March 16, 2012
Dear NJGCA Member:
Here's what you'll find in this edition of the NJGCA Road Warrior, and thank you for reading:
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S MESSAGE: GREETINGS & SAL-UTATIONS!
•Workers' Comp dividend coming, your CNG feedback
NEWS AROUND THE STATE
•New national unemployment rate ties 4-year low, NJ improves
•New Jersey could receive $1.5 billion under new U.S. Senate highway bill
•If Iran oil shortfalls, Saudis pledge to increase production
•For first time in a decade, majority says NJ is heading in the right direction
TRAINING CLASS SCHEDULE
•Interested taking the NJ Emission Inspector Training course? Call us today!
MEET THE FOLKS AT LIBERTY GAS
•Looking for a new brand for your station? Take a look at the opportunity below!
MEMBER BENEFIT PARTNER MESSAGE
•TMP Energy Solutions: Another Way to Save On Your Energy Bills!
A SPECIAL MESSAGE FROM BELLOMO FUELS
•Serving New Jersey since 1910 -- Over 100 years of supplying gasoline retailers like YOU!
POLITICAL PARTICIPATON: THE NJGCA PAC
•Participate in the NJGCA PAC today and help us keep our Agenda rolling in Trenton!
THE MEMBER TOOL BOX
•On the NJGCA Homepage
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S MESSAGE: GREETINGS & SAL-UTATIONS!
For fourth year in a row, workers’ comp pays 7-percent dividend
Your CNG feedback
Extra Vigilance complying with Weights and Measures Regulations!
NJ Emission Inspector Training Available!
When you find something that is reliable and reputable, you should take notice --- and then take advantage of it!
For those members in the NJGCA/Meadowbrook Workers’ Compensation Program (WCP), you know what I’m talking about and what it means to be ‘reliable’. Soon, you’ll be getting a check in the mail for between $300 and $1,000 dollars, which represents 7% of the premiums you paid for workers’ compensation last year. Getting a check back for doing what you are legally obligated to do is like winning the lottery and a welcome sight in these tough times!
And what did you do deserve this? Nothing! It’s merely a benefit you’ve earned by just being an NJGCA member and taking advantage of the programs we have negotiated on your behalf!
For those of you who are not part of our WCP, and won’t be getting a check soon, let me explain what you’re missing out on.
All business owners are required by law and therefore MUST obtain worker’s compensation insurance; you don’t have a choice in the matter and it is a prerequisite to opening your doors. Without it, not a single drop of gasoline gets dispensed, no wrenches are turned, and zero cups of coffee are poured. What’s more, since it’s a legal requirement, the state also sets the rates that must be paid. So no matter if you have your policy through X Insurance Group or Y Benefits Company, the price is always the same, regardless of your carrier.
However, what is NOT the same is the possibility of getting back a dividend check the following year. Remember, a dividend is calculated by the total premiums paid by all participants in the NJGCA group against the total number of claims paid-out. If you are a participant – and the insurance company is watching their books – and NJGCA members keep safe shops - you’ll all get a check in the mail.
So why is our program successful? It’s successful because the data shows that people who operate safer, better business are generally more informed and typically belong to professional associations. As such, insurance companies are willing to pool these similar firms together into groups when structuring policies. That’s exactly what Meadowbrook does – and it’s the reason they have such a fantastic track record.
NJGCA has been aligned with Meadowbrook Insurance for 39 years, and for 37 of the 39 years, our members have received a generous dividend. No one can touch that kind of consistency!
Our members are fortunate since such benefits don’t stop with workers’ compensation, but extend to other policies we’ve negotiated on your behalf. NJGCA has similar agreements in place for your garage keepers, automobile, and liability insurance that also pays a dividend through the Amato Agency.
Just like Meadowbrook, the Amato Agency is the real deal! Just a few weeks ago, a member contacted us because his liability insurance company would no longer insure him due to a high number of claims. After speaking with several agents, none were able to insure him. Out of desperation he contacted us looking for a solution. We put him in touch with the Amato Agency, and thanks to their expertise in this area (Amato specializes in small businesses in the automotive industry) he was able to get a policy at a competitive price.
What’s more, thanks to a new agreement between our two great, NJGCA approved providers, the Amato Agency is now handling the initial logistics of getting members signed up for Meadowbrook’s workers’ compensation plan to better serve our members!
So, are you bummed that you won’t be getting a sizable check in the mail? You should be!
There is absolutely NO REASON for you not to be getting your worker’s comp insurance through anyone but Meadowbrook. You MUST have a workers’ comp policy anyway – Wouldn’t you rather get it through a reputable company that has delivered a dividend in 37 of the last 39 years? That’s a no brainer.
The recent rash of emails I’ve gotten in response to last week’s message on compressed natural gas (CNG) tells me that you’re paying attention to what I’m sending you. Excellent!
Here are some of the comments and concerns that were raised about the oncoming CNG train:
In questioning if adding CNG made sense for their stations, several members asked if it were possible for cars powered by CNG to be fueled by natural gas service in residential homes. The short answer is yes, the same gas used to heat a house and cook on a stove can be used to refuel a CNG car. HOWEVER, the home fueling process for a small tank that would only last about 200 miles usually takes about 12 hours to fill at home. A retail fueling station (that’s YOU) would be able to do it in less than 5 minutes and will still save the customer a tremendous amount of money. In addition, the home fueling stations are expensive to install and it may not be worth customers spending that money.
So, when looking at it together, would a CNG station take some kind of a hit through motorists “filling up at home” rather than visiting a service station? Yeah, it will certainly happen. However, it’s not likely to hurt a CNG station in the long run. Remember, it’s not about a consumer saving money at home – it’s about getting a product or service conveniently you need when you need it!
Think about it this way: John Q. Public can save a few bucks by eating breakfast at home, sleeping at home in his bed, and making his morning coffee in the kitchen. No doubt about that, right? And yet, even when accepting these facts, it hasn’t prevented restaurants, hotels, and coffee shops from surviving and thriving out in the market. It’s not about what can be done “more cheaply” at home, but what is needed, at what time, in what place! So even if your morning coffee would cost you 15¢ to make at home, that doesn’t help you when you commute 45 minutes to work and you need another cup on the way home. Nor does eating breakfast or sleeping at home for free help you when you’re on a business trip in Maryland or on vacation with your kids in Florida. Just as in those instances, the same is true of CNG powered vehicles filling up at your station!
Another series of questions I received were regarding the price of CNG installations, environmental concerns, and maintaining an inventory system. These are all GOOD questions! But let me repeat what I said last week: I’m working on getting a workshop together in the very near future to answer these inquiries and more so you can make an informed decision and get all the facts.
Wednesday, I attended an event in Edison at the Fuji Electric Manufacturing facility where they unveiled a new quick charge electric vehicle charger. We’ll discuss that more in the next Road Warrior since, ironically, I’m attending another electric vehicle program next week and I want to include some pictures that I took yesterday. Like a dope, I left my camera home and now I can’t load the pictures on my computer, so I’ll include everything next week.
The market is obviously still in turmoil, but I don’t have any reliable market pre-dictions for you – and neither does anyone else! Wednesday's recent announcement that Saudi Arabia will increase production if events in Iran spin out of control is certainly welcomed news. However, other issues in the Middle East are causing consternation with those that speculate in the oil market and are likely to continue to drive prices up. Translation: This ain’t over and we’re not out of the woods yet!
In fact as I am writing this, rumors hit the marketplace about a possible release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). Included in the rumors are an agreement between the United States and others. These rumors caused gasoline trading on the open market to plummet 10 cents Thursday afternoon. On Thursday night, President Obama denied the rumors so let’s see what rack prices do today.
With this in mind, I want to remind you about some of the obstacles we’ve had to overcome in the past when market conditions go haywire. You’ll recall what happened in the summer of 2008 when then-Attorney General, Anne Milgram, accused a group of retailers of scamming the motoring public. The result was a media circus that painted a number of retailers as crooks for violating various administrative and mechanical regulations. The obvious result was that the public was fuming and calling for blood. Yet, even after we ran to defend retailers and proved that their reports were inaccurate, the public’s angst didn’t diminish.
Fast forward to today and it doesn’t take much imagination for any of us to see history repeating itself as gasoline creeps closer to $4.00 a gallon. The public is upset with high gas prices (just like you are) and the media has been talking about it non-stop. It won’t take long for this all to work together to force “someone to do something” about the price of gasoline. When that happens, you can be sure that the media or state-officials will be looking for someone to blame.
There are already legislators and consumer groups out there calling for Weights and Measures to double check the market to make sure no one is gouging or cheating customers. For that reason, I need you to be EXTRA sharp and vigilant in how you run your station! We don’t want a repeat of the summer 2008 fiasco! To prevent that from happening, you need to make sure that everything is done properly! Make sure that your signs are done properly, pumps are calibrated, credit-card receipts are handy, administrative tasks are complete and your permits are in order.
Any reports in the newspaper that say a pump was out of tolerance shorting a customer and the pitchforks and torches will come out faster than you can blink. Even if it wasn’t an intentional violation, it won’t matter -- word will get around town that you are cheating everyone and that’s not good for business.
It’s just a matter of time that before some kind of task force is assembled and reports are in the paper. If and when this happens, we want to say that none of the violations were made by our members. Once again, those who operate honest businesses usually belong to a professional trade association like NJGCA – take pride in that!
THE POLICY PATROL: On our Radar Screen this week is Senate Resolution 54 from Senator Shirley Turner (D-Mercer). This resolution calls on the President to release 30 million barrels of oil from the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). If the President did this, it would be tremendously irresponsible. You may recall that President Obama already did this last summer. I wrote an editorial opposing such a maneuver in April 2011, two months before he did it. Sure enough, the release proved ineffective as only about 3 weeks after the release the price of oil was higher than it was before this artificial attempt by the government to lower prices. I released a press release criticizing the President’s action, which you can read HERE. The Strategic Petroleum Reserve was created for a specific purpose, to safeguard against a significant supply disruption. It was never meant to be a way to control prices. I had just gotten started in the business when the gas shortage hit in 1979. I remember having lines 3 miles long full of people waiting for gas. THAT’s the kind of time that you authorize a release from the SPR, not because you have an election coming up and your poll ratings are down and you’re desperate to make it look like you’re doing something to help the problem. Recently there has been a lot of talk in the energy world about the possibility of another SPR release. As such, this week I sent out a letter to the members of Congress who sit on the Committees in the House and Senate which deal with energy issues. You can view that letter HERE (NOTE: This link will redirect you to an outside site to view the PDF - Just click on the green download button to view the file). The problems with Iran and the price of gas are only going to heat up as we go into the summer, now more than ever we need to preserve the SPR. It’s a matter not just of energy or economic policy; it’s a matter of national security.
From the Manure Pile this week is the latest example of our dear leaders’ misplaced priorities. S-172 declares that all persons who “transport, store, or sell secondhand mattresses to encase mattresses with protective materials.” That’s right, a bill dealing with pre-owned mattresses. It never ceases to amaze me how these legislators are able to come up with new ‘problems’ they can solve.
Thanks for listening – See you next week.
NEWS AROUND THE STATE
New national unemployment rate ties 4-year low, NJ improves
In a sign that the job market is improving, 14,000 fewer people sought unemployment benefits nationally last week, matching a four-year low that was reached last month. New Jersey’s had the third-largest decrease among states, with claims falling 1,034 due to fewer layoffs.
New Jersey could receive $1.5 billion under new U.S. Senate highway bill
If a new transportation funding project passed by the U.S. Senate is ultimately made law, New Jersey would receive $519 million per year, the highest amount of public transportation funding ever. The bill now heads to the House where it must be passed and sent to President Obama’s desk by the end of the month.
If Iran oil shortfalls, Saudis pledge to increase production
On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia pledged to make up for any production deficient if the Iranian government attempted to disrupt world oil supplies to hurt world economies and drive up gasoline prices. The news comes as global energy markets continue to be timid over Iran’s tough-talk on their nuclear weapons program. The continued saber rattling has drive oil and gasoline prices higher even as American dependence on foreign oil has been steadily dropping.
For first time in a decade, majority says NJ is heading in the right direction
According to a new poll, for the first time in ten years, a majority of New Jersey voters feel the state is headed in the right direction. The last time polls reflected such a sentiment, Governor McGreevey was still in office. In a related poll, voters approved of Governor Christie’s job performance by 54 percent.
-ALL CLASSES WILL BE HELD AT NJGCA HEADQUARTERS-
66 Morris Avenue - Springfield, NJ 07081 (Union County)
NJGCA will be offering the NJ Emission Inspector Training class in March. For anyone who is not familiar with the course, in order to be licensed as a Motor Vehicle Emission Inspector, a technician must complete this course and pass a written exam given by the State of New Jersey.
NJGCA offers this training in a one day, State approved training program that will provide an understanding of inspection related issues including EPA Regulations, Safety, Diesel, Customer Service and the New Jersey State Specific Curriculum. The course is specially tailored by NJGCA and fulfills all State requirements.
Class Date: Thursday, March 22, 2012
Where: NJGCA Headquarters (66 Morris Ave. Springfield, NJ 07081)
Arrival Time: 7:00 am
Class Begins: 7:30 am
Lunch: 12:00 pm (Pizza and soda will be served)
MVC Test: 1:30 pm
NJGCA Members: $250.00
Manuals Included. Payment is due upon registration. We accept credit cards.
NOTE: A $50.00 license fee must also be paid to the State. Please bring a check made payable to NJMVC
If you have any questions, please contact Debbie Hill at 973-376-0066 or email her at email@example.com
PLEASE NOTE: FUTURE DATES WILL BE ADDED UPON REQUEST AND ACCORDING TO DEMAND. CONTACT DEBBIE at 973-376-0066 or DEBBIE@NJGCA.ORG TO LET HER KNOW YOU ARE INTERESTED IN TAKING A SPECIFIC CLASS. THIS WILL ALLOW US TO GAUGE YOUR NEEDS AND KEEP TRACK OF THOSE WISHING TO PARTICIPATE!!
MEMBER BENEFIT PARTNER MESSAGE
TMP Energy Solutions
Another Way to Save on Your Energy Bills
We have had a number of NJGCA members successfully reduce their rate per kWh signing up through our energy saving program. We know it’s difficult to collect 12 months worth of previous electric bills to get an “accurate” analysis when comparing a variable rate to a fixed rate, but we now have another option available.
This new solution is a power purchase option; the other program is still in full force and has saved members thousands of dollars. If you sign up for the power purchase option, you will be grouped with other NJGCA members until the minimum KW demand is acquired. By pooling the member’s usage together, you will be able to take advantage, as large energy users do, and receive a lower kWh rate.
Each member will receive their own contract. Each member is responsible to sign and return the agreement the day it is received in order to secure the price for their group.
Please do your due diligence, so when you receive the proposal and the agreement you will be able to make an intelligent decision.
If by chance, you still want us to assess you bills, to give you a price to compare, we will require12 months of your most recent utility bills.
There are no bills required, but we would still like to have one bill per meter on file to check account #’s, meter #’s service addresses and other pertinent information incase there is a problem.
The term of the agreement is for 12 months. During this term period, you will have price protection against any energy price increases along with a low fixed kWh rate.
If you are interested in becoming part of this power purchase option, please contact Phil Apruzzi at the NJGCA.
Remember when you sign up your energy through the NJGCA Energy Program, TMP makes a considerable donation to the NJGCA Scholarship Fund through their proceeds. This has no affect on your rate, and costs you nothing out of pocket.
We hope to help hundreds of NJGCA members reduce their utility costs by participating in this and our other cost reduction programs. Our purpose, in the endeavor, is to help NJGCA members lower their energy costs while supporting the NJGCA Scholarship Fund.
Contact Phil Apruzzi at 973-376-0066 or email Phil at firstname.lastname@example.org. Mention that you are interested in saving money on your energy bills. NJGCA & TMP Energy Solutions will handle all the rest.
POLITICAL PARTICIPATON: THE NJGCA PAC
DEFENDING OUR MEMBERS.
PROTECTING YOUR INTERESTS.
ANSWER THE CALL & CONTRIBUTE TODAY!!
Promoting our agenda in Trenton is of utmost importance to NJGCA and our members.
To truly understand the importance of supporting our allies, consider our successes in Trenton:
However, in order to truly affect the debate, we must ensure our friends in the Legislature are re-elected. It is for this reason that your Association has established the NJGCA PAC.
For too long, the weight of funding our Political Action Committee, the arm of the Association responsible for political donations, has rested upon a few. This is not only unfair to those few members who have shouldered this burden, but means we are not utilizing our full strength to affect the debate in Trenton.
We defeated BELOW COST SELLING
We made history in getting FIRST RIGHT OF REFUSAL signed into law!
We have built large support for RIGHT TO REPAIR and got it passed out of the Assembly
We defended your small business against the false accusations of Attorney General Anne Milgram
We gained wide support to move New Jersey to an all PIF Inspection System and close the CIF lanes
...and MUCH MORE!!
In each instance, we achieved these goals with the help of our friends in the Legislature!
If every member contributes just $100.00 we will be able to provide the help necessary to ensure victory for our allies.
PLEASE SEND YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS TO:
66 Morris Avenue
Springfield, NJ 07081
Please make your donation payable to NJGCA PAC
I understand that times are tough for all NJGCA members, but this is just as important as any battle we have fought in the past.
We have made great progress in Trenton. I hope that you will answer the call.
THE MEMBER TOOL BOX
ON THE NJGCA HOMEPAGE
MEMBER SAVINGS PAGE
Check out all of our MBPs and Programs designed to SAVE YOU MONEY!
Looking for something? Take a look at our list of useful links!
Find all our communications and search for old e-newsletters. Take a look!
NEWS AROUND THE STATE ARCHIVE
Need to catch up on events? Want to see what's going on? Find out here!