Happy New Year. If you haven’t eaten any black-eyed peas yet this year, please try some. Seems the whole country could use an extra helping of good luck in 2012, and legend has it that these little beans can do the trick.
We certainly could use some good luck when it comes to the unemployment rate (clocking in at 8.5% on Friday, the lowest level in three years), both our economy and Europe’s economy, stability on the Iraq hand-off, the changing of the guard in North Korea, Egypt’s elections, and so on (pass the peas, please!).
I am surely hoping for the best, calm outcome when it comes to the Strait of Hormuz, three little words that have been ringing in my head since first hearing them a few weeks ago.
Tell me more
Seventeen million barrels of oil travel daily through the Strait of Hormuz, a waterway located between Iran and Oman. The U.S. Energy Information Administration calls it “by far the world's most important chokepoint” for oil transport. See map of SOH.
Iran--home to one of the four largest known oil reserves--is threatening to shut down the strait if the United States and Europe move ahead with threats to refuse to buy oil from Iran because of the country’s continued enrichment of uranium. Iran has long contended their uranium efforts are intended for civilian power use, while much of the outside world says they are building a nuclear bomb.
Ah, oil. Can’t live with you, can’t live without you.
Just to underscore that it’s oil that makes the world go round, U.S. car sales rose 8.7 percent in December, finishing the year on a high notefor Chrysler, Ford and General Motors. SUVs had a good year, too, as gas price stayed below the $4 mark.
For those looking for alternatives to traditional gas guzzlers, take note that sales of the electricChevy Volt popped 34% in December, despite warnings that the battery could catch fire (GM announced a fix) and despite little electric car infrastructure.
Putting it in perspective, there are approximately 10,000 each of the Nissan Leaf (also electric) and the Volt on U.S. roads, meaning they make up a mere fraction of the 13-plus million cars the big manufacturers each expect to sell in 2012.
Let’s leave it there
We could dive into a lot more on the energy front, starting with fracking (potentially causing earthquakes? yikes!). But you and I both know we like this email because it’s short :)
So be sure to eat some black-eyed peas. Tradition has it that you should eat them New Year’s Day, but I extend this to the first couple weeks of January. I put my recipe on the site if you need one. Goes great with Champagne, but what doesn’t?
Hi there, I'm Stacey Delo. I keep up with the news so busy women and Moms don't have to. I'm also blogging a lot about working Moms and flexible career options. When I'm not doing this, I work for The Wall Street Journal Digital Network and chase after a toddler. (photo credit: Erin Beach)