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Tuesday, March 03, 2015

42
votes
U.S. West Coast gasoline prices rise at record pace: EIA

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

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

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

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

In the San Francisco area,  (read more)

Submitted Today By:
1140 Comments

38
votes
Paying more at the pump; gas prices up 34 cents in last 31 days

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

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

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

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

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

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1220 Comments

35
votes
Oil prices steady along with global markets, but oversupply remains

Reuters --

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

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

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

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

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139 Comments

34
votes
Florida Governor applauds Wawa expansion in the Sunshine State

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

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973 Comments

33
votes
Consumers save on energy, yet retail spending stalls

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

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

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

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

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Monday, March 02, 2015

48
votes
Iraq minister sees oil at $64 to $65 per barrel

REUTERS -- Iraq's Oil Minister Adel Abdel Mehdi said on Sunday world oil prices were gradually rebounding and he expected to see a barrel of crude selling at around $65.

"I don't think they will return to their previous levels. I can see that oil will be sold at $64 to $65 a barrel," he told a news conference in Baghdad.

Global benchmark Brent crude closed on Friday at $62.58 a barrel after falling as low as $45.19 in January, less than half its price in the middle of last year.

OPEC producer Iraq has been hit by the slump, with revenues falling sharply just as it faces a costly military campaign against Islamic State militants who have seized large parts of the north and west of the country.

Iraq's oil revenues for February were just a fraction under $3.5 billion, on exports of 2.535 million...  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
441 Comments

48
votes
Experts: Prepare for a Gas Price Increase

ABC -- Minnesota’s average gallon of gas is $2.38, which is up about forty cents from a month ago. Nationwide in one month, the average gallon of gas has increase 54 cents. Oil refineries are starting to prepare for the warmer weather which is one of the causes for this increase.

“This is the time of year when we just started to transition to more expensive blends of gasoline’s. With that ultimate destination being that very stringent and expensive summer gasoline that will eventually show up when temperatures warm. I know it’s crazy with the snow and cold outside to be talking anything summer related but the transition has begun,” said Senior Petroleum Analyst for Gas Buddy Patrick DeHaan.

The summer blend of gasoline is a cleaner burning fuel. Because of this oil refineries have to do mainte  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
1666 Comments

43
votes
Oil falls more than 1 percent on dollar, supply concerns

Reuters -- (Reuters) - Oil dropped more than 1 percent on Monday, with Brent slipping to around $62 a barrel, depressed by a stronger dollar and a rise in Libyan crude output.

The U.S. dollar hit an 11-year high against a basket of currencies after a rate cut in China dented the Chinese yuan and also hit emerging Asian currencies. [FRX/]

Brent crude hit a low of $61.78 a barrel and was at $62.08 by 0910 GMT (4.10 a.m. EST), down 50 cents.

Front-month Brent jumped 18 percent in February, the largest monthly rise since May 2009. U.S. crude was down 55 cents to $49.21 a barrel.

Disruption to oil supplies from members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has helped support crude with lower output from Libya and Iraq in the first couple of months of this year.

But output fr  (read more)

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71 Comments

42
votes
Oil, gas wastewater may be sent to Neb.

The Durango Hearld -- A Colorado oil company’s plan to dispose of gas and oil wastewater by injecting it into a deep well in western Nebraska is drawing strong objections from residents who live near the proposed site. Wastewater disposal certainly is not the most glamorous oilfield job, but it’s essential to keeping things running smoothly, especially in Colorado and Wyoming, where oil wells pump up significantly more water than oil.The energy company, T-Rex Oil of Broomfield, is proposing what would be the largest operation of its type in Nebraska, accepting upward of 80 truckloads and 10,000 barrels of wastewater a day at the Sioux County site, Inside Energy and NET News in Nebraska have learned. The wastewater would come from Colorado, Wyoming and possibly some from Nebraska.The brine then would be  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
838 Comments

42
votes
Oil Drops as Gain in Saudi Arabian Output Boosts OPEC Production

Bloomberg -- (Bloomberg) -- Oil fell after the first monthly gain since June as Saudi Arabia stepped up production, lifting OPEC’s output beyond its collective quota for a ninth month.
Futures decreased as much as 1.1 percent in New York. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries pumped 30.6 million barrels a day in February, according to a Bloomberg survey. Oil sank almost 50 percent in 2014 as Saudi Arabia led the group’s decision in November to maintain its output target at 30 million a day, exacerbating a global glut.
West Texas Intermediate’s discount to European prices settled at the widest in more than a year on Feb. 27 as U.S. crude stockpiles expanded to the highest level in weekly data that started August 1982. The oversupply has driven U.S. drillers to cut the number of rigs in servi  (read more)

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Sunday, March 01, 2015

70
votes
OPEC is its own worst enemy

Business Insider-The Motley Fool -- There's a growing rift among the nations within OPEC.

Just this past week the Nigerian oil minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, said that OPEC could need to call an emergency meeting to discuss the persistently low price of oil. However, another member quickly piped up and said there was no need for an emergency meeting.

Nigeria's desire for a meeting comes just a month after Venezuela's president went on an around the world trip to meet with fellow OPEC members as its financial situation grows dire. What's becoming increasingly clear is that OPEC is at war not just with U.S. and Russian oil companies, but it is also battling a war within.

OPEC to the rescue?

As it stands right now OPEC is next due to meet this June as part of its bi-annual schedule. However, several of its members...  (read more)

Submitted Mar 01, 2015 By:
1411 Comments

67
votes
OPEC's Oil Price War Is Paying Off, But It's Far From Over

The Motley Fool -- The impact of OPEC's decision to keep oil production at 30 million barrels per day in order to push down oil prices and squeeze marginal oil producers out of the market is starting to pay off. Drilling activity in the U.S., offshore, and internationally has slowed dramatically in the last two months as companies began to realize that OPEC wasn't playing around this time.

Flooding the market with oil is working to put pressure on marginal players, but it's a strategy that's far from over. New wells aren't being drilled, but existing wells are still producing oil and for OPEC to win this price war it will have to stick together for another 6-24 months. Understanding how OPEC's strategy is working and why it will continue can give some perspective on what will happen with energy stocks in...  (read more)

Submitted Mar 01, 2015 By:
720 Comments

61
votes
Oil storage in US close to running out: Pro

CNBC -- U.S. crude posted its first monthly gain since June on Friday, but one expert warned that storage in the United States is filling up quickly, and that could send oil lower.

"We are really close," said Bank of America Merrill Lynch's Francisco Blanch, noting that storage could run out by the end of March or early April.

Blanch, the firm's head of global commodities and derivatives, told CNBC's "Power Lunch" that means the only option for oil producers will be to sell and therefore prices can't hold up.

"For WTI, we see those pressures being very pronounced over the next few weeks," he said.

Oil inventories in the U.S. were up 8.4 million barrels last week, according to government data.

On the other hand, the international market has held up a little better, Blanch said.

"We've seen  (read more)

Submitted Mar 01, 2015 By:
137 Comments

57
votes
Collector car owners experience daylight nightmare

KLAS-TV8 -- LAS VEGAS -- A Washington couple says they were falsely arrested by the Nevada Highway Patrol for stealing a collector car they actually owned.
The highway patrol admitted two errors that led to Robin and Beverly Bruins being removed from their car at gunpoint. And, now, the highway patrol is facing a lawsuit.

It all began with confusion over a license plate on a classic car. A highway patrol dash camera recorded a trooper stating over a loudspeaker: “Driver! Remove your keys from the ignition and put them on the roof now!”

From that point Robin Bruins and his wife experienced a daylight nightmare when the senior citizens found themselves looking down the barrels of police pistols.

“Actually, I think I might have giggled to Bev. I turned and looked back and saw three gun barrels point  (read more)

Submitted Mar 01, 2015 By:
1032 Comments

55
votes
Putting a brake to oil train derailments

USA TODAY -- The latest derailments of trains carrying crude oil in the U.S. and Canada are putting more pressure on government officials to end the fiery crashes.

In fact, Washington is moving closer to adopting proposals that would force improvements in the tank cars and other equipment used to haul oil as well as require new restrictions on operating speeds for those trains and new assessments of rail conditions. Ottawa has taken similar steps.

But a former Obama administration official who played a key role in writing the U.S. proposals says that for all the talk about increasing the thickness and durability of tank cars, the more vital consideration may be putting better brakes on those trains.

"The more I think about it, the more I think that the ECP brakes may be more important than the tank  (read more)

Submitted Mar 01, 2015 By:
124 Comments

Saturday, February 28, 2015

53
votes
Gas prices soar in California as supply shrinks

St. Paul Pioneer Press-AP -- Gas prices are soaring in California in a classic example of supply and demand after an explosion stopped gasoline production at an Exxon Mobil refinery while another remains offline due to labor unrest.

Average retail gas prices in the state have surged 25 cents a gallon in less than a week, from $2.98 per gallon for regular on Monday to $3.23 per gallon on Friday. That caps a run that saw the price of regular unleaded go up 60 cents per gallon since Jan. 30 as refineries prepare to shift to a summer blend of fuels.

In some areas of Southern California, gas station owners were forced to pass price hikes of 24 cents per gallon along to consumers on Thursday after seeing wholesale prices shoot up. Prices in Northern California lagged a day but by Friday were also rising; an independent...  (read more)

Submitted Feb 28, 2015 By:
462 Comments

53
votes
Union, Shell to resume talks in U.S. refinery strike on March 4

REUTERS -- Negotiations to settle the largest U.S. refinery strike are set to resume on March 4, the union and lead oil company negotiator said on Friday, the 27th day of the work stoppage.

Talks between Shell Oil Co, the U.S. arm of Royal Dutch Shell Plc and the United Steelworkers union (USW) broke off on Feb. 20 after refinery owners balked at a settlement. The union then ordered a strike by workers at three Motiva Enterprises [MOTIV.UL] refineries, including the nation's largest, all co-owned by Shell.

A total of 6,550 workers are walking picket lines at 15 plants, including 12 refineries that account for one-fifth of U.S. domestic production capacity.

"Industry needs to bargain a fair and safe contract or see the strike expand," the USW said on Friday.

 (read more)

Submitted Feb 28, 2015 By:
721 Comments

53
votes
Maine Weighs Revoking Seat Belt Law Days After 75-Car Pileup

ABC News -- It's an effort that even the bill's sponsor acknowledges is poor timing.

Just two days after a 75-vehicle pileup injured at least 17 people in the state, lawmakers in Maine are considering legislation that would allow adults to opt out of wearing seat belts.

Sen. Eric Brakey told lawmakers on Friday that it's too bad they're considering his bill so close to Wednesday's crash on Interstate 95, which is thought to be largest in Maine history but had no fatalities.

"It's very unfortunate timing that we're discussing this particular legislation two days after the 75-car pileup that took place on I-95," Brakey said.

The Republican from Auburn acknowledged that people should wear seat belts and said he hopes the accident serves as a reminder of the importance to do so. But said he believes  (read more)

Submitted Feb 28, 2015 By:
1649 Comments

52
votes
Mazda bets on diesel-only car for Japan launch of key 2015 model

Reuters -- (Reuters) - Japan's Mazda Motor Corp (7261.T) will sell only diesel-powered cars in the domestic launch of its key model for 2015, gambling it can convince the country's army of hybrid petrol-electric drivers that the days of sooty, noisy diesels are long gone.

Masamichi Kogai, Chief Executive of Japan's fifth-biggest auto maker, placed his diesel bet in Tokyo on Friday as he unveiled the CX-3, a compact sport-utility vehicle (SUV).

"In Japan, more and more people are choosing to drive diesels," Kogai said. The CEO also said the greater power offered by diesel engines is a selling point for bigger cars, including compact SUVs.

Mazda has high hopes for its new entry in a small but growing segment of the global auto market. Kogai said the compact SUV segment is expected to double in size  (read more)

Submitted Feb 28, 2015 By:
1254 Comments

46
votes
Exxon Mobil settles New Jersey environmental case for a fraction of expected damages

Fuel Fix -- Exxon Mobil has settled a decade-long legal battle with New Jersey over billions of dollars in damages the state sought for the destruction of 1,500 acres of public wetlands, according to a New York Times report on Friday.

The Times wrote that the settlement amount, $250 million, reported by two sources close to the case was a fraction of the $8.9 billion in cleanup costs the state claimed had resulted from more than a century of pollution from a pair of refineries near Staten Island.

Neither Exxon Mobil nor Gov. Chris Christie’s office have made a public announcement over the settlement, and an Exxon spokesman decline to comment.

The New Jersey State Department of Environemntal Protection filed the lawsuit in 2004, and a state superior judge had been close to a decision this year befor  (read more)

Submitted Feb 28, 2015 By:
61 Comments

Friday, February 27, 2015

48
votes
Congress investigates gas pricing

Associated Press -- WASHINGTON -- Oil industry executives rejected charges Tuesday that they manipulated gasoline supplies to increase prices. A senator said there is strong evidence that oil companies work to maintain tight markets that produce price spikes.

Opening a hearing on the volatility of gasoline prices, senators said oil industry practices of maintaining low inventories, along with growing market concentration, invited the sudden gasoline price surges that have occurred in recent years.

"Price spikes are becoming a way of life . . . and not without serious consequences," Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Permanent Investigations Subcommittee, told the oil executives.  (read more)

Submitted Feb 27, 2015 By:
124 Comments

42
votes
Saudis’ Oil Price War Is Paying Off

Bloomberg News -- Three months after Saudi Arabia made clear it was going to let oil prices keep tumbling, the strategy is showing signs of working.

U.S. drillers are idling rigs at a record pace, gutting investment plans and laying off thousands of workers.

Those steps highlight how the Saudi-led OPEC decision on Nov. 27 to maintain output levels and protect its market share is having the desired effect -- pushing prices down so far that they threaten to curb output in the U.S. and other non-OPEC countries. Saudi Arabia, the most powerful member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, will maintain that tack when the group next meets in June, according to some of the world’s biggest banks.  (read more)

Submitted Feb 27, 2015 By:
393 Comments

41
votes
Leak at BP refinery in Whiting 2nd malfunction this week

WISH-TV8-AP -- A BP refinery in northwest Indiana has seen its second major malfunction in three days.

The Times of Munster reports a leak happened at a pipe still Wednesday morning at the Whiting refinery. The unit accounts for roughly one-quarter of the refinery’s production capacity.

A BP spokesman says it’s unclear how long repairs will take, but that the refinery is still making gasoline and other fuels. The facility is the largest in the Midwest.

Massive flames also shot up through flare stacks Monday. The BP spokesman says nobody was hurt and that production had been restored.

About 1,100 union workers have been on strike at the plant since early February. Those workers make up more than half of the refinery’s workforce.  (read more)

Submitted Feb 27, 2015 By:
1437 Comments

40
votes
Gas prices volatile, but not due to strike

Springfield News-Sun -- A month-long U.S. refinery strike has spread to Ohio, but analysts said it should have little short-term affect on local gas prices or convenience store chains like Speedway.

The issue is something analysts says they will keep an eye on if the dispute between the United Steelworkers Union International and the refineries continues long-term, said Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst for Gasbuddy.com.

“It could become a point of nervousness for the market the longer this goes on, obviously the bigger situation it becomes,” DeHaan said. “But so far there’s not really an impact at the pump yet.”

Earlier this week, members of the United Steelworkers Local 1-346 demonstrated outside the Marathon Petroleum Corp. offices in Findlay, Ohio, according to information on the group’s...  (read more)

Submitted Feb 27, 2015 By:
723 Comments

39
votes
Feds push car firms to fix safety defects before renting or selling

GasBuddy Blog --
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony FoxxU.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator Mark Rosekind joined elected officials, representatives from the rental car industry, and consumer safety advocates in calling on Congress to pass legislation that would require rental car agencies and used car dealers to fix safety defects before renting or selling vehicles subject to a recall.
JThe GROW AMERICA Act includes provisions that would require rental car agencies to remedy any safety defects under recall before renting a vehicle, and require used car dealers to do the same before selling a vehicle. Under current law, new cars must be fixed before sale. However, no similar federal provision exists for rental car agencies or used car dealers. In Richmond, major rental car agencies as well as a leading consumer group joined the department’s call for legislation to ensure rental cars with safety recalls are repaired before a consumer  (read more)

Submitted Feb 27, 2015 By:
1601 Comments