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Recent Gas News/GasBuddy Blog

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Is the sudden spike in gas prices really justified or just gouging?

Seattle - My Northwest -- The average price of a gallon of regular unleaded has climbed to $2.93 in the Seattle area. That's 35 cents more than just a week ago, 60 cents higher than just a month ago.

It's been a rude awakening for all of us enjoying record low prices in recent days.

At the Juanita Firs 76 station in Kirkland, owner Dan Amundsen is used to the price of gas of starting to rise this time of year.

"Just about every year for I don't know how long, this is the season when the price goes up," says Amundsen.

Jennifer Cook at AAA of Washington says it's fairly predictable.

"Spring time is when refineries slow down their production and switch from summer fuel blends to summer fuel blends, which are more expensive to produce. But during that time they slow their production, which puts pressure on supply,  (go to article)

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Where Gas Prices Shot Up Nearly $1 Per Gallon in One Month

Time -- Everyone is paying more at the pump lately. But California drivers have seen gas prices soar at an unbelievably fast pace.

In mid-January 2015, the national average for regular gasoline was $2.03 per gallon, and there seemed to be a strong possibility that gas stations would average under $2 nationally within weeks, or even days. Instead, that period marked what appears to be the bottoming out of the cheap gas era. After four months of consistently plummeting fuel costs, drivers began seeing gas prices inch up steadily—and then spike very recently.

Over the past week, the national average has crept up 2¢ daily, from $2.33 to $2.47 as of Monday, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. AAA data indicates that gas prices have risen 35 days in a row, for a total rise of 39¢  (go to article)

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Resale Prices Tumble on Electric Cars

Wall Street Journal -- Nissan Motor Co. ’s Leaf electric car has been a big seller for Atlanta car dealer Pat Hoban over the past three years, thanks to its low monthly lease price. But as those car leases are beginning to expire amid cheap gasoline, the vehicle is becoming a bit of a headache.

Mr. Hoban expects between 100 and 150 of the leased vehicles to be returned to his Capitol City Nissan dealership on a monthly basis over the next two years as their leases expire. The problem: used Leafs aren’t attracting much demand.  (go to article)

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More Steelworkers Cross Picket Lines as Refinery Strike Drags on

BloombergBusiness -- Royal Dutch Shell Plc said more than 20 percent of about 800 union workers at its Deer Park refinery in Texas have crossed picket lines, undermining a strike that has entered its second month.

Workers also have begun returning to their jobs at refineries owned by Motiva Enterprises LLC, a joint venture between Shell and Saudi Arabian Oil Co., said Kelly Op De Weegh, a Motiva spokeswoman. LyondellBasell Industries NV and Tesoro Corp., two other refinery owners affected by the strike, are seeing a growing number of employees coming back to work, according to spokespersons for the companies who wouldn’t provide a specific estimate.

“We have had workers return at all three of our sites,” said Destin Singleton, a spokeswoman for Tesoro Corp.

The Steelworkers said only a small fraction of...  (go to article)

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Crude inventories surge again, California gasoline inventories rise

GasBuddy Blog -- The Energy Information Administration released its weekly report today on the status of petroleum inventories in the United States.

Here are some highlights:

CRUDE INVENTORIES:
Crude oil inventories increased by 10.3 million barrels to a total of 444.4 million barrels. At 444.4 million barrels, inventories are 80.6 million barrels above last year (22.1%) and are well above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year.

GASOLINE INVENTORIES:
Gasoline inventories increased by 0.1 million barrels to 240.1 million barrels. At 240.1 million barrels, inventories are up 11.1 million barrels, or 4.8% higher than one year ago. Here's how individual regions and their gasoline inventory fared last week: East Coast (-2.0mb); Midwest (+0.7mb); Gulf Coast (+1.2mb); Rockies (+0.1mb); and West Coast (+0.2mb). It is important to note which regions saw increases/decreases as this information likely drive  (go to article)

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Saudi Arabia pledges to pump as much oil as its customers need

Bloomberg -- Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest crude exporter, pledged to supply as much oil as its customers need and doesn’t anticipate any weakening in that demand.

The country won’t cut output unless customers refuse to buy its crude, Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi said in Berlin on Wednesday. That’s unlikely to happen because it is the world’s most reliable supplier, he said
 (go to article)

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‘Disappointed’ in union, Shell says it is hiring relief workers

Fuel Fix / Houston Chronicle -- In the first few weeks of the United Steelworkers union strike, managers stepped in at Shell Oil Co. to keep its refinery and chemical plant running.

As the strike enters its second month, Shell has been training “relief employees” to operate its Deer Park refinery as well as its Norco chemical plant in Louisiana, according to a letter to employees from Aamir Farid, manufacturing vice president, Americas.
 (go to article)

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Economists survey: Say goodbye to cheap gas?

Bankrate -- Loving today's cheap gasoline? Hating all the sharp turns on financial markets? Well, you may be out of luck on both counts. Fuel prices are likely to rise during the next 12 months, while financial markets will provide an even rockier ride for investors, according to the latest Bankrate Economic Indicator, a quarterly survey of top economists.

On average, the experts expect oil prices to rebound a bit from their recent low levels. "Excess inventories have depressed the current price, but once inventories have declined to more normal levels, the price should be somewhat higher than today," says William Poole, former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.  (go to article)

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Shell moves to business-as-usual plan for strike-impacted refineries

Oil & Gas Journal -- As the United Steelworkers union (USW) strike enters its fifth week, Royal Dutch Shell PLC, which serves as lead company for National Oil Bargaining (NOB) negotiations, is implementing a plan to return its strike-impacted sites to normal, full-rotation operations without the use of union workers.

The company will complete the process of returning operations to full rotation by midsummer at its 340,000-b/d Deer Park, Tex., refinery, using only Shell-trained operators, employees, and staff, according to Aamir Farid, Shell’s vice-president of manufacturing for the Americas.

The announcement came in a Mar. 2 letter to Shell staff informing them that the company was transitioning from contingency plans to business-as-normal operations at production sites affected by USW’s unfair labor practic  (go to article)

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Petrobras scandal takes Brazilian politicians to Supreme Court

Reuters -- BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil's top prosecutor asked the Federal Supreme Court on Tuesday to open investigations into politicians who allegedly benefited from a multibillion-dollar kickback scheme at state-run oil company Petrobras, a court official said on Tuesday.

The request for authorization to probe elected officials expands the country's biggest corruption scandal to the political realm, further rattling President Dilma Rousseff's administration at a time when it is already struggling to contain the economic fallout from the case.

The official, who asked not to be named because the case is still under secrecy provisions, said Prosecutor-General Rodrigo Janot asked the court to authorise 28 separate investigations into 54 people, many of whom are expected to be politicians.

 (go to article)

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U.S. consumer spending on fuel at a six-year low in January

Fuel Fix -- Plummeting gasoline prices helped U.S. consumers spend billions of dollars more on other goods and services in January, the Department of Commerce said this week.

Consumer spending fell 0.2 percent last month, only the second drop in the past year. But much of the decline can be attributed to falling prices at the pump, which are at their lowest since April 2009, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

January’s average price for a gallon of gasoline was $2.11, about $1.60 less than the 2014 high. After adjusting for inflation, consumer spending actually rose 0.3 percent.

According to the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, Americans spent 21 percent less on gasoline, electricity and  (go to article)

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Not Clearing The Snow Off Your Car Before Driving Could Cost You

NPR -- After weeks of winter storms, snow fatigue has set in across much of the country.

You may be tired of clearing ice and snow off your car, but that can be a safety hazard. And now you could face a fine in some states.

Mike Taylor of Elkins Park, Pa., says just this week he was behind a car on the Pennsylvania Turnpike when, "Snow on the roof blew off, hit my windshield, forced me to jiggle, and it was only because of the stability of the car and I slowed down that I didn't have an accident," Taylor says.

He couldn't see the license plate to report the driver. But it wouldn't have mattered anyway, because in Pennsylvania, police cite a driver only if flying snow or ice causes serious injury.

A proposed law would change that and allow officers to issue a ticket and a fine up to $75.  (go to article)

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$20 Oil Rears Its Ugly Head

Forbes -- As the petroleum industry enters the historically weak second quarter with US crude inventories at highs, the very real possibility that the price will drop sharply from current levels must be considered. Ed Morse of Citibank has suggested $20 is a possibility, and many others agree that a lower price could be in the cards, even if not that low.

It is always with repeating that oil prices, in the short run, can go almost anywhere, very low or very high, depending on market conditions and the thinking of traders. But at some point, real barrels dominate the equation, mostly when inventories are very low or very high. The latter case usually results in lower prices to the point where either OPEC acts or people start buying into the market, thinking the price has gone too low.  (go to article)

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Clock ticks toward North Dakota producers reaping up to $5.3 billion oil tax break

Reuters -- The clock is still ticking on a potential $5.3 billion, two-year tax break for North Dakota's oil industry after a state-calculated average of February's crude price fell below $52.59 per barrel last month.

The state waives its 6.5 percent oil extraction tax if the monthly price of benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude at the Cushing, Oklahoma, transport hub falls below an inflation-adjusted limit, set at $52.59 per barrel for 2015, for five consecutive months.

For February, the average calculated price was $50.86 per barrel, according to North Dakota Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger. The average was an increase from the January average of $47.98 per barrel.

The tax break kicks in if the average monthly price is below that $52.59 level for each of the next three months. If i  (go to article)

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New cars and trucks with the worst gas mileage

Market Watch -- Gasoline may be relatively cheap these days, but if you care about the environment as well as your wallet, rethink getting that Nissan Armada or Toyota Sequoia. These are just two of the 2015 cars that are “meanest” on the environment, according to The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, which offers an interactive database of all model year 2015 vehicles, along with each configuration’s fuel economy, health-related pollution impacts, and greenhouse gas emissions. This year’s environmental ratings for 2015 model vehicles includes a list of the greenest cars in the database, along with the cars that scored the worst. The site, greenercars.org, analyzes auto makers’ test results for fuel economy and emissions as reported to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Calif  (go to article)

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Here’s why Southern Nevada gasoline prices skyrocketed again

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL -- After Southern Nevada’s four-month honeymoon with reduced gasoline prices, motorists now have been hit with the perfect storm.

Refinery maintenance. Preparations to manufacture “summer blend” fuel. A refinery workers strike. Gasoline supply speculation. An explosion and fire at yet another refinery.

All of that happened in the past month and has resulted in gasoline prices skyrocketing from sub-$2-a-gallon to where it is now, $2.84 a gallon. At some Southern Nevada stations, the price per gallon has crept over the $3 line.

What’s worse, the average price of a gallon of gasoline in Las Vegas is 5 cents more than the statewide average.

The national average currently is $2.44 a gallon, 12 cents more than it was a week ago and 39 cents more than it was a month ago, according to GasBuddy.co  (go to article)

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The Price of Oil Is About to Blow a Hole in Corporate Accounting

Bloomberg -- Bloomberg) -- There’s one place in the world where oil is still $95 a barrel.

On paper.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission requires drillers to calculate the value of their oil reserves every year using average prices from the first trading days in each of the previous 12 months. Because oil didn’t start its freefall to about $45 till after the OPEC meeting in late November, companies in their latest regulatory filings used $95 a barrel to figure out how much oil they could profitably produce and what it’s worth. Of the 12 days that went into the fourth-quarter average, crude was above $90 a barrel on 10 of them.

So Continental Resources Inc., led by billionaire Harold Hamm, reported last month that the present value of its oil and gas operations increased 13 percent last year  (go to article)

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Billionaire Warren Buffett Says Keystone XL Oil Pipeline Delay Jeopardises Canada-US Relations

IBTimes -- If it were up to billionaire and business magnate Warren Buffett, the Keystone XL oil pipeline project would have been approved for construction years ago. But since he is not the president of the U.S. he cautioned that furthering delaying the project that will traverse between Canada and the U.S. could jeopardise relations between the two allies.

In an interview with CNBC, Buffett said Mr Obama’s vetoing the legislation that could have fast tracked the project was like saying no as a whole to Canada itself. “Canada’s been a terrific partner for us over the decades and it is wrong for us to thumb our nose at them,” Buffett said.

The proposed $8-billion, 1,200-mile Keystone XL oil pipeline project had been on the table of the vetting process in the U.S. for over six years now. Mr Obama...  (go to article)

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Speed limit increase stalls in committee

Cedar Rapids Gazette -- DES MOINES — A bill seeking to raise the speed limit to 75 mph on rural interstate highways in Iowa got pulled to the side of the road in committee Tuesday and apparently parked in the legislative process.

Sen. Jeff Danielson, D-Waterloo, requested that the Senate Transportation Committee defer on Senate File 213 to give him more time to consider a measure that was speeding through the legislative process.

“I have been supportive of this concept in the past,” said Danielson, who noted he sponsored and was floor manager of a 2005 bill that raised Iowa's interstate speed limit from 65 to 70 mph. However, he told fellow committee members “I am not at this moment prepared on this committee — don't feel comfortable that I've done enough homework and due diligence on this to vote on this one w  (go to article)

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Steelworkers’ local reminds strikebreakers of their union oath

fuel fix -- The United Steelworkers union local in Pasadena accused its members who have crossed the picket line of personal greed and asked them to remember the unity pledge they took when they joined the union.

“It should be thought of and remembered that these Strikebreakers have thought of no one but their own situation and how to easiest remedy it short term,” says a letter which will be distributed to members of Steelworkers Local 13-227 in Pasadena. The union represents workers at LyondellBasell’s refinery.

The local union reminded its members about the initiation oath they took that included a promise to abide by the laws of the union, including “I will cease work when authorized and approved by the organization to do so.”

The union is responding to reports that some workers have crossed...  (go to article)

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Consumer Alert: Beware of Skimmers at the Gas Pump

WCTV -- TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In just the past two months, inspectors with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services have removed eight credit card skimmers from gas station pumps across the state. These skimmers are used to steal the credit card information from consumers, and the thieves then use the card information to make purchases in someone else’s name. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services works to protect consumers from fraud and scams, and this week, March 1-7, is National Consumer Protection Week.

“Consumers should be aware of potential scams and be careful when they are pumping gas or using their credit cards over the phone or Internet,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam.

Here’s what consumers should do to avoid skimmers at gas stat  (go to article)

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US running out of room to store oil

Times Bulletin -- NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. has so much crude that it is running out of places to put it, and that could drive oil and gasoline prices even lower in the coming months.

For the past seven weeks, the United States has been producing and importing an average of 1 million more barrels of oil every day than it is consuming. That extra crude is flowing into storage tanks, especially at the country’s main trading hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, pushing U.S. supplies to their highest point in at least 80 years, the Energy Department reported last week.

If this keeps up, storage tanks could approach their operational limits, known in the industry as “tank tops,” by mid-April and send the price of crude — and probably gasoline, too — plummeting.

“The fact of the matter is we are running out of storage cap  (go to article)

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Oil export bans creating market glut that could strangle U.S. boom, CEO warns

The Washington Times -- An emerging glut in U.S. oil markets is one more reason the U.S. government should lift long-standing bans of exporting oil to foreign customers, the head of one of the country’s biggest energy giants said Tuesday.

Ryan Lance, the chairman and CEO of ConocoPhillips, told a U.S. Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Tuesday that the U.S. is in the midst of an energy renaissance, but that to keep the oil boom hitting on all cylinders, the country will need to start exporting surplus barrels of crude.

Rising domestic production has already borne economic fruits for many Americans, he noted. The U.S. oil and natural gas industry now supports 9.8 million domestic jobs and has contributed more than 8 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product. In addition, those who work in the oil industry have a m  (go to article)

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Saudi Arabia ups official oil prices amid signs of stronger demand

Reuters -- Saudi Arabia raised the official selling prices (OSPs) for its oil deliveries to Asia and the United States on Tuesday, in the latest signal OPEC's largest exporter is seeing signs of stronger demand.

The Kingdom raised all U.S.-bound crude prices by $1 a barrel and hiked extra-light crude oil to Asia by $1.40 a barrel, in a vote of confidence oil demand is growing in two of its biggest markets following the price crash since June.

While the increase was largely anticipated by traders amid other signs of robust demand, it bolsters the impression Saudi Arabia is comfortable with the rebound in Brent crude to around $60 a barrel after hitting a six-year low of $45 in January.

Saudi Arabia and other OPEC members sharply cut OSPs in 2014 as the group decided to fight fast-growing U.S. shale  (go to article)

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Brent holds above $60 after Saudi price hikes

Reuters -- Reuters) - Brent held above $60 a barrel on Wednesday supported by a hike in Saudi crude prices and strikes on oil facilities in Libya.

In a move widely seen as a vote of confidence by Saudi Arabia in demand recovery, the OPEC kingpin raised the official selling prices (OSPs) for its oil deliveries to Asia and the United States on Tuesday.

"This is a sign that prices have bottomed out because it means Saudi is confident in raising prices without being afraid of losing market share," said Tony Nunan, a risk manager at Mitsubishi Corp in Tokyo.

In the past seven weeks, Brent crude LCOc1 rose from a six-year low to hold above $60 a barrel despite continued concerns about global oversupply.

The April Brent contract was down 30 cents at $60.72 by 0302 GMT, after rising 2.5 percent on Tuesda  (go to article)

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ICS Courier to stop using vans with Alberta plates in Toronto after racking up more than $600K in fi

Financial Post -- The time-sensitive business of express courier package delivery is made that much more complicated, and expensive, when drivers have to pay for parking in the crowded core of downtown Toronto. Slap a set of out-of-province licence plates on, however, and suddenly a delivery van can rack up parking violations with impunity, since the city’s tickets are unenforceable outside ON
At least, that used to be the case. ICS Courier, a division of Montreal-based TransForce, which also owns Canpar and Loomis couriers, said Tue it is stopping the practice of operating courier vans with AB plates in downtown Toronto
Toronto Police said that its top out-of-province “scoff” an ICS van: a white Mercedes Sprinter with AB plates, that has racked up 612 parking tickets in the past year, accumulating $33,400  (go to article)

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Oil moves higher, pushing Canadian dollar above 80 cents

CBC News -- Oil prices rose Tue after Saudi Arabia boosted the price of its output to Asian and U.S. buyers and as fighting threatened oilfields in Libya
Still, some analysts say crude could fall to $20 because of continued oversupply
WTI was up 74c to $50.32 this afternoon, while Brent was up $1.51 to $61.06 at the close of trading
The oil-sensitive Canadian $ rose by 1/3c to 80.05 US cents
Both Brent and WTI oil were recovering from a steep plunge in prices Mon, proof that oil markets remain volatile
Saudi Arabia’s Aramco surprised markets last Nov by slashing its prices in the U.S. in a bid to compete against the domestic production boom
It has made repeated price cuts to retain market share in the face of a worldwide glut of oil and slowdown in demand, but on Tue, it changed direction
Aramco annou  (go to article)

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Crude exports in spotlight as House leaders urge slow approach

Fuel Fix -- Perhaps the only certainty emerging from a House hearing on crude exports Tuesday was that the chamber will tackle the issue deliberately — and not with the haste some oil producers have urged.

House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders took pains to stress they will move carefully as they consider whether to loosen the nation’s 40-year-old ban on crude exports, for fear the change could hurt consumers and domestic refiners — or simply create the appearance of harm.

“Congress needs to be aware of all of the impacts before considering any modifications to energy policy,” said House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., suggesting lawmakers should use the same “careful and deliberative approach” previously applied to liquefied natural gas exports. “We again are undertaking a t  (go to article)

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Canadian Oil Imports to U.S. Gulf Rise on Pipeline Startups

Reuters -- The December startup of two major pipelines that move Canadian heavy crude to the United States helped increase U.S. Gulf Coast imports more than 12 percent from November, U.S. government data showed just days after President Barack Obama vetoed the Keystone XL pipeline.

The relatively swift uptick in Canadian oil arriving at the Gulf Coast, home to nearly half of U.S. refining capacity, follows the opening of two connecting lines that link Canada to U.S. tropical waters: Enbridge Inc's 600,000 barrels per day Illinois-to-Oklahoma Flanagan South pipeline, and Enterprise Products Partners' 450,000 bpd Oklahoma-to-Texas Seaway Twin.

According to the latest available data, total Canadian shipments to the United States rose 14 percent in December to 3.32 million bpd from November.

Mor  (go to article)

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Here's the Latest Sign the Oil-Price Plunge Is Hitting the Job Market

bloomberg.com -- As investors prepare for the release of the February U.S. employment data on Friday, we're getting more inklings of how the shakeout in the oil industry will impact the jobs market, and it doesn't look great: Demand for workers in energy-related occupations is plunging.
Online help-wanted ads for jobs involved in the extraction of oil and gas -- derrick operators, wellhead pumpers, roustabouts and the like -- declined 42 percent in the two months through January as oil prices cratered, according to data compiled by the Conference Board and Wanted Technologies. Occupations in the industry that have higher education requirements, such as petroleum engineers, geoscientists and technicians, also saw demand for their services collapse, with ads dropping 38 percent, Gad Levanon and his fellow r  (go to article)

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Analysts Say Gas Prices Are About to Collapse

Associated Press -- The U.S. has so much crude that it is running out of places to put it, and that could drive oil and gasoline prices even lower in the coming months.

For the past seven weeks, the United States has been producing and importing an average of 1 million more barrels of oil every day than it is consuming. That extra crude is flowing into storage tanks, especially at the country's main trading hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, pushing U.S. supplies to their highest point in at least 80 years, the Energy Department reported last week.
 (go to article)

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Why $100 Oil Won't Be Coming Back for a Long Time

Bloomberg Business -- (Bloomberg) -- Get ready for an L-shaped oil recovery.

A growing consensus is emerging from the likes of BP Plc, the International Energy Agency, shale wildcatters and even the Saudis that a near-term recovery to $100-a-barrel crude isn’t in the cards. Instead, expect a range of $50 to $60 for at least the next few years.
 (go to article)

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Next curveball for oil: An Iran nuclear deal

CNBC -- Talk is growing of a nuclear deal that could see a lifting of sanctions against Iran, a move that could turn the tap on its oil exports – something that would have significant ramifications for the volatile commodity, analysts say.  (go to article)

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In West Texas oil boomtowns, 'the end is near'

L.A. Times -- Fear blew in fierce over a patch of West Texas late last year, falling fast and without warning through gray skies to alight on the shoulders of men and women who depend on oil for their livelihoods.

Oil that was once $100 a barrel started selling for $75, then $60. Well drillers started pulling out. The rumbling truck traffic slowed.

Andrews National Bank director Russell Shannon has been through this before, back when he helped found the bank in 1983 and an oil glut sent prices spiraling down three years later. He experienced it again in the late 1990s, watching oil prices drop and a minor recession take hold. And when the Great Recession struck in 2008, months became years of belt-tightening.  (go to article)

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Dodge warns customers of "unscrupulous" Hellcat dealers

Fox News -- ·FoxNews.com

The greed of some Dodge dealers has incurred the wrath of the automaker.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is telling buyers to beware before putting down a deposit on one of the high-performance Hellcat versions of its Dodge Challenger and Charger models.

Both vehicles feature a 707 horsepower V8 that makes them the most powerful American production cars ever made. Despite starting prices in excess of $60,000, they’ve seen stronger than expected demand since going on sale late last year, and Dodge is having trouble building enough of the engines to go around.

While it works to increase production, it has set up an allocation program designed to discourage dealers from sitting on the cars themselves or putting huge markups on them, although Hellcats listed for $30,000 over  (go to article)

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Companies spend $1 billion in latest California carbon auction

Sacramento Bee -- The reason: State officials dramatically expanded the pool of credits for sale to accommodate a surge in demand. That became necessary because the cap-and-trade market has been broadened since Jan. 1 to cover the carbon coming from motor vehicle tailpipes.  (go to article)

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The Disconnect Between Crude Oil and Gasoline Prices

GasBuddy Blog -- If you've been paying attention to crude and gasoline prices lately, you'll notice that some days, the two have been moving in opposite directions.

So, what gives? How is it possible that crude oil prices continue to hold steady while you're shelling out more at the pump? One word: refineries. Obviously, no one can fill up with raw crude oil, otherwise we'd be doing so gleefully as oil prices remain under $50/bbl, but unfortunately, that crude oil must be refined into something that is useful- whether it be gasoline, diesel, heating oil, jet fuel, kerosene, or even asphalt.

And therein lies the problem. As refineries have been set back by various incidents- extreme cold, fires, explosions, etc, they've collectively been through-putting slightly less crude oil. In addition, domestic production of crude oil remains healthy, and so do imports. We're awash in oil, and according to this AP story, running out of places to store it all. Obviously when you have so mu  (go to article)

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Gov. Rick Scott tries to woo Wawa by offering to name Florida town after convenience store chain

Orlando weekly -- There will be more Wawas in Florida – just don't expect to find one in a Wawa, Florida.

Gov. Rick Scott went to Philadelphia this week with a team of economic-development and education leaders. And so far, all the Sunshine State has got is a reaffirmation that Wawa Inc. will continue to open hoagie-making convenience stores across Florida.

Try as he might, Scott was unable to conclude his first domestic "business development mission" by bringing south the Wawa, Pa.-based company's headquarters.

Philadelphia reporters, during a videotaped press conference Monday, noted that Scott even offered to change the name of a town in Florida to Wawa – after the company, not the Native American word for a Canadian goose that the company is named after.

"I wasn't very successful," Scott quipped  (go to article)

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Rising gas prices start at the refineries

EYEWITNESS NEWS 3 WFSB -- The days of paying $1.99 at the gas pump are gone as prices have steadily risen over the last month.

However, drivers are still paying significantly less per gallon of regular unleaded than they did a year ago - more than $1 less.

The bad news, according to experts, is that there's no end in sight to the current price jump.

Analysts said typically it's the price of crude oil that drives up the price. This time, however, it's starting with the refineries.

"In the industry, we call this a first quarter climb," said Allison Mac, an analyst for GasBuddy.com. "Every year around this time nationally, prices go up because we switch over to summer blend gas. Summer fuel is actually more expensive to produce."

According to Mac, refineries shut down for maintenance, which squeezes production.  (go to article)

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US running out of room to store oil; price collapse next?

Yahoo News -- NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. has so much crude that it is running out of places to put it, and that could drive oil and gasoline prices even lower in the coming months.

For the past seven weeks, the United States has been producing and importing an average of 1 million more barrels of oil every day than it is consuming. That extra crude is flowing into storage tanks, especially at the country's main trading hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, pushing U.S. supplies to their highest point in at least 80 years, the Energy Department reported last week.

If this keeps up, storage tanks could approach their operational limits, known in the industry as "tank tops," by mid-April and send the price of crude — and probably gasoline, too — plummeting.

"The fact of the matter is we are running out of storage cap  (go to article)

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US running out of room to store oil; price collapse next?

AP -- The U.S. has so much crude that it is running out of places to put it, and that could drive oil and gasoline prices even lower in the coming months. For the past seven weeks, the United States has been producing and importing an average of 1 million more barrels of oil every day than it is consuming. That extra crude is flowing into storage tanks, especially at the country's main trading hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, pushing U.S. supplies to their highest point in at least 80 years, the Energy Department reported last week.
If this keeps up, storage tanks could approach their operational limits, known in the industry as "tank tops," by mid-April and send the price of crude — and probably gasoline, too — plummeting.

"The fact of the matter is we are running out of storage capacity in the U.S."  (go to article)

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Why Southern Nevada Prices Are Skyrocketing

Las Vegas Review Journal -- Refinery maintenance. Preparations to manufacture “summer blend” fuel. A refinery workers strike. Gasoline supply speculation. An explosion and fire at yet another refinery.  (go to article)

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3 Reasons Gas Prices Could Rocket Higher

Motley Fool -- Well, we had a nice run. After 123 straight days of falling gasoline prices, sending it below $2 a gallon in many states, we've come back to reality a little bit. In fact, gas prices have now risen each and every day for about a month. Unfortunately, gas prices could go a lot higher because of three storm clouds that appear to be on the horizon, which could combine to send gas prices rocketing higher.

Storm cloud No. 1: Rising oil prices

The dramatic drop in the price of oil in late 2014 caused gas prices to come down as well.

Storm cloud No. 2: The big switch

However, what really drives the price of gas up is .. that oil refineries need to shift gears in the spring to focus on refining summer-blend fuels ...Storm cloud No.3: The picket line
 (go to article)

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The Best Way to Prevent Exploding Trains? Higher Oil Prices

Bloomberg -- Wreckage from the latest oil train explosion hadn't yet been cleared from the crash site in West Virginia last week when President Obama vetoed legislation that would have approved construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. The timing of the two events crystallizes one of the puzzles at the heart of the U.S. oil boom: How do we move all this new crude around the country?
As production in the U.S. has soared to more than 9 million barrels a day—up from just 5 million back in 2008—the pipeline industry has scrambled to reorient itself around new oilfields in North Dakota and Texas. But railroads have proven more nimble and in many cases beat pipelines to the punch. The amount of crude being moved by trains jumped by almost 5,000 percent since 2009, even though trains are less efficient and  (go to article)

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Oil production in federal Gulf of Mexico expected to continue increasing

EIA -- Because of the long timelines associated with Gulf of Mexico (GOM) projects, the recent downturn in oil prices is expected to have minimal direct impact on GOM crude oil production through 2016. EIA projects GOM production to reach 1.52 million barrels per day (bbl/d) in 2015 and 1.61 million bbl/d in 2016, or about 16% and 17% of total U.S. crude oil production in those two years, respectively.
The forecasted production growth is driven both by new projects and the redevelopment and expansion of older producing fields. Five deepwater projects began in the last three months of 2014: Stone Energy-operated Cardamom Deep and Cardona projects, Chevron-operated Jack/St. Malo fields, Murphy Oil-operated Dalmatian, and Hess-operated Tubular Bells. Also occurring at the end of 2014 was the redevel  (go to article)

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U.S. shale producers get no relief from rising Brent

Reuters -- More than ever before, U.S. shale producers are becoming the victims of outdated restrictions on the export of crude oil from the United States.

Export controls have ensured the most oversupplied part of the global oil market is at home in the United States.

The main beneficiaries are rival producers in the Middle East and elsewhere able to obtain higher international prices thanks to the export ban.

U.S. shale producers have received almost no benefit from the improvement in international oil prices since the middle of January.

Benchmark Brent prices have risen around $16 per barrel since hitting their recent low on Jan 13. But prices for shale producers are tied to the domestic marker WTI which has risen by only $4 per barrel over the same period.

In the middle of January, posted pr  (go to article)

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CBO: Feds spent $96B on infrastructure in 2014

the Hill -- “Nominal public spending on that infrastructure increased by 44 percent between 2003 and 2014, but because prices of materials and other inputs rose more quickly than nominal spending, real (inflation-adjusted) public purchases decreased, falling by 9 percent from their peak in 2003 to their level in 2014,” the agency wrote.
“Although all levels of government have spent less, in real terms, on transportation and water infrastructure in recent years than in the past, the greatest reduction has occurred at the federal level,” the agency said. “Adjusted for inflation, federal purchases have fallen by about 19 percent since 2003, while purchases by states and localities have fallen by about 5 percent. The significant difference between those declines reflects the facts that a much larger por  (go to article)

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Shell unveils plan to replace USW refining workers

Bloomberg -- Two days before contract negotiations are scheduled to resume between Royal Dutch Shell and the United Steelworkers’ oil union, the company announced plans to run its second-largest US refinery without union labor.

Shell will have trained and deployed enough “relief workers” by mid-summer to keep the 327,000-bpd Deer Park refinery in Texas running at full operations, The Hague, Netherlands-based company said late Monday on its website. USW members went on strike at the complex on Feb. 1 after their contract expired and talks broke down.

The announcement comes amid a national strike that’s now widened to 12 refineries accounting for almost 20% of the capacity in the US. Shell is leading the negotiations with the 30,000-strong United Steelworkers on behalf of companies including ExxonMobil  (go to article)

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Tensions flare as picket lines crossed in U.S. refinery strike

Reuters -- HOUSTON – Personal friendships are turning sour as some workers cross picket lines in the lingering U.S. refinery strike, with companies pushing laborers to return to work by saying they could lose their bonuses.

A month into the biggest U.S. refinery walkout in 35 years, money is tight as strike pay from the United Steelworkers union is a fraction of normal wages.

About 6,550 workers are on strike at 15 plants, including 12 refineries with a fifth of U.S. capacity. Companies are relying on temporary replacements to keep plants open.
 (go to article)

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Gasoline prices rising at rapid clip

CNBC -- Gasoline prices have risen 20 percent in just a month and could see another sharp jump before returning to much cheaper prices during the summer driving season.

According to AAA, the 39-cent per-gallon gain in a 35-day period is the longest streak of rising gasoline prices since 2013. The national average price of gasoline Monday was $2.42 per gallon of unleaded gasoline, up from $2.05 just a month ago.
 (go to article)

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Apple Car Seen as Serious Competitor by Auto Executives

Bloomberg News -- Automotive executives are taking seriously the prospect that Apple Inc. and Google Inc. will emerge as competitors even as they consider partnering with the two.

“If these two companies intend to solely produce electric vehicles, it could go fast,” Volkswagen AG Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn said at the Geneva International Motor Show. “We are also very interested in the technologies of Google and Apple, and I think that we, as the Volkswagen company, can bring together the digital and mobile world.”

Apple has been working on an electric auto and is pushing to begin production as early as 2020, people with knowledge of the matter said last month. Google said in January it aims to have a self-driving car on the road within five years.  (go to article)

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