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January 9, 2020
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 Inside this issue
  Executive Directors Message  

Happy New Year and welcome back to our weekly newsletter! I hope you all had an opportunity to relax and spend time with your families during this holiday season. 
Last we checked in with you before the holiday, Eric and I met with the governor's counsel to persuade the governor to sign the Magnuson-Moss Act Notification legislation. As of this writing, Gov. Murphy has not yet signed it. Since next Tuesday is the deadline for the governor to sign, I should be able to have a definite conclusion when I write you next week. Coincidentally, I have been contacted by several members in the last week who relayed stories in which their customers told them that they are unable to bring their newer cars in for service to their shops because their dealer outright and fraudulently told them that if the car was not brought back to the dealership the warranty would be voided. This is the exact behavior that has prompted us to fight for this legislation. 
We have spent much of the new year intervening with both the Senate and the Assembly on the myriad of anti-vaping legislation. There are several variations of legislation that will do anything from banning all vaping products being sold at convenience stores, to banning flavors of vaping products. They also mention limiting the amount of nicotine that can be in vaping products, banning menthol cigarettes, and significantly increasing taxes on all vaping products. Every one of these proposals has a negative effect on those of you who sell them in your convenience stores. We have literally conceded the ban on flavors as we are unable to overcome the argument that flavors are causing teenagers to take up vaping. Besides that, the FDA announced a few days ago that all vaping cartridge flavors are banned nationwide. Our biggest concern is to stop the ban on menthol cigarettes and the ban on selling vaping products in convenience stores. We were successful in having this legislation pulled from Monday's committee hearings in both the Senate and the Assembly and continue to negotiate with both houses. As of this writing I don't have an outcome, but have a relative degree of confidence we will be successful. I will be able to report a definite outcome again next week. Pay close attention to your emails as they intend to move it Thursday morning and vote on Monday. Because this legislation expires at noon on Tuesday, (when a new legislature is sworn in) they will have to take action before then or it will expire and must be re-introduced in the next legislature.  If this is not going our way and they vote to ban convenience stores and menthol cigarettes we may be contacting you over the weekend and ask you to come to Trenton and help us persuade legislators in the halls of the statehouse as they walk into their respective chambers to vote. PLEASE PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR EMAILS. 
Of lesser consequence to you at the moment is action being taken by the legislature that would further incentivize motorists to purchase electric vehicles and give some assistance in certain instances for installing EV charging stations. I weighed in at the hearing this week in the Assembly Environment Committee. This legislation could be beneficial to our members if funds could be provided to assist in installing electric charging stations. My concern is that at this time, this legislation makes it more difficult for hydrogen vehicles to break through in the market. I firmly believe that hydrogen fueling will eventually be the fuel of the future, and that it will be more profitable to you as the refueling process of hydrogen vehicles is very similar to the refueling process of gasoline vehicles. I foresee the day when you will be selling gasoline, diesel, hydrogen, and electricity. The problem with electricity that will be overcome by hydrogen is the fact that your customer will need about 30 minutes to recharge their battery electric vehicle and it still may not be filled to capacity, while refueling a hydrogen electric vehicle will only take about 3 minutes to fill it completely.  Battery electric vehicles generally have a range of 200 miles max while hydrogen electric vehicles have a range of 300 or more miles. Recently I had a conversation with the executive of another industry-related association (who shall remain nameless) who drives a battery electric vehicle and has had to be towed on several occasions because the car ran out of battery. This happened as recently as this past weekend, and his wife is not happy. However, his position requires him to be driving an electric vehicle (which is why I won't name him) and he is not happy either. You can listen to my testimony or read commentary in the articles below. 
Some of you may have seen news reports from last week after the NJ Department of Homeland Security issued a press release that made it seem as if skimmers on gas pumps that steal customer's credit card information is a big problem in New Jersey. Several news outlets picked up on it and had reports making it appear as if this was a bigger problem in New Jersey than elsewhere. Yes, skimmers are a problem, however, it is a much smaller problem in New Jersey than elsewhere in the country. This is because customers don't have the same access to place skimmers in gas pumps in New Jersey because attendants handle all of the transactions without customers ever getting out of their car. This is all a residual effect of the announcement several weeks ago that Wawa's credit card system was hacked and customer's personal information had been breached. The fact of the matter is that fraudsters don't rely on skimmers as much as they used to because once they hack a retailers computer system that processes credit cards, they can gain the information they need without the skimmer being on the gas pump. We have mentioned the importance of cybersecurity to our members on several occasions. Look for this to become more of an issue in the future. That being said, this is a perfect time for me to remind you that the EMV chip card readers that were originally required to be used by October of 2017 and were given a three year reprieve must be installed by October of 2020. If you have not upgraded the card readers in your pump by then and are still using a swipe credit card processor, you will be liable for any and all fraud that occurs at your pumps. I will send out periodic reminders, but it's January and a good time to start making plans to get this done if you have not already done so. You can watch an interview Fox 29 did with me on this issue by clicking HERE
That's all for this week -  
Sal Risalvato
Executive Director




  Training Class Schedule  

All classes held at NJGCA HQ -- 4900 Route 33 West, Wall Township, NJ 07753




  News Around The State  

New Jersey Lawmakers Pull Menthol Cigarette Ban From Lame Duck Agenda
New Jersey lawmakers are abandoning a measure that would prohibit the sale of menthol cigarettes because of concerns a ban might hurt the state's finances. "At this point in time, I don't believe I'll be addressing the menthol bill this session in my budget committee," Sen. Paul Sarlo, the chair of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, said in an interview. While Sarlo said he'd support exploring a ban in the future, it should be "something we should consider, but in a budgetary context as well."
Sen. Joe Vitale (D-Middlesex), the lead sponsor of the bill in the upper house, confirmed that the measure, NJ S1947 (18R), wouldn't be advancing before the conclusion of the legislative session on Tuesday. Assemblyman Herb Conaway (D-Burlington) moved similar legislation through the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee. However, he's amended another measure, NJ A3178 (18R), which was originally crafted to eliminate flavored e-cigarette products, to include language to ban menthol cigarettes as well.


Gas Stations Rush to Upgrade to Chip Technology
Starting in October, fuel pumps must be equipped to handle chip card transactions or retailers risk liability for any counterfeit fraud that might occur at that station, Bloomberg/Detroit News reports. Gas stations had asked that implementation be delayed to provide more time to install chip readers, but Mastercard and Visa denied the request. Many retailers started the process in 2015, with fuel retailers given five additional years because of the more than $3.9 billion price tag the industry faced to complete the upgrade. A recent Conexxus survey found that nearly 70% of industry respondents did not have EMV-compliant fuel pumps. Those who do not upgrade could incur costs of up to $201,000 per location over the next seven years, according to Conexxus, which estimates that the fuel retailing industry could experience $451 million in card fraud this year.

Oil Industry Predicts "Severe Consequences" If U.S. Bans Fracking
The oil industry and its backers are coming out swinging against proposals pushed by Democratic presidential candidates aiming to virtually eliminate oil and gas. Why it matters: The emphasis, made at an annual luncheon attended by hundreds of energy executives, shows how worried the industry is about the potential impact of such proposals, including fracking bans.

NJ May Offer to Give You $5,000 to Buy an Electric Car
A revamped version of a bill promoting the use of plug-in electric vehicles was endorsed by two Assembly committees Monday and appears positioned to reach Gov. Phil Murphy's desk before the legislative session ends in a week. The bill, A4819/S2252, had been stalled for more than a year but is listed for consideration by the Senate budget committee Thursday, after its approval by the Assembly environment and appropriations committees. Sal Risalvato, executive director of the New Jersey Gasoline, Convenience Store and Automotive Association, said the future might be hydrogen-powered cars, rather than electric plug-ins, since they can be filled far more quickly - in around three minutes as opposed to around 30 - at locations similar to current gas stations.

Lawmakers Drive Ahead Bill Expanding NJ Electric Vehicle Access
State lawmakers are rushing a long-stalled bill before the lame duck session ends next week that would dramatically ramp up the New Jersey's electric vehicle market over the next decade. The measure - Assembly Bill 4819 - was widely supported by environmentalists as a way to slash carbon emissions that many contend contribute to climate change and drag down air quality. It was approved by the Assembly Appropriations, and the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste committees, on Monday. Business groups such as the New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers and New Jersey Gasoline, C-Store and Automotive Association supported the measure, though it was opposed by trade groups representing the state's petroleum and gasoline sectors.

New Jersey's Department Of Homeland Security Warns Of Credit Card Skimmers
New Jersey's Department of Homeland Security issued a warning to Garden State drivers about credit card skimmers and drivers have their guards up. In a separate alert put out by Visa over the past few months, drivers are urged to use cash or credit and not use debit cards because of the direct link to your account. NJGCA Executive Director Sal Risalvato told FOX 29's Hank Flynn that's good advice. "It is less of a problem at New Jersey gas stations then elsewhere.  New Jersey has done a very good job of maintaining the ability to keep skimmers out of the gas pumps," he said.

Card Skimmers At NJ Gas Stations? Here's How To Protect Yourself
Gas stations have until October to install devices on pumps capable of reading chip card transactions or become liable for instances of fraud. Payment data on a card's magnetic stripe is less secure. Sal Risalvato, executive director of the New Jersey Gasoline-Convenience-Automotive Association, said gas stations already have begun to convert their payment card readers. "Most of them have already complied long before the deadline," he said. "I am very pleased." "We are just in the phase now where I am going out and reminding everybody to don't overlook this," Risalvato said. . . Skimmers are "less of a problem in New Jersey than it is elsewhere," Risalvato said.

FDA Bans Fruity and Mint Flavored Cartridge-Based E-Cigs
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued final guidance banning most flavored cartridge-based e-cigarettes, except for tobacco and menthol flavors. The guidance permits the sale of e-liquid flavors used in open vaping systems and in disposable, single-use vape products. . .Unlike the initial proposal from FDA, this new guidance focuses on which products can and cannot be sold rather than the locations in which those products are sold. NACS has been a vocal advocate for the fair treatment of retailers selling tobacco products and strongly opposed the initial efforts by the FDA to permit sales of flavored e-cigarettes in retail stores that are considered adult-only, such as vape shops and tobacco outlets, while prohibiting them in convenience stores. The final FDA guidance recognized those concerns and contains no language that discriminates between the type of retail outlet. 

Before Wawa Found Data Breach, Visa Warned It Could Happen
About a month before Wawa disclosed a data breach exposing customers' credit and debit card numbers, the nation's largest credit card network warned that hackers were targeting gas stations to steal payment card information. Visa reported in November that gas stations emerged as attractive targets for cybercriminals because many have been slow to adopt more-secure payment-processing technology. Specifically, Visa said the attacks could continue as long as gas stations used magnetic-stripe readers to accept card payments, instead of devices that take cards equipped with computer chips. Wawa said this week it is implementing chip technology at gas pumps and expects all pumps to be upgraded in 2020.

Trump's Dialed-back Vaping Ban Angers Anti-Tobacco Groups
The Trump administration Thursday rolled out a limited ban on flavored e-cigarettes, enraging anti-tobacco advocates who called the measure a political capitulation that would cause more kids to become addicted to nicotine. The new plan will bar the sale of all sweet and fruity flavored vape pods and cartridges within 30 days but allow gas stations and convenience stores to continue selling menthol cartridges and vapes. It also lets vape shops sell a broad range of e-cigarette liquids in so-called open-tank vaping systems, which commonly are used by adults.

A New Warning: Be Careful Next Time You Use Your Debit Card At A Gas Station In New Jersey
The New Jersey Department of Homeland Security has issued a new warning about the safety and security of gas station card readers that could change the way gas stations in the state deal with fraud and stolen card information. By next fall, all gas stations will be required to have chip readers installed at the pumps. According to the New Jersey Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Cell, most gas stations still use the old fashioned magnetic swipe reader, unlike most business which have chip readers. That leaves your information vulnerable to those who want to get it. 

New for 2020: Employers Must Establish Commuter Benefit Plans
Employers that have not already established a pre-tax commuter benefit plan should do so as soon as possible, say attorneys at Connell Foley. That's because early next year, employers with 20 or more employees are going to have to offer pre-tax commuter benefits to all employees working in New Jersey under the New Jersey Transit Benefits Law. "The commuter benefit can be structured as an employee-funded tax-free payroll deduction or as an employer-funded benefit, or the costs can be shared by employer and employee," according to a blog post written by attorneys Michael A. Shadiack, Jason E. Marx, Michael Affrunti, Scott P. Humphreys.

The Decade That Blew Up Energy Predictions
America's energy sources, like booming oil and crumbling coal, have defied projections and historical precedents over the last decade. Why it matters: It shows how change can happen rapidly and unexpectedly, even in an industry known to move gradually and predictably. With a new decade upon us, let's look back at the last one's biggest, most surprising energy changes.

Pump Prices Could Rise Under TCI Plan
Gasoline prices from Virginia to Maine could jump as much as 17 cents per gallon under a draft agreement to lower carbon emissions from vehicles, the Boston Globe reports. Nearly a dozen East Coast states are working on the Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI), a carbon tax "cap and trade" proposal which seeks to reduce tailpipe gas emissions by 20% to 25% over 10 years. According to Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Katie Theoharides, the initiative's "fundamental purpose ... is to address the climate crisis that is already having increasingly large and damaging effects on every one of our communities," she said.

Trump to Sign Spending Bill
President Trump is expected today to sign two spending bills totaling nearly $1.4 trillion to fund the government through September 30, 2020. Among the issues relevant to convenience and fuel retailers, the legislation raises the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21, extends the biodiesel blenders' tax credit and extends by one year the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC). The Senate passed the bills Thursday, following House approval Tuesday.


  Energy Information Agency Weekly Retail Gasoline Prices  
Each week, the Energy Information Administration publishes a list of average gasoline prices for the previous three weeks. NJGCA will begin including this list with the Weekly Road Warrior. Remember, these prices are reflective of self-serve everywhere except NJ.


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  Classifieds: For Sale and Help Wanted Ads  



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Business For Sale: Monmouth County gas station and repair shop in business since 2001 is for sale. Owner is relocating out of state and is interested in selling business and equipment. Owner is open to limited financing. Business has a strong 10 year lease. The building has two repair bays and the gas pumps are leased to a large independent tenant. Repair shop business currently employs a Manager and two full-time Technicians. For inquiries and more info, please call Mark at 908-670-7798.

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