Road Warrior Newsletter

June 27, 2008


Dear NJGCA Member:


Last week we brought you news that Attorney General Anne Milgram released a report to the public disclosing the names of 350 gasoline retailers trying to ‘scam motorists’.  In her press conference, the Attorney General stated these dishonest retailers knowingly deceived consumers.

It has drawn incredible attention from the public.  And why shouldn’t it?  Who wouldn’t want to catch dishonest business owners? Since the Attorney General’s press conference last Thursday, the public has been so outraged that even an email forward has appeared listing the accused:

Subject: Gas stations ticketed for "ripping off" motorists
As you may or may not have read, the state has been inspecting gas stations in all NJ counties. Out of 1,023 stations tested, 350 have been found to be "ripping off" customers - putting regular gas in high octane tanks, pricing discrepancies, and what they describe as "improperly calibrated" gas pumps. Following is the list that was printed in the newspaper of stations in our area who have been ticketed for their deceptive practices. It may be worthwhile to avoid these stations: (and a listed follows)

It all sounds completely understandable; except for one problem: Many of those mentioned were NOT guilty and have done NOTHING dishonest.

So why did they get mentioned?  Why are honest businesses being vilified?  There is only one reason that matters: Politics & Perception.

We have been saying for weeks that the public is upset about high gasoline prices.  We hear constantly how it is affecting driving habits, transportation costs, and food prices.  The public has had enough and doesn’t understand the kind of market forces at work.  Rather, they want to see government “do something” to alleviate their pain.  Politicians and state officials are not immune to their pleas.  What better way to prove it than round up a bunch of people, claim they are cheating the public, and sell it to the media as a great accomplishment?

And that is exactly what happened.

Almost immediately, we began to hear from members who were listed on the report, but hadn’t been cited.  We have been investigating the list and speaking with retailers to determine who was wrongfully included.

In essence, the Attorney General took a small group of retailers that genuinely sought to deceive the public and lumped them in with businesses that had minor administrative infractions.  Why?  To sensationalize the situation and make it seem she had defended the public interest.  What sounds better to John Q. Public; that you had caught 350 guilty business owners or just 50 with true violations?

The results were so incredible that NJGCA held a press conference on Thursday to refute these claims and present our findings.  I am pleased to say it was very successful.  The press was able to hear from a group of retailers first hand.  Our members may have been cited for minor, administrative issues, but they were NOT dishonest and they were NOT actively working to deceive motorists as the Attorney General had claimed.

But despite this victory, the damage is done.  Attorney General Milgram acted irresponsibly by including innocent business owners among genuine violators. This act alone creates more doubt in the court of public opinion and harms the average station owner.  Already we are hearing of regular patrons who refuse to visit stations they have frequented for years simply because a retailer appeared on the list.  How can a price be put on this?

Do not misunderstand me.  We MUST go after retailers who are dishonest and deceive motorists.  Weights & Measures did exactly what it always does and we applaud their efforts.  But the deceptive manner in which the Attorney General packaged this information and presented it to the public went too far.  It is truly unbefitting of her office.

If you or a fellow retailer have fallen victim to this situation, please let me know so that we can document your case and possibly ask a reporter to call you.

Thanks for reading.  See you next week!


Sal Risalvato
Executive Director



•Governor Pauses on Raising Gas Tax
•High Gasoline Prices affecting First Responders
•Gas Retailers Angry Over Attorney General’s Report
NJGCA in the News: Risalvato defends retailers against Below Cost Selling


Governor Pauses on Raising Gas Tax
Despite the need for more money to fund transportation projects, Governor Corzine is hesitant to raise gasoline taxes as residents are already struggling with high fuel prices. 

High Gasoline Prices affecting First Responders
Rising fuel prices are now curtailing some First Aid professionals from taking non-emergency calls in Monmouth County. 

Gas Retailers Angry Over Attorney General’s Report
Gas station owners react to the Attorney General Anne Milgram’s report citing 350 violators for “cheating” motorists and the public

NJGCA in the News: Risalvato defends retailers against Below Cost Selling
Executive Director Sal Risalvato spoke with Convenience Store Petroleum Daily News to discuss the dangers of allowing Below Cost Selling in New Jersey and how it would affect small business owners

Serving the small businesses that serve the motorist