Road Warrior Newsletter

September 10, 2010


Dear NJGCA Member:


Ignorance is bliss, or so the saying goes.  But what if your bliss is costing you money and affecting your bottom line? 

A few years ago, when gasoline prices where climbing through the roof, your NJGCA went to bat for you in protecting your ability to establish Cash/Credit Pricing at your station.  As you recall, there was a great deal of controversy out there over collecting two prices at the pump. 

Immediately consumer groups and the press started screaming about ‘illegal activity’ and ‘price gouging’ while painting you and all retailers as crooks.  Ultimately they only had half the story right, as it IS illegal to charge two prices.  HOWEVER, it is completely legal (and ethical) to have a single established price and a cash-discount for those not paying with a credit card.

What was the rationale for this?  Well, the higher the price climbed, the more it actually COST YOU as credit card fees cut into your-already-meager profits on a gallon of gasoline.  In fact, as the price of gas crept toward $4.00 a gallon, as much as 13 cents of every gallon you sold went to credit card companies.  That meant that you were actually losing money on every gallon sold!

In establishing Cash/Credit Pricing, we helped protect a regulatory measure which not only helped insulate your profits from excessive fees, but gave the motorist a discount if they paid with cash.  A win-win all around. 

Let me tell you – it was one heck of an experience.  I personally spent many hours discussing how to regulate this phenomenon with Weights & Measures and climbing up and down ladders to illustrate how the pricing would appear on street signs!  What a way to spend your summer.

Why am I recounting this recent-history lesson to you?  Well, I recently visited a member with Weights and Measures officials in order to resolve some problems at his location.  During my visit and after reviewing how his pumps displayed prices electronically, I discovered that he was treating debit card sales as cash!

LET ME MAKE THIS VERY CLEAR: When it comes to card processing, DEBIT CARDS and CREDIT CARDS should be treated the same!  Yes, that’s right; even though a debit card is attached to an actual bank account you are STILL CHARGED by the credit card companies for every transaction made.  That means that any transaction made with a debit card, but charged at a cash-discount price, is costing you money.  Let me say that another way: YOU ARE GIVING AWAY YOUR PROFIT!

The proof?  Just look at your statements and you’ll see that you’re getting charged a transaction fee.  Want more proof?  Look at any bank debit card.  Yes, it says ‘TD Bank’ or ‘Wachovia’ or ‘Bank of America’ or any other bank name on the card --– but it also says Visa or MasterCard as well.  That means that while your customers’ funds are registered at that particular bank, the process of moving them is handled by credit card companies like Visa and MasterCard.  Think they aren’t charging you?  THINK AGAIN!

HOWEVER, do not confuse debit cards and credit cards with gas cards offered by the majors.  Many brands use oil company proprietary cards and typically they don’t charge a fee for using them.  In this instance you are doing your customers a favor and are properly passing those savings by charging them the cash price – that’s a good practice, but it’s NOT a DEBIT CARD.  Recognize the difference!

The member who did this is a good member and a solid business man.  However, he wasn’t aware of these little differences and was giving away profits.  We all make mistakes, but to insure that no one else makes this costly mistake, I’m advising you to treat debit cards the same as credit cards and do not give a cash discount to customers that you them.  Your sign says “Discount for Cash”…….is a debit card cash???  NO!  You should not be handing out a discount for its use!

One last point on this: Even if you were unaware of this difference, the folks at Weights & Measures are full versed and aware of it.  They will back you up on this.  They will NOT fine you for treating a debit card the same as you treat a credit card.

Speaking of Weights & Measures, I’ve been speaking to them a great deal lately.  It seems that while I’m working to defend many of you, I’m learning that there are still a number of octane cheats out there.  Still more are sneaking in deliveries of cheaper, unbranded product and passing it off as branded fuel.

Though I haven’t said it in some time, please let me remind you that regardless of your member status, I WILL TURN YOU IN if I find out that you’re cheating your customers. I’m not trying to be a jerk.  In fact, it will break my heart if I’m compelled to turn a member in to the authorities.  However, we have collectively worked hard to elevate our image with the public and among state officials.  I cannot allow anyone to harm another NJGCA Member by gaining an unfair competitive advantage by cheating. 

That means we have to police our own!  You should all be competing honestly so we can point out the bad station owners and justifiably throw the book at them!

Thankfully, with rare exception, the dishonest folks that I have turned in to authorities have not been NJGCA members.  Usually your membership in a strong association like NJGCA typically means you have a higher level of professionalism and concern for the overall well being of the industry.  Typically that’s not the case with non NJGCA members.

Dishonest tactics are a rarity with NJGCA members. My goal is to keep it that way. 

A few weeks ago I discussed the need to retain your margins in order to guarantee a profit.

This week, I’d like to reinforce that idea as the price of a gallon of gasoline continues to fall.  Thanks to a drop in demand and a weaker-than-expected economy, prices are sagging.  I strongly encourage you to ride the prices down slowly, and maintain bigger margins.  Though I am a strong believer in competition, there’s no need to rush to be the lowest price on the block.  The additional money you make on a healthier margin should help offset any losses you will experience when prices are on the rise.  This is going to be short-lived, so please make good business decisions now in anticipation of leaner times ahead. 

Soaring Property Taxes are a huge concern to you both at home and at your business locations.

The New Jersey Taxpayers Alliance, of which NJGCA is a vocal member, has been meeting with Christie Administration officials and Legislators.  We are encouraged by the Governor’s recent proposals to cap property taxes and pass reforms aimed at cutting the price of government.  These reforms, known as the municipal ‘tool kit’, will help school districts and local governments reign in costs in order to lower property taxes

This is going to heat up before it passes – and make no mistake about it, there are plenty of special interests out there that are trying to kill these reforms.  However, that only means I will need you help to get the job done.  When the time is right, you will be instructed to contact your Legislators to encourage them to pass the tool kit.  Remember, many of you have your taxes tied directly into your leases.  Others pay them directly out of pocket.  Either way, the costs are soaring, and unless they are brought under control, it will continue to hurt your bottom line. 

That will be one runaway cost you can’t blame on the oil company.  So when the time comes, be ready to react and help protect your small business!

Thanks for reading and see you next week!

Sal Risalvato
Executive Director

 IN THIS WEEK'S NJGCA ROAD WARRIOR                                                      

•Added All PIF and Diesel classes below!!

•Participate in the NJGCA PAC today and help us keep our Agenda rolling in Trenton!

•Eco-groups urge automakers to double fuel-economy standards
•Garden State gasoline prices continue to fall
•Christie calls for ethics reforms
•Governor proposes additional changes to state pension system, benefits

 ON THE NJGCA HOMEPAGE                                                                               

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!

Need to catch up on events? Want to see what's going on? Find out here!

 KNOW YOUR TERRITORY MANAGER!                                                             

Henry Darden: Territory Manager for Middlesex, Union, Part of Essex (Southern Half)
Cell: 973-477-0057

Jack Leli: Territory Manager for Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Ocean, Salem
Cell: 732-995-1637

Bob Quirk: Territory Manager for Bergen, Hudson, Part of Essex (Northern Half)
Cell: 201-214-8836

Frank Stewart: Territory Manager for Morris, Sussex, Warren, Hunterdon, Passaic
Cell: 973-234-7403

Don Stohrer: Territory Manager for Monmouth, Mercer, Somerset
Cell: 732-539-2955



Get up to date and get on top of this new law!

Contact us and use our easy contact form to request the complete
federal law including all the new requirements for GDFs.  






New Jersey Gasoline C-Store Automotive Association (NJGCA) is offering an INITIAL ETEP Certification course. This is the entire program, section 1 – 7. This is everything you need to become a licensed Emission Repair Technician.

Our Course includes:
• New Jersey State Specific Information Course
• Section 7 “Light-Duty Diesel Vehicle Technologies and Testing”.
Everything to become an Emission Repair Technician!!

Springfield - Union County (EIGHT FULL-DAY CLASSES)
Class to be held at NJGCA Headquarters
66 Morris Ave.
Springfield, NJ 07081
September 16th – November 4th (Every Thursday for 8 weeks!)
8:00am to 4:00pm

• NJGCA Member rates: $1,495.00
• NON-Member rates: $1,695.00

PLEASE NOTE: We are always in the process of putting together additional classes. If you are interested in taking classes in this time period, please call NJGCA and let us know so we can add you to the list.

Call Debbie Hill to enroll in the classes at or call 973-376-0066.   



Ensuring our friends in the legislature are re-elected and advocating for our agenda in Trenton are of utmost importance to the agenda of NJGCA.

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 the shoulders of a few.  This is not fair to them, and it is not fair to many of you who are relying on the benefits of good legislation being passed in Trenton.

To truly understand the importance of fundraising for our allies, let’s look back upon the overwhelming successes of the last year:

NJGCA successfully lobbied against BELOW COST SELLING. If approved, BELOW COST SELLING would have cost each of you thousands of dollars and put many of you out of businesses.  NJGCA leaned on some of our friends in the Assembly and literally had the bill pulled off the floor on the day it was scheduled to be voted on.  Our friends in the Legislature helped us get this accomplished.

NJGCA made history and led the charge to pass the most comprehensive protection of franchisees in decades with FIRST RIGHT OF REFUSAL legislation.  FIRST RIGHT OF REFUSAL passed only because NJGCA and dealers throughout the state were able to lean on several friends in the Assembly and the Senate.

NJGCA has been rallying support for RIGHT TO REPAIR over the last two years among key legislators.  This would end the practice of car manufacturers denying you the codes necessary to complete the repairs you make on your customers cars.  Every state has tried to pass RIGHT TO REPAIR and no state has even been able to get the legislation out of committee.   Because of our friends in the Legislature, NJGCA has been successful in getting this bill passed by the Assembly and now awaits a vote in the Senate.

I am asking some of you as individuals to make a contribution and attend a fundraising event sponsored by one of our friends in the Assembly.

However, we will not be able to host events for all of our friends, so the NJGCA PAC will have to make contributions.  You will be receiving letters soon from the NJGCA PAC asking you to make contributions. 

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. 



Eco-groups urge automakers to double fuel-economy standards
A group of environmental advocates have called upon domestic and foreign automakers to double current double fuel-economy standards to 60 miles per gallon by 2025.  To achieve this, the group seeks to move beyond the recently adopted 35.5 mpg combined fleet standard which begin in 2016, by making electric cars and hybrids 70 percent of all vehicles sold in 2025.  However, auto-industry trade groups have called the targeted figures unachievable without significantly increasing costs to consumers.

Garden State gasoline prices continue to fall
The price of gasoline continues to decline in New Jersey as demand falls for the third straight week.  According to recent surveys, motorists are achieving better gas mileage, while summer gasoline supplies rose to their highest level since 1990.  If these inventory and demand levels hold, experts believe that the price may plunge further by Halloween.

Christie calls for ethics reforms
Governor Christie has recently introduced a series of measures aimed at amending the state’s ethics laws.  Among the proposals details are a ban dual office holding, limit officials to one public salary, and toughen financial disclosure requirements for lawmakers.  The Governor has set an ambitious plan to enact these proposals by the end of the year.

Governor proposes additional changes to state pension system, benefits
Having already announced a series of changes to the pension system and the way in which state worker benefits are structured, Governor Christie recently announced a series of additional changes to those already introduced. Among these changes would be baring retired public workers from receiving a disability pension while working at another job and increasing the public employee contribution to pension and benefits from current levels.  The Governor feels that these reforms must be achieved if the system is to be kept solvent.


Serving the small businesses that serve the motorist