SC business notebook, June 19

Chrysler changes course, will recall 2.7 million Jeep Cherokees, Liberties

Chrysler abruptly agreed to recall 2.7 million older model Jeeps Tuesday, reversing a defiant posture and avoiding a possible public relations nightmare over fuel tanks that can catch fire in a rear-end collision. Earlier this month, the company refused the government’s request to recall Jeep Grand Cherokees from model years 1993 through 2004 and Jeep Libertys from 2002 through 2007. The company said calls from concerned customers played a part in its reversing course. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration contends that the Jeep’s gas tank can rupture if hit from the rear, causing a fire. NHTSA said a three-year investigation showed that 51 people had died in fiery crashes in Jeeps with gas tanks positioned behind the rear axle.

Duke CFO taking CEO post at end of month

Duke Energy’s chief financial officer will take over for retiring CEO Jim Rogers at the end of the month. Lynn Good, 54, has been CFO since 2009. She will also take a seat on the company board. Rogers will retain his board chairman seat until he steps down at the end of the year. The board plans to name one of its independent directors as chairman or woman-elect in the coming weeks. That person will become chairman when Rogers departs.

Consumer prices rise slightly in May

U.S. consumer prices rose slightly in May as higher energy costs were partly offset by cheaper food. The small increase comes after two straight declines, underscoring that American consumers are benefiting from mild inflation. The consumer price index ticked up a seasonally adjusted 0.1 percent last month, only the second increase in seven months, the Labor Department said Tuesday. Consumer prices fell 0.4 percent in April, the largest decline in four years. In the past 12 months, prices have increased just 1.4 percent. That’s up from a 1.1 percent annual pace in April, which was the smallest in 21/2 years.

New York City, AT&T putting in solar-powered ‘Street Charge’ stations in parks

New York City is teaming up with AT&T to install 25 solar-powered charging stations in parks across the five boroughs. The charges will provide a free boost to dying phones and other mobile devices. The solar technology in the “Street Charge” stations can fully charge up to 30 phones before it needs its own recharge – even with cloud cover and during the night. The idea came about after Superstorm Sandy. The storm left New Yorkers desperately searching for power to contact friends and loved ones.

Starbucks to post calories in drinks on menu boards

Starbucks has a new way to wake up its customers: showing the calories in its drinks. The Seattle-based coffee chain says it will start posting calorie counts on menu boards nationwide next week, ahead of a federal regulation that would require it to do so. Starbucks Corp. says customers at its more than 10,000 U.S. locations will be able to see that there are 300 calories in a small caramel Frappuccino and 230 calories in a small Iced Caffe Mocha.

The Associated Press contributed