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March 12, 2020
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 Inside this issue
  Executive Directors Message  


Lots to talk about this week, so buckle in!
First, this week, NJGCA attended the NACS Day on the Hill event in Washington DC to bring attention to some of our industries biggest issues to our Senators and Congressman. On Wednesday, Eric, Michelle and I met with Senators Menendez and Bookers staff, as well as staff from Albio Sires, Frank Pallone, Tom Malinowski, and Donald Payne's offices to discuss three hot button issues facing our industry. We discussed the ability to offer our customers electric vehicle charging stations, payment security, and data privacy. We constantly get calls at our offices asking about these issues and participated in the event to familiarize legislators with the issues facing our industry and urge them to take action by supporting certain bills and issues in our favor.
The electric vehicle issue centers around the fact that at this time, only utility companies like PSE&G or JCP&L can be paid in exchange for electricity, making it difficult for you to benefit from providing electricity to EV vehicle customers. Utilities across the country insist that only they be allowed to sell electricity, and so far in NJ, the Board of Public Utilities that govern these companies has sided with them.  We argue that this should be a service we offer; and that simply charging customers for the time they use parking their vehicle while charging is not acceptable, especially since fast charging stations would use more electricity but less time. Fuel retailers are trusted to sell customers gasoline that fuel their vehicles, and electric vehicles should not be viewed any differently.
Payment security is another issue I know many of you are worried about. We learned that our country leads the world in payment fraud rather than security, and our pumps and stores are places where this fraud is occurring. Therefore, we asked our legislators to give us a seat at the table in this discussion on payment standard-setting. Data privacy seems to be on the minds of many, and while we have discussed the data collected in your car frequently in our communications, we focused on the data collected from customer purchases and to avoid legislation that over-regulates to the point where we have to fear lawsuits or violations. Collecting some amount of data also allows for us to have loyalty and rewards programs. We asked for privacy legislation that applies to all industries without carve outs that benefit other businesses but punish ours. 
Though we were in DC to discuss the above issues, the topic on everyone's minds at the moment is the Coronavirus and avoiding becoming contaminated. The Capital seemed a lot more empty than I have ever seen it, and it was hard to ignore the signs on almost every door in the Senate and Congressional buildings that prohibit guests from shaking the hands of staff. Minute-by-minute the news is changing and hysteria is growing. Hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and water bottles are selling out in stores everywhere, and some have raised their prices exorbitantly on these items. This week, a 7-11 owner was arrested for selling a dangerous spray sanitizer that burned children's skin. 
I know you all want to stock these items in your stores though supplies are low. I urge you all DO NOT BUY PRODUCTS FROM TRUNK SLAMMERS! We don't want the situation that happened to the 7-11 owner to happen to you. We have been through this before with convenience store owners buying products from peddlers who stop by and sell out of their trunk or a van. You all should have received our new 2020 MBP brochure. Please patronize our convenience store distributor MBPs for supplies should you need. Consumer Affairs has been made aware of chronic price gouging as a result of the Coronavirus and the number of complaints are growing. They are currently actively looking for violators, don't risk it, don't do it! The following are the MBPs we trust to deliver products to you that are safe and legal for use:
Harold Levinson Associates
Quick & Fresh
Chetak New York
As far as personal safety, the CDC and NJ Department of Health have issued some guidance documents on avoiding getting sick. I suggest everyone takes some time to read them and if necessary, implement changes in order to minimize the risk of an outbreak at your workplace:
CDC Resources for Businesses and Employers
New Jersey Department of Health COVID-19: A Guide for Businesses
 Additionally, you all should pay extra attention to your rest rooms at this time. You want to protect your employees and your customers. It is a good idea to use disinfecting wipes to wipe down counters and furniture in your customer waiting areas, and certainly a good idea to wipe down surfaces in your rest rooms. Employees and customers will both appreciate the effort being made to protect them.
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

Two-Day Emissions Inspector Training Class
April 22nd & 23rd

Want your technicians to become a NJ Emissions Inspector? We can help!

Our new two-day class will provide all the information for becoming a NJ Emissions Inspector. Day one will consist of written test training and the State will administer the written test the very same day at our offices. Day two will be a hands-on training course to prepare you for the hands-on test. Class will run from 7:00am to 4:00pm on day 1. Class will begin at 12:30 PM on day 2. Cost is $479 for members.

April class registration click here




  News Around The State  

What Is Price Gouging? Complaints Soar In N.J. As Coronavirus Fears Spread
When New Jersey declared a state of emergency on Monday because of coronavirus, the state's price gouging rules went into effect. State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said last week that at least 10 retailers received warnings about price gouging from the Division of Consumer Affairs. But by the end of Tuesday, the number of complaints soared to 90. "Any business that seeks to profit off consumer fears of this coronavirus - simply don't do it," Grewal said. Consumer Affairs told NJ Advance Media it had 160 complaints about price gouging or other unfair price hikes related to the public's concern about COVID-19 at the end of the day on Wednesday. Excess prices for surgical face masks and hand sanitizer were among the initial complaints. The new complaints involve those, plus others about prices for disinfectant sprays and wipes, food, bottled water and one allegation of an unfair price hike on gasoline.

7-Eleven Owner Arrested After Selling 'Dangerous' Homemade Sanitizer
The owner of a 7-Eleven in River Vale, New Jersey has been arrested after allegedly making and selling a "dangerous 'spray sanitizer'" that resulted in apparent burns on children's skin, authorities said. This comes amid a nationwide shortage of hand sanitizer, as people stock up on cleaning supplies in the face of a coronavirus outbreak.

You Can't Be Fired In N.J. For Failing Drug Test Because Of Medical Marijuana, Court Rules
New Jersey's top court ruled Tuesday that workers can't be fired for failing a drug test because of medical marijuana. As long as employees are not under the influence of the drug at work, the state Supreme Court said medical marijuana patients remain protected by the Law Against Discrimination, echoing an earlier appellate court decision. . .The drug should now be treated like any prescription opiate, said Maxine "Mickey" Neuhauser, an employment expert with the Newark office of the Epstein Becker and Green national law firm. You still need a prescription, she said, and you can't come to work high.

Oil Price War Threatens Widespread Collateral Damage
The oil price war Saudi Arabia launched against Russia over the weekend sent crude prices into one of the steepest falls in history Monday, causing casualties for oil field workers, U.S. shale drillers, investors and members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries that rely on oil to make their budgets add up. Moscow's refusal to cut its oil output by half a million barrels a day shattered the unusual three-year marriage of OPEC, led by the Saudis, and major non-OPEC producers, led by Russia, as oil producers scrambled to find a way to respond to weakening global demand resulting from the deepening crisis over the coronavirus.

Here's How Much Turnpike, Parkway Tolls Are Going Up And The Projects It'll Pay For
Drivers will get three opportunities to tell New Jersey Turnpike officials what they think about a toll increase proposal next week that could hike the price of a passenger car trip on the Turnpike by an average of $1.25 and Parkway tolls by 30 cents. The details were finally revealed of a toll increase process that started on Feb. 25 when NJ Turnpike Authority commissioners voted to set public hearing dates but not say how much drivers will pay. The legal notice on the authority's website also lacked the type of details drivers would expect, such as a breakdown of cash, E-ZPass rates and how much non-passenger vehicles will pay. It only said tolls would increase by $1.25 for the "average trip" on the Turnpike and 30 cents on the Parkway for passenger vehicles.

Oil Plunges Most Since 1991 After Producers Embark on Price War
Oil crashed the most in 29 years as Saudi Arabia and Russia vowed to pump more in a battle for market share just as the coronavirus spurs the first decline in demand since 2009. Futures slumped by about 25% in New York and London Monday as Moscow and Riyadh began an all-out price war after the collapse of talks between members of the OPEC+ alliance last week. Saudi Arabia slashed its official crude pricing and is threatening record output. Russia's largest producer, meanwhile, said it will ramp up production next month. What's more, all of the annual growth the International Energy Agency had anticipated last month has been erased, and oil demand is now expected to contract by 90,000 barrels a day this year.

Putin Dumps MBS to Start a War on America's Shale Oil Industry
Alexander Novak told his Saudi Arabian counterpart Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman that Russia was unwilling to cut oil production further. The Kremlin had decided that propping up prices as the coronavirus ravaged energy demand would be a gift to the U.S. shale industry. The frackers had added millions of barrels of oil to the global market while Russian companies kept wells idle. Now it was time to squeeze the Americans. After five hours of polite but fruitless negotiation, in which Russia clearly laid out its strategy, the talks broke down. Oil prices fell more than 10%. It wasn't just traders who were caught out: Ministers were so shocked, they didn't know what to say, according to a person in the room. The gathering suddenly had the atmosphere of a wake, said another.

Global Coronavirus Worries Trigger Lower U.S. Gas Prices
Worldwide concerns about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have shuttered China manufacturing, upended travel and beaten down stocks, and the outbreak also has triggered lower prices at the pump, USA Today reports. During the past three weeks, U.S. gasoline prices have declined six cents per gallon, according to GasBuddy. . . With crude oil prices lower and global demand for fuel dropping, U.S. motorists could see lower prices at the pump for weeks. Currently, southern states like Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana have the lowest pump prices, while the West Coast states pay the most. However, GasBuddy has found that per-gallon prices have fallen in nearly all 50 states.

Cigarette Tax Hike Would Put New Jersey's Among Highest in U.S.
Gov. Phil Murphy proposed legislation to raise the New Jersey cigarette tax by $1.65 per pack. Sal Risalvato, executive director of the New Jersey Gasoline, C-Store and Automotive Association, said in an interview with The Center Square he is concerned that the tax would send consumers over state borders for cigarette purchases, negatively affecting New Jersey businesses. It would also stop New York residents from making cigarette purchases in New Jersey because of the lower taxes. "This will definitely have a negative effect for one simple reason; there will no longer be an incentive for New York customers to purchase their cigarettes in New Jersey," he said. "Presently many of our stores sell cigarettes to New York customers, especially along the borders and the corridors of motorists traveling through or commuting to New Jersey. Once the tax goes up, it won't matter where these customers purchase their cigarettes. "It will also provide more incentive for New Jersey customers to make their purchase in Pennsylvania in a similar fashion," Risalvato added. "New Jersey businesses lose." 

New Jersey Cig Tax Hike Could Cost The State $47 Million | Opinion
New Jersey is looking at a large increase in the cigarette excise tax after a $1.65 per pack increase was advanced by Gov. Philip Murphy in his state budget proposal. The levy, if adopted, would raise the excise tax burden on each pack of smokes to $4.35 per pack. This would tie New York and Connecticut for the highest state cigarette tax in the nation. Doing so would also lead to rampant cigarette smuggling and perhaps other unintended consequences. These may include brazen thefts, such as hijackings, violence against people and property, and perhaps public corruption, too. We are the authors of several studies on cigarette taxes and smuggling; we've estimated the degree to which cigarettes are trafficked as a function of evasion and avoidance (what we call "smuggling") since 2008.
Lawmakers Just Voted To Ban Plastic And Paper Bags In N.J.
Single-use bags, both paper and plastic, are again close to being banned in New Jersey. The state Senate on Thursday voted 22-14 on a bill (S864) that would ban single-use bags and Styrofoam, or polystyrene foam, takeout containers in the Garden State. It would take effect 18 months after receiving the governor's signature, and make straws available only upon request after one year. If the current bill became law, New Jersey would become the first state to ban both plastic and paper bags. But none of that happens unless the state Assembly passes its own version of the bill and the governor signs it.


  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.


  Member Benefit Partner Message Board  



  Classifieds: For Sale and Help Wanted Ads  



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.

New! Parts For Sale: Incon TS-1000 tank monitor works well just taken out of service. Printer is aprox 2 months old. Also, Incon 8, tank probes. System replaced because on an Exxon upgrade. Call John Twin Towers Exxon (201) 224-8444