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Billionaire Warren Buffett Says Keystone XL Oil Pipeline Delay Jeopardises Canada-US Relations

IBTimes -- If it were up to billionaire and business magnate Warren Buffett, the Keystone XL oil pipeline project would have been approved for construction years ago. But since he is not the president of the U.S. he cautioned that furthering delaying the project that will traverse between Canada and the U.S. could jeopardise relations between the two allies.

In an interview with CNBC, Buffett said Mr Obama’s vetoing the legislation that could have fast tracked the project was like saying no as a whole to Canada itself. “Canada’s been a terrific partner for us over the decades and it is wrong for us to thumb our nose at them,” Buffett said.

The proposed $8-billion, 1,200-mile Keystone XL oil pipeline project had been on the table of the vetting process in the U.S. for over six years now. Mr Obama...  (go to article)

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U.S. sales rise 5.3% as wintry weather takes toll

Autonews -- Toyota and Subaru joined a handful of smaller automakers in posting double-digit U.S. sales increases for February as severe winter weather crimped demand more than analysts had forecast.  (go to article)

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Speed limit increase stalls in committee

Cedar Rapids Gazette -- DES MOINES — A bill seeking to raise the speed limit to 75 mph on rural interstate highways in Iowa got pulled to the side of the road in committee Tuesday and apparently parked in the legislative process.

Sen. Jeff Danielson, D-Waterloo, requested that the Senate Transportation Committee defer on Senate File 213 to give him more time to consider a measure that was speeding through the legislative process.

“I have been supportive of this concept in the past,” said Danielson, who noted he sponsored and was floor manager of a 2005 bill that raised Iowa's interstate speed limit from 65 to 70 mph. However, he told fellow committee members “I am not at this moment prepared on this committee — don't feel comfortable that I've done enough homework and due diligence on this to vote on this one w  (go to article)

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Steelworkers’ local reminds strikebreakers of their union oath

fuel fix -- The United Steelworkers union local in Pasadena accused its members who have crossed the picket line of personal greed and asked them to remember the unity pledge they took when they joined the union.

“It should be thought of and remembered that these Strikebreakers have thought of no one but their own situation and how to easiest remedy it short term,” says a letter which will be distributed to members of Steelworkers Local 13-227 in Pasadena. The union represents workers at LyondellBasell’s refinery.

The local union reminded its members about the initiation oath they took that included a promise to abide by the laws of the union, including “I will cease work when authorized and approved by the organization to do so.”

The union is responding to reports that some workers have crossed...  (go to article)

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Consumer Alert: Beware of Skimmers at the Gas Pump

WCTV -- TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In just the past two months, inspectors with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services have removed eight credit card skimmers from gas station pumps across the state. These skimmers are used to steal the credit card information from consumers, and the thieves then use the card information to make purchases in someone else’s name. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services works to protect consumers from fraud and scams, and this week, March 1-7, is National Consumer Protection Week.

“Consumers should be aware of potential scams and be careful when they are pumping gas or using their credit cards over the phone or Internet,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam.

Here’s what consumers should do to avoid skimmers at gas stat  (go to article)

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US running out of room to store oil

Times Bulletin -- NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. has so much crude that it is running out of places to put it, and that could drive oil and gasoline prices even lower in the coming months.

For the past seven weeks, the United States has been producing and importing an average of 1 million more barrels of oil every day than it is consuming. That extra crude is flowing into storage tanks, especially at the country’s main trading hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, pushing U.S. supplies to their highest point in at least 80 years, the Energy Department reported last week.

If this keeps up, storage tanks could approach their operational limits, known in the industry as “tank tops,” by mid-April and send the price of crude — and probably gasoline, too — plummeting.

“The fact of the matter is we are running out of storage cap  (go to article)

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Oil export bans creating market glut that could strangle U.S. boom, CEO warns

The Washington Times -- An emerging glut in U.S. oil markets is one more reason the U.S. government should lift long-standing bans of exporting oil to foreign customers, the head of one of the country’s biggest energy giants said Tuesday.

Ryan Lance, the chairman and CEO of ConocoPhillips, told a U.S. Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Tuesday that the U.S. is in the midst of an energy renaissance, but that to keep the oil boom hitting on all cylinders, the country will need to start exporting surplus barrels of crude.

Rising domestic production has already borne economic fruits for many Americans, he noted. The U.S. oil and natural gas industry now supports 9.8 million domestic jobs and has contributed more than 8 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product. In addition, those who work in the oil industry have a m  (go to article)

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Saudi Arabia ups official oil prices amid signs of stronger demand

Reuters -- Saudi Arabia raised the official selling prices (OSPs) for its oil deliveries to Asia and the United States on Tuesday, in the latest signal OPEC's largest exporter is seeing signs of stronger demand.

The Kingdom raised all U.S.-bound crude prices by $1 a barrel and hiked extra-light crude oil to Asia by $1.40 a barrel, in a vote of confidence oil demand is growing in two of its biggest markets following the price crash since June.

While the increase was largely anticipated by traders amid other signs of robust demand, it bolsters the impression Saudi Arabia is comfortable with the rebound in Brent crude to around $60 a barrel after hitting a six-year low of $45 in January.

Saudi Arabia and other OPEC members sharply cut OSPs in 2014 as the group decided to fight fast-growing U.S. shale  (go to article)

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Brent holds above $60 after Saudi price hikes

Reuters -- Reuters) - Brent held above $60 a barrel on Wednesday supported by a hike in Saudi crude prices and strikes on oil facilities in Libya.

In a move widely seen as a vote of confidence by Saudi Arabia in demand recovery, the OPEC kingpin raised the official selling prices (OSPs) for its oil deliveries to Asia and the United States on Tuesday.

"This is a sign that prices have bottomed out because it means Saudi is confident in raising prices without being afraid of losing market share," said Tony Nunan, a risk manager at Mitsubishi Corp in Tokyo.

In the past seven weeks, Brent crude LCOc1 rose from a six-year low to hold above $60 a barrel despite continued concerns about global oversupply.

The April Brent contract was down 30 cents at $60.72 by 0302 GMT, after rising 2.5 percent on Tuesda  (go to article)

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ICS Courier to stop using vans with Alberta plates in Toronto after racking up more than $600K in fi

Financial Post -- The time-sensitive business of express courier package delivery is made that much more complicated, and expensive, when drivers have to pay for parking in the crowded core of downtown Toronto. Slap a set of out-of-province licence plates on, however, and suddenly a delivery van can rack up parking violations with impunity, since the city’s tickets are unenforceable outside ON
At least, that used to be the case. ICS Courier, a division of Montreal-based TransForce, which also owns Canpar and Loomis couriers, said Tue it is stopping the practice of operating courier vans with AB plates in downtown Toronto
Toronto Police said that its top out-of-province “scoff” an ICS van: a white Mercedes Sprinter with AB plates, that has racked up 612 parking tickets in the past year, accumulating $33,400  (go to article)

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Oil moves higher, pushing Canadian dollar above 80 cents

CBC News -- Oil prices rose Tue after Saudi Arabia boosted the price of its output to Asian and U.S. buyers and as fighting threatened oilfields in Libya
Still, some analysts say crude could fall to $20 because of continued oversupply
WTI was up 74c to $50.32 this afternoon, while Brent was up $1.51 to $61.06 at the close of trading
The oil-sensitive Canadian $ rose by 1/3c to 80.05 US cents
Both Brent and WTI oil were recovering from a steep plunge in prices Mon, proof that oil markets remain volatile
Saudi Arabia’s Aramco surprised markets last Nov by slashing its prices in the U.S. in a bid to compete against the domestic production boom
It has made repeated price cuts to retain market share in the face of a worldwide glut of oil and slowdown in demand, but on Tue, it changed direction
Aramco annou  (go to article)

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Crude exports in spotlight as House leaders urge slow approach

Fuel Fix -- Perhaps the only certainty emerging from a House hearing on crude exports Tuesday was that the chamber will tackle the issue deliberately — and not with the haste some oil producers have urged.

House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders took pains to stress they will move carefully as they consider whether to loosen the nation’s 40-year-old ban on crude exports, for fear the change could hurt consumers and domestic refiners — or simply create the appearance of harm.

“Congress needs to be aware of all of the impacts before considering any modifications to energy policy,” said House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., suggesting lawmakers should use the same “careful and deliberative approach” previously applied to liquefied natural gas exports. “We again are undertaking a t  (go to article)

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Canadian Oil Imports to U.S. Gulf Rise on Pipeline Startups

Reuters -- The December startup of two major pipelines that move Canadian heavy crude to the United States helped increase U.S. Gulf Coast imports more than 12 percent from November, U.S. government data showed just days after President Barack Obama vetoed the Keystone XL pipeline.

The relatively swift uptick in Canadian oil arriving at the Gulf Coast, home to nearly half of U.S. refining capacity, follows the opening of two connecting lines that link Canada to U.S. tropical waters: Enbridge Inc's 600,000 barrels per day Illinois-to-Oklahoma Flanagan South pipeline, and Enterprise Products Partners' 450,000 bpd Oklahoma-to-Texas Seaway Twin.

According to the latest available data, total Canadian shipments to the United States rose 14 percent in December to 3.32 million bpd from November.

Mor  (go to article)

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Here's the Latest Sign the Oil-Price Plunge Is Hitting the Job Market

bloomberg.com -- As investors prepare for the release of the February U.S. employment data on Friday, we're getting more inklings of how the shakeout in the oil industry will impact the jobs market, and it doesn't look great: Demand for workers in energy-related occupations is plunging.
Online help-wanted ads for jobs involved in the extraction of oil and gas -- derrick operators, wellhead pumpers, roustabouts and the like -- declined 42 percent in the two months through January as oil prices cratered, according to data compiled by the Conference Board and Wanted Technologies. Occupations in the industry that have higher education requirements, such as petroleum engineers, geoscientists and technicians, also saw demand for their services collapse, with ads dropping 38 percent, Gad Levanon and his fellow r  (go to article)

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Analysts Say Gas Prices Are About to Collapse

Associated Press -- The U.S. has so much crude that it is running out of places to put it, and that could drive oil and gasoline prices even lower in the coming months.

For the past seven weeks, the United States has been producing and importing an average of 1 million more barrels of oil every day than it is consuming. That extra crude is flowing into storage tanks, especially at the country's main trading hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, pushing U.S. supplies to their highest point in at least 80 years, the Energy Department reported last week.
 (go to article)

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Why $100 Oil Won't Be Coming Back for a Long Time

Bloomberg Business -- (Bloomberg) -- Get ready for an L-shaped oil recovery.

A growing consensus is emerging from the likes of BP Plc, the International Energy Agency, shale wildcatters and even the Saudis that a near-term recovery to $100-a-barrel crude isn’t in the cards. Instead, expect a range of $50 to $60 for at least the next few years.
 (go to article)

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Next curveball for oil: An Iran nuclear deal

CNBC -- Talk is growing of a nuclear deal that could see a lifting of sanctions against Iran, a move that could turn the tap on its oil exports – something that would have significant ramifications for the volatile commodity, analysts say.  (go to article)

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In West Texas oil boomtowns, 'the end is near'

L.A. Times -- Fear blew in fierce over a patch of West Texas late last year, falling fast and without warning through gray skies to alight on the shoulders of men and women who depend on oil for their livelihoods.

Oil that was once $100 a barrel started selling for $75, then $60. Well drillers started pulling out. The rumbling truck traffic slowed.

Andrews National Bank director Russell Shannon has been through this before, back when he helped found the bank in 1983 and an oil glut sent prices spiraling down three years later. He experienced it again in the late 1990s, watching oil prices drop and a minor recession take hold. And when the Great Recession struck in 2008, months became years of belt-tightening.  (go to article)

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Dodge warns customers of "unscrupulous" Hellcat dealers

Fox News -- ·FoxNews.com

The greed of some Dodge dealers has incurred the wrath of the automaker.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is telling buyers to beware before putting down a deposit on one of the high-performance Hellcat versions of its Dodge Challenger and Charger models.

Both vehicles feature a 707 horsepower V8 that makes them the most powerful American production cars ever made. Despite starting prices in excess of $60,000, they’ve seen stronger than expected demand since going on sale late last year, and Dodge is having trouble building enough of the engines to go around.

While it works to increase production, it has set up an allocation program designed to discourage dealers from sitting on the cars themselves or putting huge markups on them, although Hellcats listed for $30,000 over  (go to article)

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Companies spend $1 billion in latest California carbon auction

Sacramento Bee -- The reason: State officials dramatically expanded the pool of credits for sale to accommodate a surge in demand. That became necessary because the cap-and-trade market has been broadened since Jan. 1 to cover the carbon coming from motor vehicle tailpipes.  (go to article)

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The Disconnect Between Crude Oil and Gasoline Prices

GasBuddy Blog -- If you've been paying attention to crude and gasoline prices lately, you'll notice that some days, the two have been moving in opposite directions.

So, what gives? How is it possible that crude oil prices continue to hold steady while you're shelling out more at the pump? One word: refineries. Obviously, no one can fill up with raw crude oil, otherwise we'd be doing so gleefully as oil prices remain under $50/bbl, but unfortunately, that crude oil must be refined into something that is useful- whether it be gasoline, diesel, heating oil, jet fuel, kerosene, or even asphalt.

And therein lies the problem. As refineries have been set back by various incidents- extreme cold, fires, explosions, etc, they've collectively been through-putting slightly less crude oil. In addition, domestic production of crude oil remains healthy, and so do imports. We're awash in oil, and according to this AP story, running out of places to store it all. Obviously when you have so mu  (go to article)

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Gov. Rick Scott tries to woo Wawa by offering to name Florida town after convenience store chain

Orlando weekly -- There will be more Wawas in Florida – just don't expect to find one in a Wawa, Florida.

Gov. Rick Scott went to Philadelphia this week with a team of economic-development and education leaders. And so far, all the Sunshine State has got is a reaffirmation that Wawa Inc. will continue to open hoagie-making convenience stores across Florida.

Try as he might, Scott was unable to conclude his first domestic "business development mission" by bringing south the Wawa, Pa.-based company's headquarters.

Philadelphia reporters, during a videotaped press conference Monday, noted that Scott even offered to change the name of a town in Florida to Wawa – after the company, not the Native American word for a Canadian goose that the company is named after.

"I wasn't very successful," Scott quipped  (go to article)

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Rising gas prices start at the refineries

EYEWITNESS NEWS 3 WFSB -- The days of paying $1.99 at the gas pump are gone as prices have steadily risen over the last month.

However, drivers are still paying significantly less per gallon of regular unleaded than they did a year ago - more than $1 less.

The bad news, according to experts, is that there's no end in sight to the current price jump.

Analysts said typically it's the price of crude oil that drives up the price. This time, however, it's starting with the refineries.

"In the industry, we call this a first quarter climb," said Allison Mac, an analyst for GasBuddy.com. "Every year around this time nationally, prices go up because we switch over to summer blend gas. Summer fuel is actually more expensive to produce."

According to Mac, refineries shut down for maintenance, which squeezes production.  (go to article)

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US running out of room to store oil; price collapse next?

Yahoo News -- NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. has so much crude that it is running out of places to put it, and that could drive oil and gasoline prices even lower in the coming months.

For the past seven weeks, the United States has been producing and importing an average of 1 million more barrels of oil every day than it is consuming. That extra crude is flowing into storage tanks, especially at the country's main trading hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, pushing U.S. supplies to their highest point in at least 80 years, the Energy Department reported last week.

If this keeps up, storage tanks could approach their operational limits, known in the industry as "tank tops," by mid-April and send the price of crude — and probably gasoline, too — plummeting.

"The fact of the matter is we are running out of storage cap  (go to article)

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US running out of room to store oil; price collapse next?

AP -- The U.S. has so much crude that it is running out of places to put it, and that could drive oil and gasoline prices even lower in the coming months. For the past seven weeks, the United States has been producing and importing an average of 1 million more barrels of oil every day than it is consuming. That extra crude is flowing into storage tanks, especially at the country's main trading hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, pushing U.S. supplies to their highest point in at least 80 years, the Energy Department reported last week.
If this keeps up, storage tanks could approach their operational limits, known in the industry as "tank tops," by mid-April and send the price of crude — and probably gasoline, too — plummeting.

"The fact of the matter is we are running out of storage capacity in the U.S."  (go to article)

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Why Southern Nevada Prices Are Skyrocketing

Las Vegas Review Journal -- Refinery maintenance. Preparations to manufacture “summer blend” fuel. A refinery workers strike. Gasoline supply speculation. An explosion and fire at yet another refinery.  (go to article)

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3 Reasons Gas Prices Could Rocket Higher

Motley Fool -- Well, we had a nice run. After 123 straight days of falling gasoline prices, sending it below $2 a gallon in many states, we've come back to reality a little bit. In fact, gas prices have now risen each and every day for about a month. Unfortunately, gas prices could go a lot higher because of three storm clouds that appear to be on the horizon, which could combine to send gas prices rocketing higher.

Storm cloud No. 1: Rising oil prices

The dramatic drop in the price of oil in late 2014 caused gas prices to come down as well.

Storm cloud No. 2: The big switch

However, what really drives the price of gas up is .. that oil refineries need to shift gears in the spring to focus on refining summer-blend fuels ...Storm cloud No.3: The picket line
 (go to article)

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The Best Way to Prevent Exploding Trains? Higher Oil Prices

Bloomberg -- Wreckage from the latest oil train explosion hadn't yet been cleared from the crash site in West Virginia last week when President Obama vetoed legislation that would have approved construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. The timing of the two events crystallizes one of the puzzles at the heart of the U.S. oil boom: How do we move all this new crude around the country?
As production in the U.S. has soared to more than 9 million barrels a day—up from just 5 million back in 2008—the pipeline industry has scrambled to reorient itself around new oilfields in North Dakota and Texas. But railroads have proven more nimble and in many cases beat pipelines to the punch. The amount of crude being moved by trains jumped by almost 5,000 percent since 2009, even though trains are less efficient and  (go to article)

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Oil production in federal Gulf of Mexico expected to continue increasing

EIA -- Because of the long timelines associated with Gulf of Mexico (GOM) projects, the recent downturn in oil prices is expected to have minimal direct impact on GOM crude oil production through 2016. EIA projects GOM production to reach 1.52 million barrels per day (bbl/d) in 2015 and 1.61 million bbl/d in 2016, or about 16% and 17% of total U.S. crude oil production in those two years, respectively.
The forecasted production growth is driven both by new projects and the redevelopment and expansion of older producing fields. Five deepwater projects began in the last three months of 2014: Stone Energy-operated Cardamom Deep and Cardona projects, Chevron-operated Jack/St. Malo fields, Murphy Oil-operated Dalmatian, and Hess-operated Tubular Bells. Also occurring at the end of 2014 was the redevel  (go to article)

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U.S. shale producers get no relief from rising Brent

Reuters -- More than ever before, U.S. shale producers are becoming the victims of outdated restrictions on the export of crude oil from the United States.

Export controls have ensured the most oversupplied part of the global oil market is at home in the United States.

The main beneficiaries are rival producers in the Middle East and elsewhere able to obtain higher international prices thanks to the export ban.

U.S. shale producers have received almost no benefit from the improvement in international oil prices since the middle of January.

Benchmark Brent prices have risen around $16 per barrel since hitting their recent low on Jan 13. But prices for shale producers are tied to the domestic marker WTI which has risen by only $4 per barrel over the same period.

In the middle of January, posted pr  (go to article)

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CBO: Feds spent $96B on infrastructure in 2014

the Hill -- “Nominal public spending on that infrastructure increased by 44 percent between 2003 and 2014, but because prices of materials and other inputs rose more quickly than nominal spending, real (inflation-adjusted) public purchases decreased, falling by 9 percent from their peak in 2003 to their level in 2014,” the agency wrote.
“Although all levels of government have spent less, in real terms, on transportation and water infrastructure in recent years than in the past, the greatest reduction has occurred at the federal level,” the agency said. “Adjusted for inflation, federal purchases have fallen by about 19 percent since 2003, while purchases by states and localities have fallen by about 5 percent. The significant difference between those declines reflects the facts that a much larger por  (go to article)

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Shell unveils plan to replace USW refining workers

Bloomberg -- Two days before contract negotiations are scheduled to resume between Royal Dutch Shell and the United Steelworkers’ oil union, the company announced plans to run its second-largest US refinery without union labor.

Shell will have trained and deployed enough “relief workers” by mid-summer to keep the 327,000-bpd Deer Park refinery in Texas running at full operations, The Hague, Netherlands-based company said late Monday on its website. USW members went on strike at the complex on Feb. 1 after their contract expired and talks broke down.

The announcement comes amid a national strike that’s now widened to 12 refineries accounting for almost 20% of the capacity in the US. Shell is leading the negotiations with the 30,000-strong United Steelworkers on behalf of companies including ExxonMobil  (go to article)

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Tensions flare as picket lines crossed in U.S. refinery strike

Reuters -- HOUSTON – Personal friendships are turning sour as some workers cross picket lines in the lingering U.S. refinery strike, with companies pushing laborers to return to work by saying they could lose their bonuses.

A month into the biggest U.S. refinery walkout in 35 years, money is tight as strike pay from the United Steelworkers union is a fraction of normal wages.

About 6,550 workers are on strike at 15 plants, including 12 refineries with a fifth of U.S. capacity. Companies are relying on temporary replacements to keep plants open.
 (go to article)

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Gasoline prices rising at rapid clip

CNBC -- Gasoline prices have risen 20 percent in just a month and could see another sharp jump before returning to much cheaper prices during the summer driving season.

According to AAA, the 39-cent per-gallon gain in a 35-day period is the longest streak of rising gasoline prices since 2013. The national average price of gasoline Monday was $2.42 per gallon of unleaded gasoline, up from $2.05 just a month ago.
 (go to article)

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Apple Car Seen as Serious Competitor by Auto Executives

Bloomberg News -- Automotive executives are taking seriously the prospect that Apple Inc. and Google Inc. will emerge as competitors even as they consider partnering with the two.

“If these two companies intend to solely produce electric vehicles, it could go fast,” Volkswagen AG Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn said at the Geneva International Motor Show. “We are also very interested in the technologies of Google and Apple, and I think that we, as the Volkswagen company, can bring together the digital and mobile world.”

Apple has been working on an electric auto and is pushing to begin production as early as 2020, people with knowledge of the matter said last month. Google said in January it aims to have a self-driving car on the road within five years.  (go to article)

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Automakers vow not to give up on weak-selling electrics

Yahoo Finance (AP) -- GENEVA (AP) -- Top automakers are vowing not to give up on weak-selling electric vehicles - even as they unveil an array of powerful luxury cars with conventional engines aimed at a growing global automarket.

BMW AG CEO Norbert Reithofer said Tuesday at the Geneva International Motor Show that his company cannot do without battery-powered vehicles such as its i3 urban compact.

"In the future, electric drive vehicles will be in demand," he said, adding that the Munich-based automaker could not meet its targets to reduce emissions without them.

Only about 75,000 of the 12.5 million vehicles sold last year in Europe were electrics or hybrids. Still, auto companies have sunk billions into developing alternative propulsion vehicles over the long term due to government requirements to limit v  (go to article)

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Lots of fuel for rising gas prices

cbs -- hat goes down must go up?

Analysts had been warning for some time that the recent historic drop in U.S. gasoline prices might end abruptly as the global oil market shakes itself out.

And sure enough, U.S. gas prices have been on the rise for over a month now -- for 35 consecutive days, according to the latest AAA Monthly Gas Price Report. AAA said the current climb is the longest streak of rising gas prices in over two years.

It noted that the nation's average gas price had reached a low of $2.03 per gallon on Jan. 26, after dropping for a record 123 straight days.  (go to article)

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California Beach Community to Decide if It’s ‘an Oil Town’

New York Times -- HERMOSA BEACH, Calif. — This quaint and quirky seaside community south of Los Angeles has had a conflicted relationship with the oil industry for close to a century. It has variously approved oil drilling, banned it, approved it and prohibited it again. During one yes-on-oil stretch, it contracted with an energy company to put 34 wells on a 1.3-acre city maintenance yard a few blocks from a stretch of beach that normally bustles with surfers and swimmers.

On Tuesday, the residents of Hermosa Beach are going to vote yet again on an oil and gas drilling initiative — whether to allow a contract with the energy company E&B Natural Resources Management to proceed despite a current drilling ban.

The contract, which could mean hundreds of millions of dollars for the local government, received f  (go to article)

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Oil prices steady along with global markets, but oversupply remains

Reuters --

Oil prices firmed on Tuesday in Asian trading, tracking stronger global equity markets and as the U.S. rig count continued to fall, but analysts warned the market remained oversupplied.

An index of Asian shares edged higher on Tuesday, bolstered by another record day on Wall Street, while a resurgent yen helped knock the U.S. dollar index off an 11-year high, making commodities priced in the greenback slightly cheaper for holders of other currencies.

Data showing China's January crude oil throughput climbed 0.6 percent on year to 39.35 million tonnes, or 9.27 million barrels per day, also supported the oil market.

Front-month Brent crude futures were trading up 53 cents at $60.07 a barrel by 0807 GMT, though significantly below the day's high of $60.74. U.S. WTI futures were up 41 cen  (go to article)

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Florida Governor applauds Wawa expansion in the Sunshine State

GasBuddy Blog -- Image From ..flgov.comFlorida Governor Rick Scott and Chris Gheysens, president and CEO of Wawa Inc., have announced that Wawa's continued growth across Florida and expansion plans for 2015 and 2016 are ahead of schedule. “We met with Wawa executives to discuss all of the great things Florida has to offer their company and to congratulate them on their expansion in the Sunshine State. We heard directly from company leadership that, compared to other states, they’re finding more and more opportunities in Florida because of our efficient permitting processes,” said Scott.   Wawa has 61 stores in Florida and will open its first store in southwest Florida, with the grand opening of three new stores in Fort Myers on April 23.Throughout 2015 and 2016, Wawa plans to open 25 stores per year spread throughout the Orlando, Tampa, Southwest Coast and Daytona markets. ...  (go to article)

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ExxonMobil, New Jersey reach surprise settlement in Bayway contamination suit

New York Business Journal -- ExxonMobil and the state of New Jersey have settled a long-running legal dispute over how much the energy giant would pay for environmental damage wrought on the state's wetlands.

New Jersey had argued that the damage to sites in Linden and Bayonne began in the 1870s and continued to the present day, setting the estimated costs of restoring those wetlands at about $2.6 billion and in addition asked for $6.3 billion in damages, the New York Times reported.

However, even though, as the Times put it, "Exxon's liability was no longer in dispute; the only issue was how much it would pay in damages," Gov. Chris Christie's administration has settled the matter for $250 million.  (go to article)

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Planned petroleum pipeline will cross entire Georgia coast

Savannahnow.com, Savannah Morning News -- Local residents interested in a proposed petroleum pipeline that will run through 210 miles of Georgia, crossing four of the state’s major rivers, can attend a meeting Wednesday to learn more.

The Georgia Department of Transportation and Palmetto Products Pipe Line LLC are hosting the public information open house at 5 p.m. Wednesday at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Savannah Airport, 50 Yvette J. Hagins Drive.

Palmetto has filed an application with the Georgia DOT for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity. If granted, the certificate allows Palmetto to use the right of eminent domain to construct a pipeline to run from the South Carolina-Georgia state line to the Georgia-Florida state line.

The plan already has some vocal opposition. Savannah Riverkeeper Tonya Bonitatibus has  (go to article)

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Reality hits North Dakota's pricey apartment market; rents drop

Reuters -- It is getting cheaper to rent an apartment in North Dakota's oil patch.

Prices, which only last year rivaled levels in New York City and Geneva, have slipped about 15 to 20 percent in the past two months as dozens of new apartment buildings opened in Williston, Watford City and other oil hub cities.

Growth in demand has slipped because the plunge in crude oil prices has led to cuts in capital spending by energy producers.

There are still about 1,800 energy-related jobs unfilled in the No. 2 U.S. oil-producing state, and there is still demand for apartments. But the accommodation shortage is nothing like it was when the state's oil boom began six years ago. As new developments start leasing, tenants are able to negotiate lower rents.

"You're starting to see prices fall  (go to article)

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Consumers save on energy, yet retail spending stalls

Star Tribune -- Sometimes, even the supposed experts can lose track of a billion dollars or two. Or, in this case, $100 billion.

While few outside of Texas and North Dakota are complaining about this huge savings that consumers have enjoyed since energy prices began falling last summer, economists have been stumped recently trying to figure out exactly what consumers are doing with the windfall.

They have not gone on a shopping spree at the mall or online. Results at many retail chains have been mixed, and some stores that are middle-class fixtures, like Sears and J.C. Penney, struggle.

One hint at what consumers might be thinking came Monday when new government data on the economy showed a healthy gain for wages and salaries in January even as spending by consumers inched lower for the second month...  (go to article)

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U.S. West Coast gasoline prices rise at record pace: EIA

Reuters -- SAN FRANCISCO, March 2 (Reuters) - Retail prices for regular gasoline in West Coast states rose a record 37.2 cents a gallon since last week to $3.12 a gallon on Monday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said.

The increase marks the largest week-to-week increase in the region since the EIA's weekly survey of West Coast prices began in 1992, the government agency said.

Prices were lowest in the Rocky Mountain states at $2.12 a gallon, up 8.2 cents, the EIA said.

California, which relies heavily on in-state production to meet its large demand for fuels, has seen its output hampered by an explosion and fire at Exxon Mobil Corp's 155,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) refinery in Torrance, California, on Feb. 18. Units unaffected by the blast are operating.

In the San Francisco area,  (go to article)

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Pennsylvania governor asks Obama for stronger crude-by-rail rules

Oil & Gas Journal -- Noting that 60-70 trains/week carry Bakken crude oil across Pennsylvania to the Philadelphia area or other East Coast refineries, Gov. Tom Wolf (D) asked US President Barack Obama for stronger federal regulations to prevent derailments and improve safety.

“I have already taken actions to address this issue including holding emergency trainings, participating in meetings with executives, and tasking my administration to put plans in place to both prevent accidents and mitigate impacts,” Wolf separately said on Feb. 27.

“We also need expedited federal regulatory action in several areas along with a greater commitment to funding inspection and enforcement,” Wolf said. “We cannot afford to wait for a major incident before taking action.”

In his Feb. 26 letter to Obama, Wolf called for  (go to article)

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Paying more at the pump; gas prices up 34 cents in last 31 days

WBDJ -- ROANOKE, Va. -
So long sub $2.00/gallon gas. AAA said prices have increased on average 34 cents over the past 31 days bringing the national average for a gallon of gas to $2.41.

Gas costs more than $2.00/gallon in every single state now, as compared to the start of February 2015 when drivers in 25 states filled up for less than $2.00/gallon.

The price jump is making some people budget a little more closely.

"I prepay, I prepay at the pump, gas prices are too high just to let it run like that, I have to prepay," driver Alex Jones said as he filled up his tank Monday night.

In Roanoke the average price for a gallon of regular is $2.18. The price of a gallon of gas is still down $1.07 as compared to this time last year.  (go to article)

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Senators unveil bill to require recall fixes

The Detroit News -- Two senators on Monday introduced legislation Monday modeled after laws in Germany that would seek to require vehicle owners to get recalls completed before they could renew their license plates.

Owners would have some narrow exemptions: If an owner wasn’t notified of the recall when the registration renewal reminder came out or the manufacturer lacks the parts or labor to complete the recall, or the vehicle owner demonstrates there was no reasonable opportunity to fulfill the recall then the state agency could grant a temporary registration of up to 60 days.  (go to article)

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$2 gas is gone -- for now

CNN-Money -- Gone are the days of $2 gas -- at least for now. Prices at the pump have climbed steadily for five weeks in a row.

The national average for a gallon of regular gas jumped nearly 40 cents a gallon in that period, to $2.43 a gallon, according to AAA.

That's the longest streak of increases in about two years, pushing average price back above $2 a gallon in all 50 states. In January, more than half of U.S. gas stations were selling gas for less than $2, and the national average stood at $2.03 a gallon.

Despite the price increase, drivers are still saving money at the pump. Prices are currently 90 cents a gallon below where they were in September 2014, and the U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasts that the typical American household will save $750 on gas this year.

In J  (go to article)

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Delta challenges Obama administration on oil exports

Fuel Fix -- Delta Air Lines is formally challenging the Obama administration’s decision to bless the export of a processed ultralight oil known as condensate.

Monroe Energy, Delta’s refining subsidiary, made the move in a formal petition filed with the Commerce Department nearly a year after its Bureau of Industry and Security first told two companies they were allowed to export the substance.

Since those initial rulings for Texas-based Pioneer Energy and Enterprise Products Partners last spring, the bureau has affirmed its stance, issuing a guidance document in December to clarify that condensate qualifies as an exportable petroleum product once it is processed in distillation towers. The agency said it would make judgments on the exportability of other oil based on at least six factors, including  (go to article)

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Ohio sues BP for more than $33M in cleanup of storage tanks

AP via Fuel Fix -- Ohio is suing oil and gas company BP for more than $33 million, alleging it double dipped by taking state funds and money from insurers to clean up accidental leaks from underground storage tanks at hundreds of gas stations around the state.

The state’s attorney general and the Ohio Petroleum Underground Storage Tank Release Compensation Board filed the lawsuit Monday. The board administers a fund used as a last resort when tank owners lack coverage or don’t accept insurance money.

The lawsuit alleges London-based BP wrongfully obtained $33.3 million in reimbursements from the fund, saying it had no insurance for the leaks when it often accepted insurance money for the same releases.

BP PLC spokesman Jason Ry  (go to article)

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