Fuel efficiency today vs. just a few years ago is significant - how much you save per month: 


Bottom Line:  It’s impressive to look back at just a handle of years ago to see the improvements in average fuel efficiency.  The incremental gains year to year seemingly don’t provide as much edification as when you step back and look at how much has changed within seven.  Let’s look at some highlights:


  • Average fuel efficiency in 2007:  20.1 MPG
  • Average fuel efficiency today:  25.6 MPG

So the average improvement on the same vehicle has improved by 27% since the last new car cycle.  Pretty impressive.   To put it a different way…  The average savings per vehicle per month is about $30.  Not bad. 


The peak in terms of fuel being used peaked in 2004.  Meaning that while our population has grown over the past decade and we have more cars on the road, we’ve seen fuel efficiency gains consistently improve at a rate that is faster than population growth and demand for new vehicles.  That’s all impressive.  What isn’t is the increase in the gas tax that Federal politicians are seeking since we’re using less fuel.  Here’s to the irony of a Government that mandates better fuel efficiency and increases taxes to make up for the better fuel efficiency…


Audio Report:



Which online review sites are most trustworthy? Here you go by category:


Bottom Line:  Online reviews can make or break a business.  80% of consumers seek and will generally trust online reviews for varies different products and services…  Especially in the hospitality industry…  We know that in the high stakes environment of online reviews – there are times and reviews that are false.  Getting good information is more important than perhaps ever before.  So how do we know what sites have the most trust worthy reviews?  Maritz Research studied this and produced the following results after surveying users of review sites:


  • Travel site:  TripAdvisor
  • Restaurant reviews:  Zagat & OpenTable
  • Automotive:  Edmunds.com
  • General reviews:  Yelp

What’s notable here is that paid services like Angie’s List didn’t win.  I call Ashley the TripAdvisor queen and can say that we’ve never been let done by that service.


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What your odds are now of actually being hired at Starbucks & other interesting follow-ups:


Bottom Line:  So what would you guess?  50% chance of being hired if you applied for a job? 30%?  Here’s irony…  You might have a better chance of being hired as an executive at a company than as a part-time entry level employee at Starbucks. 


Last week I conducted a series of stories related to the new Starbucks online scholarship program (and demonstrated that they’ll likely profit through lower turnover, through the initiative).  On back of those items, what are the actual odds of you being part of the Starbucks team? 


Over the past year 4 million applications have flowed into Starbucks for just over 50,000 openings in the US.  In other words:


  • You have a 1% chance of gaining employment at Starbucks

That makes even part-time work at Starbucks one of the most competitive job opportunities in the country.  By comparison:


  • Among all jobs there are about 2.4 people vying for the average job opening

That means that you have a 41% chance of gaining employment generally.  That further puts into perspective what Starbucks has been successful creating.  It also could be an important takeaway for your business.  If you’ve had trouble attracting good quality employees, what could you be doing to attract a better quality result?  A little more can go a long way in having high quality people compete over your lower level positions. 


Audio Report:



Apartment rent increases & how renting compares to buying right now:


Bottom Line:  Despite more than two-thirds of all new home construction taking place for rental purposes, we’re still setting new records in the rental market:


  • We’re currently at a 95% occupancy rate for rentals (new record)
  • The average rent rate is up 3.5% year over year (new record)

Let’s compare that to the relative cost of buying.  Over the past year the real-estate recovery has been maturing showing year over year increases that are now in the 5-6% range.  Mortgage rates are nearly at the same level as a year ago, so buying is slightly more expensive on a relative basis than a year ago but not by much.  If you’d otherwise stay in the same location for 5 or more years it may make more sense to look at buying. 


Audio Report:




Reuters report shows that GM's cover-up took place from the top from very early on - Time for clean sweep: 


Bottom Line:  The most damning information to date in the GM scandal has come to light.  This is a Reuters exclusive so I’m going to link to the story:  http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/06/19/us-gm-recall-fund-idUSKBN0EU2TJ20140619


Once you read it you’ll likely come to these conclusions:


  • Mara Barra and her executive team lack all credibility (and may have been outright lying – would could include perjury)
  • The old GM deserved to go through the appropriate bankruptcy process because of how poorly run the company was actually run.  The Government assisted bk enabled a poorly run company involved in cover-up scandals to persist while costing us tens of billions of lost dollars.  Without the Government a truly new GM would have emerged with new leadership that wasn’t part of the evidently corrupt culture
  • There needs to be a clean sweep at GM

I also would like to know who knew what within the Federal Government during the bailout and assisted bankruptcy.  


Audio Report: