Tag Archive for 'fuel prices'

RESULTS: How will low fuel prices impact your sales and profits?

The Question:

Lower crude oil prices are expected to keep fuel prices low all year. How much will this impact your sales and profits?

19% - It will help to both increase sales and lower expenses.
38% - It won’t impact our sales much, but a reduced fuel budget will improve profits.
11% - We should see improved sales but don’t use a lot of fuel.
32% - It’s unlikely we’ll benefit from lower fuel prices in any way.
Jim’s Comments:
Now that crude oil has escaped the clutches of speculators and dropped well below $100 per barrel, a number of interesting things are happening.  Working-class folks have gotten what is essentially a huge tax cut, and global economies should benefit. But it is also creating interesting dynamics regarding currency exchanges and geopolitics.

We wanted to know what this drop in such a widely used commodity would mean out here on Main Street, so last week we asked our small business audience about it. I was surprised to see less than one-fifth allowed that the lower prices would benefit them in both sales and expenses. This response is likely a result of the new, more virtual economy, which I think was also why one-third said they wouldn’t be impacted at all by lower oil prices.

As you may have seen in my 2015 predictions, I believe you can count on oil prices averaging less than $70 per barrel for the rest of the year.

Small Business Advocate Poll: To Keystone or not to Keystone?

The Question:
Construction of the Keystone Pipeline to bring Canadian crude oil to U.S. refineries is being debated in Washington. What do you think?

87% - Yes, it will create jobs and reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil

9% - No, it could be an environmental nightmare

4% - Uncertain

Jim’s Comments:
Let’s get one thing out of the way first: The United States of America, which consumes more carbon fuel per capita than any other nation on the planet, has NO national energy plan. Not now, not ever, nor is one even being considered.

So, when the Keystone Pipeline - which would bisect the U.S. by carrying Canadian crude oil to Houston, Texas - was proposed, it’s not like it either fit into or violated some kind of a grand plan. But it does push the buttons of a lot of people and create a few strange bedfellows.

  • Environmentalists hate it because: 1) it might break and contaminate the environment; and 2) they don’t like anything that promotes the use of more carbon fuel.
  • Unions like it because: 1) it creates thousands of jobs they hope will be union jobs; and 2) they desperately need more union dues from those jobs.
  • The Obama administration hates it because: 1) they only like green jobs and crude is either black or brown, but never green; and 2) they made the calculation that they can get more votes by ticking off the unions than the environmentalists.
  • The petroleum industry likes it because: 1) they like anything that puts the word “more” in front of “oil”; and 2) it ticks off the environmentalists.
  • The marketplace likes it because: 1) it will create thousands of jobs; and 2) and we desperately need more new jobs.
  • Most members of Congress like it because: 1) it creates jobs and, unlike the Obama administration, they don’t care what color jobs; and 2) they can take credit for creating jobs.

So, that leaves only one U.S. group to poll: small businesses. And when we asked our small business audiences what they thought about the Keystone Pipeline, here’s what we learned.

Almost nine of ten - 87% - said “Yes, the Keystone pipeline will create jobs and reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil.” Apparently, we don’t think Canadian oil is “foreign.” Less than 10% said, “No, it could be an environmental nightmare,” and the rest were “Uncertain.”

Consequently, if you just do the math, clearly more groups want the Keystone Pipeline than don’t. And since I believe that small business votes should get double weight, the pipeline should be a slam dunk.

But since Barack Obama has that Oval Office thing going for him, which he used last week to reject the pipeline, it looks like the Keystone Pipeline is in trouble. Stay tuned.

Yesterday on my radio program I talked more about why we need the Keystone Pipeline. Take a few minutes to listen or download and leave your thoughts.

Check out more great SBA content HERE!

Take this week’s poll HERE!




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