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Business & Technology


Five bucks a gallon?

Goldman says oil ‘likely’ to hit $150-$200 by 2010

Goldman Sachs' Arjun N. Murti said this in a May 5 report: The possibility of $150-$200 per barrel seems increasingly likely over the next 6-24 months, though predicting the ultimate peak in oil prices as well as the remaining duration of the upcycle remains a major uncertainty. That would mean gasoline prices of $5 to $6 a gallon. Unless, of course, we permanently suspend the gasoline tax, in which case gasoline prices would only be $5 to $6 a gallon. Why should we listen to Murti? Well, back in 2005, when prices averaged under $60 a barrel, he was one …


Straight as a circle

Big Oil’s crooked talk on profits

Has the oil industry borrowed the (laughable) tagline of presidential candidate John McCain? As Fox Business reported last Friday: The American Petroleum Institute took out a full-page ad in USA Today, and other major media were tapped this week to provide "straight talk on earnings." The earnings that need "straight talk": ExxonMobil's $11 billion quarterly profit, and Chevron's $5.2 billion quarterly profit. (Note to Big Oil: When Fox doesn't give your spin favorable coverage, you've definitely become the Britney Spears of industries.) Apparently, the oil companies think that people will ignore their bloated profits once they see a chart showing …


I smell a hedging strategy

How much would you pay for cheap gas?

Suppose you're a commodity trader. Someone offers you a future contract to buy gasoline at $2.99/gallon for the next three years. If you think that you can sell that gasoline for more than that, you might think this is a license to print money, and would therefore pay for that privilege. Which raises the following questions: How much would you pay for that future "strip"? Is the answer to Question 1 more or less than a Chrysler?


Big biz ranked on greenness

Takeaways from a new ranking of eco-friendly practices in big biz: Consumer companies are getting greener, but there's plenty of ground to gain. In its second annual scorecard, nonprofit Climate Counts ranked 56 companies on their measurement, reduction, and disclosure of greenhouse gases. Eighty-four percent of the companies scored higher this year than they did in 2007, but the average score was still only 40 out of a possible 100. At the top of the list were Nike with 82, Stonyfield Farm with 78, and IBM with 77; Google was most improved, jumping from 17 points in 2007 to 55 …


More anti-intellectualism from the Clinton camp

Cringe along with Terry McAuliffe, who explains why economists don't know nothin':


RE: Turn on investments

Finding jobs at the Ceres conference

Photo courtesy Cheryl Levine Last week, I attended the Ceres conference in Boston. My table was sitting down to lunch when the person next to me whispered, "It's Al Gore!" Cool, sez I! We were already pretty excited about the prospect of hearing from Van Jones (president, Green for All), Theodore Roosevelt IV (managing director, Lehman Brothers), and Michael Eckhart (president, American Council on Renewable Energy). Having the Goracle drop in unannounced seemed like a perfect way for Ceres President Mindy Lubber to cap off an already great event. Alas, it was not to be. The should-have-been-President was actually just …


Eco-friendly outdoor-clothing company goes under

Last year, Eric Brody of outdoor-apparel company Nau excitedly chatted with Grist readers about his new enterprise and its ambitious sustainability plans. This week, the company announced that it's closing its doors: "Just as we could not have predicted the sudden groundswell of environmental consciousness that blossomed at the time we launched our business, we did not foresee the current crisis in the capital markets. At this time, investors are loathe to invest in anything -- especially, it appears, a company like Nau that has the audacity to challenge conventional paradigms of what a business should be." The oh-so-thin silver …


An interview with Fred Krupp, author of Earth: The Sequel and president of EDF

Fred Krupp. Fred Krupp has been piloting Environmental Defense Fund since he left private law practice in 1984. It hasn't gone badly: Under Krupp's leadership, the group has become an influential player in the deepest halls of power, with an annual budget that's ballooned from $3 million to $71.8 million. A substantial measure of EDF's success and credibility stems from its crucial role in the development of the emissions trading program to reduce acid rain, passed in the 1990 Clean Air Act. Now Krupp is trying to replicate that success on a larger scale, stumping ceaselessly for passage of a …


Follow the money

Carbon costs and energy prices, NC edition

As the most ardent Gristophiles know, this site is hosting a lively debate over the degree to which prices imposed on carbon emissions will impact energy costs. To recap, if prices do impact costs, then a carbon tax provides an investment incentive. If they don't, then we need some carrots to go with the stick of a tax. Hot off the presses comes this bit of news from Greenwire ($ub req'd): Duke Energy Ohio is asking federal regulators to approve the transfer of its Ohio power plants to companies owned by North Carolina-based Duke Energy Corp. whose rates are set …


Small cars gaining popularity in U.S. amid high fuel costs

High gasoline prices and other economic woes have driven car-buyers in the U.S. to purchase smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles lately. Last month, sales of compact and subcompact cars made up about 20 percent of total sales; in the mid 1990s, small cars accounted for only about one in eight cars sold in the country. Sales of vehicles with four-cylinder engines also outpaced sales of six-cylinder cars. "It's easily the most dramatic segment shift I have witnessed in the market in my 31 years here," said a Ford sales analyst. Meanwhile, sales of SUVs and trucks are seeing a sharp downward …