The United States of America (USA), commonly referred to as the United States (US), America, or simply the States, is a federal republic consisting of 50 states, 16 territories, a federal district, and various overseas extraterritorial jurisdictions. The 48 contiguous states and the federal district of Washington, D.C., are in central North America between Canada and Mexico. The state of Alaska is the northwestern part of North America and the state of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific. The country also has five populated and nine unpopulated territories in the Pacific and the Caribbean. At 3.79 million square miles (9.83 million km2) in total and with around 316 million people, the United States is the fourth-largest country by total area and third largest by population. It is one of the world's most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, the product of large-scale immigration from many countries. The geography and climate of the United States is also extremely diverse, and it is home to a wide variety of wildlife.
Paleo-indians migrated from Asia to what is now the US mainland around 15,000 years ago, with European colonization beginning in the 16th century. The United States emerged from 13 British colonies located along the Atlantic seaboard. Disputes between Great Britain and these colonies led to the American Revolution. On July 4, 1776, delegates from the 13 colonies unanimously issued the Declaration of Independence. The ensuing war ended in 1783 with the recognition of independence of the United States from the Kingdom of Great Britain, and was the first successful war of independence against a European colonial empire. The current Constitution was adopted on September 17, 1787. The first 10 amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, were ratified in 1791 and guarantee many fundamental civil rights and freedoms.
Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX Euronext: CHTEX) is an American multinational energy corporation. Headquartered in San Ramon, California, and active in more than 180 countries, it is engaged in every aspect of the oil, gas, and geothermal energy industries, including exploration and production; refining, marketing and transport; chemicals manufacturing and sales; and power generation. Chevron is one of the world's six "supermajor" oil companies; as of 2013[update], it ranked eleventh in the Fortune Global 500 list of the world's largest companies.
The payment system is an operational network - governed by laws, rules and standards - that links bank accounts and provides the functionality for monetary exchange using bank deposits. The payment system is the infrastructure (consisting of institutions, instruments, rules, procedures, standards,and technical means) established in effect the transfer of monetary value between parties discharging mutual obligations. Its technical efficiency determines the efficiency with which transaction money is used in the economy, and risk associated with its use.
What makes it a "system" is that it employs cash-substitutes; traditional payment systems are negotiable instruments such as drafts (e.g., checks) and documentary credits such as letter of credits. With the advent of computers and electronic communications a large number of alternative electronic payment systems have emerged. These include debit cards, credit cards, electronic funds transfers, direct credits, direct debits, internet banking and e-commerce payment systems. Some payment systems include credit mechanisms, but that is essentially a different aspect of payment. Payment systems are used in lieu of tendering cash in domestic and international transactions and consist of a major service provided by banks and other financial institutions.
Shell Oil Company is the United States-based subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell, a multinational oil company ("oil major") of Anglo–Dutch origins, which is amongst the largest oil companies in the world. Approximately 22,000 Shell employees are based in the U.S. The U.S. head office is in Houston, Texas. Shell Oil Company, including its consolidated companies and its share in equity companies, is one of America’s largest oil and natural gas producers, natural gas marketers, gasoline marketers and petrochemical manufacturers.
Shell is the market leader through approximately 25,000 Shell-branded gas stations in the US which also serve as Shell's most visible public presence. Shell Oil Company is a 50/50 partner with the Saudi Arabian government-owned oil company Saudi Aramco in Motiva Enterprises, a refining and marketing joint venture which owns and operates three oil refineries on the Gulf Coast of the United States.
A gift card is a restricted monetary equivalent or scrip that is issued by retailers or banks to be used as an alternative to a non-monetary gift. Highly popular, they rank as the second-most given gift by consumers in the United States (2006) and the most-wanted gift by women, and the third-most wanted by males. Gift cards have become increasingly popular as they relieve the donor of selecting a specific gift. In Canada, $1.8 billion were spent on gift cards and in the UK, it is estimated to reach 3 billion (GBP) for 2009 whereas in the United States, about $80 billion were paid for gift cards in 2006. The recipient of the gift card can use it at his or her discretion within the restrictions set by the issuing agency.
The first giftcard using a payments infrastructure was introduced by Blockbuster Entertainment in the fall of 1994 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. In the beginning, the Blockbuster giftcard was to replace gift certificates that were being counterfeited with recently introduced color copiers and color printers. It was this over redemption of giftcards that launched the search for an alternative. The first giftcard transactions were processed by what was then, Nabanco of Sunrise, Florida. Nabanco was the developer of the first platform for the processing of giftcards using existing payment infrastructure. Blockbuster was later followed by a card by Neiman Marcus, and the Mobil gas card which initially offered prepaid phone value provided by MCI. Kmart was the next introduction of the Kmart Cash Card which in the early generations provided prepaid phone time with AT&T. Later this feature was dropped as it was not profitable for both Kmart and Mobil. The Kmart Mags Pangilinan Cash Card was the first replacement for cash returns when a shopper did not have a receipt for a gift. This practice of giving a cash card in place of cash for non-receipted returns is common place today with most merchants. From these early introductions, numerous retailers began to adapt a giftcard program to replace their gift certificate programs.
farming, forestry, and fishing: 0.7% manufacturing, extraction, transportation, and crafts: 20% managerial, professional, and technical]disambiguation needed[: 37% sales and office: 24% other services: 18% (2009)
Main data source: CIA World Fact Book
The United States is the 2nd largest energy consumer in terms of total use in 2010. The U.S. ranks seventh in energy consumption per-capita after Canada and a number of small nations. Not included is the significant amount of energy used overseas in the production of retail and industrial goods consumed in the U.S.
The majority of this energy is derived from fossil fuels: in 2010, data showed 25% of the nation's energy came from petroleum, 22% from coal, and 22% from natural gas. Nuclear power supplied 8.4% and renewable energy supplied 8%, which was mainly from hydroelectric dams although other renewables are included such as wind power, geothermal and solar energy. Energy consumption has increased at a faster rate than energy production over the last fifty years in the U.S.(when they were roughly equal). This difference is now largely met through imports.