business news in context, analysis with attitude

We had a story last week about how California has banned the sale of new gas-powered automobiles as of 2035 … The rule also sets interim targets, requiring that 35 percent of new passenger vehicles sold by 2026 produce zero emissions. That requirement climbs to 68 percent by 2030.

This prompted one MNB reader to write:

And how are they going to dictate that 35% of car-buyers will want to purchase a zero-emission version.  This is so reminiscent of the Soviet Union’s obsession with manufacturing what the government wanted to make . . . with zero regard for what their citizens wanted to buy.  Didn’t work out too well for them.

I think that's an absurd comparison.

California is recognizing and dealing with an issue that presents an existential threat to humanity.   It actually is showing leadership.  Sure, it may be ahead of where consumers/citizens are, but that's the definition of leadership.

The Soviet Union had different priorities in mind, I think.

Last week we reported that Nicholas Bertram, president of The Giant Company, is leaving the organization on August 31 "to pursue other opportunities."  John Ruane, the company's Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, will serve as interim president until a successor is named.

One MNB reader wrote:

John Ruane was born and trained at Pathmark   He is a terrific Executive and they would be wise to make him the President.


I've been fairly critical of Amazon Fresh stores that I've seen, saying that they seem haphazardly merchandised, more like dark stores that just happen to allow shoppers in.  MNB reader Andy Casey replied:

Your comments about Amazon Fresh store shortcomings remind me of comments heard (and said) in the early days of Walmart entering grocery in a big way – unexciting stores, lousy fresh departments and so forth. I would never call a WM exciting but they do seem to have found a profitable niche.

Fair point.  That could be the case.  But it feels different to me … perhaps because I don't think that Amazon has the kind of long runway that Walmart had to get good at grocery stores.