Category Archives: Election 2012

Why Gas Prices Fluctuate (Did You Know 95% of Gas Stations Are Owned By Independent Convenience Store Companies?)

Why Are Gas Prices So Damn High Banner Artwork

Why are gas prices too damn high?!

Why do gas prices fluctuate? Did you know 95% of gas stations are independently owned by convenience store companies? Big Oil only owns 1% of actual gas stations, that set the prices you pay at the pump.

I came across this really interesting article on Herman Cain’s website CainTV (You’ll remember him as the black Pizza Businessman that ran for Republican President in 2012), posted on JobCreator’, and thought I’d share it (which they encourage, they even write at the bottom of the article… “Please steal our stuff!” :D)

Gas Prices And My Mom

As I drove my kids home from school Monday, I noted a nearby gas station had regular unleaded posted at $3.74 per gallon. My children will attest to the next part. As we drove by, I announced to them that “after I drop you guys off, I’m coming back to fill up, because the two stations a half mile down the road has it for $3.99 a gallon.”

For a 2003 Ford Explorer, that’s a pretty significant savings.

Less than 20 minutes later, I returned to take advantage of this quarter-per-gallon difference, only to find the price had jumped to the same $3.99 per gallon as its competitors down the street.

When I realized how much more I’d be forking over to fill my SUV, I heard echoes of conversations my late mother and I had over gas prices. (“Conversations”, by the way, is a polite word for outright arguments between mothers and daughters.)

Notice of any fluctuation in the price of gasoline would inevitably prompt numerous complaints from my mom. The most common of which became the basis of our frequent ‘conversations’: Her belief that gas station owners collude with one another to rig prices so as to make tons of money from gasoline sales at the expense of hardworking, taxpaying motorists.

My mother was a smart woman. But her career path of registered nurse-turned-college instructor took her nowhere near energy policy or economics. Like many Americans, she simply never took the time to see how gas prices are determined and just who benefits from them.

My trade, on the other hand, is journalism that has conjoined with public policy. I tried to counter her arguments with at least rudimentary facts and logic to prove her wrong, but I failed on every level. I know fuel sales profits are miniscule for retailers. I know commodities futures play a role in wholesale gas prices, and this has a big impact on how retailers set their prices. I also know ‘Big Oil’ doesn’t own each individual retailer.

But try telling any of this to my mother.

I may have had more success if I had the National Association of Convenience Stores’ Annual Fuels Report 2011 in hand during these ‘conversations’. Since convenience stores (a.k.a. small businesses) sell about 80 percent of all the fuel bought in the United States, the NACS knows of which it speaks.

Black Guy Gas Prices Are Too Damn High Jimmy McMillan Republican 2012 Presidential Candidate

Everyone remembers this black guy? Right? RIGHT?!

I’d be able to tell my mom the following, and show it to her in black and white:

* The typical retailer averages about 3 cents per gallon in profit. This is based on the premise that it costs a retailer some 12 cents to sell a gallon of gasoline, with a five year average markup of 15 cents. Consider as well that credit card fees per transaction can eat into even that 3 cent profit. In fact, in 2009, credit and debit card fees averaged 4.7 cents per gallon, with plastic used for 60 to 70 percent of all transactions at the pump. Gas stations make a much bigger profit on non-fuel sales.

* Small businesses ‘often don’t have the resources to brand their stores as anything beyond the brand of fuel they sell.’ That leads people like my mom to think all gas stations are owned by ‘big oil’. In reality, 95 percent of stores are owned by independent convenience store companies (only one percent, by the way, is owned by one of the ‘big oil’ companies.)

* Motor fuel sales accounted for more than two-thirds of all convenience store sales in 2009. But with low profit margins, fuel sales brought in less than one third of the stores’ gross margin dollars. (In normal-speak, this means gasoline sales accounted for two-thirds of the stores’ revenue but only one-third of the stores’ profits.)

NACS also provides a handy primer on just what influences gas prices, boiling it down to two basic areas.

First, the retailer itself:

* Branded vs. Unbranded Fuel – This is like my local grocery store which pays much more to sell General Mills’ Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal vs. its generic brand called ‘Cinnamon Swirls’. Therefore, the store has to charge me more for General Mills’ cereals than its own brand. Like the grocery store, fuel retailers pay more for brand name fuel, which means they have to charge a little more at the pump.

* Dealer Tank Wagon vs. Rack – Basically, a ‘tank wagon’ delivers fuel right to the gas station. This may cost more than the retailer having to go get it from a ‘rack’ or terminal.

* Length of Contract – A retailer could have a long-term contract with a specific refiner. A contract can be for 20 years or longer, which NACS says can also affect the price a retailer pays for fuel.

* Volume – As with nearly all other businesses, fuel retailers could get a better deal buying in bulk.

Secondly, and much more impactful, is what happens before the gasoline even reaches the retailer:

* Crude Oil Prices – According to NACS, this is the granddaddy of all gas price influencers. Not only does the cost of crude oil account for 68 percent of the retail price of gasoline, but they can have “huge swings.” And with about 42 gallons in a barrel, “a rough calculation is that retail prices ultimately move approximately 2.5 cents for every $1 change in the price of crude oil.”

* Replacement Costs – Since stores typically sell 120,000 gallons of gas a month, they need to think about how much they’ll shell out for their next fuel shipment. As NACS puts it, “even slight wholesale price variations can increase a retailer’s replacement cost by hundreds – or even thousands – of dollars.”

* Taxes – These have nowhere near the impact on our day to day gas prices as the crude oil fluctuations. While there is much to be debated about the federal and state fuel taxes, it is highly improbable there was a 25 cents per gallon tax increase in the Michigan town over a 20 minute period on a Monday afternoon.

That leaves refining costs and distribution/marketing, which, like taxes, tend to be more static in terms of the frequent price hikes and drops we see on a day-to-day basis.

I’ll never know if all of these facts would have convinced my mom to let go of her lifelong stable of preconceived – and incorrect – notions about why gas prices at all the neighborhood stations go up the same amount all within a few hours of each other.

But it’s not too late to explain to my kids on the next trip home from school. And they’re both boys. I do not anticipate the same degree of ‘conversation’ on this topic.


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Obama 2nd Inauguration Speech Full Video

Obama 2nd Inaugural Wallpaper Artistic Crowds At Washington DC National Mall

…. An absolutely awesome photo of President Obama entering massive crowds for his 2nd inauguration speech.

Obama full video of the President’s 2nd inauguration speech on January 21st 2013 is posted below. This is the full speech of President Obama who was sworn in today, on Martin Luthor King Day, to the start of his second full term in office as the 44th President of the United States and the first ever black President to serve two full terms in office!

No matter what you think of President Obama and his policies, this is a historic moment of epic proportions, especially for African Americans and mixed race kids, as well as minorities in general. The fact that President Obama’s inauguration came on Martin Luthor King Day was truly icing on the cake. As soon as I can find it I will post the full video of all the day’s events, and another video to replace the stupid New York Times who seem to have the monopoly on youtube political events for some unknown reason.

Obama Oath Second Term Signing In Bibles Lincoln Martin Luthor King Jr MLK With Michelle, Malia, Sasha, Chief Justice John Roberts Speaker of the House John Boehner

Obama taking the oath of office using Martin Luthor King and Lincoln’s Bibles!


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Farewell Mitt Romney. What’s Next? Will He Become A Republican Party Titan Or Set Off Into the Sunset? Never To Be Heard From Again?

Farewell Mitt Romney

…. President Romney is a dashed-dream as we say farewell to Mitt Romney, Ann and a Vice President Paul Ryan.

Farewell to Mitt Romney! Ryan Romney wins election 2012 with 320 Electoral Collage votes to Obama Biden’s 218? Not at all. The Republican challenger to the Barack Obama machine was easily defeated, as the world knows, during the 2012 US election in which President Obama won a second term.

This marks the first time a minority President, African American or otherwise, has ever been re-elected to a second term. As everyone knows, Obama is the first black man to ever hold the office of the Presidency and the first modern racial minority to do so (it depends on how you define “minority”, for example John F. Kennedy was the first-ever Catholic President, a religious minority at the time, but not a racial one).

Here is Mitt Romney’s 2012 Concession Speech to President Obama, congratulating him on his win.

Barack Obama won the election with 332 Electoral College Votes compared to Mitt Romney’s dismal 206 Electoral College Votes. Barack Obama even won Florida (barely, by 1%) which was highly contested and whose results weren’t known until two weeks after the election. Netting Obama the full 29 votes. Obama won every battleground state outside of North Carolina, including Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Colorado, Nevada and New Hampshire. While his margin was only 1 or 2% in some states, it was over 4% and up to 6% in some.

Here is President Barack Obama’s full 2012 victory speech, thanking Mitt Romney for a challenging election race and looking towards the next four years of an Obama Administration.

The popular vote was much closer however. Obama won that as well with 62,611,250 raw votes compared to Romney’s 59,134,475 raw votes. The saddest part however is that Romney got 3 million fewer votes than John McCain got in 2008! Having said all this, it was still winnable by Romney, if he had gotten more Republicans out to vote. Even so, it was a huge win for Obama in the Electoral College, even if each state was not won by huge margins. Overall, Obama’s vote count in the popular vote was down 8% from 2008.

So what is next for Mitt Romney?

What States Did Obama Romney Win? Election 2012 USA Voter Map Electoral College By State

Here are exactly what states Obama won (in blue) and Romney won (in red).

Will Romney become a defacto leader of the Republican Party going ahead? Will he do what Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee and Herman Cain have done? Transition into Cable News, set-up PACs and groups, websites and the like, and build on their influence in the wake of their election loses? (Newt was already doing this before he decided to run).

I hope that Mitt Romney will do what those others have done. He is still a valuable Republican, he simply was not up to snuff as far as his Presidential prospects were concerned. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on November 19, 2012 in Election 2012, Features, News, Politics, Videos


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President Obama Wins Re-Election. Farewell Mitt Romney

Obama 2012 Timeline Cover Facebook Hope and Change

Hope and Change? Forward? Obama wins 2012 Re-Election

President Obama has won re-election (farewell, Mitt Romney!) by a small but decisive margin in the Electoral College and a very small margin in the popular vote. A mandate this is not. Over half the country still disagrees with the President and his policies, but he has been given a second chance.

Obama hugs Michelle 2012 Reelection Photo

A beautiful photo of the President hugging the first lady as he learned of his re-election.

The real question is whether or not the President will truly start to compromise and reach across the aisle to the Republicans, who maintained control of “The People’s Voice”, the House of Representatives. John Boehner remains Speaker of the House, Nancy Polosi’s career is thus over, and despite all the complaining of gridlock and paralysis of government from the people of the nation; They have elected to send the EXACT same group of key players to Washington D.C. once again.

John Boehner Obama Harry Reid All Re-Elected. Time For Round Two. Yay?

Time for round two….

Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader of the Democrat-controlled Senate, which maintained control as the Republicans failed to win the four seats they needed to take the majority, President Barack Hussein Obama who will now maintain power over the Executive Branch for another four years, and Speaker of the House John Boehner, who now has the toughest job in Washington with the only Conservative-majority branch of government… He will have to face another four years being between a rock and a hard place as he attempts to hold onto his Conservative values and those of his Tea Party and Republican partisan elected members of government, while also working with President Obama and Reid to actually govern.

Change and Hope Obama Facebook Timeline Cover

Change and Hope. Hope and Change.

This situation does NOT bode well for the country. These are the same players who failed to compromise enough to get anything done over the past two years… however now things are even more dire as the fiscal cliff looms. Will President Obama due what Romney vowed, meet with the other side weekly or at least monthly until they come to agreement and not stop until our nations economic dire straights are resolved? Or will he continue to push a liberal agenda… one in which the majority of Americans still disagree (the majority of Americans, unfortunately over 200 million Americans do not vote) despite his solid win.

Obama United We Progess Toward A More Perfect Union Facebook Timeline Cover

United we progress towards a more perfect union. But are we united? Nope.

Will America go bankrupt and head down the path of Rome and Greece? Or will Obama lead and become more than a mystical, transient figure, but one who stepped up to the plate and worked hard on fixing America. Can America absorb Obamacare, and will the House defund it, which is within their power? Will their be riots-in-the-streets from liberals if Obamacare does get defunded by the House? Many questions remain…. But Democrats definitely have the upper-hand… even though they only control two of the three Legislative and Executive branches of government.

What I am most fearful about is a more liberal Supreme Court. President Obama will likely be able to replace a couple Supreme Court justices. Although they will be liberal ones, most likely, replaced with more liberals, meaning the balance of Supreme Court power is unlikely to shift. God help us.

Farewell Romney Facebook Timeline Cover Election 2012 Concession Speech

…. Obama pledged to work with Mitt Romney in his ’12 victory speech… what will his future role be? Well he become leader of the party moving forward?

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Posted by on November 7, 2012 in Election 2012, Features, News, Politics


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Mitt Romney Wins Minnesota? Your Prediction. Obama or Romney Will Win the MN Battleground State?

Minnesota State Map

The state of Minnesota is a major battleground for the 2012 Presidential Election.

Will Mitt Romney or Barack Obama win Minnesota? The MN swing state is a toss-up between both candidates.

Which Presidential Candidate do you think will win the state?

Swing State 2012 Electoral State Map Presidential Vote

Many states in the 2012 Presidential Elections are Swing or Toss-Up States.

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Posted by on November 2, 2012 in Election 2012, Features, News, Politics, Polls


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Mitt Romney Wins North Carolina? Your Prediction. Obama or Romney Will Win the NC Battleground State?

North Carolina State Map

The state of North Carolina is a swing state for the 2012 Presidential Election.

Will Mitt Romney or Barack Obama win North Carolina? The NC Battleground state is a toss-up between both candidates but leaning Romney currently.

Which Presidential Candidate do you think will win the state?

Swing State 2012 Electoral State Map Presidential Vote

Many states in the 2012 Presidential Elections are Swing or Toss-Up States.

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Posted by on November 2, 2012 in Election 2012, Features, News, Politics, Polls


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Mitt Romney Wins Arizona? Your Prediction. Obama or Romney Will Win the AZ Battleground State?

Arizona State Map

The state of Arizona is a possible swing state for the 2012 Presidential Election.

Will Mitt Romney or Barack Obama win Arizona? The AZ Republican state is a possible toss-up between both candidates.

Which Presidential Candidate do you think will win the red state?

Swing State 2012 Electoral State Map Presidential Vote

Many states in the 2012 Presidential Elections are Swing or Toss-Up States.

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Posted by on November 2, 2012 in Election 2012, Features, News, Politics, Polls


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