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U.S. crude exports boosted as Enterprise signs term contracts

Reuters -- U.S. exports of condensate have been given an important boost after pipeline company Enterprise Products Partners LP agreed annual contracts with at least two major trading companies to sell the light crude, trade sources said.

Oil producers have been pressing to lift a 40-year-old U.S. ban on crude exports and the Department of Commerce broke its year-long silence in December and began approving a backlog of requests to sell processed light oil abroad.

Enterprise is selling 40,000 barrels per day (bpd) under the contracts, which should give it a headstart before other firms get the nod to export condensate produced from shale operations.

It has contracts with Petro-Diamond Singapore (PDS), the oil trading arm of Mitsubishi Corp, and independent oil trader Vitol, for 1.2 million barrels  (go to article)

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White House Tells Alaskan Senator to Chill Out on ANWR

Bloomberg -- The White House has a message for Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski: tone it down.

On Sunday, Murkowski fired off a blistering critique of the president's proposal to designate large swaths of the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve as wilderness, thereby preventing it from being available for oil drilling, which she characterized as a "stunning attack on our sovereignty," and vowed that Alaska would "fight back with every resource at our disposal.” A day later, Murkowski ratcheted up the rhetoric even further at a press conference in Washington, saying that the Obama administration "had effectively declared war on Alaska."

White House counselor John Podesta told reporters on Monday that the Department of the Interior's plan to ask Congress to extend the protected status to an additional ...  (go to article)

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Saudi Arabia Is Putting Aside Billions For Its Own Gas-Fracking Revolution Read more: http://www.bu

Business Insider -- Saudi Arabia wants its own gas-fracking revolution.
The country's colossal state-run oil firm, Saudi Aramco, is investing another $7 billion (£4.64 billion) in unconventional gas (shale) drilling in the country. That's more than double what the company had previously planned, according to the Financial Times.

That's at the same time that the plunging price of oil, widely accredited to Saudi Arabia's policies, is helping to stymie growth in US shale.

While Saudi Arabia apparently has the shale reserves it needs, what it doesn't have is the water that is blasted into the earth to free up oil and gas in the process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. According to Bloomberg and Baker Hughes, Saudi Arabia may have the world's fifth-largest shale reserves, adding to its already treme  (go to article)

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5 Electric Vehicles That Will Actually Debut in 2015 Read more: http://wallstcheatsheet.com/automob

Wall St Cheat Sheet -- By our estimation, it will take another two years minimum to get the ball rolling on mainstream electric vehicle adoption. Problems like range anxiety and charging infrastructure may have reasonable solutions by then. In the meantime, EVs will be largely used as city cars or by people who have a second vehicle in the garage to used for long-range trips, unless you have a hundred grand burning a hole in your pocket and you get a Tesla.
As EV sales proved once again in 2014, plug-in hybrids remain the most viable form of electrified transport, and automakers are bringing intriguing options to the table along with pure EVs in the coming year. Though we are used to hearing release dates that aren’t kept by automakers (we’re looking at you, Elon), we have rounded up EVs that we are assured will  (go to article)

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Should GM Name Its Bolt Electric Car The 2018 Chevrolet EV2?

Green Car Reports -- Without a doubt, Chevrolet dominated the news in plug-in electric cars at the recent Detroit Auto Show.

It unveiled not only the new 2016 Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid, but also a concept that showed what a 2018 battery-electric hatchback with a 200-mile range might look like.

The subcompact concept was called the Bolt. No, not Volt: Bolt.
 (go to article)

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Pennsylvania motorists now pay highest gas taxes in U.S.

GasBuddy Blog -- It's official.  Pennsylvania has passed New York and California by earning the dubious distinction of having the highest gasoline taxes in the nation. Combined with the federal gas tax of 18.4 cents per gallon, Pennsylvania's state tax of 50.5 cpg. brings the combined tax to 68.9 cents per gallon.  Californians pay 63.7 cents per gal., NewYorkers pay 63.4 cents per gal., according to the American Petroleum Institute..

Adding insult to in jury, Pennsylvania plans to take even more money away from its residents later this year. On July 1, annual passenger car and motorcycle registration will rise by $1 to $37 and $19, respectively. Pickup truck registration will rise $1.50, to $60 and antique, classic and collectible vehicle registration by $2, to $77.Vehicle inspection stickers that now cost $5 could also rise, as of July 1. And the base license fee, which does not include the cost of the photo, will rise $1, to $22 on July 1. ...  (go to article)

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Analyst: End to gas below $2 coming soon

Fox 5 -- LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -
While we bask in the relief of $1.99 a gallon gasoline, one analyst said Monday the steep price drop shouldn't last very long.
According to Patrick DeHaan of GasBuddy.com, the $1.99 price seen around the country should be the lowest the recent drops will get before a standard seasonal lift.

“Refineries have been processing less crude oil and thus producing less gasoline, which will contribute to a soft bottoming out of the national average before a small recovery back in the very low $2's," said DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst with gas price indicating website.

DeHaan, though, said 2015 should have far lower prices than the previous year.

“We'll be subject to a seasonal lift in gasoline prices as refineries slow production to do maintenance and to make  (go to article)

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Collapsing Oil Prices Are Forcing Small US Producers To Shut Down Wells

Business Insider -- HOUSTON (Reuters) - Collapsing crude prices are confronting scores of smaller U.S. oil producers with the grim choice of either shutting older high-cost wells or burning through cash in the hope of riding out the downturn.

As oil prices fell by more than half over the last six months from more than $100 per barrel, the U.S. oil industry responded by slowing its blistering growth and dialing back expansion plans.

Now, with U.S. crude around $46 a barrel, operators are already closing some small old wells, known as strippers, and tens of thousands of similar wells are on the verge of losing money. A further slide could, by some estimates, idle an equivalent of up to 2 percent of U.S. supply, slowing overall output growth more than expected or even leaving it flat.

Ray Lasseigne, an oilfie  (go to article)

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Haley OK with gas-tax hike if income tax cut, DOT retooled

Aiken Standard -- Gov. Nikki Haley said Wednesday that she will support a gas-tax increase, but only if the Legislature cuts South Carolina’s income taxes and restructures the Department of Transportation.
Haley used her fifth annual State of the State address to lay out her much-anticipated plan to fund road and bridge work – shockingly, by raising gas taxes, an idea she’s repeatedly promised to veto.
The current 16-cents-per-gallon tax has not changed since 1987. At 26 cents, the tax would still be below neighboring North Carolina’s 37.5 cents and in line with Georgia’s current 26.5 cents.
The DOT has said it needs an additional $1.5 billion yearly for the next two decades just to bring roads to good condition. The 41,500-mile system is the nation’s fourth largest, funded largely by one of the nation’s  (go to article)

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Boehner says fixing U.S. infrastructure 'critically important'

Reuters -- House Speaker John Boehner said he agreed with the White House there was room for bipartisan compromise on the issue of fixing crumbling roads and bridges, but that Congress in the past has not opted for an increase in federal gasoline taxes to fund the effort.
Lawmakers face a May deadline to fund massive road, bridge and transit projects, with money in the highway trust fund that pays for the projects set to run out then.
Republicans have been struggling to find a way to pay for legislation with a five-year price tag in the range of $75 billion to more than $100 billion.  (go to article)

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U.S. nudges Caribbean nations to ease their dependence on Venezuelan oil

Fox News Latino-AP -- A decade-long addiction to oil subsidized by Venezuela may be coming to an end for several Caribbean nations, with a nudge from the United States.

Fears that falling oil prices could knock the wheels off the already wobbly economy of oil-dependent Venezuela have sparked apparent interest in alternatives to Petrocaribe, a trade program created by the late President Hugo Chavez that has kept the region dependent on the South American country for energy.

Evidence of that interest will be on display Monday as Caribbean leaders converge in Washington for the first Caribbean Energy Security Summit, hosted by Vice President Joe Biden. Plans for the event have been in the works for months, but with oil recently falling to below $50 a barrel, a sense of urgency has emerged given Venezuela's...  (go to article)

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White House to Propose Allowing Oil Drilling off Atlantic Coast

NY Times -- The Obama administration on Tuesday will announce a proposal to open up coastal waters from Virginia to Georgia for oil and gas drilling, according to a person briefed on the plan.

At the same time, in Alaska, the administration will ban drilling in some portions of the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, according to the personal familiar with the plans, who could not speak publicly about them until the announcement.

Opening the Eastern Seaboard to oil companies is a prize the industry has sought for decades and is a blow to environmental groups. They argue that the move would put the coasts of Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia at risk for an environmental disaster like the BP spill that struck the Gulf Coast in 2010, when millions of barrels of oil washed ashore after the explosion of the Dee  (go to article)

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Oil steadies after Opec says prices may have bottomed but risk jump to $200

The National-Reuters -- Brent crude oil prices held above $48 on Tuesday following comments from Opec that prices may have found a floor.

Opec secretary-general Abdullah Al-Badri said oil prices may have bottomed out and he warned of a risk of a future jump to $200 a barrel if investment in new supplies was too low.

“Crude oil markets continue to consolidate near term,” ANZ analysts said, adding that Brent traded in the range of $48-$50 last week and showed little direction.

“Opec’s secretary general commented yesterday that prices may have bottomed, but there was no imminent prospect of Opec producers sitting down to discuss cutbacks until mid-year” ANZ said.

March Brent crude rose 17 cents to $48.33 a barrel at 0347 GMT, after settling down 1.3 per cent on Monday.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for...  (go to article)

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Ohio gas prices average $1.88 per gallon; price hike expected next month

Norwalk Reflector -- Average retail gasoline prices in Ohio have fallen 10.4 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $1.88/g yesterday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 5,345 gas outlets in Ohio. This compares with the national average that has fallen 2.3 cents per gallon in the last week to $2.02/g, according to gasoline price website GasBuddy.com.

Including the change in gas prices in Ohio during the past week, prices yesterday were 139.5 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago and are 19.4 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has decreased 27.1 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 125.8 cents per gallon lower than this day one year ago.  (go to article)

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Oil firms to hike gasoline prices, cut diesel prices on Tuesday

GMA News -- Oil companies on Tuesday will increase prices of gasoline and slash prices of diesel.

Chevron, effective 6:00 a.m., Tuesday, will increase its gasoline prices by P0.30 per liter and cut prices of its diesel by P0.10 per liter, according to a GMA News' "24 Oras" report on Monday.

Petron, Seaoil, and Phoenix Petroleum will hike their gasoline prices by P0.30 per liter and cut their diesel prices by P0.10 per liter at 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday,

Shell will increase gasoline prices by 0.30 per liter and cut prices of their diesel by 0.10 per liter effective 12:01 a.m., Tuesday

There is no price adjustment for kerosene products.

According to a GMA News "24 Oras" report on Tuesday, the Department of Energy earlier said the price of petroleum products will go up this week as prices in the w  (go to article)

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Obama Administration to Propose New Offshore Areas for Oil and Gas Drilling

WSJ -- WASHINGTON—The Obama administration is planning to propose opening up new areas of the nation’s federally owned waters to oil and natural gas drilling, including areas along the Atlantic Coast, according to people familiar with the plan.

The Interior Department is set to propose as soon as Tuesday its plan that will outline what leases the federal government will offer from 2017 to 2022, a step the government is required by law to take every five years.
The plan is expected to come under increased scrutiny as low oil prices are testing the profit margins of energy companies and President Barack Obama is pursuing an aggressive climate-change agenda.

Jessica Kershaw, an Interior Department spokeswoman, declined to comment Monday evening on the proposal.  (go to article)

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Justice Department spies on millions of cars: WSJ

Reuters -- Reuters) - The Justice Department has been secretly gathering and storing hundreds of millions of records about motorists in an effort to build a national database that tracks the movement of vehicles across the country, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

The newspaper said the main aim of the license plate tracking program run by the Drug Enforcement Administration was to seize automobiles, money and other assets to fight drug trafficking, according to one government document.

But the use of the database had expanded to include hunting for vehicles linked to other possible crimes, including kidnapping, killings and rape suspects, the paper said, citing current and former officials and government documents.

While U.S. officials have said they track vehicles near the Mexican bor  (go to article)

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Dayton transportation plan calls for tax on Minnes

Star Tribune -- billion transportation proposal to fix the state’s most decrepit roads and bridges over the next decade and improve transit would also sock Minnesotans with significantly higher gas taxes at the pump and some with a higher sales tax.

In a far-reaching plan, Dayton on Monday proposed a 6.5 percent gross receipts tax on gasoline at the wholesale level, meaning drivers would pay an extra 16 cents a gallon at current prices. But as gas prices rise, so would the wholesale tax. At $4 per gallon, the wholesale tax would be 22 cents. That would be on top of the existing state gas tax of 28.5 cents per gallon.

To fund mass transit improvements, the governor is asking for a half-cent increase in the sales tax for the seven-county metro area.

Dayton conceded Monday that “no one wants to pay more t  (go to article)

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Oil slides despite OPEC talk of a floor

Reuters -- Reuters) - Oil fell in see-saw trade on Monday, with U.S. crude ending at its lowest in nearly six years, as traders discounted comments from OPEC's top official about the market finally finding a bottom.

It was an up-and-down session for crude, which gyrated along with the U.S. dollar in the wake of a decisive Greek election victory by the left-wing Syriza party.

Prices initially rallied after OPEC Secretary-General Abdullah al-Badri said oil may have hit a floor and could move higher very soon, the first comments he has made on the subject during crude's seven-month-long price rout.

But the gains proved fleeting as global benchmark Brent LCOc1 fell 1.3 percent to $48.16. U.S. crude CLc1 lost almost 1 percent, settling at $45.15, the lowest settlement price for the existing front-month  (go to article)

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America’s fracking ‘boom’ is having its worst months ever

Washington Post -- They threw a fracking party in Illinois, and hardly anyone showed up.

More precisely, two months after the state completed a long regulatory process and opened the door to hydraulic fracturing, only one company applied. The state hired 36 employees and five lawyers to handle the expected rush of applicants, reported the Chicago Tribune, “for work that doesn’t exist.”

This after a land rush by energy companies in Southern Illinois that saw them buy tens of thousands of acres anticipating a North Dakota-style energy boom that would create 10,000 jobs.

The disinterest is attributed to the sharp decline in oil and gas prices globally, which makes fracking unprofitable — at best a break-even proposition, at worst a big money-loser.

“Smart people don’t invest in things that break-even,” said  (go to article)

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As U.S. oil rig count falls, gas slump offers imperfect precedent

Reuters -- On Fri, oil-field service company Baker Hughes reported that oil rigs fell by 49 in the latest week to 1,317. The count has fallen 165 in Jan, the biggest 3-wk decline since 1987
But experts say output cuts do not necessarily follow a reduction in rig count. Some point to the 2008 crash in natural gas prices, when producers cut rigs but production actually increased
Thus far, the decline in oil rigs is almost identical to the drop in natural gas drilling in the 2nd half of 2008, when prices slid in 14 mth from $13.57/MBTU to a low $2.50
Oil rigs will be slashed by 650 in 9 mth, down 40% from their peak, which should reduce production
Falling away of US drilling activity and the rapid cuts across the world in non-OPEC supply suggest oil prices have fallen far below any sustainable level  (go to article)

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US Democrats block immediate vote on Keystone pipeline

AFP -- US Senate Democrats blocked immediate consideration of a Republican-favored bill Monday that would permit the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline between the United States and Canada.

In the latest episode of partisan bickering triggered by the controversial project, Democrats rallied to obstruct a procedural vote that would have shortened the debate on the bill.
 (go to article)

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Winter Safety: Four Dangerous Driving Myths Debunked

MSN Weather -- Drivers should prepare to battle with snowy, icy and slippery conditions.Hazardous conditions are often ignored
In order to stay safe, motorists should steer clear of these 4 winter driving myths
1.Winter Tires Aren't a Necessity
Unlike summer/all-season, winter tires stay pliable down to the lowest T, stick well to the pavement in wintry conditions
2.AWD is Invincible in the Snow
AWD splits grip allowing the driver a greater margin of error, creates a false sense of confidence.When it comes to turning and stopping, all vehicles are created equal
3.All-Season Tires are Fine for Winter
Sneakers can be worn in the summer and the winter.The same goes for tires.These tires do not stay soft
4.For Better Traction, Under Inflate Tires
Under inflation of a tire takes away from performance, effecti  (go to article)

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Report: 85,000 temporary driver's licenses issued to Illinois' undocumented immigrants

fox news latino -- More than 85,000 undocumented immigrants living in Illinois have driver’s licenses under a new state program.

The tally comes after the first full year that the program – which allows undocumented immigrants to obtain a license that is good for up to three years – has been in place in Illinois, the Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises reported.

Illinois Secretary of State spokesman Henry Haupt says nearly 190,000 people have scheduled appointments since the program began in late 2013.

“(Secretary of State Jesse White) thinks the program has been very successful,” he said.

The $30 licenses may only be used for diving. They can’t be used as identification for activities like boarding a plane, voting or buying a firearm.  (go to article)

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GM halts sales of some large SUVs after Goodyear recalls tires

Associated Press -- Goodyear Tire & Rubber is recalling about 48,500 SUV tires after finding small cracks in the tread during endurance testing
The move has forced GM to stop selling about 6,300 Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave models until the tires are replaced
The recall covers 18" Fortera HL tires made from Nov 30, 2014, through Jan 10
Goodyear said the problem hasn’t caused any crashes
About 32,100 of the tires were made for the GM SUVs, which are produced at a factory near Lansing, MI
Another 16,400 were sold as replacement tires
The 18" tires are on about 30% of vehicles made at the plant, and the problem has not affected production
Owners can have the tires replaced for free at any Goodyear store or authorized dealer  (go to article)

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US gas stations may be ripe for hacking

FOX News -- In today's entry of "things you didn't know could be hacked," let's discuss gas stations. That roadside filling stations might have Internet connections is perhaps not so surprising, but that's where their technical sophistication often ends. The problem is that many fueling stations in the United States use Internet-connected industrial devices that aren't even secured with so much as a password.  (go to article)

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Survey shows US gas prices fell 13 cents a gallon to lowest in 5 years, but increases likely

Associated Press -- CAMARILLO, Calif. – The average price of a regular gallon of gas dropped 13 cents in the past two weeks to $2.07, but it could soon rise.

Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg said Sunday that the lowest prices in more than five years are likely to increase because of rising wholesale prices.
 (go to article)

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Crude oil settles down 44 cents, at $45.15 a barrel

Reuters -- U.S. oil prices ended lower Monday, ahead of the first big snowstorm this year in the country's Northeast, while benchmark Brent crude fell after pledges of no policy change by the top oil exporter Saudi Arabia after King Abdullah's death.  (go to article)

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Is now the time to buy a hybrid or EV?

GasBuddy Blog --
Image From ..usnews.rankingsandreviews.comAs contradictory as it may seem, the low fuel prices we are seeing are your best friend if you want to buy a hybrid or EV these days. 
Ford’s Focus Electric hatchback, which sells at an average of 16 percent off MSRP, tops January’s list of best savings on new vehicles, according to TrueCar, Inc.“Fuel savings are not top of mind to many consumers right now, and that makes this a great time to buy a hybrid or electric vehicle,” said John Krafcik, president of TrueCar. “With gasoline prices now averaging close to $2 per gallon, and vehicle preferences tied so closely to short-term gasoline prices, automakers are heavily discounting their most fuel-efficient cars to clear inventories.”  ...  (go to article)

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Sheriffs Want Popular Police-Tracking App Disabled

NBC -- Sheriffs Want Popular Police-Tracking App Disabled

Sheriffs are campaigning to pressure Google Inc. to turn off a feature on its Waze traffic software that warns drivers when police are nearby. They say one of the technology industry's most popular mobile apps could put officers' lives in danger from would-be police killers who can find where their targets are parked.  (go to article)

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Wind power sets off revolt in Michigan'sThumb

Detroit News -- Huron County has been the main test lab for Michigan's expansion of wind power, but the experiment is setting off a revolt.

The area at the tip of Michigan's Thumb is home to more than 300 operating turbines — nearly half of all those generating electricity in the state. That's 11 wind farms with a footprint somewhere in the county, and several others in the pipeline that could push the total number of turbines to 1,000 and beyond in the area about 110 miles from Detroit.

But Huron County officials are reviewing a proposed moratorium on new turbines and will likely vote on the issue in the coming weeks. A stoppage would give elected officials a chance to review current zoning laws, which some critics say have not done enough to protect property owners.

It also would be a big change for  (go to article)

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No matter how you do the math, we’re right on the edge of $2.00 gas

Washington Post -- Across the country today, 28 different states are now selling regular gasoline for under $ 2.00, on average. And yet the nationally averaged gas price, according to AAA, remains at $ 2.03. What’s up with that?

The answer — with the country on the cusp of $ 2.00 gas — is that it all lies in how you do the math.
 (go to article)

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Oil slides to near 6-year low

FuelFix.com -- Oil fell from the lowest closing price in almost six years amid signs that Saudi Arabia’s new king will maintain its production policy, bolstering speculation that a global glut will persist.

Futures dropped as much as 2.7 percent in New York, extending last week’s 6.4 percent slide. King Salman, who took the Saudi throne on Jan. 23, pledged to maintain the policies of his predecessor. U.S. inventories climbed to the highest level for December since 1930, the American Petroleum Institute reported. Greek voters handed election victory to Syriza, a party that’s pledged to end austerity and renegotiate an international bailout.  (go to article)

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Airfares stay sky high despite oil price drops

LA Times -- I'm frustrated that airfares have not followed the decline in oil prices over the last few months. Airfares certainly followed oil prices as they rose last year.  (go to article)

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Couple Is Missing After Long Drive to Meet Craigslist Seller

AP -- A Georgia couple is missing after driving across the state to check out a classic car advertised on Craigslist, and police say the man who last had phone contact with them faces charges.

Investigators have obtained warrants for 28-year-old Ronnie Adrian "Jay" Towns on charges of giving false statements and criminal attempt to commit theft by deception. He hasn't been accused of harming 69-year-old Elrey "Bud" Runion and his wife 66-year-old June Runion.

Telfair County Sheriff Chris Steverson tells WMAZ-TV in Macon (on.wmaz.com/15zHjtJ) that Towns was interviewed, and information he provided didn't match what investigators knew of the case.  (go to article)

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Gasoline price slide continues in 40 states

GasBuddy Blog -- Motorists in 40 states saw gasoline prices continue to edge down, while unlucky motorists in 10 states- Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, and Wisconsin- saw prices edge higher.

It may only be a matter of days before the national average stalls, and with gasoline prices rising today in Ohio, the situation is not helped. Meanwhile, oil prices have inched forward this morning on comments made by OPEC's Secretary General, who said "Now the prices are around $45-$55 and I think maybe they reached the bottom and will see some rebound very soon." ...  (go to article)

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OPEC’s El-Badri Says $200 Oil Possible With Lack of Spending

BloombergBusinessweek -- OPEC’s secretary-general said oil prices as high as $200 a barrel are possible if producers fail to invest in new supply. Crude futures erased losses London and New York.

“If you don’t invest in oil and gas, you will see more than $200,” Abdalla El-Badri said in an interview in London on Monday, without giving a timeframe. Brent, a global benchmark, erased an earlier decline of as much as 2.5 percent and traded as high as $49.29.

Crude prices tumbled 48 percent last year as Saudi Arabia and other members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said they wouldn’t curb output in response to a supply glut. The International Energy Agency, the Paris-based adviser to 29 nations, said Jan. 21 that a decline in prices may deter investment in all types of energy.  (go to article)

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Oil prices turn positive as OPEC secretary general calls bottom to market

Reuters -- By Himanshu Ojha

LONDON - Oil prices turned positive on Monday, erasing early losses after the Secretary-General of the OPEC producer group said he expected the market to bottom out around current levels.  (go to article)

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UPDATE 5-Oil prices turn positive as OPEC sec gen calls bottom to market

Reuters -- Oil prices turned positive on Monday, erasing early losses after the Secretary-General of the OPEC producer group said he expected the market to bottom out around current levels.

March Brent crude was trading at $49.13 per barrel by 1317 GMT, up 34 cents, bouncing from an early low of $47.57.

"Now the prices are around $45-$55 and I think maybe they reached the bottom and will see some rebound very soon," Abdullah al-Badri, Secretary-General of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said in an interview.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for March delivery was at $45.94 a barrel, up 35 cents. Front-month WTI had touched an intraday low of $44.35, just above the $44.20 hit on Jan. 13, which was its lowest level since April 2009.

After a smooth transition in Saudi Arabia  (go to article)

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As Oil Prices Fall, Alaska’s New Governor Faces a Novel Goal, Frugality

NY Times -- As a crowd of lawmakers and staff members bustled up and down the central staircase here at the State Capitol on the opening day of Alaska’s legislative session last week, a string quartet could be heard on a landing above, sweetly playing in backdrop to a midafternoon cookie-and-crudités reception.

“Maybe it’s the band from the Titanic,” a wiseacre on the stairway sniped, to an eruption of laughter.

Alaska is not a sinking ship, but no one needed an explanation of the gallows-humor remark, as a record-setting sea of red ink has flooded the state budget amid a global collapse of energy prices. Taxes paid by oil companies account for 90 percent of the state’s operating budget, and those revenues have sunk with stomach-churning suddenness and depth, echoing other oil-patch states, like Tex  (go to article)

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Hedge Funds Bet Oil Will Fall Further

Bloomberg -- Hedge funds boosted bearish wagers on oil to a four-year high as U.S. supplies grew the most since 2001.
Money managers increased short positions in West Texas Intermediate crude to the highest level since September 2010 in the week ended Jan. 20, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show. Net-long positions slipped for the first time in three weeks.

“There’s been a rush to call a bottom,” John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital, a New York-based hedge fund that focuses on energy, said by phone Jan. 23. “The fundamentals are still stacked against a rebound.”

“I don’t see any major catalyst from either the supply or demand side that will send prices higher this year,” Stewart Glickman, an equity analyst at S&P Capital IQ in New York, said by phone Jan 23. “It looks like $50 cru  (go to article)

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Your governer, local senator, congressmen input in gas price

American Petroleum Institute -- If your state's prices at gas pump high or low, your local tax is THE MAIN REASON. Your local representatives directly responsible for keeping it the way they are.
So, click on your state and say "Thank you!" to your guy, weather sincerely or sarcastically.
But don't take "C'est la vie"  (go to article)

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Obama Moves to Put Much of Refuge Off Limits to Drilling

Bloomberg -- President Barack Obamawill take steps to restrict 12 million acres of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil and gas exploration, a move denounced by Alaskan lawmakers who have fought for years to open the area up to drillers.

The administration on Sunday announced a plan to add protections to the refuge and also called on Congress to designate “core areas” of the 19.8 million-acre refuge as wilderness, including its Coastal Plain, according to a statement from the Interior Department. The designation is the highest level of protection from development that’s available to public lands, according to the department.

“Designating vast areas in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as wilderness reflects the significance this landscape holds for America and its wildlife,” Interior Secret  (go to article)

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Oil Slides to Near 6-Year Low; Saudi Arabia Holds Firm Despite Supply Glut

Bloomberg -- Oil fell from the lowest closing price in almost six years amid signs that Saudi Arabia’s new king will maintain its production policy, bolstering speculation that a global glut will persist.

Futures dropped as much as 2.7 percent in New York, extending last week’s 6.4 percent slide. King Salman, who took the Saudi throne on Jan. 23, pledged to maintain the policies of his predecessor. U.S. inventories climbed to the highest level for December since 1930, the American Petroleum Institute reported. Greek voters handed election victory to Syriza, a party that’s pledged to end austerity and renegotiate an international bailout.

Oil slumped almost 60 percent since June as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries resisted calls to cut output and the U.S. pumped at the fastest pace in  (go to article)

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Where to Buy Gasoline for $0.002 a Gallon, Seriously

Bloomberg/Yahoo Finance -- Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro told lawmakers last week he's considering raising gasoline prices.

That might be a good idea.

It's been two decades since the government last lifted state-set local prices, the result of politicians' concern that the move could spark protests like those that swept across the oil-rich nation following an increase in 1989.

In the interim, a string of currency devaluations has pushed down the cost in dollar terms to levels that would seem implausible to consumers in other parts of the world, even after the recent oil tumble cut prices at the pump.

The CHART OF THE DAY shows it now costs about 0.2 U.S. cent (that's right; one-fifth of a penny) to buy a gallon of gasoline in Venezuela, based on black-market currency rates. Expressed another way, you can  (go to article)

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Local drivers don’t want gas tax to increase

Journal News -- With average gasoline prices at their lowest in years, some lawmakers are tinkering with a proposal to increase the federal gas tax, which hasn’t been raised since 1993.
The gas tax is 18.4 cents a gallon, and diesel fuel tax is 24.4 cents a gallon. The taxes bring in approximately $34 billion a year to the federal Highway Trust Fund, but the government spends about $50 billion a year. The trust fund has been the main source of federal transportation aid to states for more than 60 years.  (go to article)

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Sheriffs want popular police-tracking app disabled

AP thru Yahoo Finance -- Sheriffs push Google to disable police-tracker from popular traffic smartphone app Waze.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Sheriffs are campaigning to pressure Google Inc. to turn off a feature on its Waze traffic software that warns drivers when police are nearby. They say one of the technology industry's most popular mobile apps could put officers' lives in danger from would-be police killers who can find where their targets are parked.

Waze, which Google purchased for $966 million in 2013, is a combination of GPS navigation and social networking. Fifty million users in 200 countries turn to the free service for real-time traffic guidance and warnings about nearby congestion, car accidents, speed traps or traffic cameras, construction zones, potholes, stalled vehicles or unsafe weather conditions.
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Airasia Scraps Fuel Surcharges As Oil Price Plummets

AP -- Southeast Asia's biggest budget carrier AirAsia is scrapping fuel surcharges on tickets following the decline in global oil prices.

AirAsia said the move also applies to flights under its long-haul arm AirAsia X.

Oil prices are now below $50 per barrel after 6 months of declines, pushing down jet fuel prices.

Chief Executive Tony Fernandes said the move will help reduce travel costs, stimulate demand and boost tourism in the region.

Airlines impose the surcharges to pass on higher fuel costs to travelers when fuel prices are rising.

Rivals Virgin Australia and Cebu Pacific in the Philippines abolished fuel surcharges earlier this month.

AirAsia has dominated cheap travel in Southeast Asia for years but faces rising competition from the proliferation of discounts airlines in Asia.  (go to article)

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For Saudis, Falling Demand for Oil Is the Biggest Concern

Bloomberg -- As the world’s oil producers wring their hands over a global glut that’s pushing down prices, evidence is mounting that Saudi Arabia is more concerned about shrinking demand.

The world’s largest exporter has chosen not to cut production, counting instead on lower prices to stimulate consumption, said Mohammad Al Sabban, an adviser to Saudi Arabia’s petroleum minister from 1988 to 2013. The Saudis are keeping an eye on investments in fuel efficiency and renewable energy, according to Francisco Blanch, Bank of America Corp.’s head of global commodity research.

“Nobody should imagine the world will continue to demand oil as long as you have it in your fields” Al Sabban said in an interview. “We need to prepare ourselves for that stage.”

The U.S. shale revolution showed that forecasts of...  (go to article)

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Price plunge aside, oil people look to next opport

The New Star -- Although oil prices have plunged aplenty over the past six months, from more than $100 a barrel to less than $50, today's oil business problems are light years away from what they were in Lafayette in the 1980s.

"We lost 146,000 jobs in the 1980s," former LSU economist Loren Scott said of Louisiana's oil downturn during a five-year stretch in that decade. "Lafayette lost right at 20 percent of their jobs; Houma, 24, percent. It was a bloodbath."

Times were so grim, said Steve Maley, Badger Oil Corp.'s manager of operations, that Charley G's restaurant linked its "lunch special" ticket to the price of a barrel of oil that day.

"I remember getting the lunch for $8.50," Maley recalled with a laugh.

Charlie Goodson, partner in Charley G's, said times weren't only tough on oil people. He  (go to article)

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Gas Prices Expected To Rise Again Soon, Say Experts

HNGN -- Despite the recent decline in gas prices across the country, experts expect them to rise due to the increase in crude oil prices.

The average gallon of gas in the United States dropped 13 cents in the past two weeks to $2.07 while crude oil prices have increased in the last 10 days, industry analyst Trilby Lundberg said Sunday, according to the Los Angeles Times. The price of gas is 37 percent lower than this time last year.

The Energy Department believes that the average U.S. family will spend $750 less on gas than in 2014 because the average price will decrease from $3.36 to $2.33. However, Lundberg said the increase in crude oil prices will eventually be seen at the pump, the Seattle Times reported.

The decrease in crude oil prices is a result of onshore oil fields in North Dakota  (go to article)

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