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Friday, January 30, 2015

29
votes
Where's the bottom? Traders spooked by oil drop fear getting 'face ripped off' as bets go awry

FOX BUSINESS-AP -- The plunge in oil has crushed the Russian ruble, erased $80 billion from Exxon Mobil's market value and pushed Venezuela to the brink of economic collapse.

But to Justin Thomas, the real drama in oil unfolds on a smaller scale, a story told in tiny, second-by-second moves in prices on his computer screen. Lately, most of the moves have been down, taking a toll on him and other traders who believe oil should have turned up by now.

"It was quiet, then there was chaos," said Thomas after a few losing bets earlier this month from his one-man office in Boise, Idaho. "The market changes, and you lose your confidence."

Thomas is one of thousands of oil traders who have helped turn market fundamentals — lots of oil, not enough demand — into a plunge of nearly 60 percent in the price of crude...  (read more)

Submitted 4 hours ago By:
178 Comments

28
votes
Delaware Aims to be First State to Issue Digital Driver's License

TECH TIMES -- Delaware is looking to become the first state to offer digital driver's licenses, which can be accessed by drivers through an app for smartphones.

"We'd like to go first," said Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles director Jennifer Cohan, who is also the nominee of the state governor for secretary of transportation.

"If it works for Delaware, then it will be a new option for Delaware citizens to show proof of driver's license and identification," Cohan added.

The Delaware Senate adopted a resolution last week that directed the agency led by Cohan to study the possible implementation of digital driver's licenses. The House, however, has not yet considered the proposal.
 (read more)

Submitted 5 hours ago By:
234 Comments

24
votes
3-D Printing Poised to Advance Cleaner Cars

Scientific American -- The technology could help make more efficient cars, more cheaply

It's rare that a gleaming, azure legend on wheels fails to turn heads, but at the Detroit auto show earlier this month, Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Shelby Cobra faced stiff competition for attention.

Acura and Ford introduced their new supercars, while other automakers presented next-generation hybrids and electrics. Towering matte military fighting vehicles and shiny trucks vied for the eyes of more than 800,000 attendees.

But in this showcase all about the future of the auto industry, the Oak Ridge Cobra, a throwback to 1967, was a harbinger of things to come.

The polished paint and chrome belied bodywork that came out of a 3-D printer, making the roadster a victim of its own success.
 (read more)

Submitted 3 hours ago By:
62 Comments

22
votes
Shell urges shareholders to accept climate resolution

The Guardian -- Shell is set to confront the risk that climate change may pose to its future, after backing a resolution from activist shareholders. The move came on the same day it announced $15bn (£10bn) in cost cutting due to plummeting oil prices and said it wanted to resume drilling for oil in the Arctic.

The resolution, filed by 150 investors who control hundreds of billions of pounds, requires the oil major to test whether its business model is compatible with the pledge by the world’s nations to limit global warming to 2C.

The 2C target means only a quarter of existing, exploitable fossil fuel reserves are burnable, according to a series of recent analyses. That implies trillions of dollars of oil, gas and coal held by investors could become worthless  (read more)

Submitted 3 hours ago By:
19 Comments

20
votes
Rooftop Solar Increases a Home’s Selling Price Across Multiple Markets

SciAm -- On Monday, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory released a report showing that homes with solar panels typically sell for $15,000 greater than those without solar panels installed. The study analyzed data collected from over 22,000 homes between 2002 and 2013 to measure the effect that solar panels have on a home’s market selling price. The report’s findings come as a boon not only to homeowners with solar panels, but also to the real estate industry, which has struggled to place a price on rooftop solar in the past.  (read more)

Submitted 1 hour ago By:
23 Comments

Thursday, January 29, 2015

45
votes
Gas prices finally stop falling

CNN Money -- The steady four-month decline in gas prices which has saved motorists more than a dollar per gallon has ended, at least for the moment.

The average price of a gallon of regular gas edged up a fraction of a penny to take the national average to $2.04 from $2.03 on Tuesday, according to AAA. It marked the first increase in 123 days, the longest such streak on record. Wednesday, the average price stayed unchanged.
Before this week, the last time the average price increased was November 25, when the national average stood at $3.35 a gallon.

This week's slight uptick followed increases in wholesale gas prices and crude oil prices on commodity markets earlier this week. The death of Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud last week prompted some uncertainty in markets on whether the Saudi  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
1736 Comments

44
votes
Detroit auto show: What in this world is Toyota's FV2 concept?

MLive -- Is it a glorified motorcycle? A bobsled made for roads? A futuristic transport pod?

Whatever you'd call it, Toyota's FV2 concept was in Detroit for the 2015 North American International Auto Show. Unveiled at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show, the vehicle is meant to signal a future in which driving is not only fun, but a bonding experience between man and machine.

Though a bit of a sideshow at Toyota's expansive stand in the Cobo Center, the FV2 still drew a crowd. At random, it would shift from side to side, while a series of colorful light designs moved across its black, pod-like body.

As explained in the video below, the FV2 is moved by the body balance of the driver, sort of like if you're sledding down a hill of snow. It has no steering wheel.(VIDEO)  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
1407 Comments

40
votes
Union workers press their case for contract demands at Lyondell refinery

Fuel Fix -- In an effort to show support for ongoing labor negotiations, about 150 employees of LyondellBasell Refinery in Houston fanned out in front of the plant late Wednesday afternoon.

The employees, many still in their blue work jumpsuits, carried signs that read “Fair Contract Now” and “Solidary is Strength” while passing drivers honked their horns.

The rally, which was scheduled for afternoon shift change, was organized by the United Steelworkers union, which is conducting nationwide oil worker bargaining negotiations at an undisclosed location. Local union officials are also trying to hammer out what’s known as “local issues” at each plant.

Current contracts expire at 12:01 a.m. on Feb. 1. for most of the 30,000 oil workers – including 5,000 in Houston – covered by the labor agreements.

 (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
105 Comments

39
votes
New highway plan could reduce Denver traffic congestion... for $52 billion

GasBuddy Blog --
Image From ..denverpost.comMuch of the Denver metro-area's traffic congestion could be solved by adding at least $11 billion in new toll lanes on portions of every major interstate and federal highway, the Denver Post reports.
Toll lanes could also speed along traffic on the busiest intersections at Denver's major arterials, says Baruch Feigenbaum, transportation policy analyst, for the Los Angeles-based Reason Foundation, Los Angeles-based, free-market think tank. "But through tolling revenue we can meet the projects that need to be done to help ease congestion and help mobility in Denver."The overall cost of Reason's plan is $52 billion, which is drastically less than a $133 billion estimate for a plan by the Denver Regional Council of Governments. ...  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
1572 Comments

38
votes
Florida Power & Light to Triple Solar Capacity by End of 2016

Bloomberg -- (Bloomberg) -- NextEra Energy Inc.’s Florida Power & Light Co. is planning to build three solar plants to triple its photovoltaic capacity by the end of 2016.
The utility is adding more than 1 million panels to increase output capacity to about 335 megawatts from 110 megawatts, according to a statement from Juno Beach, Florida-based NextEra on Monday.
Florida Power & Light “is optimistic that it could potentially add even more solar energy generation to complement its natural gas and nuclear resources while continuing to meet the electricity needs of Florida’s growing economy and population,” NextEra said.  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
59 Comments

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

43
votes
Iraq Oil Surge to Fan OPEC Rivalry That Triggered Slump

BloombergBusiness -- The battle for customers among OPEC members that helped trigger oil’s collapse is about to escalate.

Iraqi crude production is climbing from a 35-year high as it adds growing Kurdish supplies to its exports while southern oilfields remain unscathed by Islamic State militants. Finding customers for the new output means offering more attractive terms than rivals in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries say Citigroup Inc. DNB ASA and Barclays Plc.

Oil’s biggest slump in six years gained momentum in October as a wave of discounts by Middle Eastern producers signaled OPEC members were intent on defending market share against booming shale output from the U.S. The price of Saudi crude for Asian buyers was cut to the lowest in at least 14 years last month, a move followed by Iraq...  (read more)

Submitted Jan 28, 2015 By:
928 Comments

40
votes
Vessel weighs anchor as oil dispute hangs in scales of justice

Fuel Fix -- An oil tanker anchored off the coast of Galveston since July amid an international legal dispute finally has sailed.

The United Kalavryta carried 1 million barrels of crude from Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region. The Baghdad government considered the crude stolen property that had been smuggled out of the country.

As lawyers for Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government debated the fate of the crude in U.S. federal court maritime companies became skittish about becoming involved in the imbroglio and were unwilling to unload the crude for its unidentified buyer.

So the tanker and its cargo remained in international waters about 60 miles off Galveston. Since July the price of crude oil has fallen by more than half diminishing the value of the tanker’s cargo.

It now is headed...  (read more)

Submitted Jan 28, 2015 By:
1440 Comments

37
votes
Natural gas prices bounce as blizzard blows

CNN -- Prices for natural gas are bouncing this morning in New York as a blizzard blasts through the northeastern United States.
Natural gas futures are up 3.5% to roughly $3 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Traders appear to be expecting a surge in heating demand because of the blizzard.
Roughly half of American households use natural gas for heating and cooking.
The bounce comes as prices have taken a sharp fall over the last few weeks. Natural gas prices have plunged by about 35% since late November as unusually warm temperatures in the eastern United States have crimped overall demand.
Raymond James energy analyst Pavel Molchanov said natural gas prices have "always been notoriously weather-sensitive."
"Right now, in the midst of an epic blizzard (and thi  (read more)

Submitted Jan 28, 2015 By:
888 Comments

36
votes
The New Tesla Car Has A Button Called ‘Insane Mode’

Business Insider -- Tesla introduced its dual-motor Model S late last year, and among the many improvements it has over the original Model S is its incredible acceleration.
The standard Model S can go from 0 to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds, which is pretty fast, but the new dual-motor Model S can get there in just 3.2 seconds — "roller-coaster stuff," in other words.

That kind of acceleration is comparable to some of the world’s fastest sports cars from Lamborghini and Ferrari, and even the McLaren F1 supercar.

You can go into “Insane Mode" by coming to a complete stop and toggling a button on the digital console, which will quickly accelerate the car to 60 to 70 mph in just a few wild seconds.

Most people have the same shocked reaction, as no one is really expecting “Insane Mode” to actually live up to its promi  (read more)

Submitted Jan 28, 2015 By:
83 Comments

35
votes
EIA: Crude oil inventories surge again, while gasoline inventories drop

GasBuddy Blog -- The Energy Information Administration released its weekly report Wednesday on the status of petroleum inventories in the United States.

Here are some highlights:

CRUDE INVENTORIES:
Crude oil inventories increased by 8.9 million barrels to a total of 406.7 million barrels. At 406.7 million barrels, inventories are 49.1 million barrels above last year (13.7%) and are well above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year.

GASOLINE INVENTORIES:
Gasoline inventories decreased by 2.6 million barrels to 238.3 million barrels. At 238.3 million barrels, inventories are up 3.9 million barrels, or 1.7% higher than one year ago. Here's how individual regions and their gasoline inventory fared last week: East Coast (-1.7mb); Midwest (+0.3mb); Gulf Coast (-0.3mb); Rockies (-0.2mb); and West Coast (-0.6mb). It is important to note which regions saw increases/decreases as this informa  (read more)

Submitted Jan 28, 2015 By:
1011 Comments

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

50
votes
Pennsylvania motorists now pay highest gas taxes in U.S.

GasBuddy Blog -- It's official.  Pennsylvania has passed New York and California by earning the dubious distinction of having the highest gasoline taxes in the nation. Combined with the federal gas tax of 18.4 cents per gallon, Pennsylvania's state tax of 50.5 cpg. brings the combined tax to 68.9 cents per gallon.  Californians pay 63.7 cents per gal., NewYorkers pay 63.4 cents per gal., according to the American Petroleum Institute..

Adding insult to in jury, Pennsylvania plans to take even more money away from its residents later this year. On July 1, annual passenger car and motorcycle registration will rise by $1 to $37 and $19, respectively. Pickup truck registration will rise $1.50, to $60 and antique, classic and collectible vehicle registration by $2, to $77.Vehicle inspection stickers that now cost $5 could also rise, as of July 1. And the base license fee, which does not include the cost of the photo, will rise $1, to $22 on July 1. ...  (read more)

Submitted Jan 27, 2015 By:
2352 Comments

49
votes
Oil steadies after Opec says prices may have bottomed but risk jump to $200

The National-Reuters -- Brent crude oil prices held above $48 on Tuesday following comments from Opec that prices may have found a floor.

Opec secretary-general Abdullah Al-Badri said oil prices may have bottomed out and he warned of a risk of a future jump to $200 a barrel if investment in new supplies was too low.

“Crude oil markets continue to consolidate near term,” ANZ analysts said, adding that Brent traded in the range of $48-$50 last week and showed little direction.

“Opec’s secretary general commented yesterday that prices may have bottomed, but there was no imminent prospect of Opec producers sitting down to discuss cutbacks until mid-year” ANZ said.

March Brent crude rose 17 cents to $48.33 a barrel at 0347 GMT, after settling down 1.3 per cent on Monday.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for...  (read more)

Submitted Jan 27, 2015 By:
1434 Comments

43
votes
Analyst: End to gas below $2 coming soon

Fox 5 -- LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -
While we bask in the relief of $1.99 a gallon gasoline, one analyst said Monday the steep price drop shouldn't last very long.
According to Patrick DeHaan of GasBuddy.com, the $1.99 price seen around the country should be the lowest the recent drops will get before a standard seasonal lift.

“Refineries have been processing less crude oil and thus producing less gasoline, which will contribute to a soft bottoming out of the national average before a small recovery back in the very low $2's," said DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst with gas price indicating website.

DeHaan, though, said 2015 should have far lower prices than the previous year.

“We'll be subject to a seasonal lift in gasoline prices as refineries slow production to do maintenance and to make  (read more)

Submitted Jan 27, 2015 By:
1018 Comments

41
votes
Oil slides despite OPEC talk of a floor

Reuters -- Reuters) - Oil fell in see-saw trade on Monday, with U.S. crude ending at its lowest in nearly six years, as traders discounted comments from OPEC's top official about the market finally finding a bottom.

It was an up-and-down session for crude, which gyrated along with the U.S. dollar in the wake of a decisive Greek election victory by the left-wing Syriza party.

Prices initially rallied after OPEC Secretary-General Abdullah al-Badri said oil may have hit a floor and could move higher very soon, the first comments he has made on the subject during crude's seven-month-long price rout.

But the gains proved fleeting as global benchmark Brent LCOc1 fell 1.3 percent to $48.16. U.S. crude CLc1 lost almost 1 percent, settling at $45.15, the lowest settlement price for the existing front-month  (read more)

Submitted Jan 27, 2015 By:
1034 Comments

40
votes
New-generation solar panels far cheaper, more efficient

Yahoo! Tech -- A new generation of solar panels made from a mineral called perovskite has the potential to convert solar energy into household electricity more cheaply than ever before, according to a study from Briain's Exeter University.

Super-thin, custom-colored panels attached to a building's windows may become a "holy grail" for India and African countries, one of the authors of the study told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

"In those countries these types of material will be like a holy grail: they can both shade windows ... and at the same time produce electricity," he said.

Unlike other solar panels, those made of perovskite can absorb most of the solar spectrum and work in various atmospheric conditions, rather than only in direct sunlight.  (read more)

Submitted Jan 27, 2015 By:
45 Comments

Monday, January 26, 2015

57
votes
For Saudis, Falling Demand for Oil Is the Biggest Concern

Bloomberg -- As the world’s oil producers wring their hands over a global glut that’s pushing down prices, evidence is mounting that Saudi Arabia is more concerned about shrinking demand.

The world’s largest exporter has chosen not to cut production, counting instead on lower prices to stimulate consumption, said Mohammad Al Sabban, an adviser to Saudi Arabia’s petroleum minister from 1988 to 2013. The Saudis are keeping an eye on investments in fuel efficiency and renewable energy, according to Francisco Blanch, Bank of America Corp.’s head of global commodity research.

“Nobody should imagine the world will continue to demand oil as long as you have it in your fields” Al Sabban said in an interview. “We need to prepare ourselves for that stage.”

The U.S. shale revolution showed that forecasts of...  (read more)

Submitted Jan 26, 2015 By:
1397 Comments

52
votes
Local drivers don’t want gas tax to increase

Journal News -- With average gasoline prices at their lowest in years, some lawmakers are tinkering with a proposal to increase the federal gas tax, which hasn’t been raised since 1993.
The gas tax is 18.4 cents a gallon, and diesel fuel tax is 24.4 cents a gallon. The taxes bring in approximately $34 billion a year to the federal Highway Trust Fund, but the government spends about $50 billion a year. The trust fund has been the main source of federal transportation aid to states for more than 60 years.  (read more)

Submitted Jan 26, 2015 By:
596 Comments

52
votes
Gas Prices Expected To Rise Again Soon, Say Experts

HNGN -- Despite the recent decline in gas prices across the country, experts expect them to rise due to the increase in crude oil prices.

The average gallon of gas in the United States dropped 13 cents in the past two weeks to $2.07 while crude oil prices have increased in the last 10 days, industry analyst Trilby Lundberg said Sunday, according to the Los Angeles Times. The price of gas is 37 percent lower than this time last year.

The Energy Department believes that the average U.S. family will spend $750 less on gas than in 2014 because the average price will decrease from $3.36 to $2.33. However, Lundberg said the increase in crude oil prices will eventually be seen at the pump, the Seattle Times reported.

The decrease in crude oil prices is a result of onshore oil fields in North Dakota  (read more)

Submitted Jan 26, 2015 By:
1486 Comments

51
votes
Airasia Scraps Fuel Surcharges As Oil Price Plummets

AP -- Southeast Asia's biggest budget carrier AirAsia is scrapping fuel surcharges on tickets following the decline in global oil prices.

AirAsia said the move also applies to flights under its long-haul arm AirAsia X.

Oil prices are now below $50 per barrel after 6 months of declines, pushing down jet fuel prices.

Chief Executive Tony Fernandes said the move will help reduce travel costs, stimulate demand and boost tourism in the region.

Airlines impose the surcharges to pass on higher fuel costs to travelers when fuel prices are rising.

Rivals Virgin Australia and Cebu Pacific in the Philippines abolished fuel surcharges earlier this month.

AirAsia has dominated cheap travel in Southeast Asia for years but faces rising competition from the proliferation of discounts airlines in Asia.  (read more)

Submitted Jan 26, 2015 By:
664 Comments

44
votes
'Not Mayberry anymore': Oil patch cops scramble to keep up

CBS News -- WATFORD CITY, N.D. (AP) — Police chief Art Walgren knew how much the oil boom had changed this once-sleepy town when he spotted something that would have been unheard of not long ago: license plates from Sinaloa, Mexico, home to one of the world's most violent drug cartels.

Before, there was little chance police would see cars here from nearly 2,000 miles away. And little reason to worry about out-of-state plates. Now, though, police are scrambling to deal with new kinds of suspicious activity and threats that have cropped up along this frozen prairie.

The gusher of oil and money flowing from the Bakken fields has made policing more demanding and dangerous, forcing small-town officers, county sheriffs and federal agents to confront everything from bar fights to far-reaching methamphetami  (read more)

Submitted Jan 26, 2015 By:
715 Comments