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Cheap Speed Challenge: Best car for practical fun?

USA Today -- Many of the regular head-to-head market segment showdowns that USA TODAY does with Cars.com and PBS TV's MotorWeek involve more mainstream vehicles — midsize sedans, compact SUVs, minivans.

Evaluating them is useful to shoppers — those are the high-volume sellers — and satisfying to the judges. But they don't get your heart thumping.

Not this time.

We wanted to see which automakers could provide honest, sporty performance in a car you might actually be able to afford — and further, to see how practical it would be in daily duty.

1 -- 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI
2 -- 2015 Subaru WRX
3 -- 2014 Ford Fiesta ST
4 -- 2014 Kia Forte5 SX
5 -- 2014 Scion FR-S
6 -- 2014 Hyundai Veloster Turbo
7 -- 2014 Nissan Juke NISMO RS
8 -- 2014 Fiat 500 Abarth
 (go to article)

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Exxon’s $19 Billion Papua LNG Plant Running at Full Capacity

Bloomberg -- Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM), operator of a $19 billion liquefied natural gas project in Papua New Guinea, said the development is producing at full capacity after starting ahead of schedule earlier this year.

The milestone follows an increase in output in the last few months, Exxon’s PNG unit said today in an e-mailed response to questions. The plant was expected to be operating at full capacity by the end of 2014, according to a report last week from Citigroup Inc.

“Having reached full capacity within three months of startup is exceptionally good performance by comparison with most international LNG projects,” Neil Beveridge, a Hong Kong-based oil and gas analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., said today by phone.

The project in the Pacific nation with partners including Oil Search Ltd. (O  (go to article)

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General Motors Goes Solar in Toledo

Solar Novus Today -- When the global car manufacturer, General Motors, installed a 1.8 megawatt (MW) rooftop solar array at its Toledo Transmission plant in Ohio, the company was acting locally while keeping its corporate sustainability mission in mind.“Having 21,000 solar panels on Toledo’s roof is a great visual representation of our commitment to renewable energy,” said Rob Threlkeld, GM manager of renewable energy. “It proves to our employees and the people who live in and around Toledo that clean energy plays a significant role in the building of our vehicles.”  (go to article)

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Environmentally-Friendly Savior Of Oil Fracking Industry Could Be… Haliburton? New Fluids Made With

CBS FS -- (CBS SF) — In the environmentally sensitive Bay Area, “fracked” oil may be a dirty word, but new technology being pioneered by some environmentalists’ arch nemesis, Haliburton, could make fracking literally palatable by using fluids sourced from the food industry.  (go to article)

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A Carbon Tax Even Republicans Can Support

Bloomberg -- A new survey suggests the conventional wisdom about carbon taxes is wrong: Promising to give people their money back with rebate checks isn't the best way to win public support.  (go to article)

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Electrifying vehicles: assessing the efficiency/price trade-off

Climate Spectator -- Vehicle price and fuelling costs are important factors consumers take into account when deciding to purchase a new light-duty vehicle. While vehicle purchase is influenced by cost and fuel economy, other important factors such as environmental concerns, performance, and style also play a part. Comparison of the fuel savings and incremental vehicle cost among various vehicle fuel types sheds light on how at least some consumers may perceive the value of purchasing a given vehicle fuel type relative to another.  (go to article)

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‘Finally,’ a Light Bulb That Exceeds Gov’t Standards, Gives Off an Incandescent Glow and Costs Less

THEBLAZE -- While you might ruefully consider LED or CFL lighting technologies, Gizmodo recently featured another option that could be a good middle ground between the government’s standards and the traditional look to which many have become accustomed.

Gizmodo described Finally as “an efficient, affordable bulb using technology Nikola Tesla once patented,” which is a form of “drastically miniaturized induction light.”

The company calls Finally the “only energy-efficient light bulb [that] shines just like the incandescent you grew up with.”

The makers of Finally explained on their website that instead of looking toward solid state lighting, it “stepped back in time to revisit induction, a lighting system that was developed at the same time as incandescent.” Induction lighting can be found in wareho  (go to article)

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Observers mixed on grid backup amid carbon rules, natural gas uncertainty

TRIB LIVE -- If the electrical grid that powers the United States encounters a supply problem, the easiest solution takes five years.

That's the minimum time it takes to build a large, natural gas-fired generation station, from siting to lining up investors, permitting and constructing.

“If you wait until you have a power problem, you've got a five-year problem,” said Bill Pentak, a vice president at Dallas-based Panda Power Funds.

The company is building seven gas-fired plants, including the Liberty and Patriot projects in the Marcellus shale fields of Bradford and Lycoming counties, because it believes the ever-increasing amount of gas from shale will become the grid's backbone.

Not everyone agrees.

“Natural gas cannot replace nuclear, it cannot replace coal,” U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Upper...  (go to article)

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Germany named world's most energy efficient country

Science Alert -- A new report has ranked the world’s nations according to their energy efficiency, and Germany has come out on top.

'Energy efficiency' means using less energy to achieve the same result. A new report by the Washington-based American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has analysed and ranked 16 major economies from around the world according to their public policies and performances related to energy use.

Some of the policies included in the report were the presence of a national target for annual energy savings, fuel economy standards for vehicles, and energy efficiency standards for household appliances. [...]  (go to article)

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Oregon Jeep Crash Caused by 3-year-old Boy

AutoEvolution -- Just in case you need more proof that you should never leave young children unattended and you should always set your parking brake, check out this story. KPTV Fox 12 reports that a 3-year-old Oregon boy was the cause of a crash this week that left a Jeep Wrangler embedded into the side of a house. And no, we’re not talking about a Power Wheels Jeep.

Left unattended by a relative who was watching him, the boy managed to get out of the house and crawl into a Jeep Wrangler owned by his aunt. A police officer had actually noticed the boy playing in the Jeep, and he was able to find the woman who was supposed to be watching him and issued her a ticket. At the time, the boy claims his babysitter was sleeping, but the relative says she had been in the bathroom.

Either way, the police were  (go to article)

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The New Technology That Can Save You Hundreds On Gas

Money -- Over the years, one urban fuel-efficiency myth has been pervasive—that you’ll save gas by letting your car idle rather than shutting the engine off when, say, waiting at the curb for someone running into a store. Popular Mechanics, AAA, and others have busted this myth, pointing out that a vehicle gets negative miles per gallon while idle. The consensus advice now is that if you car is stopped for more than a minute, the smart move is to turn the engine off.

The arrival of auto stop-start, a technology most often seen in hybrids, does this work for you, and not only if you’re idle for minute or more. The technology has slowly been spreading beyond hybrids to a few vehicles powered by traditional internal combustion engines, and new research from AAA indicates that this is a good thing.  (go to article)

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US exports help Germany increase coal, pollution

AP -- LUENEN, Germany (AP) — One of Germany's newest coal-fired power plants rises here from the banks of a 100-year-old canal that once shipped coal mined from the Ruhr Valley to the world.

Now the coal comes the other way.

The 750-megawatt Trianel Kohlekraftwerk Luenen GmbH & Co. power plant relies completely on coal imports, about half from the U.S. Soon, all of Germany's coal-fired power plants will be dependent on imports, with the country expected to halt coal mining in 2018 when government subsidies end.

Coal mining's demise in Germany comes as the country is experiencing a resurgence in coal-fired power, one which the U.S. increasingly has helped supply. U.S. exports of power plant-grade coal to Germany have more than doubled since 2008. In 2013, Germany ranked fifth, behind the Unite  (go to article)

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There's A U.S. Energy Boom, No Thanks To Obama

Investors Business Daily -- It would be easy to look at the dramatic 35% increase in America's oil and natural gas production since President Obama took office and think the administration deserves much of the credit. But the energy boom has happened in spite of him.

Production could have been even greater if the administration embraced America's new energy superpower status instead of being so hostile to the development of our fossil fuel resources.

Since Obama took office, oil and gas production has soared on private and state land, for which he deserves little or no credit. Meanwhile, production on federal lands has dropped sharply due to a cutback in leasing of deepwater areas for energy development.

The U.S. government leases less than 2.2% of the energy-rich Outer Continental Shelf, and less than 6% of feder  (go to article)

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Robert Rubin: How ignoring climate change could sink the U.S. economy

Washington Post -- Good economic decisions require good data. And to get good data, we must account for all relevant variables. But we’re not doing this when it comes to climate change — and that means we’re making decisions based on a flawed picture of future risks. While we can’t define future climate-change risks with precision, they should be included in economic policy, fiscal and business decisions because of their potential magnitude.

The scientific community is all but unanimous in its agreement that climate change is a serious threat. According to Gallup, nearly 60 percent of Americans believe that global warming is caused by human activity. Still, for many people, the effects of climate change seem like a future problem — something that falls by the wayside as we tackle what seem like more immedia  (go to article)

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As U.S. kicks off crude exports, Iran casts a shadow in Asia

Reuters -- The United States faces an awkward rival in its first attempts in 40 years to export crude oil - Iran.

Iran, whose economy has been throttled by Western sanctions that have halved its crude shipments, is now selling higher quality and cheaper oil to China that leaves little room for the U.S. crude to enter the world's top energy consumer.
 (go to article)

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The sinister ones: 10 cars that look downright evil

fox -- Like people, certain cars have a sinister look about them. Especially in dark colors and particularly in black. Some cars have been typecast for the large and small screens and others just look evil without any help from the mass media. Here are a handful of production cars that look as if they could scatter children and make law-abiding citizens run for their lives.  (go to article)

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TOTD: Which Non-SRT 2015 Dodge Challenger Would you Pick?

Motor Trend -- Believe it or not, the SRT Hellcat isn’t the only 2015 Challenger variant that exists. While lots of fun can be had with a supercharged V-8 pumping out 707 hp, the fact is that the Hellcat will be out of reach for most buyers. A bulk of Challenger sales will go to the non-SRT models that include the choice of three engines.
The big news is the addition of the 6.4-liter V-8 that was previously reserved for the Challenger. This engine makes 485 hp and 475 lb-ft and is priced at around $40,000, putting it toe-to-toe with the Ford Mustang GT and Chevrolet Camaro SS.
Meanwhile, the 5.7-liter V-8 carries over and its power output is unchanged at 375 hp and 410 lb-ft. This engine is fitted in the Challenger R/T, which starts at $32,490. Also available is a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, which we’ve pra  (go to article)

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Survey: US gas prices fall 9 cents to $3.58

The Richmond Times Dispatch -- CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) -- A national survey finds the average U.S. price of regular-grade gasoline has plummeted 9 cents a gallon over the past two weeks to $3.58.

That's the largest drop this year.

Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg said Sunday the decrease came despite a rise in crude-oil prices.

Lundberg says U.S. refiners, enjoying plentiful supplies, aggressively cut wholesale prices to chase sales.

Midgrade averages were $3.78, and premium averages were $3.93.

The U.S. average retail diesel price is down 4 cents per gallon, to $3.90.

The lowest average price Lundberg found in the lower 48 states was $3.23 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The highest was $4.03 in San Francisco.

The lowest average price in California was $3.86 in Sacramento.  (go to article)

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Oil Market Weighs Fear and Reality

Peak Oil News -- Earlier this week the wise oil-market watchers at PVM, a brokerage and consultancy, summed up the state of the market.

“Not a day goes by without a political, economic, international or data event that adds further color and often confusion to an already very complex scene,” said analyst David Hufton. “Who needs the distraction of fiction when real life constantly throws up twists and turns that would stretch credibility if written in any novel?”
 (go to article)

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Anti-fracking group claim legislators put oil, gas interests above workers

The Southern Illinoisan -- An anti-fracking group Wednesday claimed Illinois legislators are putting oil and gas interests ahead of worker safety, a group spokesperson said in response to calls for faster movement on pending rules needed to regulate the industry.  (go to article)

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Arctic oil well blowout could spread more than 1,000 km -WWF study

Reuters -- Reuters) - Oil from a spill or oil well blowout in the Arctic waters of Canada's Beaufort Sea could easily become trapped in sea ice and potentially spread more than 1,000 kilometres to the west coast of Alaska, a World Wildlife Fund study showed on Friday.  (go to article)

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Elite oil fields redefine meaning of crude's 'Big Three'

CNBC -- Move over ExxonMobil, Chevron and ConocoPhillips—there's a new "Big Three" in U.S. energy production. And they're not companies.

In a new update to its drilling productivity report from last week, the Energy Information Agency said North Dakota's Bakken and Texas' Permian Basin and Eagle Ford Shale are quietly generating more than a million barrels of oil per day each–comprising at least a third of total U.S. daily oil production. Shale oil drilling generated the equivalent of nearly 90 percent of the U.S.'s total energy needs in 2013, according to EIA figures.

Mark Perry, an economist at the University of Michigan and a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, crunched the EIA's numbers even further. His analysis suggests the output of the combined three oil fields is actually exc  (go to article)

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Kentucky town opens filling station to the public

·Associated Press -- Somerset's city hall ventured into the retail gas business Saturday, opening a municipal-run filling station that supporters call a benefit for motorists and critics denounce as a taxpayer-supported swipe at the free market.

The Somerset Fuel Center opened to the public selling regular unleaded gas for $3.36 a gallon, a bit lower than some nearby competitors. In the first three hours, about 75 customers fueled up at the no-frills stations, where there are no snacks, no repairs and only regular unleaded gas.
 (go to article)

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Booming July New Car Sales Pass Volkswagen By — Again

24/7 Wall St -- With one exception, automakers are expected to post year-over-year sales gains in July. That exception is Volkswagen, which is looking at a year-over-year decline of 4%.

 (go to article)

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Hi-Tech Sting Nets Innocent Couple

CBS Denver -- CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4) – A series of mistakes by a south metro car dealership resulted in a retired couple from Centennial ending up in the middle of a high-risk police sting involving an electronic tracking device, pulled guns, handcuffs and a temporary arrest.  (go to article)

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Police ID 3 kids killed in Philly carjacking crash

AP -- PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Two carjackers who fled after ramming a stolen SUV into a family selling fruit for their church, killing three young siblings, were still on the run Saturday as the reward for their capture topped $100,000.

The children's 34-year-old mother, Keisha Williams, remained in critical condition at Temple University Hospital. Her slain children were identified as 15-year-old Keiearra Williams, 10-year-old Thomas Reed and 7-year-old Terrence Moore.

The two suspects fled on foot after crashing the stolen car Friday morning at a North Philadelphia intersection. They had first carjacked a real estate agent at gunpoint and later forced her into the back seat of her SUV, authorities said.  (go to article)

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Death List 2015: 22 Cars that won't be back next year

Yahoo! Autos -- The best new cars of the 2015 model year are springing to life - cars like the Subaru Legacy, the Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG, and the BMW i8. But what about the walking dead - the cars that are meeting their demise, timely or untimely?

Before they're forgotten, it's time to pay respect to another batch of vehicles that have stared down the grim reaper and lost.

Acura TL & TSX
BMW 1 Series
Cadillac CTS-V sedan & wagon
Chevrolet Malibu Eco & Impala Eco
Chrysler 200 convertible
Honda Fit EV
Lamborghini Gallardo
Mercedes-Benz CL-Class
Nissan Cube
Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet
Scion xD
Toyota RAV4 EV
Toyota FJ Cruiser
Volkswagen Routan
Infiniti G37
Lexus IS C & IS F
Mazda 2
Nissan Maxima
Volvo XC90  (go to article)

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GSP troopers getting ready to enforce 'slowpoke' law

Athens Banner Herald -- Corporal Tracy Webb on Thursday monitored traffic on the Athens Perimeter from an overpass and radioed instructions to Georgia State Patrol troopers posted nearby to pull over certain motorists.
But those drivers were not stopped for speeding.
The problem is that they weren’t driving fast enough.
The traffic stops were conducted under the so-called “slowpoke” law that went into effect July 1.
The intent of the law is to make highways safer by forcing motorists to make way for faster-moving vehicles and reduce the potential for accidents that occur due to road rage, according to Webb, who is based at GSP Troop 32 in Athens.
“People who are driving faster sometimes get upset at people who are impeding them, causing them to make evasive maneuvers to get around the slower vehicles ...  (go to article)

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Baker Hughes: US drilling rig count jumps to 1,883

Oil & Gas Journal -- The US drilling rig count shot up 12 units to 1,883 rigs working during the week ended July 25, Baker Hughes Inc. reported.

Land rigs gained 9 units to 1,805 and offshore rigs gained 3 units to 60. Rigs drilling in inland waters were unchanged from a week ago at 18.

Oil rigs were up 8 units to 1,562 while gas rigs were up 3 units to 318. Rigs considered unclassified edged up a unit to 3 overall.

Directional drilling rigs jumped 12 units to 229. Horizontal drilling rigs increased 5 units to 1,293.

Canada topped the US with a 14-unit gain, bringing its total to 395. Oil rigs gained 12 units to 238 and gas rigs gained 2 units to 157.
Major states, basins

Louisiana’s 6-unit rise to 119 rigs working led the major oil- and gas-producing states. Oklahoma, New Mexico, and California each tall  (go to article)

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Texas Border Fracking Standoff: NY Court Ruling May Affect Outcome

Fronteras -- The Big Bend of Texas, so named for the way the region hugs a massive bend in the Rio Grande, is renown for its desert landscapes, open spaces and tranquility. But parts of it lie within the oil-rich Permian Basin, the nation’s highest producing oil field thanks to fracking technology.  (go to article)

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Not Just the Atlantic: Obama Leasing Millions of Gulf Acres for Offshore Drilling

Huff Post -- Deploying the age-old "Friday news dump," President Barack Obama's Interior Department gave the green light on Friday, July 18 to companies to deploy seismic air guns to examine the scope of Atlantic Coast offshore oil-and-gas reserves.  (go to article)

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Real Or Imagined: Is The Tesla Model S Drivetrain Defective?

The Motley Fool -- Recently, Edmunds sold their long-term Model S; but before they did so the car had four (yes, four) drivetrains replaced by Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA ) . Motor Trend's long term car is working on its 2nd.

These high profile incidents do not make us ask the question "is drivetrain failure a common occurance in the Model S?"

Because it is.
If you check out the latest numbers on a Tesla Motors Club poll, you will find that 75 (supposed) Model S owners have reported at least 1 drive unit replaced - 12 of which have had it replaced more than once. (Fair disclaimer: There is always a couple jokers messing with the results of an uncontrolled poll like this. As a point of reference, TMC likely has somewhere around 5% of Model S owners as members)  (go to article)

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Discoveries: Mendenhall Museum of Gasoline Pumps & Petroliana

Sacramento Bee -- He may not self-identify as a philosopher, being a proud gearhead and gas-station grease monkey at heart, but Mark Mendenhall was nothing if not profound when he looked around and took stock of all he surveyed.

“You can have 4,000 signs,” he said, a quick head nod left and right to walls covered floor-to-ceiling with what collectors call petroliana, “but if you don’t got a place to display ’em, you just gotta garage full of junk.”

Junk? At the Mendenhall Museum, freeway close off Highway 101 in this tiny Santa Barbara County town?

Hardly. Years – nay, decades – of work and toil, of bargaining and barnstorming, have gone into Mendenhall’s eponymous Museum of Gasoline Pumps & Petroliana, which is a sentimental trip back for anyone who remembers when gas prices were under two bucks and  (go to article)

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Convertible buyers tend to be educated, affluent and Californian

Detroit News -- California is tops when it come to driving with the top down.

Convertible car buyers are affluent, educated and tend to live in California, especially Southern California, according to Experian Automotive, an industry research company and arm of the giant consumer credit rating agency.

There were 4.5 million convertible vehicles on U.S. roads during the first quarter, making up 1.8 percent of the entire vehicle market.

The top five convertible models on the road during the first quarter of 2014 were the Ford Mustang, Chrysler Sebring, Mazda Miata/MX-5, BMW 3-Series and Chevrolet Corvette, Experian found. The Mustang was the bestselling ragtop in every state.

Experian looked at convertible buyers during the first quarter of this year and found that half hold at least a bachelor’s degree  (go to article)

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Most beautiful American cars of all time

MSN -- We like to think our cars are good-looking, and some of them really are. However, there's a big difference between a pretty car and a timeless design that transcends mere automotive beauty to be considered a work of art. With that in mind, we combed through history to identify the 15 most beautiful American cars. You'll notice that only one late-model car makes this list. We wanted to include newer cars as well, but cars of the past few decades didn't measure up, and today's cars have yet to pass the test of time. Take a look and let us know if we missed any.  (go to article)

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2015 Mitsubishi Mirage Named Most Affordable Vehicle By Cars.com

GasBuddy Blog -- The fuel-efficient 2015 Mirage 5-door sub-compact by Mitsubishi has been named "the most affordable vehicle shoppers can buy" by Cars.com. The venerable online automotive resource took into account minimum feature requirements—Bluetooth® capability, USB port, power windows and door locks—as well as destination fees and anticipated five-year fuel costs to calculate the most affordable vehicle to buy and own.The 2015 Mitsubishi Mirage DE, featuring the CVT transmission and Bluetooth®  capability, was named Cars.com's most affordable vehicle coming in at $15,115 – a significant savings of more than $1,300 over the second-place vehicle. Taking in to account the cost of ownership, Cars.com also calculated anticipated fuel costs for five years. The Mitsubishi Mirage, with a combined fuel economy of 40 mpg, was again the most affordable vehicle option with anticipated fuel costs of $7,000 for five years—$500 less than the second-place vehicle.  (go to article)

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Hawaii-based Firm Scaling Up Nanotech for Oil, Gas Apps - See more at: http://www.rigzone.com/news/o

Rig Zone -- A "smart coating" initially developed to help U.S. Navy ships ply through water more efficiently could help pipeline operators transport more crude oil without using costlier larger-diameter pipe or adding horsepower to pumps, according to the head of a Hawaii-based science, engineering and technology firm. "The use of nanomaterials opens up a whole new dimension," said Patrick Sullivan, founder and CEO of Oceanit. The company's "Anhydra" coating technology manipulates the properties of a surface at the nanoscale –1,000 times smaller than a human hair, he noted. "If you can control surfaces at that scale, you can create structures with specific performances that would otherwise be impossible," continued Sullivan. "Being able to control something on that scale and then scaling it out create  (go to article)

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WWF: Arctic Oil Well Blowout Could Spread More Than 1,000 Km - See more at: http://www.rigzone.com/n

Rig Zone -- CALGARY, Alberta, July 25 (Reuters) - Oil from a spill or oil well blowout in the Arctic waters of Canada's Beaufort Sea could easily become trapped in sea ice and potentially spread more than 1,000 kilometres to the west coast of Alaska, a World Wildlife Fund study showed on Friday. The WWF contracted RPS Applied Science Associates to model 22 different oil spill scenarios and map the spread of the oil, potential impact on the water and shoreline, and interaction with sea ice, wildlife and the surrounding ecology. Types of oil spills analysed included shipping spills, shallow-water blowouts and deep-water blowouts. The BP Plc Macondo oil well rupture in 2010 that unleashed more than four million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico was a deep-water blowout. The remote Beaufort Sea is a  (go to article)

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As Germany wins reprieve on Russian gas and France sells Russia warships, Minister warns…

Mail Online -- The City of London could bear the brunt if Europe is to impose meaningful sanctions on Russia, British Trade Minister Lord Livingston warned this weekend.

Speaking exclusively to The Mail on Sunday, Livingston told the City that complacency was not an option.

‘I’ve heard some people say ‘‘oh, the City of London isn’t going to take the pain’’ but that’s not true. We’ve got to make sure that the whole of Europe thinks that the UK is absolutely willing to take its share of the pain and do the right thing,’ he said.

I think there will be a range of sanctions and the best ones are the ones that hurt – that hurt the people you are trying to sanction.

This weekend Whitehall and officials from other European Union countries are drawing up a range of sanctions against Russia following its...  (go to article)

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Oil Trains through Seattle

Seattle Times -- The city of Seattle is looking to restrict oil trains through the city of Seattle. They want to ensure that there will not be any accidents in city limits. This could make prices on the west coast move higher.  (go to article)

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Promises of easier nuclear construction fall short

The San Antonio Express -- The U.S. nuclear industry has started building its first new plants in decades using prefabricated Lego-like blocks meant to save time and money and revive the once promising energy source.

So far, it's not working.

Quality and cost problems have cropped up again, raising questions about whether nuclear power will ever be able to compete with other electricity sources. The first two reactors built after a 16-year lull, Southern Co.'s Vogtle plant in Georgia and SCANA Corp.'s VC Summer plant in South Carolina, are being assembled in large modules. Large chunks of the modules are built off-site, in an effort to improve quality and avoid the chronic cost overruns that all but killed the nuclear industry when the first wave of plants was being built in the 1960s and 1970s.

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Florida Driver Caught Napping at Red Light [Video]

AutoEvolution -- Between texting, eating and whatever else people think they should be doing behind the wheel these days, driving can be pretty exhausting. Just ask the rider of this motorcycle who got stuck behind a sleepy driver at a traffic light, and he managed to catch the whole thing on his helmet camera.

While riding somewhere in Florida, YouTube user Jonathon Brady ends up stopped behind an orange Chevrolet HHR waiting to turn left at a red light. After the light turns green and the car doesn’t move, he does what any of us would do: honk the horn in hopes of getting the driver’s attention.

That doesn’t work however and the car remains stopped at the green light with its brake lights on, so the rider pulls up alongside the car to get a closer look. While doing so, another motorist has taken no  (go to article)

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Obama Proposes Lower Safety Standards to Haul Oil by Trains Than by Ships

Breitbart -- The White House has chosen to propose safety regulations that will be far inferior for shipping domestically produced crude oil by railroads to refineries in the U.S. than exporting the same crude oil to foreign refineries by ships.

The Administration says it wants to phase out “old tank cars,” enforce lower speed limits, require better brakes, and try rerouting trains around populated areas. Each of these steps may provide small incremental improvements, but as I reported on June 25th (“Obama Executive Order Allows U.S. Crude Oil Exports for First Time in Decades”), the White House just set mandates that require all domestically produced crude oil exported by tanker ships to first be degassed before loading.  (go to article)

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Germany’s $412 Billion Green Energy Plan Meets Harsh Reality

The Daily Caller -- Germany has been rapidly increasing its green energy production but hasn’t gotten the results it planned.

The Switzerland-based FAA Financial Advisory AG looked at the consequences of Germany’s “Energiewende” and found that the $412 billion effort did “not provide net savings to consumers, but rather a net increase in costs to consumers and other stakeholders.”

“Over the last decade, well-intentioned policymakers in Germany and other European countries have created renewable energy policies that have slowly revealed themselves to be unsustainable, resulting in profound, unintended consequences for all industry stakeholders,” reads FAA’s report which was prepared for the Edison Electric Institute and other European groups.

“Accordingly, the United States and other countries should carefu  (go to article)

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Drivers Bust Out Poker Table During 5 Freeway Shutdown

Laist -- While hundreds of drivers were stuck on the 5 freeway Friday after a man wouldn’t get down from an overpass sign, someone got the bright idea to bring out a poker table and set it up on the freeway.

Intrepid Instagram user Sarah Jung of Los Feliz witnessed the event when she was one of the unlucky people who got stuck while police shut down the 5 in both directions yesterday at about 3:50 p.m.

“These people set up a poker table and suggested that people play Texas Hold ’Em with them,” Jung told the Los Angeles Times.  (go to article)

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Ohio Fracking Spill Highlights Problems with State Disclosure Laws

Switchboard: Natural Resource Defense Council Blog -- The incident occurred after a fire started at the well site, triggering multiple explosions and forcing the evacuation of about 25 homes.  (go to article)

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Denton Fracking Ban Could Spur Wider Legal Clash

The Texas Tribune -- DENTON — Debbie Ingram understands the importance of Texas’ oil and gas industry, and she enjoys the look of a lit-up drilling rig rising in the nighttime sky.  (go to article)

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Plane hits truck as it lands on Nevada highway

The Richmond Times Dispatch -- RENO, Nev. (AP) -- A small airplane with engine trouble struck a pickup truck during an emergency landing on a Nevada highway Saturday morning, authorities said.

At least two people were aboard the plane and two people were in the truck when the collision occurred about 9 a.m. on a rural, two-lane section of Nevada Route 445 about 20 miles north of Reno, Nevada Highway Patrol Lt. Kevin Honea said.

All four escaped with minor injuries, Honea said.

"Anytime you hear about a plane versus car, you're thinking the worst," Honea said. "I'm happy to report that nobody had to be transported to the hospital."

The truck was heading north on the 40-mile-long highway, which links the Reno area and a desert lake.

The plane, an experimental Thunder Mustang, was forced to land on the highway after  (go to article)

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Plane hits truck as it lands on Nevada highway

Associated Press -- A small airplane with engine trouble struck a pickup truck during an emergency landing on a Nevada highway Saturday morning, authorities said.

At least two people were aboard the plane and two people were in the truck when the collision occurred about 9 a.m. on a rural, two-lane section of Nevada Route 445 about 20 miles north of Reno, Nevada Highway Patrol Lt. Kevin Honea said.
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Drowsy drivers are a bigger danger than you think

Yahoo news -- If you're a motorist, chances are one of these little scenarios will sound familiar.

You're on virtual auto pilot on your daily commute home, hardly aware of the last few kilometres you drove. Or you've zoned out and don't notice the vehicle in front of you has slowed, forcing you to slam on your brakes.

Or maybe you're on a long, tedious highway drive, willing your eyelids to stay up but unwilling to pull over because you want to make more time, not noticing how you're drifting in and out of your lane.

While impaired driving and, more recently, distracted driving get most of the headlines as road-safety scourges, driver fatigue is a more insidious threat and probably much more common.

It was brought into stark relief this week when a Quebec coroner compared drowsy driving to driving u  (go to article)

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Reid sets up highway vote

The Hill -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced a deal with Republicans on Wednesday that paves the way for a final vote on a bill to fund federal transportation projects through next spring.

The deal will allow votes on an alternative bill offered by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) that would fund the federal Highway Trust Fund only until Dec. 31.

It also sets up a vote on amendments offered by Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.).

A final vote on the underlying House bill, which is backed by the White House, could come Thursday.
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