TIME legal

Why New Jersey Doesn’t Let You Pump Your Own Gas

California Gas Prices Fall 9.6 Cents In One Week
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images A gasoline pump rests in the tank of a car on June 12, 2012 in San Anselmo, California.

The ban dates back to 1949

Lawmakers in New Jersey and Oregon are considering bills that would finally give drivers in those states the option to pump their own gas. But why was that practice banned in the first place?

Let’s start with the case in New Jersey. The Garden State’s ban on self-service gas stations, which are allowed in 48 states, began in 1949 when the New Jersey Legislature passed the Retail Gasoline Dispensing Safety Act. That law, enacted over concerns about the safety of consumers pumping petroleum themselves, was later followed by many other states. However, almost every state has since overturned their self-serve bans.

Some contend the New Jersey law was rooted in corruption, not safety concerns. There are also worries that young, inexperienced drivers run into trouble when visiting neighboring states and forced to pump their own gas for the first time (that was an issue for the author of this story when he drove in Pennsylvania as a teenager).

In both states, advocates say gasoline could be several cents cheaper if stations weren’t required to pay staff to pump gas. But thousands of jobs are also at stake if the practice ends.

That could all change now that lawmakers in New Jersey said Monday they intend to introduce legislation that would give drivers the option of self or full service at gasoline stations. That proposal comes about a month after a measure would allow drivers in rural parts of Oregon to serve themselves.

In some ways, these potential law changes could be a sign of the times. Roughly a year ago, a survey found that while Oregonians are almost evenly divided on self-service gas, voters under the age of 45 are strongly in favor of controlling the pump.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com.

MONEY Gas

Gas Prices Rise 3 Weeks Straight. Are You Getting Gouged?

150506_EM_GasPrices
Stewart Cohen/Pam Ostrow—Getty Images

Gas prices have increased for 21 consecutive days, and a consumer watchdog group says that greedy oil companies are gouging drivers filling up at the pump.

As of Wednesday, the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline was $2.64, according to AAA. That’s $1.03 cheaper than it was exactly one year ago. Still, prices at the pump have been on a steady incline lately, rising 21 days in a row. The average is now 8¢ higher than one week ago, and it’s up 25¢ over the last month. The last time gas was this expensive nationally was early December, per data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

California drivers have special reason to be upset about gas prices. They are currently paying the highest prices in the country, averaging $3.71 per gallon. That’s significantly more than even Alaska ($3.13) and Hawaii ($3.20), the two states that are usually outliers in terms of having the nation’s priciest gas.

The high gas prices in California have been blamed on issues with refineries, including at least one worker strike and one fire that caused a shutdown. Refinery problems have affected gas prices throughout the West: Prices at Nevada gas stations, for instance, leaped 20¢ to 30¢ per gallon in the last week alone, reaching $3.20 as of Wednesday.

However, a new report from the Consumer Watchdog group says that West Coast refinery profits have soared in early 2015, leading them to believe that the “problems” are being used as an excuse to fleece drivers.

“The proof’s in the oil companies’ own profit reports,” Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog, said in a press release. “California drivers are getting gouged and California refineries are getting richer every time a refinery goes down and gasoline prices go up.”

Consumer Watchdog’s review of the data shows that over the past 10 years, spikes in prices at the pump have corresponded with profit surges for Valero and Tesoro, two major California refineries. During the first quarter of 2015—when California prices remained stubbornly high compared with most of the country, where drivers were enjoying exceptionally cheap gas—Valero recorded a profit of $82 million, far above its $25 million in profit for an average quarter.

To some extent, it sure looks like high prices at the pump on the West Coast are not reflective of higher costs being incurred by refineries. “The refiners’ costs are stable, but they are gouging on the prices they charge at the gas station,” Liza Tucker, a co-author of the Consumer Watchdog report, explained to the San Jose Mercury News. “We’re not saying that oil companies can’t make a profit but we are saying that they can’t gouge consumers.”

Consumer Watchdog is asking for government intervention to prevent refineries from restricting supply and inflating gas prices purely for their own profits.

As for gas prices around the country, the consensus seems to be that the recent spike in the cost of fueling up is a blip on the radar, and that prices will flatten out or perhaps even retreat a bit in the near future. Crude oil prices are expected to fall thanks to the continued strength of the U.S. dollar, among other factors, and that should translate to cheaper prices at gas stations.

Refinery disruptions should cease to be problems soon too, GasBuddy analyst Patrick DeHaan said in a CNBC interview. “Average prices nationally will be in the mid-$2 range for much of the summer,” he said.

Still, California drivers should expect to keep on seeing prices at the pump that are far higher than the national average.

MONEY Autos

Cheap Gas Helps Pull the Plug on Electric Cars

2014 Chevy Spark EV
GM 2014 Chevy Spark EV

Sales of the Nissan Leaf and other electric cars have dipped thus far in 2015, and automakers have resorted to price cuts to boost interest in plug-ins.

How does the price of gas correlate to electric car sales? One might reasonably assume that the higher gas prices go, the more likely battery-powered vehicles are to appeal to the masses. When gas prices are cheap, on the other hand, interest in electric cars would tend to fade, as the difference in the cost of charging versus fueling up shrinks.

Jessica Caldwell, director of industry analysis at Edmunds.com, has said that gas prices “certainly” have an effect on electric car sales. This week, Edmunds released some data that may seem particularly alarming to green car enthusiasts: Thus far in 2015, 22% of owners who traded in hybrid or electric cars did so while buying an SUV; only 12% did such as swap three years ago.

“For better or worse, it looks like many hybrid and EV owners are driven more by financial motives rather than a responsibility to the environment,” Caldwell said in a press release timed to coincide with Earth Day. “Three years ago, when gas was at near-record highs, it was a lot easier to rationalize the price premiums on alternative fuel vehicles. But with today’s gas prices as low as they are, the math just doesn’t make a very compelling case.”

Edmunds is hardly the only auto industry observer to take note of how low gas prices affect car purchases. John Krafcik, the former CEO of Hyundai Motor America and current president of the car-buying website TrueCar.com, explained to NPR, “During months when gas prices are low, less fuel-efficient cars tend to take a greater share of the market and vice versa. It’s a fairly one-to-one relationship.”

Yet other data indicates that falling gas prices have little, or perhaps no, impact on sales of electric vehicles. The Los Angeles Times pointed out that plug-in EV sales were up 3% in January 2015—when the national average price for a gas was a cheap $2 per gallon—compared with sales in January 2014. Sales of the plug-in Nissan Leaf remained strong last fall and hit a record high for 2014, even as gas prices plunged and fuel-efficient hybrids like the Toyota Prius struggled to win over buyers. Some electric car enthusiasts have therefore concluded that “gas prices don’t affect electric car sales,” or that there is “zero correlation” between gas prices and plug-in electric vehicle sales.

Let’s look at how things have played out over the past few months, however, during a time when gas has remained cheap, and when forecasts indicate that prices at the pump will stay low for some time to come.

Indeed, EV sales in January 2015 surpassed the same month in 2014, and sales in the first three months of this year are above the corresponding period from 2014. According to Inside EVs data, 23,339 plug-in cars were purchased in the U.S. from January to March 2015, compared with 22,671 for the same three months in 2014. Yet 2015’s total includes 2,681 sales of the BMW i3, a vehicle that wasn’t on the market during the same period in 2014. What’s more, sales of the $70K+ Tesla—which, presumably, few buy for the sake of saving money on fuel—have taken off lately. Through March 2015, an estimated 4,700 Tesla Model S vehicles have sold, compared to 3,500 a year ago. Remove the i3 and the Model S from the equation, and EV sales in 2015 have fallen behind the 2014 pace.

Notably, the world’s best-selling electric car, the Nissan Leaf, is in a sales slump. Just over 4,000 Leaf purchases have been made in the U.S. during the first three months of 2015, down more than 20% compared with roughly 5,200 for the corresponding period a year ago. The #2 best-selling plug-in, the gas-electric hybrid Chevy Volt, has fared even worse: The prospect of the forthcoming 2016 redesign, as well as anticipation of the long-range Chevy Bolt down the road, seems to have dampened enthusiasm for the current Volt. Sales are down roughly 50% compared with last year, and Chevy announced it would halt production of the Volt in May with the hopes of clearing out a backlog on dealership lots.

A couple of other GM electric cars are showing obvious signs of weakness as well. Cadillac just cut the price of the ELR plug-in hybrid, while Chevy dropped the price of the Spark EV—essentially bringing the takeaway cost to under $15,000 in some places once incentives are factored in—and has also begun offering leases for as little as $139 per month.

That’s “cheaper than the average family’s monthly phone bill,” as Kelley Blue Book’s Karl Brauer put it in a USA Today story. “Automakers are doing what they can to get these vehicles out of showrooms and into consumers’ hands.”

It’s foolish to say that the price of gas is the only reason more people aren’t buying these cars. Still, the cheap price of gas can only hurt the case for owning such a vehicle.

As for what’s the smartest approach when it comes to deciding which car to go with, it’s unwise to buy into an idea just because it happens to be trendy at the time, just as it’s unwise to make a big-ticket purchase based on the price of gas at any given time. Most car buyers expect to own their vehicles for the long haul, and they should fully expect gas prices to fluctuate over the years. Edmunds.com put it this way: “The best rule of thumb is that the longer you intend to keep a vehicle, the less you should rely on the present price of fuel when determining whether your budget can handle the monthly operating costs.”

MONEY home improvement

Getting Your Lawn Equipment Ready for the Season

For Sale sign illustration
Robert A. Di Ieso, Jr.

Q: I learned the hard way that lawnmower gas goes stale over the winter, so now I use gasoline additive in my mower, string trimmer, snow blower, and generator. But my neighbor says it’s better to burn the tank dry. Is that true?

The reason that gas gets “stale” and can gum up power equipment engines is that it contains ethanol, which absorbs water. That water can damage the engines of non-road equipment, says Kris Kiser, of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, a trade association.

Most gas-station gas contains 10% ethanol, thanks to a 2007 federal mandate designed to reduce carbon emissions. And 15% ethanol is now being sold at some stations, but only for cars built in 2001 or later.

It actually turns out that ethanol doesn’t provide nearly the environmental benefit that was expected—and some lawmakers are proposing eliminating the mandate altogether—but that’s another story. For now, the vast majority of small-engine problems can be traced to ethanol, says Kiser, and you have three choices for avoiding trouble:

  1. Buy ethanol-free fuel. You can get it at home centers and outdoor power equipment dealers. Burn it and you won’t have to worry about your gas going stale. The problem is you’ll pay around $6 a quart for “E-0” gas. That equates to a very steep $24 a gallon.
  2. Use a fuel stabilizer. It prevents the ethanol from absorbing moisture and thereby prevents regular gas-station fuel from going stale and gumming up the motor. A bottle that costs only about $9 will probably last you several years.
  3. Run your gas tank dry. By rationing small portions of gasoline into your power equipment as needed and always running the machines until they burn all that gas and stall out, you ensure that no gas is left in the engine to go stale. This solves the problem and offers another large benefit, especially for gas-powered generators. The standard advice to run generators monthly is largely designed to burn the old gas and prevent it from going stale. But if you leave the tank dry, there’s no need to do that. Just start it (with very little gas) every few months to ensure it’s working properly, and run it until the gas is gone.

“Any of these three options works well,” says Kiser, “but check your owner’s manuals because different manufacturers have different requirements for their machines.”

 

TIME Environment

Obama Administration Plans New Offshore Drilling Rules to Prevent Oil Spills

The goal is to prevent disasters like the BP oil spill

The Obama Administration is planning to announce new safety regulations for offshore oil and gas drilling to help prevent a major explosion like the one that caused the BP oil spill, according to a report.

The announcement is expected to coincide with the disaster’s five-year anniversary later this month, the New York Times reports.

The new regulations would likely tighten safety requirements on blowout preventers. The devices, seen as a last line of defense, malfunctioned and failed to stop the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig on April 20, 2010.

Read more at the New York Times.

MONEY Gas

Can You Say Road Trip? Gas Prices Will Stay Cheap Through Summer

women on roadtrip, leaning out car windows
Alamy

Forecasts indicate that gas prices this summer will average $2.45—more than 30% cheaper than they were the year before.

It’s more or less tradition that gas prices spike in summer, hand in hand with vacation season and rising demand. Based on the new forecast from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), however, prices at the pump are expected to remain flat for months to come.

Since prices right now are dirt cheap compared to previous years—the national average of $2.39 per gallon as of Wednesday is $1.20 lower than the same day in 2014—that means big savings for drivers. What with cheap gas prices and increased fuel efficiency in today’s vehicles, average household spending on gas in the U.S. this year is projected to hit its lowest level since 2004. The typical household should expect to save $700 on filling up this year compared to 2014.

The EIA is forecasting a national average of $2.45 per gallon from April through September, and an average of $2.40 for 2015 as a whole. The last year that saw a cheaper average than this was 2009, when prices dipped dramatically to $2.35 after inching up consistently, from $2.25 in 2005, to $2.58 in 2006, and $2.81 in 2007, then spiking to $3.26 in 2008.

What’s truly remarkable is that the EIA estimates could be on the high side. The analysts at GasBuddy call for a national average of between $2.15 and $2.35 in June, for instance, compared to an EIA projection of $2.45 for the month. No matter what, as long as these estimates are in the ballpark, prices will be far cheaper than June 2014, when the average was around $3.60.

And yes, prices could even get cheaper as summer draws near, which is the opposite of what drivers have grown accustomed to. “We know that our assessment challenges the conventional thinking that believes retail fuel prices always run highest during the summer driving season,” GasBuddy senior petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan said in a press release. “Barring any unforeseen events—like refinery breakdowns or hurricanes—current supply and demand fundamentals could put more downward pressure on retail prices even during the summer driving season.”

The experts at AAA agree, explaining, “Unless there are new regional refinery issues or global crude prices turn markedly higher, drivers can expect to see pump prices continue to slide leading up to the start of the summer driving season.”

MONEY Oil

Two Big Reasons You Won’t Be Spending More On Gas Anytime Soon

Shaybah oilfield complex, in the Rub' al-Khali desert, Saudi Arabia, November 14, 2007.
Ali Jarekji—REUTERS Shaybah oilfield complex, in the Rub' al-Khali desert, Saudi Arabia.

Chinese demand doesn’t seem to be improving, and Saudi Arabia is actually boosting production.

The beleaguered oil industry was hit with a double dose of bad news on Tuesday, which initially sent oil prices down. On the supply side, Saudi Arabia continues to make good on its refusal to cut its production, instead, it actually boosted production close to an all-time high. Meanwhile, weaker than expected demand in China doesn’t appear to be improving as factory data from the world’s top oil importer slipped to an 11-month low. Unless these two trends reverse course both could continue to put pressure on oil prices in the months ahead.

Gushing supplies

Saudi Arabia is making it abundantly clear that it has no intention of cutting its oil production to reduce the current glut of oil on the market. This past weekend its OPEC governor, Mohammed al-Madi, said that the market can forget about a return of triple digit oil prices for the time being. That statement was backed up by the country’s oil production data, which according to a Reuters report is now up to 10 million barrels per day. Not only is that near its all-time high, but its 350,000 barrels per day more than the country told OPEC it would produce last month. In fact, as we can see in the following chart the Kingdom’s oil output has steadily risen over the past few decades and is nearing its previous peak from the 1980s.

Saudi Arabia Crude Oil Production Chart

Typically the Saudi’s are the first to cut oil production when the market has too much supply. However, this time it’s more concerned with keeping its share of the oil market that it’s willing to flood the market with cheap oil in order to slow down production growth from places like the U.S., Canada, and Russia. This is leaving the world short of places to put the excess oil asstorage space is quickly running low due to weaker than expected demand.

China continues to slow

To make matters worse, China, which is the world’s second largest economy and top oil importer, continues to see its economic growth slow suggesting its demand for oil could be even more tepid in the months ahead. The latest data out of China shows that factory activity is now at an 11-month low. This was after the HSBC/Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index was at 49.2 for March, well below the 50.7 mark from February. Not only is that below the 50.6 that economists had expected, but it’s now below the 50-point mark that separates growth from a contraction.

That’s bad news for oil prices because as the following chart shows China’s rapidly expanding economy has been a key driver of its surging oil demand over the past decade.

China Oil Consumption Chart

With China’s economic growth slowing down it’s leading to a slowdown in its demand for oil. That leaves robust global oil supplies with nowhere to go at the moment as demand for oil in Europe has been weakened by its own economic issues while the U.S. no longer needs as much imported oil thanks to efficiency gains as well as its own robust output. This will put pressure on oil prices as increased demand for oil from China was seen as a key for an oil price rally.

Investor takeaway

So much for peak oil as Saudi Arabia has now pushed its production close to its all-time high with no signs that it plans to tap the brakes. That’s coming at the worst possible moment as the oil market is oversupplied by upwards of two million barrels per day at the moment due to weaker than expected demand in China. Worse yet, Chinese demand could start to contract as its economic machine is notably showing down. This means that investors in oil stocks are in for more volatility as the market continues to work through its supply and demand issues.

Related Links

MONEY Oil

What to Do When Oil Prices Sink (Again)

oil derrick
Alamy

An abundance of oil in storage and not enough demand from refineries could send oil prices plunging this spring.

After a steep drop late last year the price of oil has stabilized over the past month to right around $50 per barrel. However, that stability might not last long as there are signs on the horizon that the oil industry could be in for another leg down. That has some analysts suggesting that oil could hit $30 per barrel before rebounding later this year.

Growing concerns

In the International Energy Agency’s, or IEA, monthly report released this week it said it sees near-term trouble for oil prices. According to the Agency, its concern is that the U.S. might soon run out of spare storage capacity, which will put pressure on the price of oil this spring. The report noted that “on the face of it, the oil price appears to be stabilizing. What a precarious balance it is, however.” The report then went on to note, “[B]ehind the facade of stability, the rebalancing triggered by the price collapse has yet to run its course, and it might be overly optimistic to expect it to proceed smoothly.”

Those aren’t exactly encouraging words for oil executives or energy investors. It’s leading to some dire short-term predictions for the oil price. For example, Goldman Sachs’ GOLDMAN SACHS GROUP INC. GS 1.31% president, Gary Cohn, said he thinks that crude could fall to as low as $30 per barrel this spring as storage capacity tightens up leaving fewer buyers of oil. It’s also not helping matters that demand for oil in the U.S. is lower in the spring as refineries switch over from producing home heating oil to summer blend gasoline. This leads to less demand for oil each spring, which could exacerbate this year’s oil glut with no other outlet for U.S. oil due to the export ban.

Longer-term gains

All that being said, there are also signs that once the U.S. gets past the spring glut it could see a sharp rally in the oil price later this year. That’s because U.S. oil producers have dramatically cut spending to drill new wells, suggesting that production should plateau and could even begin to decline by year end.

We’ve already seen this in North Dakota, which is the country’s second largest oil producing state. According to the state’s Department of Mineral Resources, oil production in the state peaked at a record high of 1.23 million barrels a day in December. However, in January, production slipped 3.3% to 1.19 million barrels as producers only completed 47 new wells to start the year compared with 183 well completions the month before. That trend toward lower well completions is expected to continue throughout the year as most producers in the state have cut spending by 50% or more as a result of the oil price plunge.

Meanwhile, global oil demand is now rising a bit faster than projections after failing to meet demand projections last year. The IEA raised its demand forecast for the second half of this year by 75,000 barrels per day bringing total projected global oil demand up to 93.5 million barrels per day for the year. This is as lower oil prices have helped spur demand for oil. In fact, even Europe saw its declining demand for oil rebound, as it was up 3.2% last December and up again by 0.9% in January.

This all suggests that the oil price could rally later this year as stronger than forecasted demand is met by a decline in supplies. Further, if OPEC does decide to trim its output at its June meeting it could hasten a rebound in the oil price.

Investor takeaway

The price of oil could be under a lot of pressure this spring as U.S. oil storage capacity fills up. However, the longer-term outlook is a bit more bullish as there are some signs that U.S. oil production is starting to slow its rapid growth with declining production in former growth darlings like North Dakota. That, combined with some recovery in demand could push oil prices meaningfully higher later this year. So, if you’re thinking about buying oil stocks, this spring could be the last great opportunity to buy near the bottom.

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TIME Diet/Nutrition

Gas-Sensing Pills May Detect Underlying Stomach Problems

Overweight senior man touching stomach
Getty Images

Research is now looking at the gases made by gut bacteria compounds for clues to our health

We treat all gas pretty much the same way—with a held breath. Then we ignore it. But our bodies are brimming with all kinds of interesting gases, many of which have a lot to say about our health. They’re worth paying attention to, argues a new paper in the journal Trends in Biotechnology.

A multidisciplinary team in Australia say they’ve developed a noninvasive swallowable sensor, in the form of a pill, that can detect the gases brewing inside of you. Currently, experts rely on indirect measurements—like breath and fecal analysis—to gauge which gases are in the intestine. But a sensor could tell you straight from the source.

The gas capsules aren’t yet available for human use, and the paper is just a discussion of techniques. But here’s the idea: When bacteria ferment undigested food in your gut, they release gases like carbon dioxide, hydrogen and methane, the researchers write. The types of gases bacteria produce, and their concentrations, depend on your health—and in certain concentrations, some gases can indicate gastrointestinal disorders, says Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh, study co-author and professor of electrical and computer engineering at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia.

A gas-sensing pill could give you a real-time glimpse into what’s going on in your gut; as the gases permeate the sensor, the sensors produce signals and digitize the data, then send it to an app, he says. “If some organic compound like butyrate goes up, that means something is happening to the wall of the stomach,” he explains, “and the thing that is happening is generally not good, has to be detected and should be addressed very quickly.”

MORE: You Asked: Should I Take Probiotics?

Even for a person without stomach troubles, the sensor could be useful for figuring out exactly how foods affect the body, Kalantar-zadeh says. “Basically, this tells us if the food that we take transforms into energy efficiently in our body or not,” he explains. “That can actually have a very big impact on all the controversies about food.”

While food science is tormented by conflicting findings—are low-carb diets good or bad?—gas is more straightforward, Kalantar-zadeh says. “Information about the gases inside the stomach are not complicated information,” he says. “Automatically, we can have libraries that compare the charts for you, so basically it needs just an app to give you the information.”

Currently, researchers are digging into our gut bacteria to figure out exactly what they say about our health, unearthing links to all kinds of issues from food allergies to how the body responds to medication to red meat’s role in heart failure. “This at least adds an extra degree of certainty to those kind of associations,” says Kalantar-zadeh. “It can have such a potential impact on the health of human beings.”

TIME Oil

The Real (and Troubling) Reason Behind Lower Oil Prices

green-gasoline-pump
Getty Images

It isn't supply and demand, as most people believe

I am obsessed with how the top tier of finance has undermined, rather than fueled, the real economy. In part, that’s because of I’m writing a book about the topic, but also because so many market stories I come across seem to support this notion. The other day, I had lunch with Ruchir Sharma, head of emerging markets for Morgan Stanley Investment Management and chief of macroeconomics for the bank, who posited a fascinating idea: the major fall in oil prices since this summer may be about a shift in trading, rather than a change in the fundamental supply and demand equation. Oil, he says, is now a financial asset as much as a commodity.

The conventional wisdom about the fall in oil prices has been that it’s a result of both slower demand in China, which is in the midst of a slowdown and debt crisis, but also the increase in US shale production and the unwillingness of the Saudis to stop pumping so much oil. The Saudis often cut production in periods of slowing demand, but this time around they have not. This is in part because they are quite happy to put pressure on the Iranians, their sectarian rivals who need a much higher oil price to meet their budgets, as well as the Russians, who likewise are on the wrong side of the sectarian conflict in the Middle East via their support for the Syrian regime.

Sharma rightly points out, though, that supply and demand haven’t changed enough to create a 50% plunge in prices. Meanwhile, the price decline began not on the news of slower Chinese growth or Saudi announcements about supply, but last summer when the Fed announced that it planned to stop its quantitative easing program. Sharma and many others believe this program fueled a run up in asset buying in both emerging markets and commodities markets. “Easy money had kept oil prices artificially high for much longer than fundamentals warranted, as Chinese demand and oil supply had started to turn back in 2011, and oil prices have now merely returned to their long-term average,” says Sharma. “The end of the Fed’s quantitative easing has finally pricked the oil bubble.”

If this is the case, the fact that hot money could have such an effect on such a crucial everyday resource is worrisome. And the fact that the Fed’s QE, which was designed to buoy the real economy, has instead had the unintended and perverse effect of inflating asset prices is particularly disturbing. I think that regulatory attention on the financialization of the commodities markets will undoubtedly grow; for more on how it all works, check out this New York Times story on Goldman’s control of the aluminum markets. Amazing stuff.

Correction: The original version of this story misidentified Ruchir Sharma. He is the head of emerging markets for Morgan Stanley Investment Management.

Read next: The U.S. Will Spend $5 Billion on Energy Research in 2015 – Where Is It Going?

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