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Feds say gas savings grows in 2015

GasBuddy Blog -- Image From inhabitat.comThe price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil has fallen to levels that have cut in half the price of WTI from its 2014 peak earlier this year at $109 per barrel.A sizable chunk of that loss is quite recent, following OPEC’s Thanksgiving announcement that it would not curb production.  Since that day WTI has shed ore than $20 per barrel feeding the frenzy in financial markets and media to find the floor for crude oil.  Will it be $50  $40?  $30?  If anyone tells you they know… they’re lying.   Reporters from all corners of the country give their local and regional assessments and invariably ask us:  ‘How low can they go?’...  (go to article)

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Rail deliveries of U.S. oil continue to increase in 2014

EIA -- The amount of crude oil and refined petroleum products moved by U.S. railroads increased 9% during the first seven months of this year compared with the same period in 2013. In July, monthly average carloadings of oil and petroleum products were near 16,000 carloads per week, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR). The increase in oil volumes transported by rail reflects rising U.S. crude oil production, which reached an estimated 8.5 million barrels per day in June for the first time since July 1986.
AAR estimates that more than half of the nearly 460,000 carloads tracked in its petroleum and petroleum products category from January through July consisted of crude oil, up from around 3% in 2009. With the average rail tank car holding around 700 barrels of crude oil, abou  (go to article)

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Oil Trades Above $60 Amid Signs of Saudi Confidence in Rebound

Bloomberg -- Oil traded above $60 a barrel in London amid the highest volatility in more than three years on speculation that Saudi Arabia, the largest crude exporter, is signaling confidence that prices will rally.

Brent futures swung between gains and losses. Saudi Arabia’s assumption of oil at $80 a barrel next year is sending a message that the government expects a price rebound, according to John Sfakianakis, a former economic adviser to the kingdom’s finance ministry. Implied volatility for at-the-money options this week increased to the highest since October 2011, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Oil has slumped 46 percent this year, poised for the biggest drop since 2008, as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries resisted supply cuts to defend market share while the highest U.S. pr  (go to article)

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Texas crude production soars, but signs of slowdown emerge

FuelFix.com -- AUSTIN –Texas oil production continued a strong pace of growth in recent months, but signals of a slowdown are starting to show up in drilling data, state officials reported Tuesday.

According to preliminary figures from the Texas Railroad Commission, crude oil production amounted to 2.21 million barrels a day for October, a 26 percent increase over the 1.75 million produced in October 2013. The commission has reported similar year-over-year growth rates all year.

The October figures represent the approximate midpoint of a price collapse that began last summer, when benchmark crude peaked above $100 a barrel. Through the last two weeks, prices have held steadily in the mid-$50s.  (go to article)

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Oil falls amid concern U.S. growth insufficient to offset glut

FuelFix.com -- Oil slid from the highest close in more than a week amid concern that the strengthening U.S. economy won’t boost demand enough to clear a global glut.

Brent crude declined as much as 1.8 percent in London, extending this year’s decline to 45 percent. OPEC will have to “step in” if prices continue to fall, Iraq Oil Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said yesterday in an interview. Gross domestic product in the U.S., the world’s biggest consumer, rose at a 5 percent annual rate from July through September, the most since 2003, according to revised Commerce Department data.

Oil is heading for the biggest annual decline since 2008 amid a global glut exacerbated by the highest U.S. output in more than three decades. Prices have dropped about 20 percent since the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Cou  (go to article)

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UPDATE 3-Saudis to keep spending heavily in 2015 budget, shrug off oil plunge

REUTERS -- * Figures suggest Saudis could cope with years of cheap oil

* State spending to edge up 0.6 pct from 2014 plan

* Big economic development projects to continue

* Budget slashes revenue projection by 16 pct

* $39 bln deficit to be covered by fiscal reserves (Adds comments by finance minister, stock market reaction)

Saudi Arabia will lift state spending to a record in its 2015 budget while covering a deficit with its huge fiscal reserves, the government said, providing the first detailed look at how the world's top oil exporter aims to handle an era of cheap oil.

Financial markets had feared the kingdom might slash spending. But the budget, released by the Finance Ministry on Thursday, suggests authorities are confident of their ability to ride out low oil prices and see no need for...  (go to article)

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Exit 135: Clark Griswold? Tricksters change Clark / Westfield sign on Garden State Parkway

NJ.com -- Drivers heading to their Christmas vacations on the Garden State Parkway northbound this morning were treated to a surprise near exit 135: Someone changed the sign from "Clark / Westfield" to "Clark Griswold," the well-loved dad played by Chevy Chase in the National Lampoon classic Christmas Vacation.

State Police Sgt. Gregory Williams confirmed that the sign change was real and not the work of Photoshop.

"We are aware it's floating around the Internet," Williams said. "It was called in this morning, and the Turnpike Authority took it down."

No sign of Aunt Bethany or Cousin Eddie, so far – or an answer to why the carpet's all wet, Todd.

"I was dying laughing," said Erin O'Callahan, one of many drivers who spotted the sign early this morning. "I saw it right away and did a double take.  (go to article)

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Obama Admin. Crams Over 1,200 New Regulations Just Before The New Year

The Daily Caller -- The Obama administration is ... publishing more than 1,200 new regulations in the last 15 days alone, according to data from Regulations.gov.

Energy and environment rules are the biggest category, with 139 published by the federal government in the last 15 days, according to Regulations.gov.

One of the most contentious new regulations is the EPA’s coal ash rule. The rule has been criticized by the coal industry and environmental groups — though for entirely different reasons — and has a price tag of up to $20.3 billion. The rule was finalized last Friday.  (go to article)

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Auto Industry Acts Globally — Except On Recalls

AP -- When it comes to making and selling cars, the auto industry thinks and acts globally: There is near-seamless coordination between parts suppliers, factories and dealerships.
But when an unsafe car needs to be recalled, that global coordination breaks down – in part because governments do not demand it. The consequences are sometimes deadly.
There are no international standards for determining what’s unsafe and should be recalled, or how car owners should be notified. Some countries have strict safety regulations and a clear process that automakers must follow when they learn about a defect. But many do not.
“We’ve witnessed recalls occurring in one part of the world while the same defects go unremedied in others, sometimes for years,” said Sean Kane, a safety advocate and president of ...  (go to article)

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$1.99 Per Gallon Gas Prices Have Minnesotans Smiling

CBS -- MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) - Drivers are calling it a Christmas miracle.
It has been five years since gas prices dipped below $2 per gallon. Now, there’s one gas station in the Twin Cities at that price, and there’re a few more around the state.
Drivers said this is the perfect time to have a drop in the price because so many people are traveling for the holidays. Whether you’re going a short or a long distance, it all adds up.
“It’s a Merry Christmas, that’s for sure,” Tyronne McCormick said.
All it took was the sign at the BP at 36th and Lyndale in Minneapolis to hit $1.99 to spread some holidaycheer.
“It’s $1.99 so it’s amazing, it’s crazy,” McCormick said. “I’m going down south, so it’s perfect timing.”
“It’s kind of a Christmas miracle, right?,” said Abbe Ceynar. “I had to stop and get some g  (go to article)

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Crude oil seen stored on tankers in 2015 as contango widens

Reuters -- Global oil traders are likely to store crude in tankers next year, as a widening contango makes large-scale storage at sea profitable for the first time since the financial crisis more than five years ago, industry sources said.

Oil prices have plunged nearly 50 percent since June due to a global supply glut, but the economics for storing crude at sea have mostly remained unfavorable.

However, with Brent for prompt delivery dropping sharply versus later contracts in the past week, traders are increasingly requesting to lease vessels for storage.

This market structure, known as contango, allows traders to lock-in profits by buying oil now and selling it forward for later delivery, as long as the costs of storage are low enough.

 (go to article)

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Lawmakers vow to help Montana, North Dakota oil-patch towns stretched by influx of workers

Star Tribune -- BILLINGS, Mont. — Relief could be on the horizon for strapped public services in the Northern Plains' booming oil patch, as elected leaders in Montana and North Dakota move to steer more money into the region during the states' upcoming legislative sessions.

Tens of thousands of workers have been drawn to the region's shale oil boom in recent years. Their arrival has brought increased demands for services ranging from roads and sewage treatment to affordable housing.

Prior efforts to put more money toward those needs came up short or got delayed by political disagreement.

Political leaders on both sides of the Montana-North Dakota border said they are optimistic more can be done in 2015. Lawmakers from the states convene in early January.

"We're very hopeful we'll be able to find a pat  (go to article)

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Quebec man Frederic Dion reaches geographic South Pole

CTV News -- A Quebec man has become the first person to reach the geographic South Pole by kite ski solo

Frederic Dion has travelled more than 1,900mi since leaving the Antarctic coast on Nov 9

He reached the geographic South Pole in 9 days

The geographic South Pole is one of two points where the Earth's rotation axis meets the surface of the Earth. The other is the North Pole

The 37-yr-old has faced winds of 95mph in this expedition and has also had to deal with a fire that nearly destroyed his tent and a sled that broke apart

Now he is trying to reach Hercules Inlet, which will add another 750mi to his already 2,000-mi long journey

It's still not clear exactly how Dion, a motivational speaker, will get home to QC, since a chartered flight would be very expensive  (go to article)

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States move closer to taxing you by how far you drive

CBS News -- How would you feel about being taxed for every mile you drive? With gas tax revenues falling, at least 18 states have given some consideration to taxing motorists by how far they drive. And next year a pilot program in Oregon will help measure the feasibility of such a tax.

Interest in the new tax has blossomed as states see their revenues shrinking from gasoline taxes -- usually used for road maintenance. The decline results from new cars with better gas mileage and thus less gasoline sold to be taxed. And this trend is sure to continue, since federal regulations require automakers to keep boosting the gas mileage of new cars, SUVs and pickups. In addition, the spread of all-electric cars and gas-electric hybrids has further lowered gas tax revenues.

"Per-mile charges are the most high-  (go to article)

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Low Gas Prices Predicted For 2015 And Beyond

NPR -- Prices at the pump have dipped below $2 a gallon in some parts of the country this month, with average prices more than one-third lower than this summer. Analysts say that trend is likely to continue.  (go to article)

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Obama Admin Rushes Over 1,200 New Regs Just Before New Year

2014 Tea Party, Inc. -- Before that, the Obama administration finalized a new ozone standard that could become the costliest rule ever proposed by the EPA. The EPA released the rule while millions of Americans were getting ready to eat some turkey and pie for Thanksgiving.

Regulations listed on Regulations.gov include “Notices from the Federal Register; Proposed Rules; Final Rules.” The government website shows that 309 rules were proposed or finalized in the last 15 days and 892 notices from the federal register were received — some of which could lead to new rulemakings  (go to article)

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How, where and how fast will Billings grow?

Billings Gazettle -- With help from staff — as well as the public — Millar is writing the city’s growth policy. The first round of small-group presentations, which have been going on for about six weeks, will be followed by a public meeting at 4:30 p.m. Jan. 22 at the Billings Public Library.

By August 2015, Millar will describe and map potential growth scenarios and will have the county portion of the growth plan complete. By January 2016, she’ll have quantified the impacts of expected growth and selected preferred scenario elements. In May 2016, the preferred development option should be complete.  (go to article)

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Getting a firm grasp on L.A.'s bicycling data

LA Times -- The Bicycle Coalition has conducted its own count of cyclists across the county every other year since 2009. Last year, more than 350 volunteers fanned out to 120 intersections in the morning, afternoon and evening. The counts show a 7.5% increase in cyclists since 2011. But the tally was done "at such a limited scale that I don't know how many minds we've changed," Bruins said.  (go to article)

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Valero wins tax breaks for refineries in Port Arthur, Houston

San Antonio Business Journal -- The Port Arthur City Council approved an in lieu of tax agreement with Valero Energy moments before rescinding an earlier annexation order regarding property where the company's Port Arthur refinery is located.

The agreement, The Port Arthur News reported, is a three-year pact and is essentially the same as agreements signed with 11 other companies operating in the city of Port Arthur's extraterritorial jurisdiction. The amount of tax breaks that San Antonio-based Valero can earn are based on the company's future efforts to hire city residents and do business with local vendors.

Valero's new agreement with Port Arthur comes a few days after the Houston City Council approved a tax break for the company's Manchester refinery in Houston, according to the Houston Chronicle. That deal will a  (go to article)

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Boyett Bulks Up on MCW's Valero, 76 Stations

CSPnet.com -- MODESTO, Calif. -- In a deal that will expand its business portfolio in the Golden State, Boyett Petroleum has completed the purchase of fuel distribution contracts for 90 branded 76 and Valero gas stations in California from MCW Fuels Inc., a unit of MCW Energy Ltd., Toronto.

Most of the sites are in Southern California, with other sites in the Northern California region.

MCW Fuels now supplies petroleum products to more than 500 U.S. West Coast gas stations and provides commercial fuels to more than 100 businesses. It has regional branding rights to brands such as 76, Valero and Alliance.  (go to article)

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Selma man reunited with classic car he owned in 1950s

Selma Times Journal -- Winfred Brown was celebrating his 89th birthday in February. At the same time Georgia couple Charlie and Hellen Attaway were looking to buy a car.

When the Attaways bought a 1951 Studebaker Starlight Coupe, they had no idea that purchase would take them to Selma a few months later.

“When we were restoring the car, we took it totally apart, and we found two little small pieces of paper in the car under the back seat,” Charlie said.

On those pieces of paper was a name: Winfred Brown.

“I got on the Internet and started trying to track Winfred Brown in Selma, Alabama not knowing if [he] still lived here,” Charlie said. “I got in touch with him, and he said yes he did own a Studebaker way back years and years and years ago.”

Charlie took several pictures of the car and sent them to Brown t  (go to article)

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Voters ban red light cameras; city councils sue voters to bring them back

The Week -- In November, voters in St. Charles County, Missouri, banned red light cameras with a 73 percent majority — but city council members of several towns within the county are now suing to bring them back. "They're suing their own residents," said St. Charles County Councilman Joe Brazil, who supports the ban.  (go to article)

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U-M: Newly purchased car fuel economy unchanged in November

GasBuddy Blog -- According to a monthly report by Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle from the University of Michigan, the average fuel economy of newly purchased vehicles was unchanged during the month of November.

The average fuel economy (window-sticker value) of new vehicles sold in the U.S. in November was 25.3 mpg—unchanged from the value in October. The unchanged average fuel economy is likely a net consequence of two opposing trends: less demand for fuel efficient vehicles because of the decreasing price of gasoline, and improved fuel economy of 2015 model year vehicles compared to 2014 model year vehicles.

Overall, vehicle fuel economy is up 5.2 mpg since October 2007 (the first month of our monitoring).

The University of Michigan Eco-Driving Index (EDI)—an index that estimates the average monthly emissions of greenhouse gases generated by an individual U.S. driver—was 0.78 in September, up from 0.76 in August (the lower the value the better). This value indic  (go to article)

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Natural gas down 29 pct in a month

Yahoo -- NEW YORK (AP) — Natural gas, the nation's most prevalent heating fuel, is getting cheaper just as winter is arriving because of mild temperatures and plentiful supplies.
The price of natural gas has dropped 29 percent in a month, to $3.17 per 1,000 cubic feet on Tuesday from nearly $4.50 in late November. That's a steep drop even for a fuel notorious for volatile price swings.

The lower prices are expected to linger and could reduce electricity prices and heating bills in the coming months. Natural gas is used by half of the nation's households for heating and to generate 26 percent of the nation's electricity.

Natural gas often rises as winter weather approaches, and a frigid November sent the price higher. But December warmed up, and temperatures for the rest of the winter are expecte  (go to article)

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Lawmakers promise to help strapped oil-patch towns

Yahoo -- BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Relief could be on the horizon for strapped public services in the Northern Plains' booming oil patch, as elected leaders in Montana and North Dakota move to steer more money into the region during the states' upcoming legislative sessions.

Tens of thousands of workers have been drawn to the region's shale oil boom in recent years. Their arrival has brought increased demands for services ranging from roads and sewage treatment to affordable housing.
Prior efforts to put more money toward those needs came up short or got delayed by political disagreement.

Political leaders on both sides of the Montana-North Dakota border said they are optimistic more can be done in 2015. Lawmakers from the states convene in early January.

"We're very hopeful we'll be able to find a  (go to article)

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Consumer spending beats forecast as U.S. gasoline prices drop

Bloomberg via Ames Tribune -- WASHINGTON — Consumer spending rose more than forecast in November as incomes increased and gasoline prices dropped, indicating the biggest part of the U.S. economy is strengthening as the year ends.

Household purchases climbed 0.6 percent, the most in three months, after a 0.3 percent October gain that was larger than previously estimated, Commerce Department figures showed Tuesday in Washington. The median forecast of 76 economists in a Bloomberg survey called for a 0.5 percent rise. Incomes advanced 0.4 percent, the most since June, and the savings rate dropped.

Americans are shopping for clothing, electronics and automobiles as surging employment and the lowest gasoline costs since 2009 bolster confidence and expand buying power. The improving outlook for household spending, which ac  (go to article)

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Why there are so many kooky conspiracy theories about oil

Washington Post -- The sudden, dramatic drop in oil prices has changed the world almost overnight. Russia's facing an economic crisis, and U.S. consumers are saving a fortune at the pump. The reasons for the sudden swing are not particularly glamorous: They involve factors like supply and demand, oil companies having invested heavily in exploration several years ago to produce a glut of oil that has now hit the market -- and then, perhaps, the "lack of cohesion" among the diverse members of OPEC.

But now, right on cue, out come the conspiracy theorists — including Vladimir Putin — to tell us what's really going on.

Recently, Putin floated the idea that the oil price drop is the result of a U.S.-Saudi plot to hurt his country. "We all see the lowering of the oil price. There's lots of talk about what's caus  (go to article)

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Obama veteran questions State Dept. jurisdiction on XL pipeline

Platts -- The Obama administration has taken a lot of heat over its years-long review of the Keystone XL pipeline. Among the questions is whether the Department of State, where the project is still under consideration, should even have the authority to decide whether a pipeline crossing the border with Canada or Mexico is in the national interest.

Most of the criticism comes from Republicans, who are certain to raise the issue again in January, when they take control of the Senate as well as the House of Representatives, and the oil industry. But add to that list now the woman who until recently headed the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration for the Obama administration.

Last Sunday, on the TV program Platts Energy Week, Cynthia Quarterman suggested that Congress may want to rec  (go to article)

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Brent oil $90 to $100 in 12 to 18 months: Pickens

CNBC -- Energy entrepreneur T. Boone Pickens predicted Tuesday that Brent crude oil will be at $90 to $100 barrel in 12 to 18 months. "The world got along fine with $100 oil," he said on CNBC.

Less global demand for oil is more to blame for the price drop than oversupply, Pickens said in a "Squawk Box" interview
 (go to article)

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Just beginning of nat gas decline, could hit $2.50: Pro

CNBC -- Natural gas futures have been hit lately and it looks like it is just the beginning of the commodity's decline, one energy pro told CNBC on Tuesday.
Peter Amandio, president of Chicago Energies, said a supply surplus and mild weather made the market look technically very weak. He likened it to crude's initial descent.
 (go to article)

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Gas price plunge threatens fuel-cell and electric cars

San Francisco Chronicle -- For once, automakers have reason to fear cheap gasoline.
High gas prices during the last decade drove interest in electric cars and fuel-cell vehicles, as did concern about global warming. But now gasoline prices have plunged to their lowest level since the Great Recession, averaging $2.50 nationwide for a gallon of regular. If gas prices stay low — granted, a very big “if” — one of the most powerful arguments for alternative fuel cars will be wiped out.
“You have an early-adopter group that’s much more interested in these vehicles as a way of doing something 'green,’ and the cost of fuel is not going to be a big factor for them,” said John O’Dell, a senior editor at the Edmunds.com auto information website. “Once you get out of the early-adopter group and into the mainstream, then ...  (go to article)

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Washington’s greenhouse gas emissions dropping

The Spokesman Review/AP -- SEATTLE (AP) — Greenhouse gas emissions in Washington state dropped by about 4.6 percent between 2010 and 2011, led by reductions in emissions from the electricity sector, a new state report shows.

The latest data shows that about 91.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide or its equivalent was released in 2011, compared to about 96.1 million metric tons the year before.

Emissions are on a downward trend, but still about 4 percent higher than in 1990.

The report comes as Gov. Jay Inslee is proposing sweeping policies to combat climate change, including a cap-and-trade program that would charge large industrial polluters for each metric ton of emissions they release.

Republican lawmakers say the cap-and-trade program would raise gas prices and hurt businesses and consumers.  (go to article)

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Subaru scraps plan to shift Crosstrek production to U.S.: source

Reuters -- Fuji Heavy Industries , the maker of Subaru brand cars and SUVs, has scrapped a plan to shift production of the new XV Crosstrek to its U.S. plant and will instead make the SUV in Japan, a source familiar with the company's production plans said.

Fuji Heavy, which has a policy of making cars in markets where they are sold, decided to make the new vehicle in Japan because of capacity constraints in Indiana and the relatively high sales price of the crossover SUV, which makes domestic production more viable, the source said.
 (go to article)

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Gasoline Production Reaches Record High as Crude Prices Tumble

Bloomberg News -- U.S. gasoline production rose to a record high last week amid tumbling crude oil prices.

Refiners produced 9.92 million barrels a day of the fuel in the week ended Dec. 19, up 2.1 percent from a year earlier, the Energy Information Administration reported. Crude stockpiles increased to the most in six months as prices traded near the lowest level since 2009.

“The refining system continues to turn the crude-oil glut into petroleum products,” said Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates LLC, an energy consulting firm in Houston. “As a result we are seeing not only pressure on the outright price of crude oil but pressure on refining margins.”

Last week’s gasoline production surpassed the previous record of 9.84 million barrels a day in June. Output has jumped 19 percent from this yea  (go to article)

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Saudi Arabia Sees Wider 2015 Budget Deficit as Oil Falls

Bloomberg News -- Saudi Arabia expects its budget deficit to widen to 145 billion riyals ($39 billion) in 2015 as the world’s largest oil exporter pushes ahead with investments to counter the effect of tumbling crude prices on the economy.

Projected revenue will drop to 715 billion riyals, from 1.046 trillion riyals in 2014, while expenditure was set at 860 billion riyals, the Finance Ministry said in a statement. Expenditure in last year’s budget is estimated to have been 1.1 trillion riyals, 29 percent higher than the target announced a year ago. Oil makes up about 90 percent of the 2014 budget revenue, which projects a deficit of 54 billion riyals.

The budget was prepared “during challenging international economic and financial circumstances,” the ministry said. While the government continues to invest  (go to article)

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Ford tops Google Trends list of most searched car brands in 2014

fox -- If you searched for a Ford online this year, you weren’t alone. The brand topped the Google Trending Cars list for 2014.
 (go to article)

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Oil’s Swift Fall Raises Fortunes of U.S. Abroad

NY Times -- BRUSSELS — A plunge in oil prices has sent tremors through the global political and economic order, setting off an abrupt shift in fortunes that has bolstered the interests of the United States and pushed several big oil-exporting nations — particularly those hostile to the West, like Russia, Iran and Venezuela — to the brink of financial crisis.

The nearly 50 percent decline in oil prices since June has had the most conspicuous impact on the Russian economy and President Vladimir V. Putin. The former finance minister Aleksei L. Kudrin, a longtime friend of Mr. Putin’s, warned this week of a “full-blown economic crisis” and called for better relations with Europe and the United States.  (go to article)

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Iraq Says Oil Fair at $70-$80 as Lower Oil Will Need OPEC

Bloomberg -- OPEC will need to “step in” amid further declines in oil prices which are fair at about $70 to $80 a barrel, according to the group’s second-biggest producer.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries could still hold back from intervening in the market for one or two years, Iraq’s Oil Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said in an interview. Brent oil dropped about 20 percent since OPEC decided to maintain output at its November meeting in Vienna.

Global oil supply is growing as the highest U.S. output in at least three decades led to a glut that Qatar estimates at 2 million barrels. Saudi Arabia’s Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi said Dec. 21 high-cost producers will have to make cuts if oil prices keep falling while the United Arab Emirates Energy Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei urged producers...  (go to article)

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Burlington’s low gas prices still relatively high

Burlington Free Press -- GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan called falling gas prices the “gift that keeps on giving” for Christmas, but there was a point this week when Burlington had the highest average price in the continental U.S., at $2.95 per gallon, as reported by NPR.

Only Honolulu had a higher price than Burlington at $3.50 per gallon, while the lowest average price was in Lubbock, Texas, at $2.02 per gallon.

That news led Sen. Bernie Sanders, a constant crusader against relatively high gas prices in the Burlington area, to send the Burlington Free Press the following statement via email  (go to article)

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Oil tanks on surge in US supply, imports

CNBC -- Oil futures plunged Wednesday on a government report showing a surge in supplies of U.S. oil and a record level of gasoline production.

The U.S. is awash in oil, with record levels of production meeting a rising tide of imports. The U.S. Department of Energy said oil stocks rose by 7.26 million barrels, while analysts had expected a decline of 1.8 million barrels.

West Texas Intermediate futures for February, already sliding, took another leg lower after the report, which also showed a 4.1 million barrel build in gasoline, more than six times the expected amount. WTI was off more than 3 percent to $55.40 per barrel, and Brent slid once  (go to article)

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U.S. gasoline output is soaring, but demand is still low

Fuel Fix -- .S. gasoline production broke records in 2014, despite anemic demand that has persisted for more than six years.

For the week ended Dec. 19, gasoline output totaled 9.92 million barrels per day, the most ever, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That beat the previous record set in June of 9.84 million barrels per day, and a jump of 460,000 barrels per day since the first week of December.

Since 1982, total U.S. gasoline output has only averaged more than 9.6 million barrels 11 times; eight of those times were in the last year.
A glut of crude oil has pushed gasoline production to its record-breaking pace, even as refining margins have shrunk and the price of a gallon of gasoline has dropped to its lowest level in five years. Prices averaged $2.35 per gallo  (go to article)

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Veteran Michigan oil man puts low gas prices into perspective

MLive -- GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Sid Jansma Jr. knows oil.

Starting with his dad’s drilling company, the president and CEO of Wolverine Gas and Oil Co. has spent more than 50 years finding, drilling and producing from oil and gas fields in Michigan, Utah and elsewhere in the world.

Looking at today’s headlines about cheap gasoline prices, Jansma reminds us there’s more than our happy wallets at stake.

Here are five observations he sent in a letter to MLive and The Grand Rapids Press:

1. The price of oil today is dropping because there is an oversupply of oil relative to the demand for oil. Jansma believes this oversupply is due to several creative technologies employed in the industry, including horizontal drilling coupled with hydraulic fracturing (fracking)...  (go to article)

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Obama Just Blew A Chance to Crack Down on Coal

MotherJones -- On Friday, the Obama administration quietly passed up an opportunity to make the coal industry clean up its act.

The EPA issued a final rule on the disposal of coal ash, a byproduct of coal burning that contains toxic heavy metals such as arsenic, lead, and selenium. Up until now, disposal of coal ash hasn't been regulated by the federal government at all. Now it will be regulated, but not very strongly.

"Your banana peel that you throw away has stronger protections when it winds up in a dump than coal ash does," says Mary Anne Hitt, director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign, who is highly critical of the new rule.

More than 100 million tons of coal ash are produced annually in the US, and much of it is simply dumped into open pits. In recent years, there have been large coal-a  (go to article)

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Lower diesel prices offering farm saving

Tri State Neighbor -- Diesel prices aren’t as low as those for unleaded gasoline, but they are down significantly from the summer peak, and some experts say it’s a good time for farmers to lock in prices for next season.

Jack Davis, a South Dakota State University Extension Crops Business Management Field Specialist in Mitchell, is one who suggested that farmers consider buying their fuel now.

“If they need to do any end-of-the-year spending, it's not a bad thing to do,” he said.
 (go to article)

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Merry Christmas!

Boney M - you tube -- It isn't Christmas without "Boney M"
 (go to article)

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How the oil price slide will spill into steel markets

Platts -- Years ago, US Steel got into the energy business with the acquisition of Marathon Oil and Texas Oil & Gas. The thinking at the time was that steel and energy markets were countercyclical: when the steel market was soft, energy markets likely would be strong and vice versa.

We’re not sure what was behind that thinking and the resulting steel/energy conglomerate, USX Corp., was ultimately broken up by famed vulture capitalist cum shareholder activist Carl Icahn. This was part of another 1980s trend of investors seeking “pure plays,” companies focused on a single market or product.

Today the steel and energy markets don’t seem very countercyclical. American hot-rolled coil (HRC) producers and customers that make oil country tubular goods (OCTG) from the basic sheet steel product agree that  (go to article)

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Europe to US diesel arbitrage open on paper, difficult to implement: traders

Platts -- The arbitrage to send ultra low sulfur diesel from Northwest Europe to the US Northeast is wide open on paper but remains difficult to implement for logistical reasons, traders said Wednesday.

ULSD is trading at a strong premium in the US to values in Northwest Europe, amid strength in the NYMEX contract relative to ICE high sulfur and low sulfur gasoil futures.

The ULSD arbitrage to the US has been open several times this year, with the most notable being in the first quarter during a cold spell, dubbed the Polar Vortex, which caused severe logistical constraints and increased demand in the US Northeast. The ULSD arbitrage to the US has been open several times this year, with the most notable being in the first quarter during a cold spell, dubbed the Polar Vortex, which caused severe lo  (go to article)

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Oil tanks on surge in US supply, imports

CNBC -- Oil futures plunged Wednesday on a government report showing a surge in supplies of U.S. oil and a record level of gasoline production.

The U.S. is awash in oil, with record levels of production meeting a rising tide of imports. The U.S. Department of Energy said oil stocks rose by 7.26 million barrels a day, while analysts had expected a decline of 1.8 million barrels.

West Texas Intermediate futures for February, already sliding, took another leg lower after the report, which also showed a 4.1 million barrel build in gasoline, more than six times the expected amount. WTI was off more than 3 percent to $55.40 per barrel, and Brent slid once more below $60 a barrel.
 (go to article)

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Merry Christmas to All!!

GasBuddy Blog --  It is with great consternation that anyone these days might wish for 'peace on earth, good will toward men'... particularly so soon after the militants from the Pakistani Taliban massacred 141 defenseless children and faculty at the Army Public School in Peshawar, Pakistan.

Their acts of cowardice and brutality have no place among civilized nations.  No child should ever encounter such brutality an no parent should ever confront such horror.

And yet, it is especially at times like these that we need to take time to reflect on the substance and significance of Christmas and Hanukkah traditions and observances of the faithful, and the blessings we all share. 

Gather together, enjoy the food, be grateful for your gifts... but most importantly, appreciate and honor the reason for the season.  Your friends at GasBuddy wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and all the very best for the Holiday Season!...  (go to article)

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Jeep tops 'Consumer Reports' list of worst car values

USA Today -- When it comes to overall value, one of America's most iconic vehicles – the very symbol of rugged individualism – should be avoided by any wise car buyer, says Consumer Reports magazine.

It's the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, which Consumer Reports says is the worst car value among any model. It leads a worst-value list that includes a wide range of models by category – from the hapless Fiat 500C among subcompacts to the hulking Mercedes-Benz GL350 BlueTec for luxury large SUVs.

The Jeep, however, is among the nation's most beloved vehicles, especially by its owners. Nevertheless, Consumer Reports calls it "hard-riding, ponderous, uncomfortable, and unreliable." It costs 77 cents a mile to operate, compared with 52 cents for the top-rated Toyota Camry Hybrid.

The value index rates cars based  (go to article)

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Oil falls, near $60 on supply glut, strong dollar

Reuters -- Brent oil fell on Wednesday, trading around $60 per barrel weighed down by strong supply in the United States and a rising dollar.

Brent for February delivery was down $1.50 to $60.19 at 1327 GMT after gaining $1.58 on Tuesday. It hit a low of $59.93 earlier in the session.

U.S. crude was down $1.17 to $55.95 a barrel, after closing $1.86 higher in the previous session.

Trade was thin as many in the European and U.S. market were off for the Christmas break.

Data from the American Petroleum Institute (API), an industry group, showed U.S. crude stocks rose by 5.4 million barrels in the week ended Dec. 19. Analysts had expected a drop of 2.3 million barrels.

In Europe, gasoline stocks reached their highest in five months in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp oil hub, data from PJK Internati  (go to article)

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