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OPEC won't cut production to stop oil slide: Pros

CNBC -- OPEC will not cut production in order to stop the downward slide of oil prices, two energy pros predicted on Friday.

The agency is slated to meet on Thanksgiving Day and with oil prices on a recent downward spiral, market bets on the outcome of the meeting have varied.
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Can Central Banks Bail Out OPEC?

Fox Business -- As OPEC is getting ready to meet next week in what will be their most important meeting in recent memory, it seems that global central bank actions may be doing some of the heavy lifting to support global oil demand expectations. Not only do you have China pumping a reported 50 billion yuan or the equivalent of $8.2 billion into their system, you have European Central Bank (ECB) Chairman Mario Draghi saying the ECB must drive inflation higher. The hope is that these measures can lift the Chinese’s and Euro-zone economy out of its funk and increase its shaky oil demand.  (go to article)

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100 Candles and Quite a Few Darts

NY Times -- From the moment the first Dodge was completed on Nov, 14, 1914, the cars gained a reputation as reliable and unpretentious. In 1922 Harry S. Truman ran his first campaign — for Jackson County judge in Missouri — out of a Dodge roadster, and in retirement had a ’55 Custom Royal Lancer.  (go to article)

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Porsche reveals Cayenne GTS

MarketWatch.com -- Porsche’s GTS name hails from 1963, when Porsche called its Carrera the 904 GTS, and in 2007 it revived the acronym for this very SUV. The next Cayenne GTS makes its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show, running now through Nov. 30.

The GTS gets a 20-hp bump in output, for a total of 440 hp, from its 3.6-liter twin-turbocharged V6. That goes along with 445 lb-ft of torque, 62 lb-ft more than the last model. That’s good for a 0-60 sprint time of 5.2 seconds.

Porsche says its PASM suspension has a “particularly sporty” calibration in the GTS, which sits about 1 inch lower than the base model. The GTS also borrows its brakes from the Cayenne Turbo, which measure 15.3 inches in front and 14.1 inches in back. The calipers are also painted red like the other Turbo cars.  (go to article)

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Toyota Unveils Hydrogen-Powered 2016 Mirai

GasBuddy Blog -- Image From ..caranddriver.comToyota has unveiled a mid-size car that runs on hydrogen fuel cells, joining some of its rivals as they mark a new foray into alternative powertrains.The world’s top seller of cars and trucks said this week the 2016 Mirai will be available starting in the fall of 2015. Toyota expects to make only 700 of the vehicles next year. The Mirai—a Japanese word that translates to “future”—will be rolled out at select dealers that have hydrogen fueling stations nearby.Toyota hopes the Mirai can attract drivers in the same way its Prius helped pave the way for hybrids and electric cars after launching in 1997. In five or six years, the automaker hopes to boost sales to the tens of thousands....  (go to article)

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US oil manages to settle higher after brief dip

CNBC -- US crude settled below $80 a barrel on Friday after China cut interest rates and on speculation OPEC could agree to reduce oil production.
U.S. crude's front-month contract settled 66 cents higher, or 0.9 percent, at $76.51, after briefly turning lower earlier.

The front-month contract for benchmark Brent crude was up by nearly $1 at $80 a barrel, after having risen $2.28 earlier to a session high of $81.61.
China's central bank cut its benchmark interest rates for the first time in more than two years to reduce borrowing costs and support an economy on track for its slowest annual growth in 24 years.

China is the largest net importer of petroleum and metals, and the rate cut sent most commodity prices surging.Expectations of an output cut from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting  (go to article)

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EPA Delays Decision on Ethanol in Gas

ABC News -- Last year the Environmental Protection Agency proposed to reduce the amount of ethanol in fuel for the first time, acknowledging that a biofuel law that both Republicans and Democrats had championed nearly a decade ago was not working as well as expected.

A final decision was due before the end of the year on the already-delayed standards, but the EPA said Friday the final rule will now come in 2015.

The ethanol targets are required by a 2007 law that tried to address global warming, reduce dependence on foreign oil and boost the rural economy by requiring oil companies to blend billions of gallons of biofuels into gasoline annually. But lawmakers did not anticipate fuel economy would improve as much as it has in recent years, reducing overall demand for gasoline.

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'America loves you': Jay Leno surprises wounded veteran with new car

Today / NBC News -- Behind every salute and every handshake from a soldier, there's a great story. Jay Leno set out to share one of those stories, and went above and beyond to show his appreciation for their service — by giving a soldier a brand new car.

"We took all these wounded warriors and did sort of a lottery and reached in and picked a soldier at random (to) do something for him and hopefully it expresses what we want to do for all the soldiers," Leno said.

That soldier was Cpl. Ethan Laberge. Laberge had been on foot patrol in Afghanistan when a suicide bomber drove up and detonated himself, seriously injuring Leberge and killing two fellow soldiers who had been standing with him.

..Leno had just the thing for Leberge: a ride in a 2015 Dodge SRT Hellcat.

When Leno asked Leberge if he wanted to tak  (go to article)

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Toyota recalls nearly 423,000 Lexus cars; fuel leaks can cause fires

associated Press -- DETROIT - Toyota is recalling nearly 423,000 Lexus luxury brand cars in the U.S. to fix fuel leaks that can cause fires.

The recalls affect the 2006 to 2011 GS, 2007 to 2010 LS and the 2006 to 2011 IS models.

Toyota says that the cars' fuel lines have nickel phosphate plating to protect against corrosion. Some lines could have been built with particles coming in contact with a gasket. That can cause the sealing property to deteriorate and trigger fuel leaks.

Toyota says it's not aware of any fires or injuries caused by the problem.

The company first began looking into the matter in June of 2010 after getting a report of gasoline odour coming from a customer's engine compartment, according to documents posted Friday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Toyota investiga  (go to article)

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Russia to Cooperate With Saudis on Oil, Avoiding Output Cuts

Bloomberg -- Russia said it’s willing to cooperate with Saudi Arabia on the oil market, while avoiding a commitment to limit output to reverse plunging prices.

The two countries also sought to overcome differences on Syria during the first ever talks in Moscow between their foreign ministers, marking a thawing of ties between the world’s two biggest oil exporters.

Oil has collapsed into a bear market this year as the U.S. pumps crude at the fastest rate in more than three decades and demand shows signs of weakening. Russia, which depends on oil and gas for about half its revenue, is on the brink of recession amid U.S. and European sanctions targeting its energy and financial industries.

Saudi Arabia and Russia, which together produce 25 percent of global oil, agreed the market “must be free of...  (go to article)

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Safe home heating: Eight tips to stay alive this winter

Cleveland.com -- There is more to home heating than the price of natural gas or electricity. And what you don't know can be fatal.

There is more to worry about winter heating than the price of natural gas or electricity. And what you don't know can be fatal.

Here are eight heating safety tips, courtesy of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio and Consumer Reports:

>Have the furnace inspected and if necessary tuned up every fall. And ask for an inspection of the chimney or PVC exhaust piping now used to vent high-efficiency furnaces.

>Never use an oven to heat the house. Most household ovens are not vented, and incomplete combustion can produce carbon monoxide, an orderless killer.

> Make sure chimneys and vent pipes for fireplaces and wood stoves are in good shape, not clogged and will not leak...  (go to article)

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Worker in deadly blast on oil and gas platform in Gulf was cleaning equipment, company says

Star Tribune -- NEW ORLEANS — A worker killed in an offshore explosion was cleaning a piece of equipment during routine maintenance at its oil-and-gas platform in the Gulf of Mexico, the company that runs the platform said Friday.

Houston-based Fieldwood Energy LLC said another worker suffered "visible injury" and two others reported ringing in their ears after the explosion, which was reported just before 3 p.m. Thursday. The company said the three injured workers have been released from the hospital.

Fieldwood said the worker who was killed Thursday was cleaning a piece of equipment that separates oil from water liquids when an "isolated pressure event" occurred. The company said the victim and the other worker with visible injuries were employed by Turnkey Cleaning Services, a Louisiana company speci  (go to article)

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Tire comes off, hits oncoming car, kills 1 on Route 28

Pittsburgh Tribune Review -- Allegheny County police accused an unlicensed Kentucky man, Eric Gonzalez-Huerta, 23, of causing the accident. A tire from his uninsured trailer popped off as he drove south, hauling material from a construction site.

He did not have a valid driver's license, and neither the truck nor the trailer was insured, police said. Gonzalez-Huerta is an illegal immigrant, according to the complaint
 (go to article)

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Toyota Canada fined $65,000 after Woodstock worker's arm fractured

Canadian Press -- Toyota Canada has been fined $65,000 after a worker was caught in a moving production line and fractured an arm in multiple places.

The auto-maker pleaded guilty to failing as an employer to ensure that measures under the Occupational Health and Safety Act were carried out.

The incident took place on Oct. 1, when an employee on an instrument panel line at Toyota's Woodstock, Ont., plant was carrying out assembly-related tasks on a chain-driven conveyor.

The Ministry of Labour says the worker noticed part of the production line was running in slow mode rather than the normal production mode.

Hoping to prevent stalling or a shut-down, the worker then reached under the line to press a re-set button while the line was still in operation.

In doing so, one of the worker's arms became trappe  (go to article)

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More Kinder Morgan protesters arrested on Burnaby Mountain

CBC News -- Burnaby RCMP say a total of 34 anti-pipeline protesters have been arrested and charged with civil contempt since police began arresting people Thu morning for defying a court injunction to stay clear of KM's worksite

26 people were arrested Thu and 8 today

The protesters vowed to continue their fight to block geo-technical survey work by KM, even after their arrests. FN and environmental groups held a morning news conference to announce their continued defiance

All but 5 of the protesters that were arrested have been released, charged with civil contempt of court

KM is proposing to bore a tunnel under the mountain for the rerouting and expansion of its existing pipeline

The company obtained a court injunction last Fri to have protesters removed from the site, but police did not step i  (go to article)

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Stronger WTI Midland differential lifts Light Houston Sweet

Platts -- The Light Houston Sweet differential strengthened week on week due to West Texas Intermediate in Midland, Texas, being supported by higher demand with Plains All-American Pipeline's Sunrise crude pipeline set to startup in December, sources said. LHS was assessed Thursday at $2.65 below the Light Louisiana Sweet differential at WTI plus $1/b or $76.53/b.

The LHS differential steadily increased over the last week as bids stepped up from LLS minus $3.20/b to LLS minus $2.90/b by Tuesday for WTI at the Magellan East Houston crude terminal.

Plains announced in early November that its 250,000 b/d Midland-to-Colorado City, Texas, crude line would be placed into service in December, but market participants were skeptical of it starting on time. Now that it seems that the pipeline will begin ope  (go to article)

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Intel boss' warning on cyber attacks no joke, say experts

foxnews.com/W -- Top cybersecurity experts echoed a dire warning from a top intelligence chief on the vulnerability of the U.S. power grid, with one telling FoxNews.com that state-sponsored hackers could send America’s nerve centers on an “uncontrollable, downward spiral.”

Admiral Michael Rogers, director of the National Security Agency and commander of the U.S. Cyber Command, told lawmakers Thursday that adversaries of the U.S. conduct regular electronic reconnaissance to reveal weaknesses in America’s industrial control systems, ranging from power plants to sewage facilities. The nation's entire power infrastructure could prove vulnerable to a crippling assault, should China or any of the other nations who sponsor such efforts find an Achilles' heel and move to exploit it, he said.
Rogers was not exagge  (go to article)

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Ford F-150 mpg tops among full-size gas-powered pickups

The Detroit News -- Dearborn – — Ford Motor Co.’s 2015 aluminum-bodied F-150 won’t surpass the Ram EcoDiesel as most fuel-efficient pickup, but its 26 mpg on the highway is tops among all gas-powered full-size pickups.

The Dearborn automaker on Friday released mileage numbers that are between 5 percent and 29 percent better than last year’s model, depending on engine size.

Equipped with the new 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine, the highly anticipated pickup can get 19 mpg city, 26 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined. Ford expects this new engine option will account for about 28 percent of new F-150 sales once trucks hit dealer lots in the coming days. The most fuel-efficient 2014 F-150 was rated at 23 mpg on the highway.

Before Friday’s numbers were released, the 2015 Ram 1500 was the leader among gas-engine trucks,  (go to article)

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Renewable Fuels Quotas for 2014 Delayed by EPA After Fight

Bloomberg News -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency punted on setting quotas for the use of renewable fuels in 2014 and pledged to lay out next year targets for 2014-2016.

Almost a year late in setting rules for using ethanol, biodiesel and cellulosic fuels in gasoline, the EPA today abandoned trying to act before year end. The agency could waive the requirements for 2014 altogether or accept whatever has been produced as meeting the mandate.

“Finalization of the 2014 standards rule has been significantly delayed,” EPA said in a statement published on its website today. “Due to this delay, and given ongoing consideration of the issues presented by the commenters, EPA is not in a position to finalize the 2014 RFS standards rule before the end of the year.”  (go to article)

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U.S. Oil Rig Count Drops to 1,574, Baker Hughes Says

Bloomberg -- The U.S. oil rig count declined for the third time in four weeks as crude traded below $80 a barrel for the third straight week.

Rigs targeting oil fell by four to 1,574 this week, Baker Hughes Inc. said on its website today, down from the 2014 peak of 1,609 six weeks ago. Those drilling for natural gas increased by five to 355, the Houston-based field services company’s website. The total count rose by one to 1,929.
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U.S. EPA Said to Drop Renewable Fuel Quotas Planned for 2014

Bloomberg -- The Environmental Protection Agency today will abandon its proposed rule setting renewable-fuel targets for 2014, according to people familiar with the decision.

The EPA plans to instead propose standards for 2014, 2015 and 2016 next year, according to an administration official who requested anonymity. The EPA could waive the requirements for 2014 altogether or accept whatever has been produced as meeting the mandate.

The agency will announce the change at 11 a.m. Washington time today, the people in contact with administration officials said. The people spoke on the condition they not be identified to discuss the matter before the EPA announcement.

The EPA is about a year late in setting the quotas for ethanol and other renewable fuels for 2014, and with less than six weeks left in th  (go to article)

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How Americans have saved 15 billion gallons of gas

The Globe and Mail -- In 1923, the average vehicle managed 14 mpg and, for the next 50 years, fuel efficiency went downhill.

By 1973, the average was 11.9 mpg. Disappointing, but understandable. This was an era of cheap and plentiful oil. However, the industry’s gas-guzzling ways spun the image of a voracious and wasteful business.

While that image was grounded in fact 40 years ago, something different is true today. A recent study by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute shows fleet-wide fuel economy began to improve after 1973. By 1991, it hit 16.9 mpg, and while it then stalled for a decade and a half, fuel economy across the automotive fleet has taken a dramatic turn for the better since 2007.  (go to article)

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Oil above $80 on China rate cut, possible OPEC move

www.cnbc.com -- Brent crude oil traded above $80 a barrel on Friday after China cut interest rates and on speculation OPEC could agree next week to reduce oil production.

China's central bank cut its benchmark interest rates for the first time in more than two years on Friday to lower borrowing costs and support an economy on track for its slowest annual growth in 24 years.

The rate cut added to a positive mood among oil traders anticipating an agreement by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries on Nov. 27 to trim production in an attempt to bolster oil prices.

Brent rose $1.05 to trade at $80.38 shortly after 9:30 a.m. EDT after touching a high of $81.61 earlier in the morning. The benchmark looked set to snap an eight-week losing streak if the gains were sustained on Friday.  (go to article)

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Toyota Lexus to recall some 2006-2011 models due to fuel leak

Reuters -- (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) will recall 422,509 of its luxury brand Lexus vehicles in the United States because of a possible fuel leak that increases the risk of fire, U.S. regulators said on Friday.

The recall covers Lexus LS from model years 2007 to 2010, Lexus GS from 2006 to 2011 and Lexus IS from 2006 to 2011.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said fuel might leak where the fuel pressure sensor is attached to the fuel delivery pipe. If a spark occurs, fire could start.
Toyota told the NHTSA that it was not aware of any fires or injuries caused by this condition.

Beginning next month, Toyota is to notify owners of various versions of the three models affected and tell them to bring their vehicles into dealerships for repair.  (go to article)

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Carjackers scam Maryland drivers by putting $100 bills on windshields

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS -- You may think a $100 bill randomly appearing on your windshield is an early Christmas present.

But cops in Maryland are warning people to beware — it could be a scam by thieves who want to boost your car.

Heartless criminals are said to be targeting naive vehicle owners by placing the Benjamin in full view on the front window.
 (go to article)

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GasBuddy Outsmart the Pump Sweepstakes Winner Announced

GasBuddy Blog -- If you think gas prices have been low lately, imagine paying $0 at the pump for the entire year. That’s what Brenda Price of Lilburn, Georgia will be paying as GasBuddy’s “Outsmart the Pump” summer sweepstakes winner.

Price and her husband Allen Price are retirees and active volunteers at the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Georgia, a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the poor and disadvantaged in the community. When asked what they plan to do with the winnings, the couple said they plan to volunteer even more, now that gas costs won’t be much of a concern.

“I couldn’t believe we won!” Brenda Price said. “You never think something like this could actually happen to you. We are very blessed. It’s overwhelming.”...  (go to article)

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Buffett’s BNSF Sees Lower Crude Growth on Oil-Price Drop

Bloomberg -- BNSF Railway Co. Chairman Matt Rose said expansion of crude-oil shipments is threatened with the commodity’s decline in price, even as a strengthening U.S. economy boosts rail freight.

The growth of shale-oil production will slow with crude in the $70 dollar-per-barrel range and will be eliminated in the $60 range, Rose said yesterday at the RailTrends conference in New York. If prices drop into the $50 range, output would decline.

“As oil prices come down, the rate of new wells being drilled will fall. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that,” Rose said in an interview. “So the opportunity for more growth goes down as oil prices continue to fall.”
BNSF, owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., has benefited from the surge in crude production at shale fields including  (go to article)

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Canadians Protest TransMountain Pipeline

The Canadian Press -- Pipeline protesters shouted and chanted at Kinder Morgan survey crews, as they arrived under a police escort on Burnaby Mountain.The expanded pipeline would triple capacity to transport Alberta oil to a terminal in Burnaby BC through a tunnel in the mountain.  (go to article)

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Nearly 300 attend public hearing on pipeline plan

The Washington Times -- PEARISBURG, Va. (AP) - Nearly 300 people attended the Giles County Board of Supervisors’ public hearing on a proposed natural gas pipeline from West Virginia to Virginia.

The Roanoke Times reports (http://bit.ly/11BCMVu ) that executives of the two companies pushing the 300-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline fielded questions Thursday night about the proposed route and the project’s environmental impact. They also were targeted by critics, including one person who shouted, “How do you sleep at night?”

 (go to article)

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Russia's foreign minister: there should be no intervention in global oil production

Fox News -- MOSCOW – Russia's foreign minister says there should be no intervention in global energy production, even as the country's economy takes a hit from rapidly falling oil prices.

After a meeting with his Saudi counterpart in Moscow, Sergei Lavrov said both Russia and Saudi Arabia did not want oil production targets to be affected by "political or geopolitical designs."

The theory that the United States has manipulated global oil production to bring down prices is a popular theme on state-owned television in Russia, where the economy and state budget are heavily dependent on oil exports.  (go to article)

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Oil nears $80 on possible OPEC cut, strong U.S. data

Yahoo Finance -- LONDON (Reuters) - Brent crude oil rose towards $80 a barrel on Friday on speculation OPEC could agree output cuts at a meeting next week, with strong U.S. economic data also bolstering prices.

Venezuela reiterated its call for production cuts, with Foreign Minister Rafael Ramirez saying it was willing to curb its own output if the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed to reduce production at its Nov. 27 gathering.

Libya and Ecuador have also called for OPEC to cut output.

Iran urged fellow OPEC members to shore up oil prices, which have fallen 30 percent since June as new supplies from North America have overwhelmed demand at a time of lacklustre global economic growth.

"I hear more and more sounds indicating that markets are expecting a possible cut in OPEC product  (go to article)

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Colorado to test pay-by-the-mile fee as gas-tax alternative

Denver Business Journal -- Don't like paying the gas tax at the pump? How about a tax on the miles you drive?

The Colorado Department of Transportation is planning to launch a small pilot study of the "vehicle miles traveled" (VMT) fee with about 100 volunteers in 2015, Don Hunt, the agency's executive director, said Thursday.

VMT is seen as an alternative way to raise money for transportation and highway construction projects that traditionally have relied on money raised from taxes on every gallon of gasoline purchased.  (go to article)

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Cold triggers tire sensors: don't ignore your TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) !

GasBuddy Blog -- Image From ..bostonglobe.comWhile much of the country was blanketed with snow this week and more may be  on the way in the Great Lakes... maybe the last thing you want to worry about is your tire pressure.  After all, if you've been buried in places like Buffalo, it may be some time before you even find your vehicle, let alone drive it. 

Once you turn the heat on and get behind the wheel, don't be surprised if there's a light on your dashboard that you're not familiar with. When it comes to our cars, steep temperature drops can trigger a sign of winter that we don’t welcome: a yellow or orange low tire pressure warning light.When your light comes on, your car is simply telling you that you need more air in your tire and this time of year, the warning is usually related to steep drops in temperature. What should you do?  Don't ignore it. ...  (go to article)

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U.S. regulator to Chrysler's Marchionne: get act in gear on Jeep recall

Reuters -- WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. government safety regulators on Thursday told Chrysler Group LLC Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne that the company "have to get their act in gear" to speed up repairs of recalled Jeep SUVs that face a heightened fire risk.

David Friedman, deputy director of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, was asked by reporters if he was satisfied with Chrysler's performance in adding trailer hitches to affected Jeep SUVs to protect them in lower speed rear-end crashes.

"No. In fact, this morning I sent a letter to the chairman and CEO of Chrysler telling them they have to get their act in gear. They have to make sure they're getting those parts in the hands of consumers," Friedman said.

Chrysler is a unit of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Marchionne is chair  (go to article)

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Takata executive warns about ability to fix deadly air bag flaw

Reuters-Yahoo -- WASHINGTON/DETROIT (Reuters) - An executive from Japan's Takata Corp told U.S. senators on Thursday the supplier is urgently trying to ramp up replacement parts for millions of vehicles fitted with potentially deadly air bags, but said it may not be able to move quickly enough.

The U.S. auto safety regulator also warned of the risks of moving to a nationwide recall, as senators have urged, saying such a move could divert replacement parts from humid regions where the defective air bags are more likely to rupture upon deployment, shooting metal shards into cars.

At least five fatalities have been linked to the defect so far, mostly in the United States.

 (go to article)

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Iran Vows to Guard Oil-Market Share as OPEC to Review Output

Bloomberg -- Iran will protect its share of global crude sales under all circumstances, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said, as OPEC members prepare to meet next week to review production levels.

The Persian Gulf nation can double oil exports in two months if sanctions against are removed, Zanganeh said, according to the ministry’s news website Shana.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will gather on Nov. 27 in Vienna to assess its collective output amid a supply glut and a 30 percent drop in prices this year. Iran’s crude output has languished under international economic sanctions that deter foreign energy investors and limit its exports to approximately 1 million barrels a day.

“Under no circumstance will Iran decrease its share of the global market, not even by one barrel,”...  (go to article)

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TransCanada Energy East faces new hurdle with demands from Quebec

Bloomberg News -- TransCanada Corp.’s proposed Energy East pipeline is facing another obstacle in Quebec as the province sets conditions for the project linking the oilsands to the East Coast.

Quebec is requiring TransCanada meet seven conditions before allowing construction of the pipeline, according to a copy of a Nov. 18 letter by David Heurtel, the provincial environment minister, to TransCanada Chief Executive Officer Russ Girling obtained by Bloomberg News and first revealed by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. Nov. 20.

Mounting criticism from environmental groups is stalling plans for pipelines to expand markets for Canada’s rising heavy crude supplies. Quebec’s conditions risk delaying Energy East and are the latest setback for TransCanada, after the defeat of a U.S. Senate measure this week to ex  (go to article)

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Region's motorists give thanks for cheaper gas, plan to hit the road

Saint Paul Pioneer Press -- Average gas prices have fallen below $3 a gallon in Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Dakotas, encouraging more drivers to hit the road for the Thanksgiving weekend since 2007.

In Minnesota, the average price was $2.79 this week, according to AAA, with some stations in Bemidji and Twin Cities suburbs reporting prices as low as $2.55, and the lowest price since the fall of 2010.

The current average price in Wisconsin was $2.89. Among the state's metro areas, Milwaukee has the lowest average price at $2.84, down from $3.18 a month ago.

For the first time in four years, the average price for gas in North Dakota has dropped below $3 per gallon, and that price could be here to stay, officials said. North Dakota gas stations reported an average of $2.99 per gallon this week, dropping 18 cents from  (go to article)

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Explosion kills 1, injures 3 on oil and gas platform in Gulf of Mexico off Louisiana coast

Star Tribune -- NEW ORLEANS — An explosion occurred on an offshore oil and gas platform in the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday, killing one person and injuring three.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said Fieldwood Energy reported the explosion on its Echo Platform just before 3 p.m. about 12 miles off Louisiana's coast. A telephone call to the Houston, Texas-based company was not immediately returned.

The bureau said in a statement that the platform was not in production at the time of the explosion and damage was limited to the area. The statement said there was no indication that any oil had spilled into the ocean.

Bureau spokeswoman Chauntra Rideaux said the injured workers were being treated at a medical facility. She did not say where or have their conditions.

She said the explosion  (go to article)

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CSX Warns Buffalo Snow May Cause Delays on Main Crude Oil Route

Reuters via Downstream Today -- CSX Corp warned customers on Thursday that a massive snowstorm in Buffalo, New York, may cause delays of up to 48 hours on deliveries along its main crude oil by rail route.

"Customers with shipments over the high-volume Buffalo line should continue to expect delays up to 48 hours," the company said in a customer service advisory.

The CSX line carries crude from Chicago to Albany, New York, where it is loaded onto ships that sail to Irving's refinery in St. John, in New Brunswick, Canada, or taken to refineries in the Philadelphia area. It passes through Buffalo, which is digging out of more than five feet of snow, with more expected.

Many trains bypass Albany and head south along the River Line to Phillips 66's refinery in Linden, New Jersey or Philadelphia Energy's Solutions refinery  (go to article)

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The Lexus LF-C2 Concept: Topless, Not Convertible

New York Times -- LOS ANGELES — The Lexus LF-C2 concept, introduced here on Wednesday at the 2014 Los Angeles auto show, is the ultimate in topless motoring. Seriously. It has no top at all. That’s because, Lexus announced, it’s a “roadster concept.” In Lexus’ thinking, it doesn’t need a top.

Lexus revealed little about the car at the show.

“Today we’re here to share with you what happens when we take our signature look, which is critical to our identity in the luxury market, and incorporate it into a fun ‘what if’ concept,” Jeff Bracken, the group vice president and general manager of Lexus, who introduced the car, said in a statement. “The result is the LF-C2. This concept celebrates our design identity and kicks it up a notch — actually, make that several notches. Open top, gorgeous at a glance and jus  (go to article)

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Oil News: Royal Dutch Shell Plc Explains the Real Problem with Oil Prices

Motley Fool -- The spot price of Brent Crude has fallen more than 20% over the last six months. That's taken oil from over $100 a barrel to around $80 a barrel. There have been many reasons given for the drop, including the U.S. energy boom. However, Royal Dutch Shell Plc (NYSE: RDS-B ) provided what could be the most frightening reason of all.

A global commodity
Oil is a global commodity; what happens in one country impacts what's goes on around the world. For example, the United States has pretty much kept its oil from the export market since the 1970s. That's caused all sorts of dislocations domestically.

Recently so much shale oil found its way to the Cushing Oklahoma hub that the inventory range between 2009-2013 was well above historical averages, according to the U.S. Energy Information Adminis  (go to article)

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Oil and schools don't mix, enviro groups say

Rochester Democrat & Chronicle -- About 350 New York state schools, including at least 63 in Monroe County, lie within a mile of railroad tracks used by trains carrying volatile crude oil, a coalition of environmental and other advocacy groups said Thursday.

The groups urged state and federal official to bolster emergency planning at those educational facilities and to require crude-oil trains to travel more slowly near schools.

"We are deeply concerned about the growing number of crude oil rail cars passing through the Hudson Valley and across New York State every day," said Claire Barnett, executive director of the Albany-based Health Schools Network. "A catastrophic event, should it happen near an occupied school, could devastate a community for a generation or more."
 (go to article)

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Low Gas Prices Will Increase Thanksgiving Traffic

www,baltimore.cbslocal.com -- This Thanksgiving, Maryland traffic is expected to be at its highest volume since 2007.

AAA Mid-Atlantic estimates Maryland holiday travel will increase by 3.2 percent compared to last year. Almost 100,000 Marylanders are expected take road trips this Thanksgiving because gas prices are the lowest they’ve been since 2009.

“The nation’s overall economic picture is brighter than it was this time last year, helping to fuel consumer confidence and drive the increase in travel for this year’s Thanksgiving holiday,” said Ragina Cooper Averella, Manager of Public and Government Affairs at AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Improvements in several key economic factors, including employment, GDP and disposable income, are motivating consumers to open up their wallets and get away for the holiday.”

The Maryland  (go to article)

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North Dakota conditioning rules draw ire of Bakken operators

Platts -- North Dakota oil and gas operators claim that pending state rules to condition Bakken crude oil before it is shipped by rail could cost them tens of millions of dollars, imperil pipeline and gas gathering infrastructure and create a jurisdictional clash with federal regulators.

In dozens of comments submitted to North Dakota's Industrial Commission Wednesday, companies, including Hess, Marathon Oil and Continental Resources, and oil industry groups pushed against the rules which would require Bakken crude to have an RVP of 13.7 psi or below before it is shipped by rail.

Nathan Savage, a senior vice president of Savage Services Corporation, which owns and operates a petroleum services hub in Trenton, North Dakota, said the requirements are "unworkable, from a logistical, operational and c  (go to article)

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TransCanada Sees Crude-by-rail Investment Even if Keystone Built

Reuters -- TransCanada Corp is in talks to get into the crude-by-rail business and will probably do so even if its long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline gets its U.S. permits next year, its chief executive said on Wednesday.

While Canada's No. 2 pipeline operator has not yet signed any definitive agreements, it is in active negotiations with producers and other shippers on opportunities, CEO Russ Girling said on a conference call.

"If I were to put a probability one it, I'd say there's a better than 50-50 chance that we will be in that business in some form or fashion in the future," he said.

Girling added that with Canadian and U.S. oil production rapidly expanding, TransCanada expects rail will be a larger part of the transportation mix going forward, "so it's likely a business that we're in long-t  (go to article)

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Thanksgiving travelers will see cheaper gas, but pricier airfares, hotels

Marketwatch -- SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — More U.S. residents will travel for Thanksgiving this year than any other year since 2007, but holiday travel will be pricier for some, travel and leisure group AAA said Thursday.

AAA predicted that 46.3 million people in the U.S. will travel 50 miles or more during the holiday, a 4.2% increase from 2013.

Of those, almost 90% will travel by car and see the lowest Thanksgiving gasoline prices in five years, AAA said.

U.S. retail gasoline averaged $2.85 a gallon on Wednesday. It averaged $3.28 a gallon on Thanksgiving 2013. Gasoline prices have fallen as crude-oil prices have slumped to multiyear lows in recent months, with the perception that supplies have outstripped demand.

Air travel for the holiday — which AAA defines as Wednesday, Nov. 26, t  (go to article)

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Oil halts losing streak, pushes higher ahead of OPEC meeting

Marketwatch -- SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Crude-oil futures rose Thursday, snapping a string of losses as investors awaited for the upcoming OPEC meeting — just a week away — for a firmer direction on supplies and thus on prices.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures for delivery in December CLZ4, +0.94% rose 56 cents, or 0.7%, to trade at $75.01 a barrel. Futures on Wednesday closed lower for a third straight session.

January Brent crude LCOF5, +1.23% on London’s ICE Futures exchange rose 73 cents, or 1%, to $78.86 a barrel. Brent has also closed lower for three consecutive sessions.

Chinese factory activity fell to its lowest level in six months in November, with the preliminary HSBC China Manufacturing PMI falling to 50.0, compared with a final reading of 50.4  (go to article)

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Diesel consumers see little drop in price, some see spikes

GasBuddy Blog -- It's been a lousy time for diesel consumers, who have been forced to watch on the sidelines as gasoline prices have fallen an average of 82c/gal since the end of June. In the same time frame, average diesel prices have only dropped 29c/gal. So what in the world is going on?

For diesel consumers, you've probably noticed over the last few years that the gap in price between diesel and gasoline has remained high. Several factors have led to this- diesel demand has been strong around the globe as gasoline demand has continued to weaken over the last few years. Because of the strong demand, U.S. refineries have increased the amount of fuel they've been exporting. In the chart provided, you can see the amount of distillates (diesel is a distillate fuel) exported has risen to near 1.5 million barrels per day. ...  (go to article)

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Prepare for $95 oil in 2015: HSBC

Yahoo Finance -- In the latest contribution to the heated debate over the price of oil, HSBC has trimmed its forecast for Brent crude next year by $5, but added that it was not convinced of persistent weakness throughout 2015.
HSBC cut its Brent crude price assumption for the full year next year to $90, down from $95, but predicted that short-term price pressure will "sow the seeds" for higher prices in the longer term.

Read More US shale and OPEC oil: Game of chicken?

The bank has also lowered its Brent price forecast for the fourth quarter of this year from $92 to $85, and sees the oil price climbing $5 a quarter in 2015 to end the year at around $95.

The forecast comes at odds with a number of other market predictions, including that of the International Energy Agency, which said prices could fall  (go to article)

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Seven Commodities With Collapsing Prices

MSN Money -- Several factors behind the commodities drop


Earlier this year, the International Energy Administration (IEA) and Bank of America both said that the United States has become the world’s largest oil producer, passing Saudi Arabia and Russia. American oil production growth and a rallying dollar have not only increased oil supplies, but have also led to dramatic price drops.

In addition to oil, the United States is also among the world’s largest producers of corn, soybeans, cotton, and wheat. However, the prices of these commodities — which are all traded on the futures market — have dropped noticeably in the last year.

For some commodities, the drop in prices has been tied to increased supplies. Notably, for many crops, increases in production have created a supply glut, which has lea  (go to article)

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