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GM sets up new parts-ordering system for recall repairs

AUTO NEWS -- DETROIT -- General Motors today gave its dealers a revised ordering process that the retailers said should speed the shipment of parts, ease repairs and ensure the job gets done right...................
 (go to article)

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Biofuels' future threatened by political uncertainty

The Institution of Engineering and Technology. --

Recent scientific breakthroughs can deliver the next generation of biofuels, but will political uncertainty hold up industry's most promising projects?

Early this year, US researchers unveiled a very simple chemical treatment that could release – literally – a vast resource of renewable energy.

By adding a little sulphuric acid to a plant-derived, innocuous liquid called gamma-Valerolactone, young chemist Dr Jeremy Luterbacher, Professor James Dumesic and colleagues from the University of Wisconsin-Madsion, created a solvent that dissolves the tough waste plant matter that feeds advanced biofuel production.

For decades, researchers have tried to devise methods to extract the difficult-to-reach complex sugars and alcohols – cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin – from agriculture and for  (go to article)

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Keystone Foes Winning Celebrity Battle Supporters Dismiss

Bloomberg News -- Foes of the Keystone XL oil pipeline appear to be winning the battle for endorsements from Hollywood celebrities and prominent personalities.

Will it make a difference?

Actors Mark Ruffalo, Robert Redford, Kyra Sedgwick, Jared Leto, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus have come out against the $5.4 billion project. “Splash” star Daryl Hannah has been arrested at least three times at Keystone protests -- once after chaining herself to the White House fence. This week, former President Jimmy Carter joined nine other Nobel Peace Prize laureates in urging President Barack Obama to reject the project.

Having Hollywood stars and former heads of state on your side doesn’t assure success, but it can help “build up public concern and real outrage,” said Larry Noble, a counsel at the Campaign Legal Center, a  (go to article)

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Brent Crude Trades Near Six-Week High on Ukraine Risk; WTI Gains

Bloomberg News -- Brent crude traded near a six-week high amid concern that the escalating crisis in Ukraine will disrupt supplies. West Texas Intermediate rose for a second day.

Futures advanced as much as 0.2 percent in London before retreating. Ukraine accused Russia of fueling terrorism in its eastern regions as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization pledged to bolster the defenses of nearby nations. WTI rose after Janet Yellen, in her first speech to a Wall Street audience since becoming Federal Reserve chair, emphasized her commitment to support the U.S. economic recovery.

“The escalating crisis in Ukraine provides strong support to the market amid concerns about oil supply issues in the region,” Myrto Sokou, an analyst at Sucden Financial Ltd. in London, said in an e-mail. “Yellen comments yesterda  (go to article)

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Company Gears Up Cellulosic Ethanol Production

Environmental Leader -- Spanish company Abengoa Bioenergy is gearing up to produce cellulosic ethanol in the US heartland just in time to face a glut of bio-based fuel in the market and waning government support, the New York Times reports.

The company has bet $500 million in Hugoton, Kan., by building a plant on 38 acres for the cellulosic ethanol, which it calls a low-polluting alternative to petroleum products.  (go to article)

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IIHS: Only 2 of 9 mid-size SUVs earn 'good' rating in overlap crash test

GasBuddy Blog -- The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) took a close look recently at mid-sized SUVs. What they found may discourage you. The 2014 Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain are the only midsize SUVs out of nine evaluated to earn a "good" rating in the small overlap front crash test.

The 2014 Honda Pilot was "the worst performer in this group," said the IIHS. The 2014 Kia Sorento and Mazda CX-9 also earned a "poor" rating.

The 2014 Toyota Highlander earned an "acceptable" rating.

The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, Toyota 4Runner and Ford Explorer earned a "marginal" rating. What happened?

The small overlap test replicates what happens when the front corner of a vehicle collides with another vehicle...  (go to article)

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Those Stubborn Facts: 99.9% Proof That IPCC "Expert" Climate Models Are Hugely Wrong

C3 Headlines -- Climate reality and actual evidence-based science has completely eviscerated the global warming claims of the IPCC's "scientists" and those in the "consensus" choir.

Recent climate change predictions produced by the latest bleeding-edge computer models have proven to be spectacularly wrong.

Longer-term proof that the IPCC (and its climate-doomsday religion acolytes) is provided by the original "expert" predictions that were first published back in 1990. That proof is clearly obvious from the accompanying chart.

Simply stated: the IPCC predicted that if human emissions of CO2 kept growing in a business-as-usual (BAU) manner, the world would experience a high likelihood of global warming acceleration - to a per century rate of 2.8°C.  (go to article)

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Solar’s dramatic cost fall may herald energy price deflation

reneweconomy.com -- We’ve seen and published many dramatic graphs about the fall in solar, such as this one tracing the fall over the past 30 years and this from Citigroup, but the following graph from investment bank Sanford Bernstein is quite stunning – not just for its simplicity but because it draws attention to the potential impact of solar to the $5 trillion global energy market.

As you can see, the cost of solar PV has come from – quite literally – off the charts less than a decade ago to a point where Bernstein says solar PV is now cheaper than oil and Asian LNG (liquefied natural gas). It does its calculations on an MMBTU basis. MMBTU is the standard unit of measure for liquid fuels, often referred to as one million British thermal units.

“For these (developing Asian economies) solar is just cheap
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How Solar Energy Could Be The Key To Reducing Economic Inequality

businessinsider.com -- It is widely known that economic inequality — in terms of both income and wealth — has been getting more severe for most of the last 30 years.

..U.S. median household income in June 2013 was 4.4 percent below where it was in June 2009..

Meanwhile, the top 1 percent of Americans — those earning above $366,623 a year — has taken 81 percent of the fruits of the recovery. And the top 0.01 percent — earning about $8 million a year — has pocketed an astonishing 39 percent of the growth.

..falling energy prices mean more disposable income to save and invest, or to spend.

..Having access to an independent energy supply would be highly empowering for individuals and local communities, allowing a higher degree of independence from governments and corporations.

You could power your own lights

 (go to article)

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Federal court upholds EPA rule retiring coal plants

Climate Change Dispatch -- A federal court has upheld an Environmental Protection Agency mercury emissions rule responsible for forcing hundreds of coal-fired power plants to retire across the country.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in D.C. upheld the EPA’s Mercury Air Toxics Standards (MATS) for coal and oil-fired power plants. The rule limits emissions of mercury and other air pollutants from such power plants, and the court victory has been hailed by environmentalists as a victory for public health.  (go to article)

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B.C. backtracks on exempting sweet natural gas plants, ski resorts from environmental assessments

VANCOUVER SUN -- British Columbia Environment Minister Mary Polak has done a complete turn around on a decision that would have exempted most of the natural gas produced in the province from mandatory environmental assessment.

After quietly passing an order in council Monday without public debate that would have removed about 99 per cent of the natural gas produced in the province from automatic environmental reviews, the government reversed the decision late Wednesday.

The announcement came on the same day a group of B.C. officials were kicked out of a First Nations forum on liquefied natural gas.

Polak has now apologized for the decision, saying the government failed to discuss the amendment with First Nations, prior to approval.

“Our government is committed to a strong, respectful and productive...  (go to article)

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Union backers, anti-drilling advocates clash over Occidental project at Carson meeting

Whittier Daily News -- Supporters of Occidental Petroleum Corp.'s proposed oil-and-gas drilling project in Carson made their largest showing yet at a City Council meeting this week, wearing "Jobs for Carson" buttons and holding placards.

But opposition to the project remained steady during a back-and-forth debate at a special meeting Tuesday night held to decide how to move forward with a City Council-imposed moratorium on all new oil and gas drilling.

Ultimately council members voted 3-0 to hold a hearing April 29 to determine whether they should extend the moratorium. Mayor Jim Dear and Councilman Mike Gipson were absent...

"Think of this as your practice run," Councilman Al Robles told those who came to advocate for or against the project. "The main event will be on April 29. That's when the decision will.  (go to article)

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Germany first to deliver European gas to Ukraine

RT -- German energy company RWE has started delivering gas to Ukraine as natural resource tension between Kiev and Moscow has been heating up over gas debts and prices.

Deliveries to Naftogaz, Ukraine’s national oil and gas company, are being supplied under a 2012 contract where RWE can deliver up to 10 billion cubic meters of gas to Ukraine per year, dpa-news reported.

Last week the two utilities began talks to renew gas deliveries to Ukraine. RWE said more could be delivered in the coming weeks or months if transport restrictions are resolved.

The Dusseldorf-based company said the gas is being pumped into Ukraine via Poland, in a process known as “reverse-gas-flow”, a technique that Gazprom CEO Aleksey Miller says may not be entirely legal.

After Gazprom raised the price of natural gas  (go to article)

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Begich Earmarked Millions for Bankrupt Green Energy Company

WFB -- As Sen. Mark Begich (D., Alaska) seeks to shore up his energy policy credentials, a now-bankrupt green energy company to which he steered federal subsidies could cloud his message.

Begich received campaign contributions from a lobbyist for an Alaska geothermal plant after helping the company obtain federal financing. The company is now bankrupt, but Begich continues touting his support for alternative energy.

The senator, who is facing reelection in November, will address the Alaska Wood Energy Conference on Wednesday. The conference brings together leaders in the state’s biomass industry.

He has also promoted fossil fuel development, including effort to open areas of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration, and to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

However, Begich’s crit  (go to article)

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Hydrogen fuel cars could be important to California’s future

Hydrogen Fuel News -- According to the representatives from five major motor companies, who were recently involved in a panel discussion that took place in Torrance, California may become the testing place for hydrogen fuel cars over the next several years.

Carmakers will be required to follow new regulations in California by 2025.

There is a strong push for non-gas-powered vehicles in the Golden State. By the year 2025, automobile manufacturers will have to ensure that 15 percent of their total car sales come from selling zero-emission vehicles.  (go to article)

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New Methane Leak Data Adds Doubt About Future Of Natural Gas As 'Bridge' Fuel

Huffington Post -- Natural gas as a means to produce electricity is being hailed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as the fuel that can act as a "bridge" between carbon-heavy coal and zero-carbon renewables, helping to reduce humans' impact on the climate.

The idea is that burning natural gas involves fewer greenhouse gas emissions than burning coal. The IPCC in its Working Group III report says natural gas as a bridge fuel will only be effective if few gases escape into the atmosphere during natural gas production and distribution.  (go to article)

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Glow-in-the-dark highway a bright idea

Autonet -- Being tested in the Netherlands, these glow-in-the-dark markings charge by absorbing daylight, then stay lit for about eight hours during the night.

On a 500 metre stretch of highway in the Netherlands, streetlights have been replaced with glow-in-the-dark paint.

The glow-in-the-dark markings are created by mixing a photo-luminescent powder into the road paint. The paint charges by absorbing daylight, and stays lit for about eight hours during the night.

As the inventor Dan Roosegaarde explains to Wired UK, "It's like the glow in the dark paint you and I had when we were children, but we teamed up with a paint manufacturer and pushed the development. Now, it's almost radioactive."  (go to article)

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Renewable Energy Cools Earnings View

WSJ --

Renewable Energy Group Inc. shares dropped after the company tempered its expectations for the first quarter, saying unseasonably cold winter weather reduced demand for diesel.

The company said results were hurt by a decline in biodiesel prices and higher-than-expected feedstock costs. Originally, Renewable Energy had projected constant prices for energy and feedstock.

The muted outlook sent the company's shares down 13% to $11 in after-hours trading.

Renewable Energy produces and sells biodiesel in the U.S., while also buying and reselling biodiesel produced by third parties. The company also offers facility management and operational services to the industry.

On Wednesday, Renewable Energy said it now sees first-quarter adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amo  (go to article)

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Senators press Delphi for answers on recalled GM cars

FOX Business Network -- Lawmakers probing how General Motors used faulty ignition switches in many vehicles are turning their scrutiny to the supplier of the part, Delphi Automotive.

A group of senators on Tuesday wrote to Delphi Chief Executive Officer Rodney O'Neal, asking for information about whether the parts supplier pushed back against GM after the automaker apparently did not accept a proposed fix to the switches.

"It is our understanding that a fix was proposed by Delphi regarding the ignition switch in 2005 but GM did not adopt the change," the letter said. "As we continue evaluating the GM recall it is critically important that we understand the decisions made by Delphi and the company's interaction with GM."
 (go to article)

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Toyota Camry gets top to bottom makeover for 2015

FOX News -- Shaken by the advances of newer, sportier rivals, the Toyota Camry is trying to shed its vanilla reputation.

The redesigned 2015 Camry, unveiled Tuesday at the New York Auto Show, is longer and wider, with a more aggressive design. Toyota says it changed every exterior piece but the roof.

The Camry has been the best-selling car in the U.S. for the last 12 years, supported by loyal buyers wedded to a dependable family car. But Toyota acknowledges that tastes have changed, and buyers of midsize cars want more style, comfort and performance to go with the reliability.  (go to article)

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Senators Urge Ban on Banks’ Physical Commodity Ownership

Bloomberg -- U.S. banks including Goldman Sachs should be banned from owning commodities businesses because they could threaten the institutions and global supply chains, Senators Sherrod Brown and Elizabeth Warren told the Federal Reserve.

Financial holding companies “should be prohibited from owning physical assets like warehouses, pipelines and tankers,” Democrats Brown of Ohio and Warren of Massachusetts said in a letter to the Fed today. “These activities pose significant safety and soundness, legal and reputational risks to the institutions.

”The Fed is concluding a comment period on risks posed by bank ownership and trading of commodities such as oil, gas and aluminum, and the possible benefits of imposing additional capital standards on such activities. The Fed announced on January 14 that it  (go to article)

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High US Gulf Coast crude stocks spark talk of barge conversions

Platts -- Talk of barging crude from the US Gulf of Mexico up to the East Coast is gaining traction as oil inventories along the nation's refinery row continue to swell, traders said on Wednesday.

The demand for domestic Gulf Coast crude has moved to up to include East Coast refiners but constraints on shipping from the Jones Act...has some smaller producers and traders considering conversion of Jones Act Articulated Tug Barges (ATBs) from carrying petroleum products to carrying crude.

"The crude is just sitting there waiting for a good reason to move," said Carl Larry, president of Oil Outlooks.

"If they don't drop [the crude oil] off in the New York Harbor, they can ship it right up to Irving," he added, referring to Canada's largest refinery -- Irving Oil's 300,000 b/d Saint John, New Brunswic  (go to article)

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Performance Tires

Yahoo News -- Buying Performance Tires.  (go to article)

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Carter has it wrong on Keystone XL: PMO

http://t.news.ca.msn.com/canada/carter-has-it-wrong-on-keystone-xl-pmo-1 -- The Keystone XL issue has created a tiff between a former U.S. president and the Canadian government

The PMO reacted swiftly Wed to a letter signed by Nobel laureates, including Carter, urging Obama to reject the pipeline

Carter is the first former president to come out against Keystone XL

Harper's office responded with a warning: Remember 1979

It was a reference to the dip in oil supply which followed the Iranian revolution and touched off a global panic. Prices spiked and long lines formed at gas stations, helping destabilize Carter's one-term presidency

"Mr. Carter knows from his time as president during the 1979 energy crisis there are benefits to having access to oil from stable, secure partners like Canada

Carter asked Americans to avoid unnecessary trips, use carpools and publ  (go to article)

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Ford celebrates Mustang's 50th anniversary on top of Empire State Building

Detroit News -- Ford Motor Co. is gearing up to celebrate the 50th birthday of one its most iconic cars.

The Mustang debuted at the New York World’s Fair on April 17, 1964, and the Dearborn automaker hasn’t stopped producing the pony car since.

In New York on Wednesday, Ford unveiled a special edition Mustang to celebrate the 50th anniversary. Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr. called the Mustang “the heart and soul” of Ford.

“Frankly if you don’t like this car, you don’t like cars,” he said.

Dealers, media and other guests will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Mustang this evening atop the Empire State Building. The car had to be broken into five pieces for the ride up the building’s elevators and reassembled late at night, when the deck is closed to visitors. Ford Jr. was at the top Wednesda  (go to article)

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America's Top Young Scientists Warn Of Systemic Brain Drain: Colleagues 'Sort Of Disappear'

Huffington Post -- WASHINGTON -- Every three years, a diverse group of top scientists from around the world convenes at the International Conference of Gas Hydrates. The meetings, which have been taking place since 1993, provide a rare opportunity to explore developments surrounding the highly important ice-like substance.

This year's conference is no different. Held in Beijing from July 28 through Aug. 1, it will focus specifically on how gas hydrate applications could lead to energy innovations and, on the flip side, to "climate change and geohazards." Considering the enormous potential gas hydrates hold for both (methane hydrates, for example, are a tantalizing energy source with a major climate risk), the national incentive to explore and understand the field is self-evident.

Indeed, in conferences pas  (go to article)

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Detroit snow breaks records, topples power lines, creates flooding risk

CSMONITOR.COM -- A spring storm shattered seasonal snowfall records in Detroit and Flint, as melting snow and rising rivers from heavy rain threatened homes Tuesday.
The snow came after a weather roller coaster Monday, with rivers overflowing their banks and hundreds of thousands of people losing power. Mid-70s temperatures in some parts of the state tumbled below freezing by Tuesday morning.

By the time the snow ended Tuesday morning, 3.1 inches had fallen at Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Romulus, pushing the seasonal total to 94.8 inches, and making it the snowiest winter on record, the weather service said. That exceeded the previous Detroit seasonal record of 93.6 inches from the winter of 1880-1881.

RECOMMENDED: The 10 most expensive US natural disasters

The state's largest utilities said crews  (go to article)

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Texas crude production hits highest level since 1980

fuelfix.com -- HOUSTON — An index that measures oil and gas activity in Texas has reached a record level, bolstered by rising production and wellhead prices, its creators announced this week.

The Texas Petro Index hit the record in February, buoyed by daily crude production levels that soared to the state’s highest level since 1980, said Karr Ingham, the economist who created the index. February crude production in Texas reached an estimated 77.2 million barrels — up 22.4 percent from the same time period in 2013.

Ingham said higher wellhead prices caused an even more dramatic increase in the value of oil and gas produced in February, which rose by more than $2.85 billion from the previous year to $10.63 billion.

Saudi Texas: New data show ‘meteoric’ rise of Texas oil

The Texas Petro Index was create  (go to article)

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GM, Hyundai bring telematics 'in-house'

GasBuddy Blog -- When the 2015 Hyundai Genesis goes on sale later this spring, it will offer an ambitious new telematics and customer service program with it.

The system, which is the second generation of Hyundai’s Blue Link connectivity, will include smartphone apps for remote start and other functions, Google speech recognition and web searches for navigation points of interest. GM is also going in this direction; switching to 4G to add features and increase speed this summer, representing the next big step for in-car communications and connectivity.

“This is where the technology is going,” said IHS Automotive senior analyst Stephanie Brinley. “It’s not just about streaming Pandora (Internet radio) in your car. It’s becoming how you’ll...  (go to article)

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GM Launching Product Development Group Focused on Safety

FOX Business Network -- General Motors Co. (GM) will create a new global product integrity organization that will focus on product safety and quality, said GM Chief Executive Mary Barra in a speech on Tuesday.

"This new way of developing vehicles will provide the highest levels of safety, quality, and customer service, and ensure that a situation like the ignition-switch recall doesn't happen again," Barra said in New York.

Barra addressed the recall of 2.6 million cars for defective ignition switches, which she has admitted GM bungled. At least 13 people have been killed in older model GM small cars with the defective switches.
 (go to article)

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Dual Turning Point for Biofuels

NY Times -- HUGOTON, Kan. — There is an old joke in the energy business that advanced biofuels are the fuel of the future, and always will be.

A Spanish company, Abengoa Bioenergy, has bet $500 million on robbing that joke of its punch line. In the middle of a cornfield here it is building a 38-acre Erector set of electrical cable and pipe that will soon begin producing cellulosic ethanol, which it calls a low-polluting alternative to petroleum products. This is just as the George W. Bush administration and Congress intended seven years ago with legislation promoting energy independence.

But even as Abengoa and other companies prepare to produce significant amounts of cellulosic ethanol, using corn stalks and wheat straw as opposed to corn itself, the appetite for such fuels seems to be diminishing.  (go to article)

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Girl texting while driving hits cyclist, says “I just don’t care”

By Tina Robinson | Daily Buzz – -- while driving is so totally wrong.

But according to 21-year-old Kimberly Davis, it’s totally not her fault.
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US crude stocks surged 10 million barrels last week on import boost

Platts -- US crude stocks jumped 10 million barrels last week -- the largest build in 13 years -- on a surge in imports and lower refinery run rates in the US Gulf Coast, data from the EIA showed Wednesday.

Rob Merriam, manager of EIA's Weekly Petroleum Status report, said a large build in commercial stocks of this size is typically seen in January, when companies are replenishing barrels after shedding crude at the end of the year for tax purposes.

US crude imports rose 959,000 b/d, led by a 649,000 b/d increase in imports from Saudi Arabia and a 406,000 b/d increase in imports from Colombia.

At the same time, US crude oil production continues to grow. Domestic crude production reached 8.3 million b/d last week -- the highest since the 8.306 million b/d seen the week ended April 1, 1988.  (go to article)

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WTI Oil Falls From Six-Week High as U.S. Supplies Surge

Bloomberg -- West Texas Intermediate crude retreated from a six-week high after a government report showed that U.S. supplies rose more than 10 million barrels last week. Brent climbed on the escalating Ukraine crisis.

Inventories grew more than five times as much as forecast in the Energy Information Administration report. Supplies along the Gulf of Mexico, known as PADD 3, rose 5.17 million barrels to 207.2 million, the most in EIA data going back to 1990. Stockpiles at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for WTI, fell. Ukraine began an offensive against separatists in its east amid claims that Russian special forces were fomenting unrest.  (go to article)

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General Motors to ask bankruptcy court to shield it from ignition claims before bankruptcy

The Associated Press | The Canadian Press -- DETROIT - General Motors revealed in court filings late Tuesday that it will soon ask a federal bankruptcy judge to shield the company from legal claims for conduct that occurred before its 2009 bankruptcy.  (go to article)

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Shut Up and Deal: Tesla vs. the Auto Dealers

New Yorker -- The electric-car company Tesla seems like everyone’s darling these days. Its stock, even amid a pervasive selloff in the tech sector, is up nearly forty per cent this year. It has announced plans to build a five-billion-dollar battery factory, which various Southwestern states are vying to host. And it’s now starting to sell cars in China. But there is one place where Tesla is getting no love: New Jersey. Last month, the state decreed that the company would have to shut down its showrooms. In doing so, New Jersey joined states like Texas and Arizona, where it’s effectively illegal to buy a Tesla. Pretty soon, you’ll be able to get a Model S in Beijing but not in Paramus.  (go to article)

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Top Democratic lawmaker backs off 'carbon tax'

Associated Press -- The California state Senate leader on Monday backed off an unpopular proposal for a so-called carbon tax on consumer fuels and instead wants to dedicate billions of dollars generated by the state's greenhouse gas reduction law to affordable housing, mass transit and high-speed rail.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said his willingness to pivot from a higher tax on gasoline, propane and other consumer fuels was driven by the need to fund environmentally friendly infrastructure projects while helping low-income Californians with housing. The Sacramento Democrat also threw his support behind Gov. Jerry Brown's budget proposal to help finance the $68 billion bullet train with money from the cap-and-trade fund that was established as part of the greenhouse gas law.

 (go to article)

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Maryland drivers charged with cellphone usage triples

Capital News Service -- It’s been six months since the Maryland law banning cellphone usage while driving became more strict, and the number of drivers ticketed has more than tripled.

The change in state law makes driving while talking on a hand-held phone a primary offense, allowing police officers to stop a driver on Maryland roadways for just holding their phone.

 (go to article)

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Tinted car windows: What's allowed, what's illegal

The Globe and Mail -- When in QC, do as the Quebeckers do or face a fine

In QC, the front side windows have to let in at least 70% of light

If police can't see you through your windows and they don't have a photometer handy, they'll give you a notice to get your tinted windows inspected within 48h

You could drive away from the shop and keep the tint, but your dark victory will probably be temporary. Get pulled over again in QC and there will be no notice – just a fine of up to $300

If your windows are too dark for QC, chances are they're too dark for ON

ON's law doesn't specify a percentage of tint. If police decide they can't see you, you could be fined from $85 to $500

In BC, AB, SK, NS it's illegal to have any tint at all on driver and passenger windows

A lot of people are surprised to find that out  (go to article)

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Lower gas prices keep inflation in check in March

The Associated Press -- Lower U.S. gasoline prices kept consumer inflation in check last month, helping offset higher costs for food and clothing.

The Labor Department says the consumer price index rose 0.2 percent in March, after scant 0.1 percent increases the previous two months. Prices have risen just 1.5 percent year over year. That remains well below the Federal Reserve's 2 percent target for inflation.

Excluding the volatile food and energy categories, core prices increased 0.2 percent in March and 1.7 percent in the past year.

Prices at the gas pump tumbled 1.7 percent in March, lowering costs for the entire energy category.

But food prices jumped 0.4 percent, led by increases in eggs, milk, butter, oranges, pork chops, ground beef and poultry. Prices for clothing, used cars and cable televisi  (go to article)

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EIA report: Oil inventories swell, gasoline inventories little changed

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 increased by 10.0 million barrels to a total of 394.1 million barrels. At 394.1 million barrels, inventories are 6.5 million barrels above last year (1.7%) and are above the average range for this time of year.

GASOLINE INVENTORIES:
Gasoline inventories decreased by 0.2 million barrels to 210.3 million barrels. At 210.3 million barrels, inventories are down 11.4 million barrels, or 5.2% lower than one year ago. Here's how individual regions and their gasoline inventory fared last week: East Coast (+0.3mb...  (go to article)

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Crude oil slips on anticipated resumption of Libyan oil exports

Proactive Investors -- Oil futures closed lower today, pressured by expectations that Libyan oil exports would soon resume.

Traders also awaited weekly data on U.S. petroleum supplies that are expected to show an increase in crude inventories.

May oil dropped 0.3% to finish at US$103.75 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The American Petroleum Institute is due to release its supply report later today, while the Energy Information Administration's report is due out tomorrow.

Analysts polled by Platts expect to see a climb of 2.4 million barrels in crude stockpiles.
 (go to article)

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Will recall woes start crimping GM's sales?

CBS NEWS -- DETROIT - As General Motors (GM) executives show off their newest cars and trucks at the New York International Auto Show this week, analysts are watching for signs that consumers are shying away from the ones sitting on dealer lots.

Many expect GM sales to take a hit from a mishandled recall of small cars, though it's unclear when and how severe. Any decline would hurt the automaker's market share and potentially its credit rating. Concerned investors have sent GM stock to a 10-month low.

Data collected from dealers by J.D. Power and Associates show GM U.S. sales fell 6.3 percent in the first five days of April compared with a year ago, while the overall market dropped just 0.3 percent. The same data show an even larger decline for Ford (F). April is expected to be a rebound month......  (go to article)

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Drivers Ignoring Recall Notices Pose Hurdle for GM’s CEO

BLOOMBERG -- Even with U.S. auto recalls on pace to reach the highest level in a decade this year, there’s a good chance many of the vehicles won’t get fixed.

About a third of all recalled cars and trucks don’t get repaired, and about one out of every seven vehicles, or 36 million, still on the road have an unrepaired defect, according to data compiled by regulators, safety advocates and the CarFax vehicle history company.

That means recalled cars from automakers as varied as General Motors Co., Honda Motor Co., Chrysler Group LLC and Toyota Motor Corp. will remain unrepaired on the roads, in some cases putting drivers at risk. GM Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra will struggle to achieve her stated goal of repairing 100 percent of the 2.19 million small cars recalled for an ignition fault linked...  (go to article)

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Oil Rises to 6-Week High as Ukraine Adds to Tight Market

Bloomberg News -- West Texas Intermediate crude advanced to a six-week high amid concern that the crisis in Ukraine is escalating. Brent reached $110 a barrel on speculation China may do more to spur growth.

Futures gained as much as 1 percent in New York. Ukraine began an offensive against separatists in its restive east, recapturing an airport amid claims that Russian special forces were supporting anti-government groups. China’s gross domestic product expanded by a seasonally adjusted 1.4 percent in the first quarter, down from 1.7 percent in the previous three months, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

“Oil is being driven more by the Ukraine situation,” said Guy Wolf, global head of market analytics at Marex Spectron Group in London, by e-mail. “Does this situation mean more intense disa  (go to article)

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BP: Active shoreline clean-up after Gulf oil spill ends in Louisiana

The Associated Press -- NEW ORLEANS -

Just days before the fourth anniversary of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster and oil spill, BP has ended its "active" cleanup of Louisiana's coast.

The company says the Coast Guard ended patrols Tuesday of the final three miles of affected shoreline in Louisiana. The move completes a cleanup operation that ended in Florida, Alabama and Mississippi last June.  (go to article)

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Oil foes study how to be arrested

Charleston Daily Mail -- Donny Williams didn’t spend his weekend in Washington walking around the Tidal Basin taking in the cherry blossoms.

He was training people how to get arrested.

Williams, a 36-year-old environmental activist from Baltimore, taught a class in the nation’s capital on civil disobedience, part of a last-ditch campaign against the Keystone XL pipeline, which critics view as a threat to the climate.

The sessions were held over the past two weekends in eight cities, including Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. While critics say they remain hopeful that President Barack Obama will reject Keystone, the tutorials anticipate that a State Department-led review will find the project to be in the nation’s interest to build.

“We’re trying to create as much pressure as we can on President Obama,” Willi  (go to article)

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EPA wins in federal court, but Texas-based challenges to its authority likely to continue

The Dallas Morning News -- Tuesday’s decision by a federal appeals court to uphold EPA air quality standards that limit emissions of mercury and other power-plant pollutants is only the latest in a long series of skirmishes between industry groups and Republican lawmakers, on one hand, and environmentalists and the Obama Administration, on the other. At issue is the EPA’s sharply stepped-up enforcement enforcement of the Clean Air Act under President Obama, an approach that critics in Texas and beyond have labeled a war on coal.

Obama has repeatedly said he favors an “all of the above” energy strategy that has disappointed environmentalists who want even stricter regulations on coal-burning plants and requirements that limit environmental consequences of mining natural gas. Some of those same critics had...  (go to article)

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GAS PRICES: 12 straight days of increases irk customers

Press Enterprise -- On the 12th day of gas-price increases, Alberto Castro-Mendoza pulled into the Shell station at the intersection of Iowa Avenue and Blaine Street in Riverside, California.

It didn’t feel like Christmas.

Castro-Mendoza, 22, usually shops around, but on Tuesday, April 15, he was in a rush. So he stopped at a station, that with no competitors nearby, turned out to have the highest prices in Riverside County — $4.59 for regular, $4.67 for midgrade and $4.75 for premium — according to the website GasBuddy.com.

The prices, said Castro-Mendoza, an unemployed Army veteran, “are ridiculous. They’re manipulative. They’re evil.”

“The direct impact on consumers is immediate. They don’t have money to spend somewhere else,” said Esmael Adibi, chief economist at Chapman University in Orange.  (go to article)

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EU may switch from Russian gas to cheaper coal for energy supplies

Voice of Russia UK -- The EU could switch to cheaper coal for its energy needs in order to reduce its reliance on Russian gas supplies, according to a leading expert in London. With the shale gas revolution leading to cheaper US coal, it could lead to lower energy prices, as the Ukraine crisis puts gas at the centre of the debate. VoR's Tim Ecott spoke to Professor Alan Riley from City University, London.

Britain's Energy Secretary, Ed Davey, has said that the West must take Russian threats to restrict energy supplies to Europe more seriously.

The Liberal Democrat minister said that it was "of sufficient concern" to "plan seriously and deeply" in the event of gas and oil being restricted.

His comments come after Russian President Vladimir Putin warned in a letter to European leaders that if Ukraine...  (go to article)

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CP contests Lac-Mégantic cleanup order: Argues environment ministry did not supply documents within

The Gazette -- CP says it shouldn’t be forced to clean up the Lac-Mégantic oil spill because QC botched the process of issuing an emergency environmental order against the company, did not supply it with all the documents it had related to the oil spill within 30 days, as required by law

Last summer, QC used the province’s environmental-quality law to order MM&A, World Fuel Services and Western Petroleum to clean up spilled oil and any other contaminants. They also had to prevent the spread of contaminants into the environment, evaluate the extent of the environmental contamination, devise a cleanup and decontamination plan, and then execute that plan

About 2 wks later, the government added CP to the cleanup order

Nearly 6M L of crude oil spilled and 47 people were killed Jul 6 when a runaway oil trai  (go to article)

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