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Honda admits failing to report deaths, injuries

AP via Yahoo News -- Honda is admitting that it failed to report more than 1,700 injury and death claims about its vehicles to U.S. safety regulators, a violation of federal law.

The Japanese automaker, in statements issued Monday, also said it became aware of the omissions in 2011, yet it took about three years to take action.

The company said it filed documents detailing the lapses on Monday with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which had demanded an explanation on Nov. 3.

Honda blamed the lapses on inadvertent data entry and computer programming errors, as well as a misinterpretation of the federal TREAD act, a law passed in 2000 requiring faster reporting of deaths, injuries and safety defects ...  (go to article)

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Experts: Self-Driving Cars Could Add $1.3 Trillion to U.S. Economy

The Hollywood Reporter -- In a research report, Morgan Stanley predicted that widespread adoption of autonomous vehicles would contribute $1.3 trillion to the U.S. economy through cost savings from reduced fuel consumption and accidents, including $507 billion in productivity gains because people could work while commuting instead of driving.
Autonomous cars will also have a number of nonlinear effects with impacts on categories as diverse as affordable housing and healthcare, Platshon said. "If we get autonomous cars, we don't have 33,000 fatalities, 2,500,000 ER visits and $18 billion per year in costs. Take that burden off of every hospital and you've fixed the health care problem."
Americans spend on average three hours per workday in a car, according to a 2013 Arbitron study, or "5.5 billion hours lost on roa  (go to article)

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Fort Drum powered by wood in renewable energy push

AP -- Bulldozers rumble up and down steaming mountains of wood chips 24 hours a day, stoking the boilers that provide electricity to all 168 square miles of Fort Drum, home of the Army's 10th Mountain Division.
The 60-megawatt biomass power plant is providing 100 percent of the electricity for the sprawling northern New York base starting this month. It's the first green energy project to come online since the Pentagon's 2012 commitment to developing 3 gigawatts of renewable energy — enough to power 750,000 homes — on Army, Navy and Air Force installations by 2025 as a way to help ensure the military's energy security.

The Pentagon is pushing construction of independent power grids at military bases out of concern that utility companies are vulnerable to hackers, terrorists and natural disaste  (go to article)

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Two more deaths identified by GM ignition-switch program

Reuters -- Two additional deaths have been attributed to a faulty ignition switch in General Motors Co (GM.N) vehicles, bringing the total to 35, according a report on Monday from the lawyer overseeing a program to compensate for deaths and accidents linked to the part.

As of Friday, the program, which began accepting claims on Aug. 1, had received 2,180 claims for injuries and deaths, an increase of more than 3 percent from a week earlier, according to the report from the office of lawyer Kenneth Feinberg.

Overall, the fund has received 225 claims for deaths, 139 for catastrophic injuries and 1,816 for less-serious injuries requiring hospitalization. Of those, claims from 35 deaths, five severe injuries and 39 other injuries have been deemed eligible for the program.
 (go to article)

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Oil at $75 Won’t Shut in Much U.S. Shale, Dow’s Liveris Says

Bloomberg -- Oil at $75 a barrel won’t affect U.S. output from shale much because investments in wells and production have already been made, said Andrew Liveris, chairman and chief executive officer of Dow Chemical Co.

Some U.S. shale producers are already hurt by the drop in oil prices, though Dow, based in Midland, Michigan, sells enough different products that it can withstand lower crude, Liveris, the head of the largest U.S. chemical maker, said at a conference in Dubai.

Chemical companies such as Dow use oil products and natural gas to make finished goods, which they sell at prices linked to crude.

“They’re not shutting in because that’s all ’sunk costs,’” he said of U.S. shale producers. “So you’re not going to get a lot of producers stopping at 75-buck oil.”

 (go to article)

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Oil Falls for First Time in Three Days in Run-Up to OPEC

Bloomberg -- Brent and West Texas Intermediate declined for the first time in three days as investors weighed the odds of a production cut from OPEC this week.

Hedge funds have turned less bullish on oil in the absence of any clear signal from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries that it will act to bolster prices. The 20 analysts surveyed last week by Bloomberg were divided, with half predicting a cut and the rest no action. Saudi Arabia’s Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi said today it’s not the first time the oil market has been over-supplied.

“Whether they are going to cut is up in the air,” said Paul Crovo, a Philadelphia-based oil analyst at PNC Capital Advisors. “I won’t make big bets either way. There is a lot of expectation that OPEC does need to cut. That’s the perception, and it’s  (go to article)

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Despite Senate shortfall, TransCanada's Girling remains optimistic

GasBuddy Blog -- Russ Girling, CEO of TransCanada, the firm that's trying to complete the Keystone Pipeline that is intended to cross the U.S. - Canada border, says he remains optimistic despite the U.S. Senate's failure to approve the $8 billion infrastructure project that would create more than 40,000 jobs.

He has more patience than most of us.  The Senate vote failed by one vote.

During a press conference immediately after the vote, bill sponsor Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) promised that it would be a top priority when his party takes control of the Senate next year, the New England Fuels Institute (NEFI) said. Support from newly elected Republicans and moderate Democrats in the new Congress will provide more than enough votes to pass the bill and perhaps even the 67 votes necessary to override a presidential veto, says NEFI. ...  (go to article)

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Driver fatigue may have led to deadly tour bus crash, CHP says

Los Angeles Times -- The driver of a tour bus that crashed Sunday morning in Northern California, killing a man and injuring 30 other passengers, may have been extremely fatigued, authorities said..

The investigation of the crash remains underway, but the California Highway Patrol said the fact that the bus had crashed earlier in the morning points to fatigue on the part of the driver, identified as Jose Victor Garcilazo Palencia, 67, of Los Angeles.
 (go to article)

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Oil price seen falling to $60 if OPEC does not cut output

Reuters -- Oil prices could plunge to $60 a barrel if OPEC does not agree on a significant output cut when it meets in Vienna this week, market players say.

Brent crude futures have fallen 34 percent since June to touch a four-year low of $76.76 a barrel on Nov. 14, and could tumble further if OPEC does not agree to cut at least 1 million barrels per day (bpd), commodity fund managers say.
 (go to article)

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Chrysler's Pentastar logo takes backseat to FCA

Detroit Free Press -- Say goodbye to the Pentastar and hello to FCA.

With the formation of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles now complete, the letters FCA are now appearing everywhere — from the corporate websites to Twitter accounts to the sign to the sign outside Chrysler's headquarters.

The Pentastar, meanwhile, is largely being phased out — a move that has angered enthusiasts loyal to the Chrysler brand and has spawned a Facebook page and a petition drive to save it.  (go to article)

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GasBuddy Says: Give Thanks For Gas Prices 44 Cents Lower Than Last Year

GasBuddy Blog -- With the U.S. average price of gasoline at $2.80 today, the national average is at its lowest level since December 2010. Especially this week, Americans should be grateful that 80% of the nation’s gas stations are reporting prices under $3/ gal. today, compared to just 22% at this time in 2013.

“While many of us are convinced that gas prices automatically go up in advance of every travel holiday, our price tracking has proven that to be a widely-held misconception,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst with GasBuddy. “In some years we’ve seen occasions, particularly during the Thanksgiving and Christmas travel periods, when prices remained flat or even posted a decline.”...  (go to article)

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In North Dakota, Rising Unease Over Oil's Effects

NY Times -- In early August 2013, Arlene Skurupey of Blacksburg, Va., got an animated call from the normally taciturn farmer who rents her family land in Billings County, N.D. There had been an accident at the Skurupey 1-9H oil well. “Oh, my gosh, the gold is blowing,” she said he told her. “Bakken gold.”

It was the 11th blowout since 2006 at a North Dakota well operated by Continental Resources, the most prolific producer in the booming Bakken oil patch. Spewing some 173,250 gallons of potential pollutants, the eruption, undisclosed at the time, was serious enough to bring the Oklahoma-based company’s chairman and chief executive, Harold G. Hamm, to the remote scene.

It was not the first or most catastrophic blowout visited by Mr. Hamm, a sharecropper’s son who became the wealthiest oilman in Ameri  (go to article)

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Oil price seen falling to $60 if OPEC does not cut output

CNBC -- Oil prices could plunge to $60 a barrel if OPEC does not agree on a significant output cut when it meets in Vienna this week, market players say.
Brent crude futures have fallen 34 percent since June to touch a four-year low of $76.76 a barrel on Nov. 14, and could tumble further if OPEC does not agree to cut at least 1 million barrels per day (bpd), commodity fund managers say.
"The market would question the credibility of OPEC and its influence on global oil markets if there was no cut," said Daniel Bathe, of Lupus alpha Commodity Invest Fund.

That could send Brent down to around $60, Bathe said.  (go to article)

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Some fund managers see oil falling to $60 without OPEC cut

Reuters -- Reuters) - Some commodity fund managers believe oil prices could slide to $60 per barrel if OPEC does not agree a significant output cut when it meets in Vienna this week.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 have fallen by a third since June, touching a four-year low of $76.76 a barrel on Nov. 14.

They could tumble further if OPEC does not agree to cut at least one million barrels per day (bpd), according to some commodity fund managers' forecasts.

"The market would question the credibility of OPEC and its influence on global oil markets if there was no cut," said Daniel Bathe, of Lupus Alpha Commodity Invest Fund.

That could send Brent down to around $60, Bathe said.

"Herding behaviour and a shift to net negative speculative positions should accelerate the price plunge," he said.  (go to article)

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Devils Lake group wants public vote on refinery

mySA.com -- DEVILS LAKE, N.D. (AP) — A citizens group in Devils Lake is pushing for a public vote on a $200 million oil refinery proposed for the city's industrial park.

The city should have gathered input from residents before signing a letter of support for the project in October, Mary Lundy, spokeswoman for the Devils Lake Oil Refinery Citizens, told The Bismarck Tribune (http://bit.ly/1xsbwll ).

City officials promised to get public comments last year when a different refinery project was talked about, she said. That project never materialized.

"We just want them to fulfill their obligation to represent the community correctly," Lundy said. "It's not OK to tell the citizens one thing and then do something else."  (go to article)

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White House threatens to put brakes on alternative fuels

Los Angeles Times -- As biotech masterminds and venture capitalists scramble to hatch a new generation of environmentally friendly fuels that can help power the average gasoline-burning car, they are confronting an unexpected obstacle: the White House.

Yielding to pressure from oil companies, car manufacturers and even driving enthusiasts, the Obama administration is threatening to put the brakes on one of the federal government's most ambitious efforts to ease the nation's addiction to fossil fuels.
 (go to article)

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Thumbs down on oil projects, survey suggests

Presse Canadienne -- Poll suggests 7 out of 10 Quebecers against oil port in Cacouna

The port has been proposed by AB energy company TransCanada. The survey, conducted by research firm SOM, also suggests that 87% of the provincial populace thinks QC should have the right to refuse TransCanada’s Energy E pipeline, which would transport crude oil from AB to NS

Nature Québec, The David Suzuki Foundation, Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund paid for the survey

For Karel Mayrand, general manager of the Suzuki Foundation’s QC branch, the survey demonstrates that the more informed Quebecers are about the pipeline project, the more they question it

He says Energy East does not pass the “transparency test.”
 (go to article)

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While U.S. feasts on cheap oil, OPEC nations likely to squabble

The Columbus Dispatch -- Thanksgiving is a time of reflection on resources and relatives, even for one group of a dozen oil-producing countries that won’t observe the holiday this week.

The free fall in oil prices has led to billions of dollars staying in U.S. consumers’ pockets instead of pumped into their gas tanks just as the holiday spending season gets underway. Since June oil prices have fallen 30 percent. While OPEC nations aren’t about to cry poverty, the cartel will be working in the new week to stop the drop.

OPEC oil ministers meet on Thursday but not for a Thanksgiving feast. Instead, the powers that control almost 40 percent of world oil production will argue over how much oil they are pumping and if they should pump less of it. But like many extended family gatherings for the holiday, there will...  (go to article)

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Opec a shadow of its former self

Times LIVE-The Sunday Telegraph -- In 1976, Saudi Arabia's former oil minister, Ahmed Zaki Yamani, stormed out of the Opec gathering early when other members of the cartel would not comply with the wishes of his new master, King Khaled.

The 166th meeting of the group, in Vienna next week, is looking like it could end in a similarly acrimonious way, with Saudi Arabia and several other members at loggerheads over what to do about falling oil prices.

Whatever action Opec agrees to take to halt the sharp decline in the price of crude, experts agree that one thing is clear: the world is entering an era of lower oil prices that the group is almost powerless to change.

This new energy paradigm might result in oil trading at much less than the $100 (R1100) a barrel that consumers have grown used to paying over the past decade...  (go to article)

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Falling apart: America's neglected infrastructure

CBS News -- Our roads and bridges are crumbling, our airports are out of date and the vast majority of our seaports are in danger of becoming obsolete.  (go to article)

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Macy’s Will See Benefit From Lower Gas Prices, CEO Lundgren Says

Bloomberg -- Macy’s Inc. (M), the largest U.S. department-store chain, will gain from consumers that are less burdened by energy costs, Chief Executive Officer Terry Lundgren said.

“We expect to benefit from the lower gas prices,” Lundgren said in an interview with Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo today. “We have much higher expectations for the fourth quarter.”

Sales at stores open at least a year declined 1.4 percent last quarter as the retailer struggled to get people in the door. The Cincinnati-based retailer relied on trimming expenses to post a 23 percent increase in net income for the quarter, according to a Nov. 12 statement.  (go to article)

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Solar and Wind Energy Start to Win on Price vs. Conventional Fuels

NY Times -- For the solar and wind industries in the United States, it has been a long-held dream: to produce energy at a cost equal to conventional sources like coal and natural gas.

That day appears to be dawning.

The cost of providing electricity from wind and solar power plants has plummeted over the last five years, so much so that in some markets renewable generation is now cheaper than coal or natural gas.

Utility executives say the trend has accelerated this year, with several companies signing contracts, known as power purchase agreements, for solar or wind at prices below that of natural gas, especially in the Great Plains and Southwest, where wind and sunlight are abundant.

Those prices were made possible by generous subsidies that could soon diminish or expire, but recent analyses show  (go to article)

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Judge denies bid to halt Illinois fracking rules

Houston Chronicle AP -- ST. LOUIS (AP) — A judge in southwestern Illinois has denied a bid by a landowners group to suspend the state's new rules for high-volume oil and gas drilling, ruling that the plaintiffs failed to show they would suffer immediate harm if the practice commonly known as "fracking" was to go forward.


Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder rejected the request for a preliminary injunction on Friday, three days after she heard arguments about the rules meant to regulate hydraulic fracturing.

Attorneys for the landowners had insisted that the rules drafted by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and approved Nov. 6 by a legislative panel were procedurally flawed, among other things because the DNR allegedly didn't consider scientific studies and had no representative  (go to article)

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Where Oil and Politics Mix

NYTimes -- TIOGA, N.D. — In late June, as black and gold balloons bobbed above black and gold tables with oil-rig centerpieces, the theme song from “Dallas” warmed up the crowd for the “One Million Barrels, One Million Thanks” celebration.
Read Part 1
The Downside of the Boom

North Dakota took on the oversight of a multibillion-dollar oil industry with a regulatory system built on trust, warnings and second chances. Nov. 22, 2014

The mood was giddy. Halliburton served barbecued crawfish from Louisiana. A commemorative firearms dealer hawked a “one-million barrel” shotgun emblazoned with the slogan “Oil Can!” Mrs. North Dakota, in banner and crown, posed for pictures. The Texas Flying Legends performed an airshow backlit by a leaping flare of burning gas....North Dakotans do not like to make a fuss.  (go to article)

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Solar and Wind Energy Start to Win on Price vs. Conventional Fuels

New York Times -- For the solar and wind industries in the United States, it has been a long-held dream: to produce energy at a cost equal to conventional sources like coal and natural gas.

That day appears to be dawning.

The cost of providing electricity from wind and solar power plants has plummeted over the last five years, so much so that in some markets renewable generation is now cheaper than coal or natural gas.

Utility executives say the trend has accelerated this year, with several companies signing contracts, known as power purchase agreements, for solar or wind at prices below that of natural gas, especially in the Great Plains and Southwest, where wind and sunlight  (go to article)

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MDU eyes Minot area for second diesel refinery

Billings Gazette -- Developers of a nearly completed diesel refinery near Dickinson are eyeing the Minot area as the potential site for a similar plant.

John Stumpf, senior vice president of business development for WBI Energy Inc., said the second refinery would process about 20,000 barrels of Bakken crude oil per day, the same capacity as the Dakota Prairie Refining LLC facility near Dickinson.

“Minot’s a little different situation, but the demand for diesel up there is even stronger than it is here,” Stumpf said in an interview Thursday at the Dickinson refinery.

MDU announced in its quarterly report that the permitting process for a second refinery had begun and construction could start next year, but it didn’t identify a potential site. Spokesman Tim Rasmussen said a second proposed refinery is under  (go to article)

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State takes action to avoid low gas supplies, shortages

Des Moines Register -- Iowa motorists could discover some spot shortages of premium gasoline or diesel fuel as retailers grapple with refinery outages and pipeline disruptions, an official says.

Gov. Terry Branstad issued a proclamation on Thursday saying state retailers were experiencing low supplies of diesel. Then the governor issued a similar proclamation for gasoline on Friday. Both emergency actions relax the transportation and delivery of fuel, with the goal of improving supplies.

"The fear is that the shortages at the terminals could result in shortages at the pumps," said Mark Schouten, director of Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management. "The governor's actions in waiving the hours of service is an effort to prevent that."

Brian Johnson, vice president of finance at Casey's General Stores, s  (go to article)

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'Counterfeit' tires pose consumer risk

Consumer Reports: -- What began as a routine tire test became a journey through a maze of deception, finger-pointing, and a lack of accountability that in itself could prove dangerous if the product should prove to be defective.

When it comes to safety and performance, Consumer Reports has long said that you shouldn’t skimp on tires. That’s what we discovered once again when we recently tested three sets of Chinese-branded all-season truck tires that cost as little as $89 apiece in our test size, 265/70R17. All three of these bargain-bin tires landed at the bottom of our Ratings, in part because of their performance in our winter-condition test, as well as so-so to poor tread life. The surprise came when the owner and distributor of one set of the tires alleged that the tires we tested were “gray market”—that  (go to article)

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Iran May Propose Million-Barrel Daily OPEC Cut in Saudi Talks

Bloomberg -- Iran may propose that OPEC cut its output target by as much as 1 million barrels a day to halt the slide in crude prices when the country’s oil minister consults with his Saudi counterpart before the group gathers this week.

Bijan Namdar Zanganeh and Saudi Arabia’s Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi will talk on the sidelines of the meeting in Vienna of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, seeking to define a common view among its 12 members for supporting prices, Iran’s state-run Mehr News agency reported, without saying where it got the information. An official in Iran’s oil ministry didn’t immediately comment when contacted by phone yesterday.

OPEC, supplier of about 40 percent of the world’s oil, will meet Nov. 27 in the Austrian capital to assess its collective output amid a su  (go to article)

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EPA delays decision on ethanol in gas

Yahoo News -- WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration said Friday it is delaying a decision on whether to reduce the amount of ethanol in the nation's fuel supply.

Last year the Environmental Protection Agency proposed to reduce the amount of ethanol in fuel for the first time, acknowledging that a biofuel law that both Republicans and Democrats had championed nearly a decade ago was not working as well as expected.

A final decision was due before the end of the year on the already-delayed standards, but the EPA said Friday the final rule will now come in 2015.  (go to article)

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Sinking oil prompts Iran to push for Saudi Arabian output cut: Report

Reuters -- Iran will try to persuade Saudi Arabia to cut oil production when the oil ministers from the two OPEC members meet this week in Vienna, Iran's semi-official Mehr news agency reported on Sunday citing a television interview with the country's oil minister.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries meets on Nov. 27 to set its output policy and some of its members have called for output cuts to shore up oil prices
 (go to article)

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Obama’s punt on renewable fuel sets up fights in court, congress

Blooberg -- The Obama administration’s decision to put off issuing quotas for the use of renewable fuels this year sets up fights in Congress and the courts over a program that’s been bitterly contested for nearly a decade  (go to article)

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The Downside of the Boom

NY Times -- North Dakota took on the oversight of a multibillion-dollar oil industry with a regulatory system built on trust, warnings and second chances.  (go to article)

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China Needs 1,000 Nuclear Reactors to Fulfill Its Climate Pledge

Bloomberg News -- China, which does nothing in small doses, will need about 1,000 nuclear reactors, 500,000 wind turbines or 50,000 solar farms as it takes up the fight against climate change.  (go to article)

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Natural Gas Boom Is Drowning Out Coal Industry's Battle Cries

Forbs -- While a lot of the political fodder during the 2014 election season focused on the “war on coal,” a bigger and even stronger show of force is transforming the nation’s economic landscape, especially in “war torn” Appalachia: natural gas.

The natural resource has emerged from the back burner of U.S. energy development and onto the hot seat. Over the last seven years, it has not only fueled new economic growth but it has also changed the way electricity is generated. Beyond the newfound abundance — a result of shale gas drilling technologies — the manufacturing sector has subsequently boomed.

To be clear, dry natural gas can be used for electric generation. Wet natural gas, or natural gas liquids that include methane, ethane butane and propane, are separated from the dry gas.  (go to article)

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Hybrid vehicle momentum stalls

Detroit News -- Nowhere do automakers sell more hybrid vehicles than California, with its unique combination of environmental consciousness, high gas prices and traffic-choked highways.

But new hybrid models are in short supply at the Los Angeles Auto Show — one sign that the technology is still struggling to break out of its green-car niche, experts say.

Although the pioneering Toyota Prius has been the bestselling car in California for two years and still sells well nationally, market share for all hybrids appears to have hit a wall at about 3 percent of all cars sold. The share hasn't increased in two years.

"We're looking at a segment that has stagnated," said Jeremy Acevedo, senior analyst at auto research firm Edmunds. "It's more noticeable because the segment had such lofty expectations.  (go to article)

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Fiat Chrysler fire back at NHTSA over recalls

USA Today -- Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has fired back at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration one day after the agency blasted the automaker for its "woeful" recall repair rate on 1.56 million Jeep SUVs.

On Thursday, NHTSA Deputy Administrator David Friedman criticized Chrysler for the time it is taking the automaker to get parts to dealers and convince customers to fix Jeep SUVs under a recall to install trailer hitches to protect rear-mounted fuel tanks.

"With respect to your letter of November 19, be assured Chrysler Group takes seriously its commitment to motor-vehicle safety," Marchionne said in a letter Friday to Friedman. "I feel compelled to deliver up-to-date information that should alleviate your concerns."  (go to article)

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For Google's self-driving cars, learning to deal with the bizarre is essentia

Star Tribune -- In 700,000 miles of navigating roads, Google's self-driving cars have encountered just about everything -- including an elderly woman in a motorized wheelchair flailing a broom at a duck she was chasing around the street.

Apparently perplexed and taking no chances, the vehicle stopped and refused to go farther.

Through extensive testing covering nearly every street in Google's hometown of Mountain View, Calif., the company's 20 or so autonomous vehicles have developed an abiding sense of caution. Google researchers concede it will take more experience on the roads before the autos can learn to cope with every situation without becoming bewildered and shutting down, stranding passengers. When that happens now, researchers have to take the wheel and step on the gas.

One of the most surpri  (go to article)

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US welcomes oil deal between Kurdistan, Baghdad

Gulf News -- US Vice President Joe Biden welcomed an agreement between Iraq’s central government and its northern Kurdistan region over the management of oil exports, a step forward in a feud that has threatened the unity of Iraq.

After years of friction, the two sides last week struck a deal in which Kurds will give half of their overall oil shipments to the federal government and Baghdad will pay overdue civil servants’ salaries in the region.

“I was encouraged to see the recent interim agreement between Baghdad and Arbil on managing exports and revenue sharing,” Biden told an Atlantic Council summit on energy and the economy in Istanbul on Saturday.

Oil has been at the heart of a feud between the Arab-led government in Baghdad and the ethnic Kurdish-run northern enclave, which dispute control...  (go to article)

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Flurry of B.C. court battles threaten to drive away investment

The Globe and Mail -- A flurry of court cases has tied up more than $25B worth of resource projects this year as FN, environmental groups and others battle pipelines, mines, a dam and a coal port – a situation that some observers fear will drive away investment

Executive VP/CPO for the Business Council of BC worries BC's reputation could suffer if the wave of litigation continues

“The No.1 reason why investors are reluctant to invest in BC is because of the FN land-uncertainty question

One of the reasons for all the legal action is that the government is not doing enough to protect the environment

One way to restore public confidence and cut down on the litigation would be for the province to get out of the agreement that authorizes the NEB to approve Northern Gateway and Trans Mountain pipeline proposa  (go to article)

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OPEC panel reviews oil outlook in a start to talks on oversupply

Reuters -- (Reuters) - A panel of national representatives reviewed OPEC's oil market outlook for 2015 this week, OPEC sources said, preparing the ground for a policy-setting meeting next week that will decide how to address a looming oversupply of crude.

The Economic Commission Board concluded a two-day meeting in Vienna on Friday ahead of the gathering of the group's oil ministers on Nov. 27. It does not recommend policy to the ministers.

The panel reviewed the supply and demand forecasts published in the oil exporter group's monthly market report, which predicted lower demand for OPEC crude in 2015 and oversupply in the market if OPEC maintains its current output.

"It was a general discussion on the 2015 outlook," one of the OPEC sources said.

Oil prices have fallen by 30 percent since June  (go to article)

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Russia to seek new partners if Western oil majors leave - minister

REUTERS -- Moscow will seek new partners in countries that have not imposed sanctions on it if Western oil and gas companies pull out of projects with Russia, RIA news agency quoted Energy Minister Alexander Novak as saying on Saturday.

The sanctions over Russia's role in the Ukraine crisis have targeted the delivery of oil technology goods and services, aiming to make it harder for Moscow to access new oil sources.

"If (Western) companies decide for themselves not to take part in organising investment projects in the long term, we will invite investors from countries which have not imposed sanctions against us and our oil and gas companies" Novak was quoted as saying in response to a question at a meeting with students.

Russia, the world's biggest energy exporter, relies on oil and gas exports...  (go to article)

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NC motorists see lowest gas prices in 5 years

WNCN -- CHARLOTTE, N.C. -
More North Carolinians are heading over the river and through the woods for Thanksgiving, and they will find the trip won't cost nearly as much as it has recently.

AAA Carolinas says 1,345,000 North Carolinians are expected to travel 50 miles or more from home. About 1,210,500 of those travelers will drive, an increase of about 48,600 than last year. They will be enjoying the lowest gas prices in five years.

Gas prices in North Carolina are averaging $2.77, down 57 cents from Labor Day. Residents also are paying 46 cents less at the pump compared to last Thanksgiving.

AAA Carolinas President and CEO David Parsons says lower gas prices have encouraged more people to travel for Thanksgiving.  (go to article)

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U.S. Rejects Proposal for Solar Project in California Desert

Bloomberg -- The U.S. Interior Department rejected a proposal to build a 200-megawatt solar farm in Southern California.

It’s the first time the agency’s Bureau of Land Management has denied a permit for a solar plant outside certain zones that have been designated as preferred locations for solar power, the administration said yesterday in a statement.

Iberdrola SA (IBE)’s plan to build the photovoltaic power plant in California’s Silurian Valley would have had negative impacts on wildlife and recreational activity that “could not be mitigated,” according to the statement.

Iberdrola’s renewable energy unit is disappointed in the decision and is considering whether to appeal within the 30 days allowed by BLM, said Paul Copleman, a spokesman.
 (go to article)

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Inslee says state will act on oil trains

The Olympian -- The number of oil trains running across Washington is unacceptable, and the Legislature will consider bills in the upcoming session that mandate advance notification of oil shipments by rail as well as more funding for railroad crossings and emergency response training, Gov. Jay Inslee said Friday.

King County Executive Dow Constantine added that oil companies are raking in profits while “the rest of us are picking up the costs.”

“Those who are profiting should shoulder the financial burden,” Constantine said.  (go to article)

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The U.S. government thinks China could take down the power grid

CNN International -- China and "probably 1 or 2 other" countries have the capacity to shut down the nation's power grid and other critical infrastructure through a cyber attack, NSA told a Congressional panel Thu

The U.S. has detected malware from China and elsewhere on U.S. computers systems that affect the daily lives of every American

Hackers working on behalf of the Chinese government were able to penetrate American public utility systems that service everything from power generation, to the movement of water and fuel across the country

Admiral Rogers declined to identify who the other countries, because of the classified nature of their identities

A catastrophic cyber-attack that causes significant losses in life and financial damage would occur by 2025

"It is only a matter of the when, not the if, t  (go to article)

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Robin Hooders" pay expired meters

usa today -- The self-styled "Robin Hooders" race to the rescue of the parking peasantry, pumping quarters into their expired meters and leaving behind cards informing them they have been saved from "the king's tariff."

Nobody, not even the king - in this case the quaint New Hampshire college town of Keene - disputes their right to use pocket change as political capital in what they view as a fight against government oppression.

But city officials say the not-so-merry band leaves behind more than cards with a cartoon Robin Hood and a suggestion to pay their good deed forward: stressed-out parking enforcement officers. And now the New Hampshire Supreme Court is deliberating if there is a line to be drawn between protecting free speech rights and protecting government employees from harassment.  (go to article)

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Automakers are rolling out features en route to self-driving cars

LA Times -- The next phase of autonomous driving is already in development. Audi said its cars would be capable of "highly automated driving" at speeds up to 40 mph, without driver input, within three to four years.

Cadillac said vehicles in its 2017 lineup would offer customers an advanced driver-assist technology called Super Cruise, which "will offer customers an automated driving experience that includes hands-off lane following, braking and speed control in certain highway driving conditions."

Koslowski, the analyst, estimated that, by 2018, 20% of new vehicles would be "self-aware," or capable of making intelligent decisions about speed, direction and collision avoidance — faster, and more accurately, than their human drivers.  (go to article)

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Study: Fuels from corn waste not better than gas

Associated Press -- Biofuels made from the leftovers of harvested corn plants are worse than gasoline for global warming in the short term, a study shows, challenging the Obama administration's conclusions that they are a much cleaner oil alternative and will help combat climate change.

A $500,000 study paid for by the federal government and released Sunday in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Climate Change concludes that biofuels made with corn residue release 7 percent more greenhouse gases in the early years compared with conventional gasoline.

While biofuels are better in the long run, the study says they won't meet a standard set in a 2007 energy law to qualify as renewable fuel.
 (go to article)

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Poop bus fueled by human waste

USA Today -- here's a new poop-related form of transport on the road, and this one is more neat than nasty.

A "Bio-Bus" that runs solely on the biomethane gas generated by treated waste (of the food and human variety) is up and running as of this week in the UK, where it's following a Bristol-to-Bath route.

The BBC reports that the 40-seat bus can go 186 miles on a single tank of gas; creating that tank requires the equivalent of five people's waste for one year. (It's unclear if that's sewage waste only, or includes a person's food waste, too.)

The bus emits 30% less carbon dioxide than a comparable diesel engine would.

GENeco runs Bristol sewage treatment works, which produces the gas through a process known as anaerobic digestion: oxygen-hungry bacteria break down the waste, producing the gas;  (go to article)

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Premiers Wynne and Couillard set seven criteria for Energy East

The Globe and Mail -- TransCanada must consider the effect of the Energy E pipeline on global warming if it wants ON and QC to give the $12B project their blessing

That requirement was one of 7 Premiers Wynne and Couillard agreed to jointly impose in a meeting of their 2 cabinets in Toronto on Fri

“AB needs to move its resources across the country, and we want to work with AB. But we also have to protect people in ON and QC

The sit-down between the nation’s 2 largest provinces was designed to rekindle a relationship. The governments cut deals to trade more electricity and to push for national targets on curbing climate change

On top higher GHG emissions, the 2 provinces are demanding the company consult FN and other locals, take on all environmental and economic risks, and consider the needs of natural gas  (go to article)

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