persistently low price of oil. However, another member quickly piped up and said there was no need for an emergency meeting.

Nigeria's desire for a meeting comes just a month after Venezuela's president went on an around the world trip to meet with fellow OPEC members as its financial situation grows dire. What's becoming increasingly clear is that OPEC is at war not just with U.S. and Russian oil companies, but it is also battling a war within.

OPEC to the rescue?

As it stands right now OPEC is next due to meet this June as part of its bi-annual schedule. However, several of its members...  (go to article)

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Small ethanol plants battle for edge

Star Tribune -- BUFFALO LAKE, MINN. – On a cold winter day, white mist swirls above the smallest ethanol plant in Minnesota — a sign that it’s back in business.

Built two decades ago at the dawn of Minnesota’s ethanol industry, the plant in the past four years has been idled, mothballed and restarted — only to be shut down again as it stumbled through U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

Now, a new owner has it running once more, and is confronting a core problem facing small plants in an era of larger, efficient ethanol producers. “The economics don’t work,” said Joe Winckler, an ethanol industry veteran who manages Buffalo Lake Advanced Biofuels.

It’s a persistent challenge in the industry. Most vintage ethanol plants, including Buffalo Lake, expanded over the years, but that isn’t always enough to stay competitiv  (go to article)

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Fight over Atlantic coastal drilling is brewing

Star Tribune -- Oil and gas companies hoping to drill in the Atlantic Ocean will have to contend with a new federal proposal to declare waters off the Carolinas and Georgia as critical for endangered whales.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is proposing a huge expansion in the critical habitat area for endangered North Atlantic right whales. The new area would include waters from Georgia to Cape Fear, N.C.

The proposal comes as nine companies have applied to use seismic cannons to start exploring for oil and gas in the Atlantic, including in areas that deemed critical habitat for the endangered whales.

Claire Douglass, a campaign director for the environmental group Oceana, called the new critical habitat proposal a potential “game changer” for her group’s attempt to block the seismi  (go to article)

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Fracking ban forcing some New York towns to consider redrawing state lines

The Guardian -- Plenty of people leave New York state but in a job-hungry stretch of upstate, folks talk about staying put – and seceding to Pennsylvania.

Local officials stung by a recent decision to ban natural gas fracking have raised the idea of redrawing the Keystone State’s border. Even though they don’t expect it to happen, members of the Upstate New York Towns Association hope the spectre of secession will result in something – anything – good for a struggling part of the state peering enviously over the state line.

“It’s not like were looking across the border into Mexico or even looking across the border at Canada,” said Candor supervisor Bob Riggs, whose rural town is one of about 15 in the association. “We’re looking across the border into the United States, and it’s very different.”

The so  (go to article)

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State, nation must find alternatives to gasoline tax

JS Online -- Two years ago, a state task force on transportation made a series of recommendations to alleviate what's being called the "toxic formula" that threatens to strangle the state's road network. Those recommendations got short shrift from the Legislature then but now would be a good time to revisit them: As several articles on transportation woes noted last week, the problem is getting worse, in Wisconsin and across the nation.

In describing the problem, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) said, "We have gas taxes, which are stagnant. We have transportation construction costs, which are going up. And then we've got federal revenue, which is declining. All of those is a toxic formula. We've got to take matters into our own hands."

Everyone is wrestling with this. Congress needs to move a  (go to article)

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Hyundai recalls more than 200,000 Elantras over steering problem

Reuters -- Hyundai Corp is recalling 204,768 Elantras because of a power steering defect that might cause the cars to suddenly revert to manual steering, the company said Saturday in a report filed with U.S. auto safety regulators.

The recall affects four-door Elantra sedans produced from June 1, 2008, to April 30, 2010, and 2009-10 model Elantra Touring hatchbacks, Hyundai said in a report on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website.

It said the defect might affect an estimated 3 percent of those cars.

"Steering control can be maintained; however, the vehicle will revert to a manual steering mode, requiring greater driver effort, particularly at low speeds. This could result in an increased risk of a crash," Hyundai wrote in its report.

The carmaker said it had understood that  (go to article)

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Collector car owners experience daylight nightmare

KLAS-TV8 -- LAS VEGAS -- A Washington couple says they were falsely arrested by the Nevada Highway Patrol for stealing a collector car they actually owned.
The highway patrol admitted two errors that led to Robin and Beverly Bruins being removed from their car at gunpoint. And, now, the highway patrol is facing a lawsuit.

It all began with confusion over a license plate on a classic car. A highway patrol dash camera recorded a trooper stating over a loudspeaker: “Driver! Remove your keys from the ignition and put them on the roof now!”

From that point Robin Bruins and his wife experienced a daylight nightmare when the senior citizens found themselves looking down the barrels of police pistols.

“Actually, I think I might have giggled to Bev. I turned and looked back and saw three gun barrels point  (go to article)

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Watchdog: In the Toll Road Capital, NTTA’s empire falters again

The Dallas Morning News -- In Toll Road Capital, USA, the empire that is the North Texas Tollway Authority is driving people like Natalie Richard nuts.

The Dallas resident screams loud and long that the authority’s billing practices are horrendous. Drivers get penalized for bills they never received, she insists.

Turns out she’s right.

In a stunning humiliation, NTTA confessed Friday that it has made another huge mistake. This one strikes at the very heart of the criticism constantly leveled at NTTA.
 (go to article)

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How Chicago is becoming a hub of connected-car technology

Crain's Chicago Business -- BMW has two technology-development sites in the U.S. One is where you'd expect: Silicon Valley. The other is less obvious: Chicago.

Last fall, the German luxury—car maker bought a small software-development group in the West Loop from Microsoft and put out the help-wanted sign for software developers, engineers and data scientists with the goal of nearly doubling staff to 100.  (go to article)

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Despite low prices, Texas oil group stays optimistic Read more: Despite low prices, Texas oil group

Midland Reporter-Telegram -- Texas’ oil and gas industry is touting its record-breaking 2014 contributions to state and local government coffers, an effort to stay positive amid 2015’s far gloomier revenue outlook.

State and local governments collected $15.7 billion in taxes and royalties from the industry last year, the highest total in Texas history, the Texas Oil and Gas Association announced Tuesday.

 (go to article)

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Lawmakers may end tax break on jet fuel, to Delta's dismay

Midland Reporter-Telegram / AP -- ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia lawmakers may eliminate a tax break for all airlines buying jet fuel at the world's busiest airport.

A bill filed in the House would cut the exemption at Atlanta's Hartsfield Jackson Airport. Supportive lawmakers say it would help the state get federal money for aviation improvements throughout the state.

They also argue the credit shouldn't be kept in place forever. A committee could soon approve the bill.

Representatives for Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines say it's a tax increase that could hurt the airport's competitiveness.

Lawmakers created the exemption in 2005 as Delta was facing bankruptcy and have extended it several times before making it permanent in 2012. The bill's sponsor says Delta's CEO is pushing for tax increases for transportation but opposes...  (go to article)

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Maine weighs revoking seat belt law days after 75-car pileup

Fox 5 Atlanta -- AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - It's an effort that even the bill's sponsor acknowledges is poor timing.

Just two days after a 75-vehicle pileup injured at least 17 people in the state, lawmakers in Maine are considering legislation that would allow adults to opt out of wearing seat belts.

Sen. Eric Brakey told lawmakers on Friday that it's too bad they're considering his bill so close to Wednesday's crash on Interstate 95, which is thought to be largest in Maine history but had no fatalities....  (go to article)

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Californians sharply divided over hiking state gas tax

Sacramento Bee -- California voters think the government should spend more money to help maintain crumbling roads, but they offer mixed views on how to fund the upkeep, according to a new statewide Field Poll.  (go to article)

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Governor: Oil, Gas Rules Must Protect Mineral Owners’ Rights

CBS Denver/AP -- DENVER (AP) — Any attempt to give local governments more control over oil and gas drilling in Colorado must protect the rights of people who own underground mineral rights, Gov. John Hickenlooper said Friday.

Some people have owned or leased those rights for decades, long before Colorado’s growing cities spread onto land above rich oil and gas deposits, Hickenlooper said in an interview with The Associated Press.

“What right does government have to take that person’s lease away from them?” he said. “Through no fault of their own, the march of suburbanization, suddenly their lease is worth less than it was.”

Surface owners’ property rights should also be protected, Hickenlooper said, adding that energy companies are required to pay for damage. Noise, dust and other effects should also be  (go to article)

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Trains carrying Bakken crude pass through Fort Worth, records show

Star-Telegram -- As many as four trains carrying crude oil from North Dakota pass through the Fort Worth area each week on their way to the Gulf Coast, according to documents filed with the state by BNSF Railway.

The Texas Department of Public Safety released information about crude oil trains crossing the state on Friday after the attorney general’s office last week dismissed one railroad’s arguments for keeping them confidential.

The documents show that Fort Worth-based BNSF and Kansas City Southern, based in Kansas City, Mo., operate trains carrying 1 million gallons or more of Bakken crude oil through Texas.

BNSF brings the trains south into Texas on two routes, one of which terminates near Galveston and another that continues into Louisiana. In addition to the trains passing through Fort Worth, as  (go to article)

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Gas prices soar in California as supply shrinks

AP -- LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Gas prices are soaring in California in a classic example of supply and demand after an explosion stopped gasoline production at an Exxon Mobil refinery while another remains offline due to labor unrest.

Average retail gas prices in the state have surged 25 cents a gallon in less than a week, from $2.98 per gallon for regular on Monday to $3.23 per gallon on Friday. That caps a run t  (go to article)

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Exxon Mobil settles New Jersey environmental case for a fraction of expected damages

Fuel Fix -- Exxon Mobil has settled a decade-long legal battle with New Jersey over billions of dollars in damages the state sought for the destruction of 1,500 acres of public wetlands, according to a New York Times report on Friday.

The Times wrote that the settlement amount, $250 million, reported by two sources close to the case was a fraction of the $8.9 billion in cleanup costs the state claimed had resulted from more than a century of pollution from a pair of refineries near Staten Island.

Neither Exxon Mobil nor Gov. Chris Christie’s office have made a public announcement over the settlement, and an Exxon spokesman decline to comment.

The New Jersey State Department of Environemntal Protection filed the lawsuit in 2004, and a state superior judge had been close to a decision this year befor  (go to article)

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Petroleum refinery outage in California highlights markets’ quick price reaction

U.S. Energy Information Administration -- On February 18, an explosion and fire occurred at ExxonMobil's refinery in Torrance, California. The Torrance refinery, the third-largest refinery in Southern California, has about 20% of the region's fluid catalytic cracking capacity and is an important source of gasoline and distillate fuel oil supply for Southern California.

Unplanned refinery outages can have noticeable effects on liquid fuel markets, disrupting supplies of gasoline and distillate, particularly in regions that are tightly balanced, such as the West Coast (defined as Petroleum Administration for Defense District (PADD) 5). When refineries undergo planned maintenance, they make arrangements for alternative sources of supply to ensure that obligations are met. Upcoming planned outages are examined in EIA's Refinery Outa  (go to article)

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Why are gas prices going up again?

CBS -- BURBANK, Calif. -- Gas prices are starting to rise again. The nationwide average is $2.37 a gallon, up 34 cents in the past month.

In Southern California, the price at the pump has spiked a record 79 cents, according to AAA. Drivers are lining up to fill up before prices go up again.


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Impact of massive oil refinery strike on gas prices
"Right now we're basically in the eye of the storm," says Allison Mac, an analyst with GasBuddy.com.

She says the problem is not the price of crude oil, which is holding steady at about $49 per barrel. The problem is at the refinery.

"In the industry we call this a first quarter climb. Every year around this time, nationally prices go up because we switch over to summer blend gas," Mac explains. "Summer fuel gasoline is actually more expensive to pro  (go to article)

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Senate OKs shift in road project spending

The Spokesman-Review -- OLYMPIA – The Senate approved a controversial shift in spending for major road projects Friday but had to delay a vote on increasing the gasoline tax to settle a question of how many votes it would need to pass.

Senators spent much of the day making changes to the state’s transportation policy, with a pointed debate over the sales tax that is charged for purchases on road, bridge and ferry projects. A key element of a bipartisan transportation package was to shift the sales tax from the state’s general fund – which pays for public schools, colleges and most social programs – to a fund that would use that money strictly for transportation.

Democrats argued the general fund could not absorb the loss with the state facing a court order to spend billions more on public schools.  (go to article)

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Spokane plans ‘just-in-case’ well site

The Spokesman-Review -- More than 240 miles of pipelines carrying gas, oil and other hazardous materials run through Spokane County, many of them over the aquifer that supplies the region’s water.

The Yellowstone Pipeline, which crosses above the Spokane River twice in the city, passes within 50 feet of the city’s Parkwater well site, which was built in 1945 and provides up to 40 percent of the city’s water. The proximity of the pipe and well has concerned city officials enough to commence with plans to sink a backup well just north of Corbin Park.

“In the event we have anything happen to the ConocoPhillips pipeline, we’re in trouble,” Dan Kegley, director of the city’s water and hydroelectric services, told the city’s Public Works Committee Monday.

 (go to article)

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Wolf seeks Obama's help in boosting oil-train safety

Philly.com/The Inquirer Digital Edition --
Gov. Wolf on Friday joined a chorus of officials pressuring the federal government to improve oil-train safety, and urged the government to reduce the volatility of North Dakota crude oil, which has been implicated in several recent fiery accidents.

The new governor released a letter he wrote to President Obama this week about the increasing rail volumes of crude oil, saying Pennsylvania has become one of the nation's biggest destinations for explosive North Dakota crude.

Wolf estimated that 60 to 70 trains carrying North Dakota crude travel through Pennsylvania each week. Philadelphia officials estimate that 45 to 80 oil trains from all sources, not just North Dakota's Bakken Shale, move through the city weekly.

Wolf praised the economic benefits Pennsylvania has derived...  (go to article)

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25,000 Chrysler Cars Recalled for Transmission Problem

NY Times -- Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is recalling more than 25,000 vehicles worldwide for a transmission problem that may prevent the cars from being shifted into park.  (go to article)

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How SUVs became mainstream 25 years after exploding on scene with Explorer

The Globe & Mail -- Surging sales of compact utility vehicles may be grabbing headlines, but don’t go thinking the little ‘uns’ gain has been the big ‘uns’ pain. Even in a Canadian market that favours smaller vehicles, sales of mid-size SUV/CUVs are also on the rise (and large ones even more so).

 (go to article)

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Why diesel drivers have to be in it for the long haul

The Globe & Mail -- It’s tough to be a diesel proponent. Just when the variety of diesel-engined cars and light trucks is reaching new highs, the rug has been yanked from under their feet by gasoline prices at the lowest levels seen in years.  (go to article)

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Does the 'luxury pick-up' concept make sense?

GasBuddy Blog -- 2015 Ram Laramie Ltd.Auto expert Brent Snavely of the Detroit Free Press says automakers have confidence in the potential growth of high-end, luxury pickups that cost more than $50,000. 

Luxury pickups?  Isn't that an oxymoron?

He says the updated Ram Laramie Limited is a sign of the times in America's resurgent pickup truck market. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), General Motors and Ford have all discovered that there is a growing demand for luxury pickups with prices that top-out well above $50,000. ...  (go to article)

Submitted Feb 28, 2015 By:
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Commission blocks citizens' fracking questions

The Courier-Journal(from Louisville, KY) -- Kentucky citizens on Wednesday were blocked by a state commission from asking their questions about a rare permit for a proposed deep horizontal natural gas well that might that officials said would likely use a type of "fracking" technology that's been controversial in other states.

The hearing before the Kentucky Oil and Gas Conservation Commission was held as legislation supported by both industry and environmental groups was moving through the Kentucky General Assembly to establish a regulatory framework for the practice.
 (go to article)

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Gas prices soar in California as supply shrinks

St. Paul Pioneer Press-AP -- Gas prices are soaring in California in a classic example of supply and demand after an explosion stopped gasoline production at an Exxon Mobil refinery while another remains offline due to labor unrest.

Average retail gas prices in the state have surged 25 cents a gallon in less than a week, from $2.98 per gallon for regular on Monday to $3.23 per gallon on Friday. That caps a run that saw the price of regular unleaded go up 60 cents per gallon since Jan. 30 as refineries prepare to shift to a summer blend of fuels.

In some areas of Southern California, gas station owners were forced to pass price hikes of 24 cents per gallon along to consumers on Thursday after seeing wholesale prices shoot up. Prices in Northern California lagged a day but by Friday were also rising; an independent...  (go to article)

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Union, Shell to resume talks in U.S. refinery strike on March 4

REUTERS -- Negotiations to settle the largest U.S. refinery strike are set to resume on March 4, the union and lead oil company negotiator said on Friday, the 27th day of the work stoppage.

Talks between Shell Oil Co, the U.S. arm of Royal Dutch Shell Plc and the United Steelworkers union (USW) broke off on Feb. 20 after refinery owners balked at a settlement. The union then ordered a strike by workers at three Motiva Enterprises [MOTIV.UL] refineries, including the nation's largest, all co-owned by Shell.

A total of 6,550 workers are walking picket lines at 15 plants, including 12 refineries that account for one-fifth of U.S. domestic production capacity.

"Industry needs to bargain a fair and safe contract or see the strike expand," the USW said on Friday.

 (go to article)

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Mazda bets on diesel-only car for Japan launch of key 2015 model

Reuters -- (Reuters) - Japan's Mazda Motor Corp (7261.T) will sell only diesel-powered cars in the domestic launch of its key model for 2015, gambling it can convince the country's army of hybrid petrol-electric drivers that the days of sooty, noisy diesels are long gone.

Masamichi Kogai, Chief Executive of Japan's fifth-biggest auto maker, placed his diesel bet in Tokyo on Friday as he unveiled the CX-3, a compact sport-utility vehicle (SUV).

"In Japan, more and more people are choosing to drive diesels," Kogai said. The CEO also said the greater power offered by diesel engines is a selling point for bigger cars, including compact SUVs.

Mazda has high hopes for its new entry in a small but growing segment of the global auto market. Kogai said the compact SUV segment is expected to double in size  (go to article)

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Maine Weighs Revoking Seat Belt Law Days After 75-Car Pileup

ABC News -- It's an effort that even the bill's sponsor acknowledges is poor timing.

Just two days after a 75-vehicle pileup injured at least 17 people in the state, lawmakers in Maine are considering legislation that would allow adults to opt out of wearing seat belts.

Sen. Eric Brakey told lawmakers on Friday that it's too bad they're considering his bill so close to Wednesday's crash on Interstate 95, which is thought to be largest in Maine history but had no fatalities.

"It's very unfortunate timing that we're discussing this particular legislation two days after the 75-car pileup that took place on I-95," Brakey said.

The Republican from Auburn acknowledged that people should wear seat belts and said he hopes the accident serves as a reminder of the importance to do so. But said he believes  (go to article)

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Texas braces for massive layoffs amid oil slump

CBS News -- MIDLAND, Texas -- In Texas oil country, lower oil prices have led to prayers at the Jack County Courthouse for families who depend on oil drilling to make a living.

The state is home to the Permian Basin, the nation's leading oil-producing region, where cheaper oil means lower profits, and fewer jobs.

Alex Sexton was recently laid off from a drilling company's accounting department. "After a couple of days of wallowing in my own, you know, self-pity, I realized I'm not the only one and I'm not going to be the only one" said Sexton.

At a nearby employment center, the number of job-seekers has more than doubled in the last few weeks, says CEO Willie Taylor.

It's estimated Texas could lose 140,000 direct and indirect energy jobs by midyear. Just a few miles from Sexton's home, rigs have  (go to article)

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