The rising cost of oil isn't just a hit to the family budget. Businesses are hurt, too. Few are more affected than firms like FedEx. It deploys nearly 700 planes and tens of thousands of trucks and vans every day to deliver packages around the world. And few business leaders are more focused on finding alternatives to petroleum-based fuels than FedEx CEO Fred Smith.
Shortly after Smith founded Federal Express, the 1973 Arab oil embargo almost killed it. The experience imprinted Smith with a keen interest in the price and availability of oil.
"That would be an understatement," Smith laughs. "For sure."
FedEx now burns 1.5 billion gallons a year of petroleum-based fuels, and, once again, the potential for conflict in the Middle East, specifically with Iran, has boosted prices and raised fears of a supply disruption. Smith says keeping the supply of imported oil flowing has cost the U.S. dearly over the past 40 years.