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Monday, September 22, 2014

62
votes
Why gas should be about a buck a gallon

johnharding.com -- Price of gas $0.91 in Saudi Arabia, $0.78 in Kuwait, $1.74 in Puerto Rico (part of the USA). So how can that be?

It costs less than a dollar to produce a barrel of oil in Saudi Arabia—I know, I worked for Saudi Aramco, the Saudi oil company.

The price of crude is not driven up by speculators. It is set by collusion between the USA and OPEC.

Let’s do the math

- it’s simple

- you should be paying a little over

- a dollar a gallon!

The artificial cost of crude oil accounts for 73% of the cost of gas at the pump. Now crude is at $100 a barrel.

73% of $4.00 per gallon comes to $2.92. All the other components for your gallon of gas come to $4.00 minus that $2.92 for crude, which equals 1.08 per gallon.

Let’s not be greedy – let’s give the Saudis and the others a chance to have a decent  (read more)

Submitted Today By:
1049 Comments

57
votes
Plunging Oil Prices Are Great For US, Bad For ISIS And Russia

Business Insider -- Russia and Iran are heavily reliant on oil sales and face budget shortages at current price levels, analysts say, weakening their position when negotiating over Ukrainian sovereignty or the Iranian nuclear deal.

And higher oil production from the United States as well as Canada is providing a buffer against the threat of retaliatory supply curbs from Russia or further disruptions to supplies from the Middle East.

“The increase in production is definitely benefiting the United States,” said Professor Paul Stevens at the Chatham House think tank in London.

“The Russians are very exposed to lower oil prices. We don’t know to what extent it will influence their behaviour in Ukraine, but they’re certainly going to feel pressure on their budget.”
 (read more)

Submitted Today By:
1257 Comments

54
votes
Solar City and Tesla Hatch a Plan to Lower the Cost of Solar Power

Technology Review -- Tesla and Solar City say their vast manufacturing operations will make solar the cheapest source of electricity in the United States.

At an event hosted in New York this week by Solar City, CEO Lyndon Rive and chairman Elon Musk announced that within five to 10 years every set of solar panels that Solar City installs will come with a battery pack to help deal with the intermittency of solar power—one of the key factors limiting its use. Musk says his company Tesla Motors will supply at least some of those batteries.

Solar City, one of the largest solar panel installers in the United States, announced earlier this year that it intends to build the country’s largest solar panel factory in New York.  (read more)

Submitted Today By:
571 Comments

51
votes
A nanosized hydrogen generator

Phys.org -- Researchers at the US Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have created a small scale "hydrogen generator" that uses light and a two-dimensional graphene platform to boost production of the hard-to-make element.

The research also unveiled a previously unknown property of graphene. The two-dimensional chain of carbon atoms not only gives and receives electrons, but can also transfer them into another substance.

Hydrogen is virtually everywhere on the planet, but the element is typically bonded with other elements and must be separated from oxygen in H2O to produce free hydrogen.

(...)

Argonne's early-stage generator, composed of many tiny assemblies, is proof that hydrogen can be produced without burning fossil fuels.
 (read more)

Submitted Today By:
57 Comments

50
votes
Donegal Township families fight driller to get clean water

triblive.com -- From January to June, Ken and Mildred Geary had to use bottled water to cook, clean and shower because a leak from a gas drilling company's pond contaminated their underground well water.

The state Department of Environmental Protection has ruled their well was contaminated by a nearby fracking operation.

Mildred Geary first noticed the tap water smelled rotten and felt slimy. Running hot water in the kitchen would fill the interior of their red brick ranch along Route 711 in Donegal Township with a horrible odor, she said.

The family complained to WPX Energy Appalachia LLC, which operates the nearby gas drilling well pad, and the company eventually agreed to supply them with cases of bottled water.

“It was a pain. We had to keep a big bottle of water handy all the time” said Geary, 76  (read more)

Submitted Today By:
397 Comments

Sunday, September 21, 2014

58
votes
U.S. crude falls for third day on dollar strength

Bloomburg -- Gasoline futures rose 2 percent to $2.6114 a gallon on the Nymex, the biggest daily increase since Sept. 3. Prices are up 3.7 percent this week. Ultra low sulfur diesel climbed 0.2 percent to $2.7166. The fuel fell 0.9 percent this week.

West Texas Intermediate crude fell Friday for a third day on rising U.S. inventories as a stronger dollar weighed on commodity prices. Brent futures rose on supply risks.

Stockpiles increased last week for the first time since Aug. 8, according to the Energy Information Administration. The dollar gained as the Federal Reserve moves closer to raising interest rates.

Brent widened its premium to WTI on signs of lower OPEC output. Gasoline futures jumped on surging Gulf Coast spot prices.

“Oil continues to come under pressure from the idea that we have am  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
1404 Comments

56
votes
Inventor Rethinks How Car Cup Holders Should Work — This Is the Result

TheBlaze -- For as long as cup holders have been in cars, their design has largely gone unchanged. For the most part, cup holders are a low base with higher sides, typically in a center console, that keeps the vessel containing a drink in one place.

But it’s the liquid inside that’s often the problem. As the vehicle stops, goes uphill or over a speed bump, the liquid will follow, which even with the most innovative of lids can result in a mess.

This common issue is probably why the video of new cup holder invention started going viral on Reddit. The video shows cups without lids sitting in a holder between two seats as driver puts them to the test. The holder called the Maksimatic follows each move of the car, making sure the liquid remains in the cup despite its lidless state.(VIDEO)  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
1219 Comments

49
votes
Spectra, Northeast Utilities partner on $3 billion project to bring more natural gas to New England

BDN -- PORTLAND, Maine — The Houston-based Spectra Energy announced Tuesday that Northeast Utilities, New England’s largest electric utility, plans to be a co-investor in a $3 billion effort to expand two major natural gas pipelines in the region, one of which runs through Maine.

Spectra’s pipeline expansion proposal was made public to a regional group coordinating energy policy in June, but the investment partnership with Northeast Utilities is new.

“I think it certainly signals the potential for a partnership that would really bring not only the resources but the experience to address New England’s natural gas capacity problems,” said Patrick Woodcock, director of Maine’s Governor’s Energy Office.

Marylee Hanley, a spokeswoman with Spectra, said the pipeline project, dubbed its Northeast Acc  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
1289 Comments

47
votes
These sobering stats show how deadly distracted driving can be

Driving -- We all know that texting and driving is dangerous, yet some continue to risk their lives and those of others with this and other distractions behind the wheel.

Statistics show distracted driving is the second-leading cause of car crash fatalities in this province, behind impaired driving. On average, 88 people are killed each year in B.C. due to driver distractions, about 30 of them right here in the Lower Mainland.
 (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
34 Comments

47
votes
Audi first with Cali autonomous driving permit

Autonet -- California has issued Audi the state's first autonomous driving permit, allowing the automaker to test self-driving vehicles on public roads. This coincides with a broad range of new regulations taking effect regarding the testing of automated driving in California.

Autonomous technology is the new frontier in the automotive world as carmakers get ready for what they believe is the next big change set to sweep the industry. Cruise control is no longer the only way to let your car do the driving.  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
151 Comments

Saturday, September 20, 2014

53
votes
LED lighting saving money and labor in hog country

midwestenergy.com -- Over the past few years, LED fixtures have taken over streetlights in cities and towns across the country. Next up: American agriculture, especially Midwestern hog-confinement operations.

In Washington County, Iowa, the bullseye of hog production in the state, LEDs “are coming on, and increasing in popularity exponentially,” said Jason Prochaska, owner of Sitler’s Supplies. Since his business began selling a combined LED fixture and bulb about 18 months ago, Prochaska said, “We’ve been doing a ton of projects. We’ve probably sold close to 10,000.”

And hog-confinement buildings, which are seemingly under perpetual construction in this part of the world, use a lot of electricity.  (read more)

Submitted Sep 20, 2014 By:
1361 Comments

47
votes
Do Wind Turbines Need to be Aesthetically Pleasing?

energydigital.com -- Here is a tale of two turbines.

One is utilitarian—maximizing efficiency while scaling back style. The other is a work of art masquerading as an energy source. In the end, they ultimately serve the same purpose—or do they?

The first turbine is a project of French energy giant EDF. The squat new turbines have several blades, are smaller, and supposedly less obtrusive than traditional turbines. However, to quote The Telegraph, to move toward this style of turbine would mean “wind turbines [would] take a turn for the uglier.”

The turbines are set to go into a new farm at Fos-sur-Mer on the Mediterranean cost, close to Marseilles and will consist of 13 turbines. The 26 MW farm has the potential to power 60,000 homes and is set to begin operations in 2016.

..The U.S.’ first offshore wind f
 (read more)

Submitted Sep 20, 2014 By:
1332 Comments

45
votes
In film on alternative car fuels, former Shell executive speaks out

Reuters -- Frustrated by what he describes as a lack of political courage, a former president of the U.S. unit of Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) takes centre stage in a new documentary film that makes the case for using alternative fuels in cars.

The movie, "PUMP," blames oil companies, and what is described as their obstructive tactics, as well as political inertia for preventing the widespread adoption of cheaper and cleaner fuels based on natural gas and alcohol in the United States, world's largest economy.

The former Shell executive, John Hofmeister, has devoted himself to criticizing what he describes as an unhealthy dependence on oil and the high price of gasoline faced by consumers at the pump.

"We have more oil and natural gas than we will ever need" in the United States, Hofmeister, who...  (read more)

Submitted Sep 20, 2014 By:
95 Comments

44
votes
Loring Development Authority feeling the power of alternative energy

BDN -- LIMESTONE, Maine — On an old concrete parking lot next to a deserted building on the former Loring Air Force Base, there is something very exciting and environmentally friendly going on.

Every day, from sunrise to sundown, 720 state-of-the art solar panels mounted on 30 dual-axis tracking devices produce up to 200 kilowatt-hours of power for the Loring Development Authority.

Combined with another 216 fixed-mount panels that went on line in the fall of 2012, the arrays generate enough electricity to power 55 Maine homes and offset 250 tons of carbon annually.

“We have all the ingredients we needed for a successful large-scale solar project,” LDA President Carl Flora said. “We have a well-developed power infrastructure in place and a lot of wide open spaces. Loring is a big place and is  (read more)

Submitted Sep 20, 2014 By:
1180 Comments

43
votes
Privacy advocates take another hit in debate over access to license plate scanner data

AP / Fox News -- A California judge's ruling against a tech entrepreneur seeking access to records kept secret in government databases detailing the comings and goings of millions of cars in the San Diego area via license plate scans was the second legal setback within a month for privacy advocates.

An initial ruling issued Thursday upheld the right of authorities to block the public from viewing information collected on vehicles by networks of cameras on stoplights and police cars. A judge will hear arguments Friday in the case before the ruling becomes final.

The expanding databases are the subject of a broad debate pitting privacy rights against public safety concerns. A LA judge ruled last month that authorities there don't have to disclose records of the 3 million plates they scan each week.  (read more)

Submitted Sep 20, 2014 By:
56 Comments

Friday, September 19, 2014

54
votes
New Orleans solar company attracts $40 million in financing, plans national expansion

nola.com -- Five years ago, entrepreneur Aaron Dirks was looking into installing solar panels on a Lower Garden District home he and his wife were renovating. He encountered a process that was both costly and complex.

Dirks, a self-described "tree-hugging Republican," had the time, money and interest to jump through the hoops. But he quickly realized many of the people who could benefit most from energy savings did not.

"The people and families that need it the most don't have time to fill out paperwork," Dirks said.

Dirks teamed with fellow entrepreneur Tom Neyhart in 2011 to start PosiGen, a New Orleans-based solar leasing and energy efficiency company that tailors services to low- and middle-income buyers.

PosiGen has grown quickly, employing 165 workers and installing more than 4,000 systems

 (read more)

Submitted Sep 19, 2014 By:
1307 Comments

51
votes
Saudi Arabia could fight ISIS with oil — if it can bear the price

Finacial Post -- Saudi Arabia might end up doing more in the growing multilateral campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) than its muted response so far has suggested: Using its oil-market power to drive down the price of oil, which the insurgent group relies on to fund its Islamist rebellion.
While the industry is mindful of a disruption caused by a price collapse, companies are comforted by lower differentials between Canadian and U.S. crude
“What could Arab countries offer the West to help contain this threat? Lower oil prices,”  (read more)

Submitted Sep 19, 2014 By:
616 Comments

49
votes
Californians Face 'Hidden' Gas Tax in 2015

GasBuddy Blog -- California wants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020.  And in order to do that, it passed a law (AB 32) that will be the first of its kind in the U.S.  Beginning January 1, 2015, the penalty on carbon emissions will also apply to transportation fuels; to oil and gas.  That means if your car runs on gas or diesel, you’ll pay more. Exactly how much more?  Nobody knows.  Apparently state legislators felt compelled to approve the law first and do the math later.  They don’t believe they need to share the pesky details with the folks who elected them.  Based on input from various industry organizations and consumer groups, it’s estimated that the cap & trade ‘tax’ on carbon emissions has the potential to increase California’s retail gasoline prices from 16 cents to 76 cents per gallon.  Most expect at least a 15-cent increase beginning in 2015....  (read more)

Submitted Sep 19, 2014 By:
1648 Comments

48
votes
Solar soldiers: U.S. to train veterans to install solar panels

CBS News -- The jobs training program is among a host of initiatives the White House says will cut carbon dioxide emissions by more than 300 million tons through 2030, plus save billions of dollars on energy bills for homeowners and businesses. It will launch this fall at one or more military bases and train a total of at least 50,000 workers, including veterans.  (read more)

Submitted Sep 19, 2014 By:
188 Comments

48
votes
Autumn gas prices expected to hit a 4-year low

CNBC -- The national average price for a gallon of regular gas, already down to $3.37, could drop another 20 cents-good news for consumers this fall ahead of the holiday shopping season, according to Gasbuddy.com.

Analysts say prices could fall to a range of $3.15 to $3.25, and that more than 30 states can expect prices under $3 a gallon.

Typically when gas prices fall, it has a positive impact on consumer spending. Gasbuddy says that due to the decline in prices consumers will spend $2.5 billion less on gas this fall than they did last year and that the money saved could trickle into other areas of the economy

Prices have fallen for a several reasons, the first of which includes seasonal factors. First, every fall the industry switches from its summer blend of gas, to the cheaper winter blend  (read more)

Submitted Sep 19, 2014 By:
1590 Comments

Thursday, September 18, 2014

63
votes
A Radar Gun that Catches Driver Texting Is in Development

Auto Evolution -- ComSonics, a Virginia-based company, is developing a radar gun-like device with which police officers will be able to detect drivers who are texting. The gadget uses the telltale radio frequencies that emit from a vehicle when someone inside is using a cellphone.

According to Malcolm McIntyre of ComSonics, the technology of the new radar is similar to what cable repairmen use to find where a cable is damaged, from a rodent, for instance. They basically look for frequencies leaking in a transmission, McIntyre said.

According to the source, a text message emits different frequencies to phone call and data transfer, that can be distinguished by the device the tech company is working at.

..The only problem is whether engineers will find a way to identify who's phone was being used or they  (read more)

Submitted Sep 18, 2014 By:
604 Comments

61
votes
An independent Scotland could become an energy industry powerhouse

Fortune --
If the Scots vote to secede from the U.K., nearly all of the British North Sea oil fields, as well as half of its natural gas fields, would end up under Edinburgh’s control.

Scotland would be wise to wave goodbye to the United Kingdom and vote in favor of independence.

While there are both positives and negatives to cutting the cord with Westminster, there is one factor in particular that should tip the scales in favor of the “Yes” camp—energy. Nearly all of the U.K.’s North Sea oil fields, as well as half of its natural gas fields, would end up under Edinburgh’s control, turning Scotland into an energy exporting powerhouse.

London has done a poor job managing the North Sea, leading to sharp declines in production across the board. An independent Scotland could wipe the slate clean and  (read more)

Submitted Sep 18, 2014 By:
1305 Comments

57
votes
U.S. crude output surges to highest since ' 86 on shale boom

worldoil.com -- U.S. crude production climbed to the highest level in more than 28 years last week as the shale boom moved the country closer to energy independence.

Output rose 248,000 bpd to 8.838 million, the most since March 1986, according to Energy Information Administration data. The combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing has unlocked supplies from shale formations in the central U.S., including the Bakken in North Dakota and the Eagle Ford in Texas.

“The shale boom hasn’t run its course yet,” Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research in Winchester, Massachusetts, said by phone. “The U.S. is in a good and improving position as far as oil supply is concerned.”
 (read more)

Submitted Sep 18, 2014 By:
1330 Comments

54
votes
Charge your phone using ‘urine-tricity’

CNBC -- Waste not, want not, the saying goes, and researchers at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory are turning something we all produce – urine – into clean electricity, or 'urine-tricity'.
It sounds outlandish, but earlier this year, at the Reinvent the Toilet Fair in New Delhi, India – co-hosted by the Indian Department of Biotechnology and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – the team exhibited a functional urinal that was able to charge a phone using just urine, a world first.
 (read more)

Submitted Sep 18, 2014 By:
1083 Comments

49
votes
Brakes Slipping? Screeching? Grinding? Don't Delay Repairs

GasBuddy Blog -- Don't put off the small stuff because it almost always becomes a big problem later. Automotive News advises that if you think there's a problem, you need to get it checked.  NOW. Many service stations such as Midas will perform a basic brake check to determine the extent of any problems. If you hear any brake noise such as screeching, squeaking or grinding, you should immediately have your brakes checked.Worn out brake pads, calipers and drums might be the issue, but it could also be a problem with your master cylinder, individual wheel cylinders or simply a lack of fluid. Here's a rundown from the minor problems to the major ones, and their costs: ...  (read more)

Submitted Sep 18, 2014 By:
1570 Comments