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🌎 America's gas-tinted glasses

Lower gas prices boosted morale, even though food prices are expected to soar in the coming months.

Gas prices are displayed at a gas station near the drought-stricken Elephant Butte Reservoir, as monsoon rain falls in the distance, on August 16, 2022 near Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.
Mario Tama/Getty Images
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  • Sofia Lotto Persio
By Sofia Lotto Persio

Newsletter writer and editor

Published

Good morning, Quartz readers!


Here’s what you need to know

Americans are feeling more optimistic about the economy. Lower gas prices boosted morale, even though food prices are expected to soar in the coming months.

Credit card companies will start tracking gun purchases. Firearm retailers will be given a separate merchant code.

New York declared a state of emergency over the polio outbreak. Governor Kathy Hochul’s decision will help boost vaccination rates against the disease to 90%.

Antigua and Barbuda will vote on whether to remove King Charles III as head of state. The referendum could come in the next three years. Meanwhile, Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin arrived in Edinburgh, one of several stops ahead of the funeral scheduled for Sept. 19.

Colombia and Venezuela agreed to reopen their borders. Commercial flights and cargo transportation will resume on Sept. 26 as the two countries re-establish trade relations.

Carlos Alcaraz became the youngest-ever world’s number one male tennis player. The 19-year-old Spanish athlete just won the US Open, which boasted record attendance.


What to watch for

President Xi Jinping has not left China since the outbreak of covid in 2020, barring a visit to the semi-autonomous Hong Kong earlier this year. Foreign policy buffs and journalists alike have made several guesses as to where he will head first, but none have hit the mark.

In August, it was reported that Xi would visit Saudi Arabia, but the trip never materialized. There were also reports that he would travel to Southeast Asia in November to meet with US president Joe Biden. But now Xi will reportedly meet with Russian president Vladimir Putin this week in Uzbekistan. Should the trip materialize, it would mark a strengthening of relations between the two countries as their ties with the US remain strained.

Xi is undoubtedly seeking to be prudent about the timing and optics of this much-anticipated trip overseas, as it will broadcast his diplomatic priorities.


Time for Europe to turn off the lights

In preparation for a winter without Russian gas, European countries are looking to stock up as much fuel as possible. Some companies and governments are also enforcing a step that should have long been a no-brainer: turning off lights when they’re not in use.

That habit is ingrained in poorer countries, where people and companies keep close tabs on their electricity bills. But it is long overdue for wealthy countries that have been accustomed to keeping office and street lights on all night, no matter the financial or environmental costs.

A chart showing the energy used for lighting in an average European city. Offices, shops, and other buildings account for the most, followed by residential, industrial, and urban/street lighting.
Image copyright: Quartz

In a typical European city, office and commercial buildings use about half of lighting-related energy. A simple cost- (and carbon-) saving solution would be switching to smart lighting systems that automatically turn on and off when needed. Until then, staying warm in the winter will mean letting the nights grow darker.


Is “quiet quitting” actually a problem?

“Quiet quitting,” or doing the bare minimum that’s in your job duties without going above and beyond, is causing a lot of hand-wringing and hot takes among employers.

Companies and managers are rightfully worried about keeping worker engagement high, as it’s linked to greater productivity. But for workers, quiet quitting doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re spending eight hours a day feeling miserable or checked out. Rather, they’re not subscribing to the mentality that work has to rule one’s life.

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