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Oil prices edge lower as Iran talks extend beyond deadline

Reuters -- Oil futures edged lower on Wednesday amid speculation that a last-minute deal over Iran's nuclear program would be reached that could allow more Iranian crude onto world markets.

Talks between Iran and six world powers to settle a dispute around Tehran's nuclear program extended beyond a Tuesday deadline, as the parties edged towards a deal but failed to agree to crucial details such as the lifting of U.N. sanctions.

Efforts to reach a framework deal were scheduled to continue on Wednesday in the Swiss city of Lausanne.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said a general agreement had been reached over all key aspects of a future deal, TASS news agency quoted him as saying. A diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, later denied that an agreement had been reached.  (go to article)

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Want a Toyota Mirai Fuel-Cell Car? You Might Wait Until 2018

WSJ -- oyota Motor Corp.’s fuel-cell car Mirai, which runs on hydrogen and emits just water and heat, has attracted more demand than the auto maker had initially expected. In fact, customers in Japan putting in orders today should expect to wait three years before the car is delivered, Toyota said.

“The Mirai contains many new technologies. We are launching cautiously by thoroughly manufacturing each and every car to ensure a high level of quality, so the production volume is limited,” Toyota said in a statement on its website last week, apologizing for the delivery delay.

Toyota started selling the car in December in Japan. As of January, it had received 1,500 orders, 60% of those from governments and companies and the rest from individuals, said Toyota spokeswoman Kayo Doi. Most of the indivi  (go to article)

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U.S. closes probe into 240,000 diesel VW vehicles

Detroit News -- he National Highway Traffic Safety Administrations said Tuesday it is closing a nearly 5-year-old investigation into 241,000 diesel powered Volkswagen vehicles without demanding a recall.

The agency said it was closing the probe into the 2009-12 Jetta, Golf, Touareg, Audi A3 and Q7 TDI clean diesel vehicles after nearly 800 complaints about high-pressure fuel pump failures causing contamination of the fuel system. VW in 2013 agreed to voluntarily install devices designed to prevent owners from misfueling their diesel vehicles.

NHTSA opened the probe in 2010 and upgraded it in February 2011 to an engineering analysis after 160 complaints. NHTSA said VW has not identified any design or manufacturing defects in the pumps and said they “were designed, tested and approved for use in the Unite  (go to article)

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Here’s why a 60% drop in US crude oil prices resulted in a 33% drop in gas prices

Quartz -- Crude oil prices have dropped dramatically since last summer. Strangely, over the same time period, gasoline prices have fallen much less.
If a barrel of oil today costs less than half what it did last summer, why hasn’t the price people pay at the pump decreased a similar amount?
Sweet or sour?

It’s tough to say exactly how much the price of crude oil has fallen because there are many varieties, from light to heavy and sweet to sour. Prices vary widely based on the oil’s location and quality.
Crude oil is named for where it was pumped out of the ground. US news reports focus on West Texas oil, not because it is currently plentiful, but because the market for this type of oil has existed for many decades. European news often reports the price of Brent oil, from the North Sea, for the sam  (go to article)

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Tom Steyer wants ‘answers’ for California gas price spike

Haynesville.com -- When California lawmakers met last week to begin asking questions about the recent rise in gasoline prices, Tom Steyer took notice.

Steyer, the billionaire environmental activist and Democratic mega-donor, signed his name to a letter Monday sharing his appreciation for the Senate’s preliminary probe into why gas prices rose by more than $1 a gallon in early March.

Using one of his signature phrases, Steyer told Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon and colleagues that such inquiries are vital to giving consumers a “fair shake” at the pump.

Steyer and consumer advocates believe the market is rigged to benefit an oligopoly. The rules, they wrote, need to be changed to benefit consumers.

“Unfortunately,” the letter states, “the hearing raised more questions than it answered because those  (go to article)

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Exxon Mobil starts production at its new deepwater project in the Gulf

Fuel Fix -- Exxon Mobil Corp. said Monday it had begun producing from its Hadrian South Gulf of Mexico project.

Total production of the project is expected to reach about 300 million cubic feet of gas and 3,000 barrels of liquids per day from two wells. The well is located about 230 miles offshore and in about 7,650 feet of water.

First production comes after a discovery well was drilled in 2008 and an appraisal well was completed in 2009.

Exxon operates the Hadrian South project with a 46.7 percent interest while Brazil’s Petrobras and Italy’s Eni hold a 23.3 percent and 30 percent respective interest.

Hadrian South connects underwater to the Anadarko-operated Lucius truss spar, which began operating in January. Exxon holds a 23.3 percent interest in the Lucius project.

Operations in the Gulf o  (go to article)

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How Red States Learned to Love the Gas Tax

The Atlantic via Yahoo News -- States across the country are raising their fuel taxes to pay for the upkeep of deteriorating roads and bridges, and in a surprising number of those states, the governors and legislative leaders pushing those changes are Republicans, not Democrats. In Utah, GOP Governor Gary Herbert signed a law last week passed by the state's Republican-controlled legislature that raises the gas tax by 5 cents and ties future increases to prices at the pump. A month ago, Iowa's Republican governor, Terry Branstad, approved a gas-tax hike that sailed through the legislature in under two weeks. Top Republicans in Georgia, Michigan, and South Dakota have proposed similar increases, and as many as 12 states could raise fuel taxes in 2015 alone, after six did so in the last two years...  (go to article)

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Forget Iran and Yemen, this new major geopolitical event could be bullish for oil markets

Financial Post -- While oil traders believe a potential deal between Iran and global powers could be bearish for markets as Tehran could unleash 35M barrels of oil currently sitting in storage, Citibank believes the elections in Nigeria “seem to forebode some bullish risk in markets.”

Brent crude prices for May dropped $1.47, or 2.6%, to S$54.82 as Iran and world powers worked toward a nuclear deal. Crude prices have declined 4.4% in the first quarter.

But a crude glut is not going to be “quickly exacerbated,” even if there is an agreement this week, Citibank analyst Edward Morse said in a note. “And if no agreement is reached the likelihood is that while some oil flows might increase, so would an array of additional sanctions that would also impact oil flows.”

A Saudi-led coalition of regional forces is  (go to article)

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Alon USA Entertaining Potential Purchase by Delek

Convenience Store News -- BRENTWOOD, Tenn. — Delek US Holdings Inc. is currently in talks to purchase some or all of Alon Israel Oil Co. Ltd., parent company to Alon USA Energy Inc.

According to a Tuesday filing by Delek with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Alon's board of directors formed a special committee consisting of independent directors and authorized it to, among other things, "review, negotiate and evaluate the company's request and make a recommendation to the Alon USA board of directors in connection therewith."

In its filing, Brentwood-based Delek stressed the merger talks are ongoing and "there can be no assurances that an agreement for [Delek] to acquire Alon Israel shares will be reached."  (go to article)

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This Awesome Chevy El Camino SS Needs to Happen

Yahoo -- The 2016 Chevy Camaro’s debut is just around the corner. With it, comes the new lightweight Alpha platform, and a host of different engine and power options. Indeed, the next generation Camaro is looking to take on Ford’s Mustang and hoping to squash the rivalry once and for all.  (go to article)

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Chicago CBOB falls 10 cents/gal to $1.5418/gal on refiner selling

Platts -- Chicago blendstock fell more than 10 cents/gal Tuesday on refiner selling linked to differences in summer gasoline specifications in the Midwest states.

CBOB at 9 RVP was assessed at $1.5418/gal, down 10.14 cents compared with Monday's spot price and a two-week low.

CBOB has posted double-digit decreases in two of the past three trading days. It fell 11.6 cents on Friday. The blendstock has fallen on six of the last nine trading days.

"We heard ExxonMobil was out selling. Sometimes the refiners just have barrels to sell, and if they can't find a bid, especially in Chicago, they will just [keep going] until they find one," a US products trader said.

A Midwest broker said ExxonMobil was selling 9 RVP gasoline that did not meet Illinois summer specifications, and that hurt the market for  (go to article)

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Tesla's secret product is likely to be home battery units

USAToday -- By now, everyone has had a day to ponder CEO Elon Musk’s mysterious tweet about a new non-car product offering from Tesla Motors that will be announced with great fanfare April 30.
After all, Tesla (TSLA) rarely disappoints when it comes to fanfare, even if the subject of the announcement doesn’t exactly light up investors or owners of its electric cars.

Our first reactions were that it might be a merchandise line — ball caps, jackets, sunglasses, pens, maybe even Tesla office chairs. Other high-end automakers have them in abundance, but Tesla already has all that.
Now speculation now is centered around the belief that the announcement will focus on batteries for buildings. (Remember, solar panel installer Solar City is another of Musk’s companies).

Tesla tracking website TeslaMondo says  (go to article)

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At 237.8 billion miles in January, American driving habits underscore the need for long-term transpo

Better Roads -- For perspective, the vehicle-miles-traveled (VMT) in January has increased by 38.3 percent in the 22 years since the last time the gas tax, which supplies the Highway Trust Fund, was raised.

“These data make it clear that traffic volumes are growing nationwide,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “To keep our highways safe and less congested, we should not only invest in our nation’s infrastructure to expand capacity, but also look towards the future by encouraging greater technological innovations, which can make travel safer and more convenient.”  (go to article)

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Consumers Want Big Changes to the Car Buying Process

GasBuddy Blog -- Autotrader's Car Buyer of the Future study, which was released today, shows that only 17 out of 4002 people prefer the current car buying process, and the rest want significant changes, particularly in the test drive, deal structuring, financing paperwork and service phases. "While there is good work going on right now to adapt decades-old sales processes, consumers are telling us that we as an industry are not moving fast enough," said Jared Rowe, president of Autotrader. "By recognizing—and embracing—the need for change, we have a tremendous opportunity to surprise and delight our consumers."...  (go to article)

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OPEC oil output hits highest since October

Reuters -- OPEC oil supply has jumped in March to its highest since October as Iraq's exports rebounded after bad weather and Saudi Arabia pumped at close to record rates, a Reuters survey found, a sign key members are sticking to their effort to regain market share.  (go to article)

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Oilsands producer Laricina Energy Ltd granted creditor protection

Calgary Gerald, Postmedia News -- A second Calgary junior oilsands producer has been granted court protection from creditors as low oil prices and investor disinterest amplify the effects of shrinking capital resources.

In a news release on its website, private Laricina Energy reports that it has been granted Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act protection by the Court of Queen’s Bench and the court has appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers as monitor.

“Requesting this creditor protection was a difficult, but necessary step,” said president and chief executive Glen Schmidt in the release.

“This was done after careful consideration of all available alternatives and the Laricina board of directors believes that this is in the best interests of all its stakeholders. We will continue to work hard with our advisers to pursue stra  (go to article)

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North Dakota's New Oil Train Safety Checks Seen Missing Risks

Reuters courtesy of Downstream Today -- New regulations to cap vapor pressure of North Dakota crude fail to account for how it behaves in transit, according to industry experts, raising doubts about whether the state's much-anticipated rules will make oil train shipments safer.

High vapor pressure has been identified as a possible factor in the fireball explosions witnessed after oil train derailments in Illinois and West Virginia in recent weeks.

For over a year, federal officials have warned that crude from North Dakota's Bakken shale oilfields contains a cocktail of explosive gas - known in the industry as 'light ends.'

The new rules, which take effect on April 1, aim to contain dangers by spot-checking the vapor pressure of crude before loading and capping it at 13.7 pounds per square inch (psi) - about normal atmospheric  (go to article)

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Harman buys in-car tunesmith Bang & Olufsen

USA TODAY MONEY -- The battle for ownership of the in-car technology continues to rage as driving itself slowly gets taken over by electronic gadgets and eventually by the car itself. In a bid to lock up consumers’ ears, Connecticut-based Harman International announced Tuesday that it is buying the automotive branch of storied Danish audio firm Bang & Olufsen for $157 million.  (go to article)

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As the U.S. population grew, gas consumption dropped 11 percent

Washington Post -- There are times when a bit of research yields a telling statistic, and this is one of them: Gasoline consumption fell by 11 percent over a decade during which the U.S. population grew by 8 percent.

That fact, revealed in the latest paper by Michael Sivak at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, and several other of his facts provide a framework ripe for extrapolation.

If the trend toward fuel efficiency continues — and there are more reasons to think that it will than that it won’t — that may speed movement toward energy independence and lower pollution.

But with Congress facing a May 31 deadline to find more money to fund transportation, bumping up the federal tax on gasoline, now 18.4 cents per gallon, seems like a bad bet to ensure a long-term flow of cash.  (go to article)

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Ron Kirk and Lee Jackson: Congestion will worsen without Trinity toll road

Dallas Morning News -- Dallas has never buried its head in the sand when it comes to planning for smart growth. We urge city residents to be thoughtful when looking for a balanced solution to downtown congestion.

We have three major concerns about the recent criticism of the Trinity toll road proposal, which was twice approved by Dallas voters.  (go to article)

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US West Coast gasoline differentials fade on rare UK cargoes

Platts -- Rare gasoline imports were entering the West Coast market as refiners start to emerge from maintenance, pressuring Los Angeles CARBOB down 6.50 cents Monday and dragging premium grades even lower.

Platts assessed Los Angeles CARBOB at NYMEX May RBOB futures plus 11.50 cents/gal. Premium LA CARBOB dropped 4 cents to a 20-cent spread over CARBOB, but an overall 10.50-cent decline against the futures. Other gasoline and premium gasoline markets along the West Coast also declined.

"Bids are hard to find," one broker said, noting that the incoming cargoes are supposed to be mostly carrying components for making premium gasoline grades. "Premiums are starting to narrow."

Platts cFlow vessel-tracking software showed three cargoes from Canada and the United Kingdom expected to arrive in Souther  (go to article)

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Report: Cheap crude prices could boost the U.S. economy for another two years

Fuel Fix -- A business economics group has boosted its outlook for U.S. economic improvement this year and next, particularly for job growth.

The March report from the National Association for Business Economics forecasts more hiring, a lower unemployment rate, a lower inflation rate and more growth in consumer spending in 2015, compared to the group’s forecast in December 2014.

The report, released early Monday, also predicts more investment by businesses in both equipment and intellectual property, as well as modest growth in stock prices.

“Healthier consumer spending, housing investment and government spending growth are expected to make outsized contributions to the projected acceleration in overall economic activity. Accordingly, recent labor market strength is expected to continue,” John Silv  (go to article)

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Oil is heading for its longest run of quarterly drops as the deadline for an Iran deal looms

Bloomberg -- Oil is headed for a third quarterly loss as Iranian and Western diplomats worked toward a nuclear deal that may lead to the OPEC member increasing crude exports.  (go to article)

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Tesla Hasn't Solved Range Anxiety

Yahoo News -- The announcements were praised by some analysts, but former General Motors Company (NYSE: GM) executive Tony Posawatz thinks Tesla missed the mark.

"Range anxiety is a term I actually coined in late 2006," Posawatz, who launched the Chevy Volt and led GM's efforts in electrification, told Benzinga. "[It] is dealt with by customers because they have a lack of range to do what they need to do to accommodate their everyday life and the spontaneous things that happen."

Posawatz said that what customers want is either "more range" or the ability to charge the vehicle more frequently and at a faster rate. Ideally, electric cars would be similar to those that run on gasoline -- charge stations would be everywhere, and it wouldn't take more than a couple of minutes to refuel the vehicle.
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Oil industry to Obama: Stop excluding Atlantic drilling leases

Fuel Fix / Houston Chronicle -- WASHINGTON — As the Obama administration weighs where to sell offshore drilling leases from 2017 to 2022, the oil industry has a single plea: Stop ruling out potential prospects.  (go to article)

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Moonshine, Hogs and Drought Fuel Sorghum Boom Across U.S. Plains

Bloomberg -- Across the Great Plains, U.S. farmers are turning to a little-known grain called sorghum for relief from a two-year slump in agriculture prices.

A kernel-yielding stalk that’s native to Africa, sorghum has three things going for it right now: it’s cheap to plant; it holds up better in drought-like conditions than other crops; and most importantly, demand is soaring in China, where farmers feed the plant to their hog herds, and moonshiners make it into a whiskey-like liquor called baijiu. While corn, soybeans and wheat slumped into bear markets last year amid a global supply glut, sorghum prices have held stable.
...
While lesser known than corn, wheat, rice and barley, sorghum is the world’s 5th-largest grain by output. Like corn, it is used mostly to feed livestock and to make ethanol.  (go to article)

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Police All Over the U.S. Are Issuing Fewer Traffic Tickets

Time -- Drivers appear to be catching a break from cops, who are writing fewer tickets of late. But don't think for a second the decrease is because police have become softies all of a sudden.

The Nevada Supreme Court says it could be completely broke by May 1. The primary reason the court won’t have enough cash to operate? Not enough people are breaking the law. Or rather, not enough people are being caught breaking the law.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal recently reported that the number of traffic and parking citations has plummeted in Nevada, from 615,267 in 2010 to 484,913 last year. That’s a dip of more than 21% over five years. The state court system’s budget relies on millions of dollars in funding from such citations, so when significantly fewer tickets are issued, it can wreak havoc ...  (go to article)

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Oil could fall below $30 a barrel, but here’s why that’s a good thing

Market Watch -- Oil futures could tumble as far as the mid-$20s before bottoming. But if history is a guide, that could be a positive scenario for stocks as corporate earnings and consumers reap the benefit of lower energy prices, said Scott Minerd, global chief investment officer at Guggenheim Partners.

But first, Minerd sees little reason to expect a significant near-term rebound for oil prices.

The supply-demand dynamics remain decidedly unfavorable, he said in a meeting with reporters Monday, particularly with storage capacity at the Cushing, Okla., delivery hub likely to run out in coming weeks. That will put even more crude on the spot market. He also isn’t convinced rig counts have fallen far enough to stop U.S. oil production from rising.  (go to article)

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Oil drops to $55 as Iran nuclear talks intensify

REUTERS --

Brent crude oil dropped towards $55 a barrel on Tuesday as Iran and six world powers entered a final day of talks over a nuclear deal that could see the energy-rich country increase oil exports to world markets.

With a self-imposed deadline set for the end of the day, the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China ramped up the pace of negotiations with Iran in Switzerland over an outline deal on Tehran's nuclear programme.

Disagreements on enrichment research and the pace of lifting sanctions remained as hurdles that could scupper a deal to end a 12-year standoff between Iran and the West.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters in Moscow he believed the talks had a good chance of success.

"The chances are high. They are probably not 100 percent but you  (go to article)

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With So Much Oil Flowing, U.S. May Be Reaching Storage Limits

NPR -- Never before has the U.S. had so much oil spurting up out of the ground and sloshing into storage tanks around the country. There's so much oil that the U.S. now rivals Saudi Arabia as the world's largest producer.

But there has been some concern that the U.S. will run out of places to put it all. Some analysts speculate that could spark another dramatic crash in oil prices.  (go to article)

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Chrysler eyes market for hybrid, plug-in minivans

GasBuddy Blog -- Image From ..freep.comAcross the board, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Nissan and Toyota have aggressively developed and launched a growing number of hybrid and electric cars, but Fiat/Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is absent from the mix. It doesn't have a single hybrid in its lineup.That could be changing very soon.  According to the Detroit Free Press, Sergio Marchionne confirmed in January that a "massive" program to develop a plug-in hybrid minivan is underway, but he did not shared many details. Nor was there talk of the plug-in during a media tour last month of the Windsor Assembly Plant, the company's only minivan plant."As we retool the plant for production of the next-generation minivan, we are also preparing the line with the necessary tooling for production of the PHEV (plug-in electric hybrid) version," Jodi Tinson, spokeswoman for FCA US, told the Free Press.The company's five-year plan includes a plug-in electric version of an unnamed full-size crossover in 2017 which co  (go to article)

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New device blocks cell signals inside vehicles to stop distracted driving, says developer

Edmonton Journal -- An Edmonton businessman who is determined to keep his own children from driving distracted has created a device that he says delays texts, phone calls, social media messages and other alerts until a vehicle is in park.

Angus Poulain, a father of six, said he got the idea for his KRS, or Keeping Roads Safe, device about four years ago because his kids spent so much time texting and communicating through social media. He has 15-year-old twins who hope to get their drivers’ licences soon.

“You see people all over the place (on devices). It’s just an epidemic,” Poulain said in an interview from Nova Scotia, where he spends half his time.

“So we came up with this device ... It’s not an app. It installs right into your car and it delays signals — any texting, notifications, Instagramming,  (go to article)

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BNSF adds safety rules for oil trains

Longview News-Journal-AP -- BNSF has started taking additional safety measures for crude oil shipments because of four recent high-profile derailments in the U.S. and Canada, the railroad said Monday.

Under the changes, BNSF is slowing down crude oil trains to 35 mph in cities with more than 100,000 people and increasing track inspections near waterways. The Fort Worth railroad also is stepping up efforts to find and repair defective wheels.

BNSF spokesman Michael Trevino said these additional safety efforts were imposed last week in response to the recent derailments, including one involving a BNSF train earlier this month near Galena, Illinois, and the Mississippi River.

"The recent incidents involving crude trains, including our own event in Galena, has led us to believe that we must take further action,"...  (go to article)

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Dealerships not endangered, but need improvment

Detroit Free Press -- Dealerships are not an endangered species — in fact women and young buyers want to visit a showroom to validate their research, get a test drive and do some haggling over price.

Those are among the findings of the Autotrader "Car buyer of the future" study released Monday night in New York in advance of the New York Auto Show that opens to the media on Wednesday. The findings are based on interviews with more than 4,000 consumers.

Overwhelmingly, consumers don't like the current car-buying process, especially the 4-6 hours it takes to complete the transaction at the end, including an hour just for the credit check, said Jared Rowe, president of AutoTrader.

But that does not mean they want to excise the dealership out of the equation. In fact, 84% said they want to buy their car in...  (go to article)

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How a Former Audi Guy Plans to Spend $12 Billion Reviving Caddy

Bloomberg -- Johan de Nysschen was plenty skeptical when General Motors Co. asked him to run Cadillac.

De Nysschen helped make Audi a real contender in the U.S. and had recently joined Nissan’s Infiniti. Why jump to Cadillac, a brand that actually sold fewer vehicles last year despite a boom in luxury automobiles?

De Nysschen spent hours on the phone with GM President Dan Ammann to make sure this was no vanity project. The clincher: GM agreed to invest heavily in Cadillac, eventually budgeting $12 billion for the next five years, or more than a quarter of the sum being spent on new models companywide. Ammann & Co. also pledged to give de Nysschen enough time and people to get the job done as part of a plan to split Cadillac into a company that’s now based in New York.

GM is counting on Cadillac to d  (go to article)

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Lexus ES 300h Hybrid Sedan Gets 40 MPG

Boston.com -- To pay or not to pay, that is the question.

Is it is nobler to drive a Camry hybrid sedan at $32,492 or to spend 50 percent more for its upscale cousin, the Lexus ES 300h sedan for $48,410?

With apologies to Mr. Shakespeare, this is a quandary for the consumer. And here’s another for the Lexus shopper: deciding between the hybrid power train and the traditional gasoline engine.

Friend and former Boston Globe compositor Hank Sarazen recently bought the non-hybrid version of the ES, the Lexus ES 350.

“I looked at the hybrid and considered it,” he says, “but the deciding factor was the lack of space in the trunk. We travel, and we need a big trunk. The battery pack takes a big chunk out  (go to article)

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Canexus reports 'significant' layoffs in Calgary, Bruderheim

Calgary Herald -- Canexus reported Monday it has “reduced significantly” the workforce at its Calgary head office and at its crude-by-rail loading terminal at Bruderheim, just northeast of Edmonton.

The company said the moves were made as part of a plan announced in early March to cut costs and enhance revenue to generate $10M to $15M in additional annual profits in the future. Executives agreed to a compensation freeze and directors took a 10% fee cut as part of the program.

“Our Calgary head office and NATO (North American Terminal Operations) staff have been reduced significantly,” Canexus stated in a news release Monday. “We expect savings of $5M to $6M per year, excluding related severance costs.”

Spokesman Robin Greschner said 16% of the staff at Calgary and NATO had been affected. She didn’t have  (go to article)

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U.S. may skirt oil storage crisis as drivers hit the road

Reuters -- A month ago, it seemed inevitable: a massive global oversupply of crude oil production would overwhelm storage tanks in Oklahoma and fill supertankers off Singapore.

Now, there are growing signs that the U.S. oil market can avoid the doomsday scenario in which it runs out of room to stockpile surplus crude, a development that oil traders worried would send crude prices into another tailspin.

One reason is that refiners, spurred by high profit margins, are rushing to buy crude and churn out more fuel in response to an unexpectedly swift rise in U.S. road travel and soaring Chinese demand for fuel-hungry sport utility vehicles.

Furthermore, shale oil drillers have hit the brakes on new wells faster than many anticipated. This could throw years of unyielding growth into reverse as early as  (go to article)

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EPA chief says Keystone Pipeline wouldn't be climate 'disaster'

AP via Mashable -- The chief of the Environmental Protection Agency told a Washington audience on Monday that building the contentious Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico would not, by itself, constitute a "climate disaster."

Many opponents of the pipeline, which would carry tar sands oil from Alberta to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico for export, argue that it would lead to the emissions of enough planet-warming greenhouse gases that it would be game over for efforts to constrain the amount and speed of global warming.

Speaking at a Politico luncheon on Monday, Gina McCarthy told moderator Mike Allen that a single pipeline project would not doom efforts to combat global warming.

"No, I don’t think that any one issue is a disaster for the climate, nor do I think there is one solution  (go to article)

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Which States Have The Most Diesel Vehicles? New Data Gives Results

Yahoo -- Just as diesel fuel isn't available at every single gas station, diesel vehicles are unevenly distributed in the United States.

And despite double-digit rises in registration numbers, the preponderance of diesel engines in North America remain in trucks--especially heavy-duty trucks--rather than passenger cars.
Data provided by IHS Automotive to the Diesel Technology Forum indicates that sales of diesel cars and SUVs rose 13.5 percent last year over 2013.

That compares to an increase in overall U.S. vehicle sales of 5.8 percent, according to data from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.

The data showed that the highest increases in diesel registrations came in California, Massachusetts and Nevada, with year-over-year increases of 23.7 percent, 21.0 percent, and 17.8 percent respec  (go to article)

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Best cars for making it to 200,000 miles

Yahoo -- Almost any car can make it to 200,000 miles if you’re willing to throw enough money at it. But that doesn’t mean that keeping it is a good idea. A less expensive and more hassle-free way to go is to simply buy a safe and reliable model in the first place, and properly maintain it for the long haul. Just follow the maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual, take care of minor problems as they arise, keep it clean, and you should be good to go.

The models listed below are all safe bets. Of the 1.1 million vehicles represented in our annual subscriber survey, these are the ten cars, SUVs, and minivans respondents most often reported as having more than 200,000 miles. As a bonus, all happen to be models that were Consumer Reports recommended when new. That means they’re not just reliable,  (go to article)

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50 States of Speeding: Laws for every state in the U.S.

MSN News -- 50 States of Speeding: Laws for every state in the U.S.

Everyone, with the exception of the Buick driver parked in the left lane, exceeds the speed limit once in a while. You generally know how much law-breaking you can get away with where you live—a few over on the highway is flow-of-traffic territory, and the constabulary looks the other way. One of those unwritten rules.

But it's important to be aware of the rules that are written, especially when leaving your local comfort zone. For instance, did you know that North Dakota will pull your license for a week and issue a fine for 36 mph or more over the limit? Or that most states have open reckless driving laws that can lead to days or even months of jail time? Reckless driving is generally defined as willful or wanton disregard fo  (go to article)

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GM Oshawa plant closures would have sweeping economic impact: Unifor

Andrew Seale | Insight -- It feels a bit like Canada’s auto industry is circling the drain.

With General Motors of Canada shuttering one of its Oshawa plants next year and the future of the other up in the air with no new vehicles in the pipeline and production of vehicles – like the Chevrolet Camaro – headed to Lansing, Michigan, Canada stands to lose big,  (go to article)

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U.S. oil train traffic mostly from Midwest to East Coast, data shows

Reuters via CNBC -- U.S. oil trains delivered more than 13.5 million barrels of crude oil from the Midwest to the East Coast in January, according to government data that gives a first of its kind snapshot of such shipments.

The data from the Energy Information Administration is the first if its kind from the independent statistics arm of the U.S. Energy Department.

Oil producers in North Dakota have relied on oil trains to reach East Coast refiners eager to process the light, sweet crude from that energy patch.

Link to data: http://tinyurl.com/nlhsvak  (go to article)

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Crude pares losses on Iran talks, ends at $48.68 a barrel

Reuters -- Oil prices fell for the second straight session on Monday as Iran and six world powers negotiated a deal for Tehran's nuclear program that could end Western sanctions, allowing the OPEC member to ship more crude into an already flooded market.

 (go to article)

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Russian exports could be the next biggest threat to global crude oil prices

Houston Chronicle -- The next big threat to oil prices isn’t from OPEC or Bakken shale. It’s Russian samovars, or teapots.

Simple refineries that process crude into fuel oil are scaling back, because when oil prices slump, the government reduces the discount that these refiners — known as teapots to those in the industry — get for exporting fuel. They use less crude, freeing it up for sale abroad, which in turn adds to the global glut.

Russia may increase oil exports by as much as 250,000 barrels a day this year, according to James Henderson, a senior research fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies who’s followed the country’s energy industry for more than 20 years. That would equate to 5 percent growth in shipments, the most in at least a decade.

“The pain Russia is feeling from low oil prices h  (go to article)

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U.S Crude Production Sets Record in 2014

Houston Chronicle -- U.S. oil companies set a record last year when they pulled 1.2 million more barrels of crude per day from the ground than in 2013, the most dramatic increase in volume since the government began keeping track more than a century ago.

Crude production surged to 8.7 million barrels per day in 2014. That’s 16 percent higher than the year prior, marking the highest growth rate since 1940, according to a new analysis by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.  (go to article)

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Rickers expands electric car charging

GasBuddy Blog -- Over the weekend we reported on Atlanta and Detroit among the nation's leading markets for electric vehicle compatibility... add Indiana to the mix!

Ricker’s, a chain of 50 Indiana convenience stores, has announced a new partnership with Nissan to help bring the auto manufacturer's “No Charge to Charge” program to Indianapolis, providing two years of no-cost, public charging to Indianapolis-area Nissan LEAF buyers.

The Indianapolis-based convenience store operator will install fast-charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs) at nine Ricker fueling stations across Central Indiana, the largest city-wide deployment of EV chargers at a chain of fueling stations in the U.S....  (go to article)

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Exclusive: Exxon eyes 850,000 bpd goal for Beaumont refinery expansion - sources

Reuters -- Exxon Mobil Corp is considering scaling up plans for a multibillion-dollar expansion of its Beaumont, Texas, oil refinery to make it one of the largest in the world, according to sources familiar with the plans.

Since at least last summer, Exxon has been quietly contemplating a major project to expand Beaumont in what would be the biggest U.S. refinery investment since the shale revolution, which has transformed the country into a growing producer and handed refiners a profit windfall of cheap crude.
 (go to article)

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Texas oil town boom deflates as drilling slows

National Post -- Sales tax receipts in the thriving oil town of Midland, Texas, fell this month, only the third decline in five years and one of the first signs of how low oil prices are beginning to ripple beyond oil company bottom lines and into the wider economy.

At the heart of the Permian Basin, one of the biggest oil deposits in the country, Midland experienced lightning fast growth over the past five years as energy companies flocked in, bringing jobs, investment and large construction projects.

Now, a 50% drop in oil prices since June to below US$50 a barrel, the biggest decline since the recession, has forced drillers to cut their workforces, slow drilling and halt investments.

The city’s overheated housing market has also shown signs of easing. The 514 unsold houses on the market in Midland Co  (go to article)

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Popular Google search: 'Why are gas prices so low?'

CNNMoney -- The dramatic crash in oil prices is a mystery to many Americans.

If you type "why are" into Google search, the top two auto-complete results are: "gas prices so low" and "oil prices falling." The next most popular forms of this question: "why are gmos bad" and "why are gas prices going up."

The uncertainty -- and rush to Google for answers -- is understandable. Even the smartest people on Wall Street didn't predict the massive supply glut that caused oil to collapse from $107 a barrel in June to just $49 today.
 (go to article)

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