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China's Direct Losses In The Australian Iron Ore Industry Hit $10 billion

Forbes -- Not many investors can afford to commit more capital after posting losses approaching $10 billion, with the added indignity of a local partner hurling insults, but that’s been China’s recent experience of the Australian iron ore industry. The money has been spent on two ventures based on turning a low-grade form of iron ore into a high-grade feed for use in steel-making blast furnaces. The insults have been dished out by Clive Palmer, a larger-than-life mining project promoter and member of the Australian Parliament. Billions Over Budget And Years Overdue. It was Palmer who enticed the Citic Pacific group to invest in the Sino Iron project, a development budgeted to cost around $3 billion and scheduled to be in full production about four years ago. At last count the cost of the Sino Iron p  (go to article)

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EPA's Clean Power Plan: Texas' Last Stand Or Last Hope?

Forbes -- August has been an eventful month here in Texas. And, no, I’m not referring to news about Governor Rick Perry, rather some of his appointees. The Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC), Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), Railroad Commissioners (RRC) Barry Smitherman and Christy Craddick, and State Representative Jason Isaac held a joint session to discuss the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new Clean Power Plan (CPP).
The CPP will limit – for the first time ever – carbon emissions for existing power plants. Texas, the number one polluter in the country, needs to cut 195 billion pounds of carbon in the next 18 years, according to a Texas Tribune analysis. However, EPA suggests Texas could easily meet its goal through a combination of actions: making coal plants more e
 (go to article)

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WTI Trades Near Four-Day High as U.S. Crude Stockpiles Decline

bloomberg.com -- West Texas Intermediate traded near the highest price in four days after crude and gasoline supplies dropped in the U.S., the world’s biggest oil consumer.

Futures were little changed in New York after rising 2 cents yesterday. Crude stockpiles shrank by 2.1 million barrels to 360.5 million last week, according to the Energy Information Administration. Libya may increase output to 1 million barrels a day by the end of the September, National Oil Corp. said.

WTI for October delivery was at $93.72 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, down 16 cents, at 8:35 a.m. Sydney time. The contract closed at $93.88 yesterday, the highest since Aug. 21. The volume of all futures traded was about 87 percent below the 100-day average. Prices have decreased 4.8 percent this  (go to article)

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The most hated car company in America

Yahoo! Autos -- If you own a Mercedes, your relationship with your car may be something akin to love (admit it, you’ve gazed longingly at that finely engineered machine). But if you own an Acura or a Dodge, you might feel a little, er, less adoring towards your auto, according to new data.

A survey released Tuesday by the American Customer Satisfaction Index revealed that customers’ satisfaction with both domestic and foreign automakers hit a five-year low this year, falling 1.2% from last year to a score of 82 out of 100. What’s more, satisfaction with 80% of the 21 car brands measured fell as compared to last year (Acura 7267, -0.11% saw the deepest decline at -7%, Cadillac GM, -0.40% the second-steepest decline at -6%).  (go to article)

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Hundreds of methane plumes erupting along East Coast

Believe It Or Not FoxNews -- In an unexpected discovery, hundreds of gas plumes bubbling up from the seafloor were spotted during a sweeping survey of the U.S. Atlantic Coast.

Even though ocean explorers have yet to test the gas, the bubbles are almost certainly methane, researchers report Aug. 24 in the journal Nature Geoscience.

"We don't know of any explanation that fits as well as methane," said lead study author Adam Skarke, a geologist at Mississippi State University in Mississippi State.

Surprising seeps

Between North Carolina's Cape Hatteras and Massachusetts' Georges Bank, 570 methane seeps cluster in about eight regions, according to sonar and video gathered by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration ship Okeanos Explorer between 2011 and 2013. The vast majority of the seeps dot  (go to article)

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Slideshow: Oil Spill In Mexico

Reuters -- An oil pipeline spill that contaminated a river in the northern Mexican state of Nuevo Leon will take months to clean up, the country's top water authority said. The 24-inch Madero-Cadereyta pipeline, owned by national oil company Pemex, was ruptured when thieves attempted to tap into it, the company said.  (go to article)

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Alaskans Uphold Tax System for Oil Companies

New York Times -- A hard-fought ballot referendum that would have overturned Alaska’s system of taxing oil industry profits, put to voters last week but until now considered too close to call, has failed by a narrow margin, with absentee ballots counted this week nailing down the outcome.

The referendum, Ballot Measure 1, drew millions of dollars in contributions from oil companies and raised political passions across the state. Former Gov. Sarah Palin, a Republican who has rarely commented on Alaskan political issues since resigning in 2009, even waded in with a ferocious and, to some voters, surprising attack on the oil tax policies of her successor, Gov. Sean Parnell.

Mr. Parnell pushed his tax overhaul through the state’s Republican-controlled legislature last year, replacing a system called Alaska’s  (go to article)

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Gasoline futures fall before Labor Day

Fuel Fix.com -- Gasoline fell Wednesday after a government report showed U.S. output rose before the Labor Day holiday that marks the end of the country’s peak-demand driving season. West Texas Intermediate crude settled little changed.

Gasoline production rose 4 percent to 9.51 million barrels a day last week, the Energy Information Administration said.

Inventories slipped 960,000 barrels to 212.3 million, less than the median 1.6 million projected by 10 analysts in a Bloomberg survey. WTI retreated from its highs after the EIA data showed crude supplies dropped a fourth week at Cushing, Oklahoma, the contract’s delivery point.

“The primary reason for the move in gasoline is that Labor Day is coming up on Monday,” Tim Evans, an energy analyst at Citi Futures in New York, said by phone. “Today’s number  (go to article)

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Toyota's most rugged Land Cruiser is back in Japan

Fox News -- Toyota Motor Corp. is bringing back the Land Cruiser 70 in Japan, catering to nostalgic demand for the rugged off-roader that's favored for challenging terrains and as an aid agency vehicle in disaster zones.  (go to article)

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Oil loses steam as US stockpile tumble gives way to demand fears

Reuters -- Crude oil ended virtually flat on Wednesday, after a report showed declining U.S. gasoline demand in the world's top oil consumer and a build at the key Cushing, Oklahoma storage hub.  (go to article)

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Gasoline Drops as U.S. Demand Seen Slipping; WTI Steady

Bloomberg -- Gasoline fell after a government report showed U.S. output rose before the Labor Day holiday that marks the end of the country’s peak-demand driving season. West Texas Intermediate crude settled little changed.  (go to article)

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Labor Day Gas Prices Fall to Lowest Level Since 2010

Fox Business -- Here’s another reason to look forward to the holiday weekend: low gas prices.

Drivers will see the cheapest prices at the pump this Labor Day since 2010, thanks to a slowdown in demand, a quiet Hurricane season and lack of geopolitical tensions in oil-producing regions, according to GasBuddy.com.

AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report shows the national average for a gallon of unleaded regular gas is currently $3.43, compared to $3.54 the same time a year ago. The most expensive Labor Day gasoline average occurred in 2012 when prices averaged more than $3.83 a gallon.  (go to article)

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ABC Heralds $3.43-a-gallon Gas, Forget Prices Spiked Under Obama

Media Research Center -- The news media think that because gas prices have fallen to an average of $3.43-a-gallon there is room to rejoice, even as the record streak of gas prices above $3-a-gallon continues. By Labor Day that record will stand at 1,349 days.

ABC’s “Good Morning America” praised the “nice surprise” of lower gas prices in time for Labor Day weekend.

Host George Stephanopoulos said, “Everyone’s trying to squeeze some fun out of these last weeks of summer and when you fill up the car this Labor Day weekend you’ll get a nice surprise at the pump.”
 (go to article)

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Ready for a Canada Road Trip?

GasBuddy Blog -- Image From ..bonjourquebec.comJustin Mastine-Frost, a well-respected travel journalist based in Vancouver, recently put together a list of his top 9 road trips to take in Canada… With the end of summer almost upon us, we think you’ll find the perfect reason to pack and go! Here is his comprehensive East-to-West guide to the great Canadian road trips. Now, in theory, you could daisy-chain each of these segments together and turn it into an all-encompassing “see all of Canada in one fell swoop” mega-adventure, but we wouldn’t hold it against you if you just stuck with the more manageable junkets... Of course, you’ll want to be smart and save on gas.  Start your travel plans here: http://www.gasbuddy.com/Trip_Calculator.aspx ...  (go to article)

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Global warming already dangerous, risks being irreversible, says new UN global warming report

US News and World Report -- Global warming is here, human-caused and can already be considered dangerous, a draft of a new international science report says, warning that it is increasingly likely that climate change could be irreversible. The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on Monday sent governments a final draft of its synthesis report, which combines three earlier, gigantic documents by the Nobel Prize-winning group. There is little in the report, that wasn’t in the other more-detailed versions, but the language is more stark and the report attempts to paint a bigger picture of the problem caused by the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and gas.  (go to article)

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GM to Move Cadillac SRX Production to Tenn.

ABC News -- General Motors is moving production of the next-generation Cadillac SRX crossover SUV from Mexico to a factory in Spring Hill, Tennessee.

The company also announced Wednesday that it will add production of some small gasoline engines to the Spring Hill complex.

The additions will bring more jobs to Spring Hill, but a spokesman wouldn't give specifics on how many would be added to the sprawling former Saturn facility about 40 miles south of Nashville.

All GM said in a statement is that the SRX and a yet-to-be identified second midsize vehicle would "create or retain" about 1,800 jobs, while a $185 million investment in the Spring Hill engine factory would keep 390 jobs.

The complex now employs just over 2,300 workers ...  (go to article)

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The Fastest (And Slowest) States For Auto Repair

Yahoo! Autos -- Having your car repaired after an accident is never fun, but some of the pain can be alleviated by an efficient garage offering speedy service. Believe it or not, such places do exist, and new data from Enterprise shows where to find them.

Enterprise's data comes from its Automated Rental Management System. That's a software solution designed by Enterprise to facilitate communication between garages, customers, insurance companies, and Enterprise, "[e]nabling shops to send electronic rental reservations, vehicle status updates and automated text or email customer notifications".  (go to article)

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Driverless cars: 15 things you need to know

Washington Post -- Will a car with no hands on the wheel be safer?
Yes, experts say. Driver error causes the overwhelming majority of crashes — 93 percent of them, according to one federal report — and there are more than 5 million crashes each year. Just getting intoxicated drivers from behind the wheel could reduce fatalities by 39 percent.

Does that mean there will be zero crashes?
Nobody dares make that claim, and for good reason: Too many things can go wrong on the roadway. But there could be a dramatic reduction.

Who are the winners and losers if these things come to rule the road?
The quick take is greater mobility for the blind, the elderly, people with disabilities and those too young to drive. Professions that figure to suffer: cab drivers, truck drivers and bus drivers. If crash rates plum  (go to article)

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Volvo reveals all-new XC90 SUV

Yahoo! Autos -- It's been four years since anyone could write a sentence that began "This is the new Volvo...," but: This is the new Volvo XC90 — a luxury SUV that launches an $11 billion reinvention plan for the Swedish automaker. And after seeing it from all angles at the launch in Stockholm, it looks like Volvo may have a chance to become relevant again.

The XC90 was last updated 12 years ago, or two lifetimes in the world of contemporary automobiles. But Volvo is somewhat deserving of a reprieve—the Swedish manufacturer was orphaned by Ford during the carpocalypse of 2008 and then picked up by the China's Geely in 2010, causing a lag in product development. It’s not that shocking that the marque’s flagship XC90 crossover has been on the market for just about the entirety of the 21st century.  (go to article)

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Transco opens season on 1 Bcf/d Marcellus-Jersey natural gas line in Northeast US

Platts --
Williams' Transco Interstate natural gas pipeline began an open season Tuesday for capacity on Diamond East, an expansion project of Transco's existing Pennsylvania pipeline designed to move 1 Bcf/d from its Leidy line in Lycoming County to near Trenton in Mercer County, New Jersey.

Tulsa-based Williams said the expansion is designed to serve local distribution companies and power plants in New York, Pennsylvania and New York and should cost between $500 million and $800 million. The project is scheduled to go into service in mid-2018, Williams said.

Williams plans to expand service, which will be Diamond East, by adding roughly 50 miles of pipeline looping and compression at existing stations.

 (go to article)

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Dakota Gold Transfer to build crude terminal in Bakken Shale play

Platts -- Dakota Gold Transfer announced plans Tuesday to build a crude transload facility in Mountrail, North Dakota, the most recent infrastructure project in the ever-growing Bakken Shale play.

The terminal, expected to come online in the second half of 2015, will have an initial storage capacity of 300,000 barrels, but will be expanded to 600,000 barrels, the company said. The facility will be able to handle crude shipments via rail and pipe.

Crude-by-rail throughput capacity will be 70,000 b/d, served by Canadian Pacific Railway.

"The terminal's design includes two loop tracks with storage for one to two additional trains on the private rail spur, a covered loading barn, a 14-arm system capable of loading a unit train in approximately 14 hours, 15 truck unloading bays and three 103,000-barre  (go to article)

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Suzuki recalls sedans in U.S. as spider webs block gas vents

Reuters -- Spiders drawn to gasoline vapors and weaving webs that block a hose to vent those vapors have caused Suzuki Motor of America to recall about 19,000 Kizashi mid-size sedans from model years 2010 to 2013, U.S. regulators said on Wednesday.

Air flow blocked in the cars' evaporative emissions system can cause negative pressure in the fuel tank, which can lead to cracks which could cause leaks that increase risk of a fire, said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  (go to article)

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Delaware’s Sen. Carper visits bridges to make case for long-term transport funding bill

The Trucher -- Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., is planning to visit a trio of bridges in his state on Thursday to make the case for Congress to approve a long-term transportation funding bill when lawmakers return to Washington in September.

In one of their final acts in July before they left for their traditional August recess, lawmakers approved a temporary $10.8 billion transportation bill that was intended to carry infrastructure funding through next spring.
 (go to article)

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Forget Keystone, Enbridge has figured out an easier way to ship crude to the U.S.

Financial Post -- Enbridge Inc. said it found a way to ship more Alberta oil to the U.S. that doesn’t require a review similar to the one faced by Keystone XL: switching crude from one pipeline to another before it crosses the border.  (go to article)

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EIA: Oil, gasoline inventories decline

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 2.1 million barrels to a total of 360.5 million barrels. At 360.5 million barrels, inventories are 1.6 million barrels above last year (0.4%) and are above the upper half of the average range for this time of year.

GASOLINE INVENTORIES:
Gasoline inventories decreased by 1.0 million barrels to 212.3 million barrels. At 212.3 million barrels, inventories are down 5.5 million barrels, or 2.5% lower than one year ago. Here's how individual regions and their gasoline inventory fared last week: East Coast (-1.0mb); Midwest (-1.0mb); Gulf Coast (+0.9mb); Rockies (+0.2mb); and West Coast (+0.0mb). It is important to note which regions saw increases/decreases as this information likely drives prices up (in the case of f  (go to article)

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The 10 most oil-rich states

USA Today -- The U.S. energy industry is booming. As new technologies make oil easier and more affordable to extract, the United States is poised to become the world's leading oil producer as soon as 2015, according to a 2013 study by the International Energy Agency. At the same time, proven oil reserves — the estimated quantities of oil that can be extracted under existing conditions — have also risen. In 2012, the U.S. had more than 30.5 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, up 15% from the year before.  (go to article)

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BMW, Cadillac bring electric car battle to Tesla's backyard

Newsday -- BMW scored a coup this month when former Apple Inc. executive Tony Fadell became one of the first U.S. owners of the new $136,000 i8 plug-in sports car.
Fadell, who worked with Steve Jobs to develop the iPod and later co-founded smart-thermostat maker Nest Labs Inc., lends some much needed cred to Bayerische Motoren Werke AG in Silicon Valley, where Tesla Motors Inc.’s Model S is the preferred luxury vehicle for many tech elites.
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak often tweets about his visits to Tesla charging stations while Google Inc. co-founder Sergey Brin grabbed headlines when his staff turned his Model S pink for an April’s Fools prank last year. The Model S was the best-selling vehicle in 2013 in the wealthy Bay Area towns of Atherton and Los Altos Hills, according to Edmunds.com, whic  (go to article)

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Western Washington tribe brings protest against planned coal export terminal to Spokane

The Spokesman Review -- Members of a Western Washington tribe stopped Tuesday near the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Spokane, part of a “totem pole journey” to protest plans to build a coal export terminal north of Bellingham.

The proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal would be located at Cherry Point. According to the project’s website, it would be the largest shipping and warehouse facility on the West Coast, sending dry bulk commodities such as coal, grain and potash to Asian markets.

Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart and congressional candidate Joe Pakootas both spoke out against coal exports at the event, which included Native American songs and a 19-foot totem pole.

Stuckart said the companies and politicians advocating for more coal export terminals are “addicted to fossil fuels.”  (go to article)

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Report: Iran's nuclear chief says country has started redesigning Arak reactor as part of deal

AP / Fox News -- TEHRAN, Iran – Iranian state television is reporting that the Islamic Republic has begun redesigning its Arak heavy water reactor to limit the amount of plutonium it can make as part of the country's temporary deal over its nuclear program with world powers.

A video posted Wednesday on state television's website showed Iranian nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi saying colleagues were now working on the reactor. He said the work came as part of regular inspections at the reactor.

The reactor at Arak is a heavy-water facility that could produce substantial amounts of plutonium that can be used as the fissile core of a nuclear weapon. Iran has offered to redesign it to produce only a fifth of the plutonium it could make. The West has asked Iran to completely replace it.

 (go to article)

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Tough new rules for texting while driving (distracted) in Ontario, Canada

CBC News -- This is a video report.  (go to article)

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Countdown to increased fuel costs begins in California

Land Line Magazine -- An attempt to thwart at least a 15-cent-per-gallon fuel tax increase in California appears to be lost.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, announced on Friday, Aug. 22, he would not stand in the way of plans to put fuels that include gas and diesel under the state’s cap-and-trade program the first of the year.

The program has been in place since 2006 through passage of AB32 – the California Global Warming Solutions Act. The program allows the California Air Resources Board to cap greenhouse gas emissions and require companies to buy permits to exceed those caps.

Currently, the cap applies to power plants and other heavy manufacturers. Starting Jan. 1, 2015, the program is set to expand to include oil companies. CARB estimates the program could result in a fue  (go to article)

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Anti-UAW workers seek to form union at Volkswagen plant

REUTERS -- Employees at the Volkswagen AG auto plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, are attempting to form a union that will include hourly and salaried workers as a counter to the United Auto Workers Local 42 established last month, a leading anti-UAW worker said on Tuesday.

Mike Burton, who helped anti-UAW workers defeat the UAW's effort to represent VW Chattanooga hourly workers six months ago, told Reuters he hopes the new union will force VW to hold another vote to determine which one is favored by hourly employees.

Burton said the proposed union local at Chattanooga will be the first chapter of what will be called the American Council of Employees. The new union will operate differently than the UAW, which he says hurts the competitiveness of unionized U.S. automakers.

 (go to article)

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Consumer Reports says Ram top pickup; Highlander top mid-size SUV

Consumer Reports -- DETROIT (Reuters) - The Chrysler Group's Ram 1500 EcoDiesel was named the top full-size pickup truck in the U.S. market and Toyota's Highlander the top mid-size SUV by Consumer Reports, the magazine said on Tuesday.

The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel's superior fuel economy ratings of 20 miles per gallon overall and 27 mpg on the highway helped push it over the top in the competitive field, edging the second-place Ram 1500 V8 and the third-place General Motors Co Chevrolet Silverado 1500.

In Consumer Reports' road tests, the Ram EcoDiesel scored an 82, followed by the Ram 1500 V8 at 81, the Silverado and the Sierra at 80, Ford Motor Co's F-150 EcoBoost V6 at 70, and the F-150 V8 at 69.

"The continued interior and powertrain improvements make the Ram a particularly well-rounded choice for most consu  (go to article)

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Michigan Township Association leery of fracking moratoriums

MPR -- The Michigan Township Association says townships that pass fracking moratoriums could be on shaky legal ground.

Scio Township passed a six-month moratorium on well drilling activity earlier this week, as part of an effort to stop an oil and gas company from looking for deposits in the township.  (go to article)

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Labor Day Sales: 11 Deals on New Vehicles to Watch Out For

Wall St. Cheat Sheet -- Labor Day is quickly approaching, and with it the unofficial end of Summer. That doesn’t mean that it’s time to give up on your search for the ideal new car, truck, or SUV, however. Traditionally, the Labor Day weekend has been a huge time for car dealers and manufacturers that offer great deals and incentives to move some inventory in preparation for incoming vehicles for the next model year.

“Labor Day marks the time when dealers move inventory to make room for new vehicles, which means you can find some great deals on existing models,” said Michelle Naranjo, editor-in-chief at online car shopping website Autobytel.com.

“If you’re in the market for a new car, now is a good time to buy, with solid savings on large SUVs to subcompacts … and everything in between.”

 (go to article)

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Domestic-car satisfaction narrows gap

Allpar.com -- The 2014 American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) showed that satisfaction with automakers in general fell 1%, to 82 on a 100 point scale, with 16 of 21 nameplates falling. Asian and European names fell more than American ones.

Only two domestic brands, Chevrolet and Buick, rose in satisfaction, by 4% and 1%. Mercedes topped the list at 86, followed very closely (one point) by Subaru , with Lexus and Volkswagen tied one point down, and Buick, Toyota, and Honda one point below that (83).

Chevrolet, Kia, and GMC were just one point below Toyota, Honda, and Buick (82); Chrysler, Ford, Nissan, and Hyundai were all tied at 81, with Cadillac, Mazda, and BMW all at 80. Jeep was tied with Audi at 79, Dodge came in at 78, and Acura was at 77.

 (go to article)

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Cheaper, Cleaner, and Safer: How Hydrogen Could Replace Oil

Wall St. Cheat Sheet -- Scientists have been taking cues from nature for years, but few breakthroughs are potentially this important. In an effort to seek out clean, renewable energy sources, a team from the Australian National University has successfully duplicated one of the more crucial steps in photosynthesis — the process in which plants actively turn sunlight into energy — which could ultimately open the door to harnessing the process for energy cultivation.

If scientists are able to successfully take the photosynthesis process and apply it to industrial biological systems sunlight could be used to manufacture hydrogen, which could then be used as fuel. Hydrogen is already used as a fuel in many instances and if applied on a large scale, it could serve as a replacement for petroleum products — all the...  (go to article)

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Traffic cameras hit a speed bump

Newsday -- Nassau County, it turns out, had some company when it voided nearly 40,000 camera-generated tickets -- many issued to motorists at times when the relevant school-zone speed restrictions were not in effect.

New Jersey judicial officials just this month asked local courts to throw out 17,000 red-light camera citations.

The contractor -- American Traffic Solutions of Arizona -- was the same as Nassau's, but the circumstances a bit different. Garden State drivers caught on camera running red lights apparently never received notices of those violations.  (go to article)

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Used car batteries can now be turned into solar cells

GMA -- Soon, used car batteries may find new life as solar cells, thanks to the work of researchers at the Massachussetts Institute of Technology.

The MIT said the researchers, after 18 months of testing, found the experimental solar cells are as efficient as many commercial silicon cells.

More importantly, the development may symbolize how hazardous waste could still be turned into renewable energy, the IEEE Spectrum reported.

In their paper, the researchers described a way to make perovskite solar cells using lead from recycled car batteries, in a low-temperature, simple process.  (go to article)

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One of History’s Most Beautiful Cars May Also Be the Most Innovative

Wired -- Sixty years after its debut, the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing remains one of the most beautiful cars ever made. Even when you paint it beige and cover its seats in shriek-inducing red and green plaid, it’s gorgeous. But more importantly—at least in the annals of automotive history—the car was packed with innovative tech like a slanted inline six-cylinder engine, fuel injection, a lightweight frame, and those glorious doors.

Like with many automotive inventions, the 300 SL’s groundbreaking features were born from racing. It all started with the 1952 W 194 series 300 SL, which took first and second place at the 24 Hours of Le Mans; first, second, and third at the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring; and first in the 1,900-mile Carrerra Panamericana race.  (go to article)

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Mister Car Wash sold to California equity firm

The Associated Press -- Tucson-based Mister Car Wash, one of the nation's biggest car-wash chains, has been acquired by a Los Angeles-based private equity firm.

The Arizona Daily Star reports (http://goo.gl/DY6tUe) the company says ONCAP, an investment fund of Toronto-based Onex Corp., sold the car-wash chain last week to Leonard Green & Partners LP for an undisclosed price.

Mister Car Wash's president and CEO John Lai says the deal will help Mister Car Wash capitalize on an acquisition strategy while strengthening its leadership position. He will remain the company's top executive.

Mister Car Wash now operates 134 car washes and 32 lube centers in 14 states.

The company announced in May it was buying all six Albuquerque locations of Octopus Car Wash, a chain made popular in the hit TV series "Breaking Bad."  (go to article)

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Toyota Admits Camry Brake Problems - Issues Free Fix

AutoEvolution -- Earlier this summer, Consumer Reports discovered that Toyota needed to expand its recalls with one more for older Camry models that seemed to have some braking issues. Two months later, and the automaker responded to the owners’ concerns, offering a free fix.

After the report, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened investigations and found more than 900 complaints as well as almost 1,100 warranty claims for faulty brake components.

The problem seemed to be a possible clogged brake-fluid reservoir filter, that might have temporarily disabled the front-brake assist on older hybrid Toyota Camry models.

It’s not as bad as it sounds, since a problem with the brake-assistance system won’t render the car brakeless, manifesting through the need of a higher effort on the  (go to article)

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Texas lawmakers focus on oil boom

The Houston Chronicle -- AUSTIN — In a preview of priorities for the next legislative session, state lawmakers at a hearing on Tuesday examined the ways the oil boom is changing life in Texas.

Since the legislature last convened in 2013, budget officials have reported an unexpectedly large windfall from taxes on the petroleum industry, filling state coffers with a multi-billion dollar opportunity to address issues like the water shortage, transportation gridlock and troubled public schools. But industry practices have also wrecked roads, strained infrastructure, vexed police departments, drained water resources, polluted the air and set off knotty disputes among landowners, royalty claimants and oil companies.

Above all, the oil boom has emerged as a singular force driving the state’s great challenge of the 21st  (go to article)

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Could Diesels Be Poised for a US Comeback?

Design News -- Diesels are coming back for a number of reasons. The biggest may be fuel economy -- diesel fuel inherently offers about 10% to 15% more energy per unit volume than gasoline. GM’s Chevy Cruze Clean Diesel is rated at 46 mpg on the highway and is said to be the highest fuel efficiency offered by a non-hybrid car. Today’s diesels are also cleaner and offer better noise-vibration-harshness (NVH) characteristics that are far better than those of predecessors.

”Some of these vehicles are approaching a level of quietness, even under load, that makes them comparable to gasoline engines,” GM spokesman Dan Flores tells Design News. “The technology has come a long way.”  (go to article)

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China Said to Consider $16 Billion EV-Charging Fund

Bloomburg -- China is considering providing as much as 100 billion yuan ($16 billion) in government funding to build electric-vehicle charging facilities and spur demand for clean cars, according to two people familiar with the matter. The policy will be announced soon, said the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private. The people declined to provide further details of the plan such as how long the program would last or whether the chargers would be compatible with cars made by Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA) Increased state funding would be a tailwind for carmakers coping with consumer concerns over the price, reliability and convenience of electric vehicles. It would also build on efforts by China, the world’s biggest carbon emitter, to fight pollution and cultivate its local EV  (go to article)

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Boston Worse Than Washington in Ranking of Risky Drivers

Bloomberg News -- Drivers in Boston and Worcester, Massachusetts, are the most accident-prone in the U.S., landing at the bottom of an annual ranking of the nation’s 200 biggest urban areas by Allstate Corp.

Worcester’s drivers have a collision every 4.3 years on average, while motorists in Boston go 4.4 years between crashes, the Northbrook, Illinois-based insurer said today in a report. Washington, D.C., which had finished last in six straight Allstate reports, was third-worst with drivers there having a wreck every 5.1 years.

Allstate analyzes its claim data to come up with the annual rankings to emphasize safe-driving habits. Today’s report included data from January 2011 to December 2012.  (go to article)

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What Not To Say To A Car Dealer

AOL Autos -- Apprehensive about shopping for a new car? Afraid you'll say the wrong thing to a car dealer that will give him the upper hand in the price battle? Shopping for a new car, or even a used one, doesn't have to be that kind of nerve-jangling roll of the dice that it was many years ago. [...]

But it still helps to know what to say and what not to say as you and the car dealer play the game of haggling the price, because, you could still say the wrong thing to give the car dealer a leg up on the negotiations.

We spoke to an AAA car-buying expert and an auto dealer to find out what NOT to say once you're on a car dealer's turf and what TO say.
 (go to article)

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Lifting U.S. Oil Export Ban Will Lift Sector Credit Scores

Reuters -- Producers, pipeline and storage operators, and oilfield service companies will get a credit ratings boost if the United States lifts its ban on most crude oil exports, the ratings agency Standard & Poor's said on Tuesday.

Ratings for oil refiners, who have enjoyed the ample supplies of crude flowing from the U.S. shale oil boom, might suffer slightly if the ban is scrapped, the agency added.

S&P said the companies that likely get the biggest boost will be exploration and production operations that benefit from a probable bump in the price of U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude relative to the international Brent benchmark.

"Overall, we believe producers should reap the benefits as their markets expand and realized prices improve, but any credit improvements will depend on  (go to article)

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Exxon shutting FCC at Baytown TX refinery for work

Bloomberg -- Exxon Mobil Corp began shutting down a 125,000 barrels-per-day fluid catalytic cracking unit (FCCU) and a 21,000 bpd alkylation unit this week for planned work at its 560,500 bpd refinery in Baytown, Texas, according to energy market information firm IIR Energy.

IIR said on Tuesday that the shutdown began on Monday and the work would last 35 days. The maintenance was planned, and the duration is within the norm for FCC turnarounds, which generally last 35 to 48 days, according to a person familiar with the work.

U.S. Gulf Coast cash gasoline differentials were higher on Tuesday, but traders largely attributed the difference to prompt trade switching to October RBOB futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange rather than the Baytown turnaround, which had been anticipated.  (go to article)

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Texting while driving could lead to $1000 fine plus 3 points

Toronto Star -- Drivers who text behind the wheel face fines of up to $1,000 and three demerit points under tough new provincial legislation coming this fall.
Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca said the sweeping law aimed at curbing distracted driving will be introduced after the legislature resumes Oct. 20.
“It’s an increase on the fines and also the demerit points,” Del Duca said in an interview Monday.
In fact, scofflaws in Ontario would be slapped with the stiffest penalties in Canada for talking or texting on handheld cellphones while driving.  (go to article)

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Irony: California Senator Votes Down Uber Ride Service And Gets Busted For DUI

hothardware.com -- By now, it's pretty obvious that companies like Uber and Lyft offer a compelling service, one that taxi companies all over seem to be kicking themselves for not having thought of first. But despite the fact that these services offer a nice benefit to customers, they're fighting an uphill battle legally. Many, like Californian Senator Ben Hueso, prefer to vote in favor of the taxi lobby, causing the futures for companies like Uber to be clouded in complication.

It's ironic, then, that the aforementioned Senator, mere hours after voting in support of a taxi lobby bill, was arrested for drunk driving.  (go to article)

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