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Road Warrior Newsletter

April 13, 2012

Dear NJGCA Member:

Here's what you'll find in this edition of the NJGCA Road Warrior, and thank you for reading:

Alternative Fueled Vehicles, the Marketplace, and the Future of Your Business (EVEN IF YOU DO NOT SELL GASOLINE)

Israeli example puts electric cars in the fast lane
Christie's approval numbers hit all-time high
Santorum Quits Race, Clearing a Path for Romney
Natural gas glut means drilling boom must slow

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•TMP Energy Solutions: Another Way to Save On Your Energy Bills!

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•On the NJGCA Homepage


Even if you only service and repair vehicles the message below affects your business!

You may remember that earlier this year I noted that the sales of electric cars were less than anticipated for the year 2011.  As a result General Motors announced that it was going to temporarily slow the production of the Chevy Volt.  You may also remember that I said back then not to let yourself be fooled, this setback for EVs was only temporary.  Too much time and resources have been invested into the development and promotion of electric vehicles for them to simply die out with a whimper.  Now, only a few months later, the sales of EVs (and other alternate fueled vehicles) have taken off again.   In the first quarter of 2012 sales of hybrids, plugins, and pure electric cars combined rose 49 percent from what they were a year ago.  Toyota's Prius hybrid and General Motors' Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid electric car each had record sales in March, and the CEO of Nissan (who makes the all electric Leaf) says he expects pure electric cars to make up a full 10% of the market within 8 years.  Sales of the Chevy Volt doubled just from February to March.
Although I often tell you where I think the market is heading under certain circumstances, I never make absolute concrete predictions with certitude about gas prices.   Why?  Because I just simply do not have the ability to do so!   AND……NOONE ELSE HAS THE ABILITY EITHER!  I always state that any so called expert that definitively declares what will happen with gasoline prices is really only guessing.  Experts should be able to accurately tell you what would happen under certain circumstances, but despite what they may say, they have no ability whatsoever to predict what those circumstances will actually be (and neither do I as I’m no swami).

What caused sales of EVs to tail off last year after showing great promise and growth earlier in 2011?  Gas prices had risen sharply last spring, and then declined over the remainder of the year to levels that were a bit more affordable.  Between September and December 2011 the average price of gas dropped over 50 cents.

What has happened since then?  In the first three months of 2012 the market has gained it all back!  We are at the point where gas prices are headline news, motorists are complaining, and political pundits are even analyzing how prices will affect the presidential election and the economy at large.

All along I have told you that consternation over events in Iran, and the fact that gasoline and crude oil are sold in a global market and not just a US market, is what was causing gas prices to rise so sharply.

But again, I’ll keep asking questions.  What has changed in the last few weeks?  Has anyone noticed the saber rattling with Iran that was the top story for months is no longer the lead story?  Yes everybody still has their eye on Iran, and yes everyone is still concerned about Iran.  But, what has changed?  Now Iran is only the 3rd or 4th most important news story.  The price of crude oil has dropped in the last 2 weeks from almost $110 to $101 a barrel.  Of course this scenario can change all of that very quickly.  If Iran happens to show some fangs causing tensions to rise, and then Iran suddenly becomes the top news story again, expect oil prices to climb quickly.  Keep in mind that the upcoming presidential election has the potential to cause events in Iran to change for both the better and the worse…..but who really knows?
Several weeks ago I talked about how you as retailers and motorists who are your customers, are always left dangling at the end of puppet strings.  This situation continues to be true; you have absolutely no influence or control over the events that determine the price you pay your supplier for a truckload of gasoline.  You can consider this a permanent phenomenon.  These market forces are simply not going away.  Why?  Ok…I have to repeat something that I constantly say to those inquiring about gas prices.    “Someday….and it may be a very long time from today…..BUT someday there will be a last drop of oil!”  As long as we must always wonder (and worry) about who has oil supplies.  And who needs more of the world’s oil reserves?  And we keep fighting over how much oil should we conserve?  And worry about who can disrupt even a fraction of the world’s oil from being delivered to other countries? ….then we will perpetually have extremely volatile--roller coaster--up and down prices of gasoline and oil!.   Instead of monitoring what actual supply and demand ratios are TODAY, financial markets manipulate the price of oil based on “What they THINK supply and demand will be in two months!....and worries over Iran affect what they THINK!

Only the emergence of alternative fuels and alternatively fueled vehicles will be able to alleviate the negative influence that global events beyond our control have on the price of your main product.  More and more Americans are realizing this and as a result we are now seeing a rise in the sale of electric cars, hybrids and especially natural gas vehicles.  There is literally so much natural gas in this country right now that they don’t know what to do with it and are rapidly running out of places in the country to store it!  There’s so much backed up, due to vast discoveries and a warm winter that they may soon stop drilling for it in many places.   As a result the cost of natural gas is half the cost of gasoline.  Do you think folks will want to buy cars that run on natural gas?   Do you sell natural gas??  No…NOT YET!

Here is one prediction I am willing to make: you will begin to hear more and more about hydrogen fueled vehicles.
On Monday I sent my trusted associates Nick and Eric to the 2012 New York International Auto Show to investigate the latest advances in alternatively fueled vehicles.  In fact I halted production on our On The Road quarterly newsletter so that we can include some info, findings, and pictures in the current issue. 

BMW i8 Electric Vehicle

Ford Fusion Energi Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)

Ram 2500 Bi-Fuel CNG/Gasoline Truck

This year, pretty much every car manufacturer was displaying at least some kind of alternative energy vehicle.  Many manufacturers had several different types, or offered their standard models in both gasoline and hybrid.  There was everything from luxury cars to family sedans and SUVs.  There were cars powered by electricity, hybrids, diesel, natural gas, flexfuel, and even hydrogen.  Look for your copy of the OTR in the mailbox in the next few weeks, there will be more information then.

Pop quiz!  (I am asking a lot of questions today, aren’t I?)  How many times in the last 5 years have you heard me say “stop thinking as if you are in the gasoline business, and start thinking like you are in the transportation energy business”.  Well here is another line that you are sure to hear from me as we move forward.  “Do not look at the various alternative fuels coming down the track as a threat, but begin looking at them as a new opportunity”.  Know that gasoline and petroleum products aren’t going away for a long time (if ever) but they may shrink enough to hurt your business if you don’t adapt.  But there is no denial that the sales of liquid energy used for transportation will be diminished incrementally year after year from now on.  You may bleed out slowly, but you will bleed out if you can’t evolve.

The previous paragraph must also be taken seriously by those of you who only do service and repairs.   Do you think installing kits that convert gasoline engines to natural gas can be a profitable OPPORTUNITY?  Or how about servicing these cars after they are converted?  Do you remember what I wrote in the paragraph above about OPPORTUNITY?
There is very little that I have found to agree with President Obama during his time in office so far, however; he hits the nail on the head when he says that “the solutions to our energy problems are an all of the above approach that includes gasoline, ethanol, electric vehicles, biomass, natural gas, hydrogen, solar, and wind.  President Obama tends to leave nuclear energy out of his “all of the above” approach, which I disagree, but that’s a different commentary later on.

Earlier this week NJGCA Vice President Kashmir Gill was asked by US Senate candidate Joe Kyrillos if his Middletown BP station could be used as a backdrop to film a video promoting his positions on high gas prices. 

NJGCA Vice President Kashmir Gill and US Senate candidate Joe Kyrillos

Expect the US Senate race in NJ to begin heating up over summer as likely Republican nominee state Senator Kyrillos is challenging current US Senator Bob Menendez.

You may remember several weeks ago I shared my op-ed opposing President Obama’s decision to release any of the oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, as it will put you in further jeopardy of being dangled on puppet strings in a real emergency.  Sen. Menendez has been vocal in calling for the President to release oil from SPR, not to help fix a supply disruption….. but to try and interfere with the marketplace.  I have written him and the entire New Jersey Congressional delegation to let them know that NJGCA opposes such an irresponsible measure.  Many other national voices from both sides of the aisle have since written articles agreeing with my point of view on the SPR, including Jim Jones, Obama’s former National Security Advisor.

For the POLICY PATROL this week I’m spotlighting A-1871, which deals with an issue that has been in the news recently.  The bill, which passed the Assembly by a 48-27 vote in March, would repeal changes to New Jersey’s escheat law that were made in 2010.  The changes made it so that the state would consider any money left on a gift card that hadn’t been used for 2 years as ‘unclaimed property’ which it would then seize.  If the consumer who had the card used it after the money had been taken, then the retailer who sold them the card would have to jump through regulatory hoops in order to get the money back.  The law also required gift card sellers to input the zip code of the person who was buying the gift card, so that they could match each card to a New Jersey resident.  In the last two weeks, the biggest gift card providers in the state have said this was too onerous from them, and as a result they will no longer sell gift cards in New Jersey without a change in the law.

As for the Manure Pile this week, I bring you S-1506, which enhances the penalties for illegally operating a snowmobile on any public street or highway. I guess I have to ask you one more question this week……When was the last time you saw a snowmobile on the road in New Jersey? I am a snowmobile NUT! I own 2 snowmobiles and I have rented a cabin in the Adirondacks for years during the winter to go snowmobiling since 1987. Never once have I used my snowmobile in the state of New Jersey because there is no place to ride. I have also never even heard of someone snowmobiling on a road, much less a highway. I honestly have no idea why a legislator would think this to be a problem in NJ, much less one that needs to have more severe penalties. Does this really require legislation? If they need ideas for bigger problems to fix, I’ll be happy to let them know!

Thanks for listening – See you next week. 

Sal Risalvato
Executive Director



Israeli example puts electric cars in the fast lane

Last week, Gov. Chris Christie spent three days visiting Israel along with a New Jersey delegation, promoting economic and trade relationships between our state and Israel.  One of the Governor’s stops was at Better Place, a venture-backed American-Israeli company based in California that develops and sells transportation infrastructure for electric vehicles.   Already, 400 corporations in Israel, representing 80,000 vehicles, have signed on with Better Place to switch their fleets to electric cars. By 2016, it is projected that 50 percent of all cars in Israel will be electric.

Christie's approval numbers hit all-time high

Gov. Chris Christie’s approval rating is at its highest point since taking office more than two years ago, according to a poll released Wednesday.  Nearly six in 10 registered voters approve of the governor’s job performance including a whopping 92 percent of Republicans, according to the poll from Quinnipiac University.  Christie also garners high marks among independents with 64 percent approving of his performance, good news for the governor if he decides to pursue a second term.

Santorum Quits Race, Clearing a Path for Romney

Rick Santorum, with an abrupt decision to end his campaign Tuesday, cleared the way for Mitt Romney to claim the Republican nomination while dashing the hopes of social conservatives who had propelled Mr. Santorum’s surprisingly successful challenge to the Republican establishment.  Mr. Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania, was trailing Mr. Romney in delegates and had little hope of catching up to him, but his strong performance in a brutal nominating contest established him as a force that the party will probably have to reckon with this presidential election year and beyond.

Natural gas glut means drilling boom must slow

The U.S. natural gas market is bursting at the seams.  So much natural gas is being produced that soon there may be nowhere left to put the country's swelling surplus. After years of explosive growth, natural gas producers are retrenching.  So far, efforts to limit production have barely made a dent. Unless the pace of production declines sharply or demand picks up significantly this summer, analysts say the nation's storage facilities could reach their limits by fall.  That would cause the price of natural gas, which has been halved over the past year, to nosedive. Citigroup commodities analyst Anthony Yuen says the price of natural gas - now $2.08 per 1,000 cubic feet - could briefly fall below $1. 



66 Morris Avenue - Springfield, NJ 07081 (Union County)





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 Mention that you are interested in saving money on your energy bills. NJGCA & TMP Energy Solutions will handle all the rest.   





Promoting our agenda in Trenton is of utmost importance to NJGCA and our members.

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.

To truly understand the importance of supporting our allies, consider our successes in Trenton:

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. 

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                                                                    


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