At this moment in 1980, Bruce Springsteen was atop the Billboard album charts with "The River."
So one those tracks, with A+ stuff from the late Clarence Clemons, takes us into the weekend...
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Falling oil prices are bad news for the oil industry — but they're great news for corporations that could use the relief from other expenses, Axios' Courtenay Brown reports.
Why it matters: With a tight labor market that's forcing companies to pay more to attract workers, plus the costs of tariffs from President Trump's trade war, oil is one less expense that will cut into companies' profits.
Driving the news: U.S. crude oil is recovering slightly in recent days after a record 12 days of consecutive price declines, driven by fears of an oversupply.
Background: Companies are already being hit with a triple whammy — higher commodity costs (including oil), a trade war that's making materials more expensive, and rising interest rates.
Executives haven't been quiet about rising costs and the pressure they're putting on profit margins.
Gasoline prices at the pump have plummeted alongside oil prices in recent weeks. That means companies can count on cheaper gas to push an already strong consumer to spend more.
Yes, but: There's no indication that falling oil prices now are a signal that they'll stay low for a long time — or that there will be a significant downturn like we saw between 2014 and 2015.
The bottom line: Lower oil prices have arrived at the right time for companies dealing with a potentially escalating trade war and the tightest labor market we've seen in decades.
Go deeper: Read Courtenay's full piece here.
California's deadly and tragic wildfires this month are creating big financial problems and bringing new scrutiny to the state's power companies.
The latest: Via the Wall Street Journal late last night, "A California regulator said ... it was expanding a probe of PG&E Corp.’s safety practices to explore the way the company is managed and run, including whether it should be broken up."
Threat level: In a special wildfire edition of the Axios Science newsletter, Andrew Freedman reports on reasons there's likely more to come in California and more broadly in the West after the latest in a 13-month string of the deadliest and most destructive blazes the state has ever seen.
The big picture: These fires have parameters in common — unusually warm and dry preceding conditions, strong winds that caused the fires to spread rapidly, extreme fire behavior and populated areas that are difficult to evacuate on short notice.
No single factor — not climate change, forest management or building practices — is responsible for the deadly blazes the state is now seeing, experts tell Axios. Instead, it's their combination that's making an already dicey situation far worse. And the outlook in coming years, as climate change continues, is foreboding.
What's happening: Longer-term climate change and population growth are combining to increase wildfire risk in California and more broadly across the American West.
FERC: Via Utility Dive, the nominee for an open Federal Energy Regulatory Commission seat is distancing himself from his work on a controversial — and unsuccessful — DOE proposal to prop up coal-fired and nuclear power plants. From their piece on Bernard McNamee's testimony before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee...
Arctic drilling: S&P Global Platts looks at Interior Department preparations to lease massive offshore tracts in ecologically sensitive Arctic waters off Alaska's coast.
Congress: The Washington Examiner chatted with lawmakers who see opportunities for targeted bipartisan cooperation on energy legislation next year.
Electricity is the thing we all need but don’t think about — unless it’s gone or extremely expensive, writes Axios' Amy Harder.
Why it matters: While the type of fuel powering America’s electricity has shifted rapidly in the last decade, what matters most to many people is what they pay for their electricity.
Driving the news: What we pay can vary wildly based on where we live, the weather, government involvement in electricity markets, and, of course, how much electricity we use.
"With the direct air capture technologies, 10 years ago you would have said that’s just like a fairy tale."
Who said it: Princeton University's Stephen Pacala in this new interview with Yale Environment 360. He led a recent National Academies report on development and deployment of negative emissions technologies.
What he said next, per the interview:
"But because of diligent activity by a small number of technical people, there’s been very rapid progress, so much so that knowledgeable people who are not starry-eyed, but just hard-headed, believe that there is a very high probability that a research effort within 10 years would produce direct air capture at less than a dollar a gallon of gasoline."