Hoarding gasoline, Coupang earnings, affectionate whales

Short supply.

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The pipeline attack is restricting US fuel supplies. Energy secretary Jennifer Granholm warned against “hoarding gasoline,” while North Carolina, Virginia, and Florida declared a state of emergency.

SoftBank posted record-breaking profits. The conglomerate’s annual net income was nearly $46 billion, the largest ever for a Japanese company, and it made a ton of money from its investment in Coupang (see below).

The US agreed to remove Xiaomi from a Trump-era blacklist. The previous administration had accused the tech firm of ties to China’s military, which could have led to its de-listing from US exchanges.

Violence in Israel and Gaza intensified. Israeli air strikes and militants’ rocket attacks, as well as rioting in the central city of Lod, have left dozens dead and hundreds injured, mostly Palestinians.

Narendra Modi backed out of the G7 summit in the UK. The Indian prime minister will no longer attend in person next month. Meanwhile, India recorded its highest daily death toll yesterday, and Delhi is nearly out of vaccines.

NFTs are coming to eBay. The online marketplace announced it will allow the sale of non-fungible tokens for digital assets like images, trading cards, and video clips.

What to watch for

Less than two years ago, South Korea-based Coupang was hemorrhaging money after it received $2.7 billion in funding from SoftBank, as it pushed to expand by endearing itself to customers with services like early morning and late-night deliveries.

The firm cut its losses from $770 million in 2019 to $567 million last year, as sales surged during the pandemic. Its March IPO raised another $4.6 billion, and gave it a market cap of $84 billion on the first day of trading.

Now, investors are hoping the Amazon of Korea will behave more like its profitable namesake when it reports earnings today. One of them, SoftBank, has already reported a $24 billion gain on its stake in Coupang.

Charting US renewable energy progress

A bar chart showing offshore wind capacity by country. The UK and China had more than 10,000 megawatts installed as of 2020. The US' Martha's Vineyard installation will have a capacity of 800 megawatts.

Over the last two decades, the US has seen a 12,000% increase in installed solar panel capacity and a 4,800% uptick in onshore wind turbines.

But offshore wind has always lagged behind, even as China and European countries forged ahead with booming offshore wind industries. This is poised to change over the next few years, as the Biden administration has signed off on the US’s first major offshore wind farm.

An individual offshore wind farm can produce far more energy than most onshore wind or solar installations; in terms of megawatts, Tim McDonnell reports, the new Martha’s Vineyard wind farm will be larger than all but the three largest onshore wind farms in the US.

A new license plate policy in China could help Tesla

Shanghai, which is home to Tesla’s Chinese factory, has stopped issuing free license plates for EVs priced under 100,000 yuan ($15,560), according to local dealers and Chinese media reports. This news comes despite the popularity of the Hong Guang Mini, manufactured by SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile—a joint venture between state-run car giant SAIC, General Motors, and Guangxi Automobile.

To curb congestion and air pollution, residents of large Chinese cities must enter a lucky draw for license plates. A plate can cost as much as 100,000 yuan ($15,566). But to encourage cleaner transportation, Shanghai has been issuing free license plates to EV owners since 2013.

As such, many users have purchased the Hong Guang Mini not only because of its low price point, but also the license plate attached to it says Jane Li. Beyond the Hong Guang Mini, China has another 30 or so budget EV brands that could also be affected by the change.

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Surprising discoveries

Two whales were caught hugging. The rare display of affection was captured by a drone camera.

Americans believe social media does more to divide than unite. The sentiment cuts across party lines, a recent poll shows.

A tiger is on the loose in Houston. A man seen with the feline has been taken into custody, but the whereabouts of the big cat are still unknown.

A marine worm that lives inside sponges has hundreds of anuses. But only one mouth.

Owls are a sign of alien encounters. At least that’s what some UFO hunters believe.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, missing tigers, and eerie owl encounters to hi@qz.com. Get the most out of Quartz by downloading our iOS app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Hasit Shah, Tripti Lahiri, Mary Hui, Liz Webber, and Jordan Lebeau.