Thursday, July 19, 2012

With gas prices declining, sales of hybrid and electric cars have remained surprisingly resilient. In fact, sales of dedicated hybrid and alternative-energy vehicles surged more than 164 percent in June, according to Kelley Blue Book's Blue Book Market Report for July 2012 ( ). With gas prices expected to continue their descent, hybrid and electric vehicle sales could slow; however, today it appears as though the sales decline will be relatively mild.

Blue Book Market Report Highlights:

Sales of alternative-energy vehicles typically fall rapidly after fuel prices peak, and although sales are down from the March 2012 high, they remain stronger than in previous years.
Sales of the Lexus CT200h improved nearly 500 percent year-over-year.

In addition, the Chevrolet Volt was a strong performer with sales improving more than 200 percent year-over-year. The Volt, popular for its longer driving range, has outsold the Nissan Leaf nearly 3-to-1 so far this year, even though it has a higher manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) and is not considered a "true" all-electric from a purists' standpoint.

The Honda CR-Z, Honda Insight and Nissan Leaf all fell short of figures from just a year ago.
Alec Gutierrez, senior market analyst of automotive insights for Kelley Blue Book: "The Toyota Prius was the most significant driver of segment gains, with sales surging more than 300 percent from June of last year. The Prius has been in high demand since the introduction of the subcompact Prius c and wagon-esque Prius v. Sales numbers for the Prius also look especially strong due to the inventory shortages that plagued Toyota at this time last year."

The monthly Blue Book Market Report explores the state of the automotive industry by analyzing Kelley Blue Book® Auction Values. The report also discusses developments in residual values and trends in monthly used-car shopper activity on If you would like to subscribe to the monthly Blue Book Market Report, please e-mail


“‘A beneficiary that uses MERS to avoid publicly recording assignments of a trust deed cannot avail itself of a nonjudicial foreclosure process that requires that very thing–publicly recorded assignments,’ the court ruled.” MERS will appeal.

“Westmoreland County, where Romney visited a company invested in natural gas drilling, was once a solidly D region that has swung increasingly R in recent years.” No place to go.

“Corporate energy giant TransCanada is appealing the property value assessment of their Bellows Falls hydroelectric dam, seeking to reduce the property’s value by $22 million. [This] would result in a total tax revenue loss of $640,000.”

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Planned surge for electric vehicles
China Daily
With the emphasis on purely electric and plug-in hybrid automobiles, China plans to aggressively boost production and sales of new-energy vehicles to ease oil consumption and pollution by 2020, according to a blueprint released last week by the State ...

Legal Issues Associated With Building "Green"
Mondaq News Alerts
The suit was driven in part by the fact that the owner failed to receive tax credits from the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) because the project did not achieve LEED certification in a timely manner. In response to an initial contractor monetary ...

Libor Manipulating Banks Used Baltimore’s Tax Dollars To Help Pay Off Your Mortgage, Or Something
There is a line forming to the left for people to beat up on Libor-manipulating banks, and it’s a long line so your beating time is limited and you have to make the most of it if you want anyone to care. Today’s the day for U.S. municipal borrowers. How’d they do?

1 dead in Bolivar well explosion
Times Reporter
One person was confirmed dead from an oil- and natural gas-well explosion Monday morning, but authorities will need additional time to provide positive identification of the victim and an exact cause of the explosion that sent flames and an oil holding tank high into the sky and created a blanket of intense heat that could be felt across the street.

Central Pennsylvania residents forced to move after land sold to make way for gas pipeline
JERSEY SHORE, Pa. -- On hot days, twins Amanda and Chevelle Eck splashed in the Susquehanna River behind their trailer in the Riverdale Mobile Home Park. Anytime their mother, Deb, worked late at her discount-store job, neighbors would meet the girls at the school bus stop and treat them to popsicles. In less than five months, their community has all but disappeared as residents were evicted from the park to make way for major industrial development planned by the land's new owners. Some had to surrender their mobile homes in the process of moving.

Neighbor says Truthland star should have talked to her
Times Leader
In Truthland, Susquehanna County teacher Shelly Depue travels cross country to learn the facts about hydraulic fracturing, but Tammy Manning thinks Depue would have heard a different story if she just went down the street. Manning lives about a mile from Depue in Franklin Township, Susquehanna County. Her water well is located about 7,000 feet from the gas drilling pad on Depue’s property and about 4,000 feet from a well pad on another property.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Electric motorcycle sales brisk at North Hampton dealerUnion Leader
NORTH HAMPTON — Great Bay Motorcycles President Don Jeka is an admitted motorhead. “I love internal combustion engines, performance, power,” Jeka said while working in his Route 1 shop. But another part of him, the dad part, is also environmentally conscious. “I know things have to move beyond fossil fuels,” he said. About six years ago, he started looking at electric scooters and motorcycles, but said they did not get very far on a battery charge, and they did not go very fast. Jeka is choosy about what he sells. The four-year-old shop currently showcases and sells almost exclusively Ducati, Triumph and Vespa. Until recently, nothing in the electric market caught his attention. But then he learned about Zero Motorcycles, a California company building 100 percent electric motorcycles with a range of up to 100 miles and the ability to reach top speeds of 88 miles per hour.

Better Place launches commercial electric cars
Jerusalem Post
etter Place Israel announced the commercial launch of its Renault Fluence electric vehicles on Sunday, almost six months after the first EVs hit the road on the company’s fourth anniversary in January. A television, newspaper and Internet advertising campaign, run under the slogan “It’s not for everybody,” will introduce the arguments in favor of electric vehicles and present the types of people Better Place believes are not suited for them. The expressed advantages include cost, no emissions, silent motors and lack of gasoline dependence.
The Pius DIY electric car kit gives the enjoyment of building an electric car
Torque News
Building your own electric car and learning electric vehicle technology could become real easy next year when the Pius electric car kit goes on sale in Japan. Just a few years ago those of us who wanted an electric car had only two choices, either locate one of the few that survived the electric car crushing frenzy, or build your own. Very few people have the willingness to spend a year or so building an electric car, which meant very few DIY electric car conversions were ever made. Thanks to Modi Corp. a DIY kit, named the Pius, will be available in 2013 to build an electric car. Well, a micro-car, anyway. And, no, that's not a misspelling, Pius is the name of the kit.
Pa. DEP: Methane may have leaked through perforations in Bradford gas well
Pocono Record
High levels of methane may have infiltrated private water wells and streams in Bradford County through small open spaces in a natural gas well that a drilling company was working to patch, state environmental regulators said. The description of the gas well failure was included in a letter from Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Michael Krancer to the Clean Air Council, an environmental group that commissioned a study last month that showed twice-normal concentrations of airborne methane in a roughly two-square-mile area of Leroy Twp. where the gas was found bubbling in streams and water wells.
GMO in sport: Genetically Modified Olympians?
Raw Story
As athletes get ready to smash Olympic records in London, scientists are in a high-stakes race of their own to develop a test that will unmask anyone altering their genes in a desperate quest for gold. Observers said science will not prevail in time for the games that start on July 27. While no-one is sure whether “gene doping” is actually happening yet, the theoretical possibility of people fiddling with their DNA to boost power and endurance is one that scares sport officials.
U.S. Is Building Criminal Cases in Rate-Fixing
NY Times
As regulators ramp up their global investigation into the manipulation of interest rates, the Justice Department has identified potential criminal wrongdoing by big banks and individuals at the center of the scandal. The department’s criminal division is building cases against several financial institutions and their employees, including traders at Barclays, the British bank, according to government officials close to the case who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is continuing. The authorities expect to file charges against at least one bank later this year, one of the officials said.
Was the petrol price rigged too?
The Telegraph
Concerns are growing about the reliability of oil prices, after a report for the G20 found the market is wide open to “manipulation or distortion”. Traders from banks, oil companies or hedge funds have an “incentive” to distort the market and are likely to try to report false prices, it said. Politicians and fuel campaigners last night urged the Government to expand its inquiry into the Libor scandal to see whether oil prices have also been falsely pushed up. They warned any efforts to rig the oil price would affect how much drivers pay at the pump, which soared to a record high of 137p per litre of unleaded earlier this year.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Exclusive: Encana tipped off Chesapeake to land plans in Michigan – Emails
The emails show the competitors traded information about whether Encana was halting new land leasing in Michigan in 2010, and the information prompted Chesapeake to dramatically change its leasing strategy in subsequent weeks and helped send Michigan land prices tumbling from record highs.
GE Energy Teams Up with PayPal to Make Electric Vehicle Charging Payments ...
MarketWatch (press release)
GE Energy's (NYSE:GE) Industrial Solutions business today announced details of the strategic agreement it entered with PayPal to launch the ecomagination(TM)-approved WattStation(TM) and WattStation(TM) Connect, a complete electric vehicle (EV) ...
Electric vehicle batteries' cost may drop 70% by 2025: Study
Straits Times
(REUTERS) - The cost of lithium-ion batteries used in electrified vehicles could tumble by more than 70 per cent by 2025 as rising oil prices and stringent fuel economy standards push automakers to build more of these cars, according to a McKinsey & Co ...
Department of Energy study looks at question: Can gas drilling fluids migrate ...
PITTSBURGH — A new study being done by the Department of Energy may provide some of the first solid answers to a controversial question: Can gas drilling fluids migrate and pose a threat to drinking water?
City Bankruptcy Could Raise Hurdles for Mortgage Seizure Plan
American Banker
San Bernardino County is forging ahead with deliberations on a proposal to seize delinquent mortgages, despite its largest city's decision Tuesday night to seek bankruptcy.
Mitt Romney Bain Mess Shows Stonewalling Consequences
Huffington Post
WASHINGTON -- It takes perverse talent to turn a two-day mini-story into a major three-week distraction. But that is precisely what Mitt Romney's campaign has done with a June 21 story in the Washington Post. As a result, they're losing valuable media time playing defense when they should be using every waking second and news cycle to remind voters about how crappy the economy is, and why President Barack Obama should be blamed for it.
Wells Fargo Will Settle Mortgage Bias Charges
NY Times
WASHINGTON — Wells Fargo, the nation’s largest home mortgage lender, has agreed to pay at least $175 million to settle accusations that its independent brokers discriminated against black and Hispanic borrowers during the housing boom, the Justice Department announced on Thursday. If approved by a federal judge, it would be the second-largest residential fair-lending settlement in the department’s history.
Geithner Wrote Libor Memo in 2008
Wall Street Journal
WASHINGTON—Timothy Geithner in 2008 sent a private memo to Bank of England Governor Mervyn King calling for six changes that he said would improve the credibility and integrity of the London interbank offered rate, a key interest rate that is now at the center of a international banking scandal, according to documents reviewed by the Wall Street Journal.
How Delaware Thrives as a Corporate Tax Haven
NY Times
NOTHING about 1209 North Orange Street hints at the secrets inside. It’s a humdrum office building, a low-slung affair with a faded awning and a view of a parking garage. Hardly worth a second glance. If a first one. Its occupants, on paper, include giants like American Airlines, Apple, Bank of America, Berkshire Hathaway, Cargill, Coca-Cola, Ford, General Electric, Google, JPMorgan Chase, and Wal-Mart. These companies do business across the nation and around the world. Here at 1209 North Orange, they simply have a dropbox.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

U.S Drivers slow to adopt EV's - Detroit Free Press - All-electric vehicles that you plug-in overnight are a tough sell with drivers afraid of becoming stranded with few charging stations in operation across the nation.

Recall Roundup - Zero MotorCycles - Wall Street Journal - The latest defect notices filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration include older Isuzu models with undercarriage rust problems, BMWs with faulty power steering and Zero electric motorcycles with brake lights that don’t work reliably.

Portage County, Ohio farcking fight - ReordPub - Foes of horizontal hydraulic fracturing in Portage County are joining their efforts to educate people about the potential dangers in drilling for natural gas. Concerned Citizens Portage County, which was formed in the southern part of the county, recently has merged with Concerned Citizens Ohio, from northern Portage.

How Much will Pennsylvania Pay for Drilling Success - Newsitem - Politics continues to threaten the health and welfare of Pennsylvanians. The latest is how the Republican-dominated legislature and Gov. Tom Corbett separated one of the wealthiest and more high-tech/industrial areas of the state from the rural areas.

Can the Democrats catch up in the Super-PAC game? - NY Times - It took several weeks for Burton and Sweeney to come up with a name for their start-up. To their irritation, every slogan they considered had already been trademarked by Republicans. “We gave our lawyer 10 more names,” Burton recalls. “Then like 50. We’re literally trying every combination of whatever. You can’t come up with a name that has the word ‘future’ in it that the Republicans don’t control. Romney’s Restore Our Future — that doesn’t even make sense, and that’s probably why they were able to get it.”

Wall Street's Captive Arbitrators Strike Again - Bloomberg - A set piece of Voltaire’s 18th century masterpiece, “Candide,” is a scene in which the British, after losing a battle, execute one of their own admirals “pour encourager les autres.” The analogy may be a bit heavy-handed, yet in many ways it fits what Finra -- the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Wall Street’s self-regulatory organization -- did to three arbitrators who, in May 2011, had the temerity to find in favor of a customer in a securities arbitration against Merrill Lynch, the nation’s largest brokerage and a unit of Bank of America Corp. After awarding the estate of the customer more than $520,000 -- a large amount by arbitration standards --Finra heard from unhappy Merrill executives and fired the arbitrators, two of whom had many years of experience.

Economic slump weakens China's trade growth - Time - (BEIJING) — China’s June trade growth decelerated sharply in a new sign of a deepening slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy. Import growth fell by half from May’s level to 6.3 percent, customs data showed Tuesday, reflecting weak consumer and industrial demand despite two interest rate cuts and other stimulus measures. Export growth declined to 11.3 percent from May’s 15.3 percent amid European and U.S. economic weakness.

Obama has a serious tax credability problem - Firedoglake - This weekend on CNN Robert Gibbs, a surrogate for President Obama, said Obama was 100 percent committed to letting the Bush tax cuts expire for those making above $250,000 a year. Given Obama’s track record on his tax related campaign promises, I have a tough time believing his team on this issue, and I’m likely not alone. When it comes to keeping his tax promises, Obama’s record falls somewhere between poor and abysmal.