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May 7, 2020
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 Inside this issue
  Executive Directors Message  



COVID-19 Financial Security for Consumers Act 
We want to thank everyone who sent us information concerning the COVID-19 Financial Security for Consumers Act and letting us know if you have house accounts and customers you provide credit to. This was enormously helpful in making the case that the legislation should not be passed the way it was originally introduced. We notified you the other day the Senate made changes that NJGCA found acceptable and we received word last night that the Assembly would be adopting the same, which of course alters how we will testify in today's committee hearings. These amendments completely remove the section preventing business owners from even attempting to collect any debts.  As long as neither committee changes something, then we accept this version of the legislation. To be clear: this bill will still affect some businesses, however, now that the legislation has been amended as we requested, all of the businesses that are operated by NJGCA members will not be. Since you are reading this and the committees have not yet completed their hearings or taken a vote, we will inform you in a future update what the actual result is. To learn more about our position on this, you can read THIS LETTER we signed on directed to Senator Pou and you can read our testimony we will be submitting HERE
We also notified you the other day that Visa extended the EMV deadline to April 2021. Since that update, American Express has also agreed to an extension, though we are still waiting to learn if Discover and MasterCard will follow. Recent communications from MasterCard indicate that they will not. However, traditionally, the industry follows whatever Visa does. We remain hopeful that MasterCard will follow suit. Visa had also previously announced an increase in their interchange fees, but have delayed this from April of 2020 to April of 2021. For more information on this, click HERE
Marketplace Update
I was recently asked to contribute to an article for NJ.com on the tax revenue shortfall New Jersey is experiencing, specifically in terms of the gas tax. Such an unexpected shortfall could trigger a substantial gas tax increase. Everyone in the last six months has experienced an unprecedented profit margin because of the dynamic existing in the marketplace. However, at both the oil wells and the refineries, their desperation to gain back lost profits is putting an enormous upward pressure on rack prices. Crude oil is actually up $15 a barrel in the last week and racks have increased 40-50¢ per gallon. Retailers were able to maintain an exceptional margin by holding their price as racks dropped, allowing them to withstand the unprecedented drop in volume. However, demand and volume are still down considerably and this could spell trouble if your margins are squeezed as rack prices rise. It is extremely important that you evaluate the mathematical equations to keep your business profitable or even to survive. Volume does not equal profit, margin equals profit. I encourage you all to consult with your accountants to determine how to maintain the proper profit margins.
UST Compliance
We recently received a DEP alert update outlining some important underground storage tank (UST) and compliance related information. As we have reported previously, DEP is still working on compliance and enforcement issues during the pandemic shut down. However, even DEP acknowledges that some deadlines and stipulations must be temporarily adjusted due to the existing situational realities. 
While DEP continues to hold to all existing requirement deadlines, any station who believes their compliance efforts are at risk due to coronavirus-related issues, must contact DEP immediately to notify them of your circumstances. You can get in touch with DEP directly to relay these concerns at 14dayUSTnotice@dep.nj.gov. There is no exhaustive list of issues which could warrant such a submission. However, some examples might include a delay getting work done by your retained environmental compliance company (which is pushing back a timely repair or reporting matter), a temporary cessation of operations at your location due to a workforce reduction, or any other ancillary problem that could affect your compliance obligations. 
One issue you must be made aware of is the upcoming June 30, 2020 deadline for the UST "Registration Questionnaire" (formally known as the "UST Facility Certification Questionnaire", or "FCQ"). The June 30th deadline affects station owners in Camden, Hudson, Ocean, Union, and Warren counties. These stations have been sent their invoices early to accommodate any delays or additional processing time due to the coronavirus. Station owners will note that a valid registration is required to accept continued fuel deliveries.
DEP is directing UST registration renewals to take an additional step in light of the lock down. You can CLICK HERE for full details, but officials are requesting that a scanned, signed copy of the FCQ be emailed srpustregistration@dep.nj.gov (along with  your UST Financial   Responsibility Insurance Policy with all endorsements ad a copy of your $50.00 check).
Furthermore, and just as importantly, any UST owners or operators who have missed the March 31, 2020 deadline (which includes Burlington, Mercer, Passaic, and Sussex counties) should follow the same procedure to submit their annual FCQ report as soon as possible.

Again, we encourage you to read the full alert -- and pay particular attention to the instructions and details outlined in the UST FCQ section -- by CLICKING HERE.  If you have any questions, you can contact DEP by email at 14dayUSTnotice@dep.nj.gov or at the names/phone numbers outlined on the alert (on the bottom of the alert, and separated by geographic area).

Be Well -  
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  

American Express Moves EMV Deadline
American Express notified NACS yesterday that it would delay its EMV deadline for automated fuel dispensers (AFDs) to April 16, 2021. The move comes on the heels of Visa's announcement on Friday of its new EMV deadline of April 17, 2021. Mastercard and Discover haven't yet followed suit.

Visa Idles Swipe-Fee Hike for a Year
Visa late yesterday said it would again push back planned increases in credit card swipe fees until April 2021 but will go ahead and reduce interchange fees for in-store purchases at supermarkets in July. In March, Visa and Mastercard agreed to postpone until July the rollout of a new fee structure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. . . The news comes on the heels of Visa's announcement last week that it also would delay until April 2021 the deadline for U.S. gas station owners to upgrade their automated fuel dispensers to take EMV chip and contactless payments. NACS advocated for a delay in the EMV liability shift because convenience stores are already under pressure operating as essential businesses during the pandemic.

Wawa Location Closed Briefly After Worker Tests Positive For Coronavirus
A Wawa in Gloucester County was closed temporarily after an employee reported testing positive for the coronavirus, the company announced Monday. The associate worked outdoors at the gas pumps at the 332 S. Black Horse Pike location in Williamstown and was last on the job Saturday. The store was closed Monday morning to be "professionally deep cleaned and disinfected by a third-party."

EMV Deadline Moved to April 2021
Visa on Friday said it will delay the EMV liability shift deadline for automated fuel dispensers (AFDs) to April 17, 2021. The network's delay was in response to letters NACS sent on behalf of its retail members to the four global networks requesting a delay of the October deadline, given the extreme disruption to the workforce and supply chain amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

Juul Donated To New Jersey Politicians Even As They Considered Vaping Restrictions
As New Jersey lawmakers considered restrictions on vaping products, a leading e-cigarette maker donated to political organizations with close ties to both state Senate President Steve Sweeney and Gov. Phil Murphy. The donations from Juul Labs came even after Sweeney called for a ban on all vaping products and then pushed a bill that would severely restrict their sales in New Jersey. According to filings with the state Election Law Enforcement Commission, Juul's $7,500 donation to General Majority, a Sweeney-tied super PAC, was dated Jan. 24 - less than two weeks after the Senate and Assembly passed a Sweeney-backed bill, NJ A5922 (18R), that could have banned the company's products from store shelves, and three days after Murphy vetoed it.

N.J. Losing Billions in Epic Tax Revenue Shortfall. These Stunning Examples Show How Bad it is
Gas sales have plummeted, with station owners reporting their sales are down about 70 percent, said Sal Risalvato, executive director of the New Jersey Gasoline-Convenience-Automotive Association. That's a direct hit to the Transportation Trust Fund that pays for road and rail improvements across the state and could spell another gas tax hike. A law passed in 2016 raising the gas tax 23 cents a gallon requires the tax rate be adjusted each October to ensure it generates enough money for the trust fund. If it falls short of the $2 billion target in one year, the treasurer is supposed to increase it in the next. Before the pandemic, Risalvato said his group estimated there wold be a slight shortfall this year that might necessitate a one or two cent bump in the tax rate. Now, he said, he can only guess. "I can tell you right now that the revenues - no ifs, ands or buts - are going to be seriously deficient from the $2 billion that the 2016 law requires to be taken in the TTF," Risalvato said.

Why Were NJ's Small Businesses Shortchanged by Federal Program to Offset COVID-19 Losses?
New Jersey businesses got more than $9.5 billion from the first round of a federal program aimed at helping small firms through the COVID-19 pandemic. While that's a lot of money, New Jersey has one of the smallest percentages of state businesses getting assistance in the nation. An analysis of the Paycheck Protection Program by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting found that New Jersey and New York, the two states hit hardest by the viral spread, ranked nearly last in terms of the percentage of all businesses - 18% - that got an award from the first round of the government's main small-business assistance program. Only California and Nevada have smaller proportions, 15% and 17%, respectively.

Murphy's Re-Entry Plan for NJ Businesses and Public Spaces Lacks Timeline, Specifics
Before the economy can begin to recover, New Jersey will need to see a two-week decline in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, expand testing capacity to double the current level, recruit as many as 7,000 people to track down infections, and be ready to house and care for residents who test positive and lack a safe place to quarantine. That's according to the broad six-point plan Gov. Phil Murphy outlined Monday in Trenton, which includes a series of public health benchmarks he said must be met before businesses and public spaces can safely reopen. Today, he plans to announce the members of a new recovery commission that will guide the economic elements of the state's revival in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.



  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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