Road Warrior Newsletter

June 13, 2008


Dear NJGCA Member:


Crooks.  Liars.  Cheats.  Deceivers.  Thieves.  Criminals.  Does any of this sound familiar?
This is what the public thinks of you as the price of gasoline goes higher.  Not very flattering is it?  Nor is it true! Perhaps we can forgive the motoring public in their anger.  Even as you attempt to educate your customers, they may not be fully aware of how the market works.  It’s understandable.

But what I find troubling is that even the media doesn’t get it and they are steadily turning against us.

This week, I have read articles and listened to radio programs condemning gasoline retailers for implementing cash/credit pricing.  The media is also condemning NJGCA for defending retailers against legislative attempts to permit Below Cost Selling.

And to add insult to injury, these professionals are getting their “facts” wrong!

One radio station devoted several hours this past Tuesday skewering me for defending you and actually said I was LYING about the slim profit margins retailers’ experience.  It’s ok – it is my job to take the bullets for you.  I wear their skewering like a badge of honor.   I will never ask the media or the public for sympathy, but I certainly expect them to display an understanding of your difficulties and present the facts.

The battle to block Below Cost Selling has been front and center – and it isn’t going away anytime soon. The public wrongfully believes that permitting Below Cost Selling will lower the price on the street.  Legislators are hearing the public cries for anything that they think will bring relief at the pumps and YOU are in their sights. The Legislature WILL continue to consider Assemblyman Burzichelli’s proposal.

However, thanks to many of YOU that showed up at the committee hearing last week in Trenton, we have received some understanding from legislators and we are continuing to make the case that Below Cost Selling is a bad idea.

After speaking with an editor of one major newspaper for an hour, I was pleased to read his editorial supporting our position that Below Cost Selling will be harmful to small businesses and will not benefit consumers.  Click HERE to read the editorial.

I know you are being pummeled worse than John Q. Public.  So why doesn’t the public sympathize?

To be blunt, they don’t care!  The public, some members of the media, and some legislators are just looking for someone to blame - and that’s YOU!

BUT……Some circumstances do justify their anger and make it harder to defend you.

The issue that has gotten the attention of legislators and has fueled legislative efforts to adopt stupid legislation is the deceptive way some retailers have chosen to promote cash/credit pricing.  Retailers that post the cash price only at the street, and then charge motorists a higher price for credit at the pump, are generating numerous complaints to the Department of Consumer Affairs.  Many constituents are contacting legislators with similar complaints.

Legislators respond by introducing “feel good” legislation under the guise of “feeling the pain” of their constituents and “taking a stand” to prevent higher prices at the pump.  Their efforts get a ton of media attention but don’t accomplish anything except inflict more pain on you.

I continue to urge you to adopt cash/credit pricing, but I also urge you to please do it properly.  I have reminded you numerous times to follow the illustration that we sent out last year.  We published it again in the latest edition or On The Road that you should have received this week.  CALL ME IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS!!!!!

This is the battle we are fighting; we are getting it from all sides. It won’t get easier anytime soon and we have few friends in this struggle.  NJGCA and all our members must remain on high-alert to combat these perceptions and fight Trenton’s push for Below Cost Selling.

Changing public opinion will not be easy.  To prove to Legislators, the public, and the media that we are true to our word, we must present them with concrete evidence.  They say we are liars – LET’S PROVE THEM WRONG.

I’m asking for volunteers who would be willing to show the press and/or Legislators their gasoline invoices to compare with your retail prices.  Let them see for themselves the razor thin profit margins that you live with and that we are not lying about your struggle to remain in business.  This will pull the rug out from under legislators and force them to consider the difficult position you are in before they consider any more dumb legislation.

These are the tactics we must use if we are to turn public perception around.  I encourage all of you to participate in this effort.  We have displayed what we can do when members actively participate.  Get involved!

I want to reiterate that last week I was incredibly pleased to see so many members come to Trenton to testify against this measure.  We need to continue this kind of participation to convince lawmakers that our arguments are valid.  However; wars can’t be won if the army doesn’t show up for all of the battles.  If you were there for the fight last week, please don’t think “I showed the last time so others can show up the next time”.  That kind of thinking will mean that a future battle may be fought with few soldiers.

If you didn’t show up last week, please come to stand shoulder to shoulder with your colleagues when we call the next time.  NOW is the time to grab your competitor down the street and insist he join our efforts.

Spread the word!  Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments you may have.

Thanks for reading.  See you next week!


Sal Risalvato
Executive Director


State House Legislative Report

•UPDATE: 3 Cash/Credit Sign Bills Heard in Senate Committee


•Anyone have video of patrons driving off without paying?


•State considers saving benefit dollars
•Bad news for Guv: Poll numbers continue to plummet
•Standard of living suffers as gas prices rise
•Not just motorists: Boaters hit hard over fuel prices

State House Legislative Report

UPDATE: 3 Cash/Credit Sign Bills Heard in Senate Committee

Last week, NJGCA informed you that three bills were slated to be heard before the Senate Transportation Committee concerning proper motor fuel signage at retail locations.  All three bills sought to take the current regulations and codify them into statutes, but levy fines as high as $5000 to already established penalties.

On Monday a compromise was made, all three bills were merged, and imposed an additional $1000 fine.

NJGCA was in Trenton to testify against the bill.  Remember, this past December the fines for improper signage were increased from $50 for a first offense and $200 for each additional offense to $1500 and $3000 respectively.  Why should the fines be hiked again? 

In short, all the Committee members were sympathetic to our arguments, but unfortunately, the bill passed 3-2.  All said they would not vote for the bill in its current form but were unable to approve further amendments because Senator Sarlo, the bill’s prime sponsor, was not there to agree to them.
NJGCA will be meeting with Senator Sarlo to discuss our concerns and see if a compromise can be reached.  We will update you in future editions of the Road Warrior.


We have recently heard of a number of “drive-offs” – drivers filling their tanks and failing to pay attendants before speeding off – taking place around the State the past few months.

A major network has asked if any of you may have security camera footage of cars that have driven off without paying.  Let us know if you do as this network would like to interview you and use your video tape.

Please contact Communications Director Nick De Palma with any footage you may have.


State considers saving benefit dollars
A state proposal seeks to cut some benefits for newly hired state workers in an attempt to save millions of dollars a year in taxpayer dollars.  The measure is being fought by state workers and union officials.

Bad news for Guv: Poll numbers continue to plummet
A recent Quinnipiac University reports Governor Corizne’s approval numbers have now dropped to their lowest level yet.  Of those polled, 9 in 10 respondents say New Jersey is worse off today then when the Governor came into office.
Standard of living suffers as gas prices rise
Even with yearly cost of living adjustments, many New Jerseyans are finding it harder to make ends meet as fuel costs continue to rise. 

Not just motorists: Boaters hit hard over fuel prices
Even as consumers are reeling from high gasoline prices, boaters are feeling the pain at the pump as well.  With boating season just beginning, many marina owners are reporting a huge drop off not only in gasoline sales, but also in repair work.

Serving the small businesses that serve the motorist