Friday, November 30, 2012

EPA sued over biodiesel push

The American Petroleum Institute has sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over its September-announced mandate that 1.28 billion gallons of biodiesel be used in 2013. The group says using biodiesel will drive up the cost of regular diesel and says biodiesel producers have a history of engaging in fraudulent activity related to selling fuel credits to oil refiners.

The EPA touts biodiesel as a clean resource of turning vegetable oil and waste oils into usable diesel and as a way to break dependence on foreign oil.

The 1.28 billion gallons is a 28 percent increase from the 2012 requirement, API says. The group also filed a petition to the EPA asking for reconsideration of the mandate.

What do you think?

Read more here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Florida drivers can help pick new license plate design

The state of Florida wants to know what you think of the new proposals for a license plate.

Drivers can vote until Dec. 14, and their decision might decide the final design from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Anyone can vote on the state website. 

A 20-member committee of agency personnel, law enforcement, tax collectors and representatives from associations worked on the final license plate designs. The agency's graphics artist created the proposed designs.
The state is looking to change the current plate, which was first made in 2003 that has the orange in the center, above and "Sunshine State" motto below. The new versions shrink the orange and move it to the top of the plate while keeping the Sunshine State motto. The 2014 proposals also increase the number of available characters to seven from six.

In 1905, the state began to require that vehicle owners register and display their own tag, which were usually made of wood, leather or metal, according to the Pinellas County Tax Collector.

The state still offers more than 100 specialty license plates. In 2011, the most popular ones were the University of Florida, Florida State University and Helping Sea Turtles Survive.

Story from

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Fall of Diesel Prices Slows

While nationwide diesel prices at the pump saw a decrease this week, it was a small one. The average price for a gallon of diesel fell only four-tenths of a cents to $3.967, according to the weekly U.S. Energy Information Administration's Gasoline and Diesel Fuel Update.

Some regions have seen an increase in diesel prices this week, including regions along the East Coast and in the Midwest. Diesel prices jumped the most, 2.3 cents, in the Lower Atlantic region to $3.94 a gallon, which is still below the national average.

Diesel still tops $4 per gallon in the Rocky Mountain Region and on the West Coast. The highest prices for diesel can be found in California, where the average price per gallon is $4.14.

Gasoline prices also continued to decline this week as the nationwide average price per gallon dropped 2 cents to rest at $3.43. Prices did see a slight increase in the Midwest region, 1.3 cents, according to the report, the only region in the U.S. to see an increase in gasoline prices this week.

The Huffington Post reports that the price for benchmark crude closed at its highest point since Oct. 22 at $89.28. Reasons cited for the rise in price of oil are concerns about current unrest between Isreal and Hamas in the Middle East, and - to a lesser degree - the U.S. "fiscal cliff" situation.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Sandy Recovery Efforts Continue as Latest Storm Moves On

Despite the arrival of another storm last night, recovery efforts from the hurricane-turned-superstorm Sandy continue throughout the Northeast, while fuel problems have a domino effect in the Southeast.
Permitting Help from the DOT.

The Federal Highway Administration is working with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the American Association of State Highway Officials to speed up permitting for carriers moving temporary mobile housing units from Maryland and Alabama to New Jersey.

Under normal circumstances, carriers have to work with states to get permits from each state they travel through. FHWA is coordinating with AASHTO to cut through some of the red tape and get all necessary permits at the same time. In addition, FHWA is also working with states to allow nighttime moves, which aren't normally allowed.

The Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is also helping speed the transport of hazardous materials - including much-needed fuel - to and from hurricane disaster areas with fast-tracked emergency special permits.

Several permits have been issued to expedite gasoline and diesel transport into New Jersey and New York. Another permit has been issued that allows a large retail store to move goods quickly from damaged stores to temporary facilities nearby so people still have access to needed goods.

Read more here.

(This is a doctored photo, but it illustrates the devastation)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Hours rule suspended for Sandy relief effort

Trucks carrying emergency-related materials to and in states affected by Hurricane Sandy are exempt from the federal hours of service rules effective Monday, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has said in a declaration.

The states included in the exemption are Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, MAssachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia.

“This declaration of emergency provides relief for commercial motor vehicles operations while providing these emergency materials and services to customers in the above mentioned states during the emergency. This exemption applies only to those operations providing direct assistance to the emergency relief effort. Direct assistance terminates when a driver or commercial motor vehicle is used in interstate commerce to transport cargo or provide services not destined for the emergency relief effort or when the motor carrier operation dispatches such driver or vehicle to another location to begin operations in furtherance of commerce,” the declaration reads.

The waiver will last until midnight of Nov. 13.