Although the rent on the stored aluminum - Goldman isn't allowed to actually own the commodity - is just pennies a day, the vast amount of the metal it has stored in its 27 Detroit warehouses and the "warehouse shuffle" strategy that enables it to extend the rental period for months on end adds up.
Through the Metro International Trade Services subsidiary it bought in 2010, Goldman has accumulated 1.4 million tons of aluminum, which it stores at about 48 cents per ton per day. That's about $672,000 per day of revenue - nearly half a billion a year.
Experts say the warehouse shuffle game ultimately raises the price of aluminum to manufacturers - everything from beer and soda companies to automakers. That extra cost, about $5 billion over the past three years, is passed on to consumers - you and me.