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July 2, 2020
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 Inside this issue
  Executive Directors Message  


Thank you to everyone who participated in the business survey. We did get very good responses each time we asked for these surveys to be completed. We want to share some of these results with you since we are sharing them with others in Trenton as they formulate policy and review both Coronavirus relief packages and the upcoming state budget, which has now been officially extended to September 30th. Some of the results include: 
  • Most industries had their sales decline 25 - 49% as of the end of June compared with last June. This is an improvement over the previous survey we conducted in mid-April, when 74% of members had seen a decline of 66%+. But less than 10% of members are seeing normal revenues.
  • About 60% of members are open in a reduced capacity, down from about 75% previously.
  • 47% of respondents report no change in employment throughout crisis, 35% have cut positions, 13% cut some but have since rehired, 4% have more employees now
  • Of businesses having trouble finding employees, 68% blame the high Unemployment benefits
  • PPP forgivable Loan: 92% of respondents applied for PPP, 30% have spent the money, and 58% are still spending it 
Further elaborating on the data point that 92% of respondents to our survey applied for PPP and 90% have already received their money. As of last night an announcement was made that there is still $130B left in the original funds for PPP. Congress voted last night to extend the application date from June 30th to August 8th. The President has not signed this yet but we think this will happen soon since the money is already there.
Last week, NJ DEP published a new Advisory concerning the decommissioning of existing Stage II vacuum assist vapor recovery systems. 
The substance of the Advisory is that the deadline for the decommissioning of these Stage II systems is now six months away, and will end on December 23, 2020. DEP estimates that there are approximately 500 stations out there that still have not decommissioned these Stage II systems. That's a problem, and it is likely that at least a few NJGCA members will be affected.
As a brief reminder, you'll recall that the decommissioning of your vacuum assist vapor recovery system is required due to the existence of "Onboard Refueling Vapor Recovery" (ORVR) systems built into new automobiles since the late 1990s. Through a two-year phase from 1998-2000, the federal government mandated that a recovery system be included in all new vehicles sold in the United States. The system captures harmful "Volatile Organic Compounds" (VOC) vapors during refueling -- just like existing Stage II systems. Since new cars already incorporate such a feature, you've been paying to maintain the Stage II equipment at your station for years with no real purpose. Thankfully after giant efforts by NJGCA and our friends at FMANJ, (and intervention by then Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno), that changed a few years ago and it is no longer mandated. 
Up until now it was not required that you decommission your system. However, if you kept it in place, you were compelled to maintain it in working order, and it was subject to regular compliance checks. This is now about to change, which means you are now required to decommission your Stage II system, you no longer have an option.
To decommission your site, you must have the work done by a DEP approved and certified UST contractor. What's more, you have to let DEP know 14 days ahead of time that you're going to decommission your site (see the Advisory link below with the email address you're required to make a submission to). Lastly, don't forget that in decommissioning your Stage II system, you are still required to have an "Air General Permit" (GP 004B), which is still required to operate your Stage I system. Don't confuse the two!
Full details, including DEP contact information and other important notes, can be found within the DEP Advisory. Click HERE to review. Don't let this lag, they'll likely be a rush among the 500 remaining stations to decommission sites as we get closer to December.  If you're still operating a Stage II system, start the process now and get it over and done with. This can be confusing, please contact Nick if you need clarification and/or assistance nick@njgca.org
Last month I received an update from NJ DEP regarding UST fuel fill ports. I read the notice, talked to our staff about it, and reached out to an industry source on the topic. Then, as the COVID pandemic ate up every bit of my attention and energy, I set it aside dismissed it as not immediately important, and forgot about it. Unfortunately, that was a mistake and I'm candidly mad at myself about it. Thankfully, however, it is a mistake that will pass without any repercussions.

The substance of that notice was a slight change to the color and symbols on your fuel fill port caps. While the change was neither drastic nor extreme, it was still noteworthy enough that I should have warned you sooner.
For anyone who needs a bit of a recap, the NJ DEP automatically adopts by reference many of the rules implemented by the American Petroleum Institute's (API) Standards Committee. There are lots of these Committees and they cover plenty of topics. One of these Committees is responsible for "Marketing Standards" and promulgates "Recommended Practices." The impressive sounding "API RP 1637" happens to be the rule that articulates the color and symbol system for "petroleum fuels and related product dispensing" (among other things). In April 2020, the Committee officially published a revised "Color-Symbol System", which identifies the products in your tanks to prevent errors in product handling. You can see the revised chart as a PDF by clicking HERE.
This system serves an obvious and important purpose. Nobody wants (for example) a distributor to drop diesel fuel into a premium tank. Proper coding and identification prevents that disaster from occurring frequently, or we'd likely be hearing about such mistakes much more often. As you can tell from the link above, for most stations, the colors didn't change at all -- just the icon, letter, or emblem written on the cap. You'll notice the "+" on your high-, middle-, and low-grade unleaded ports are gone. So is the "U" over your ultra-low sulfur diesel. If you sell kerosene, racing fuel, or heating oil, you'll see similar changes; even if the color of the respective cap remains the same.
With the above in mind, I should not have permitted myself to get so distracted with our Coronavirus response. I miscalculated and should have updated you sooner. 
Still, if there was ever something to slip past me, this is one mistake that (for now) will have almost no impact for members. That's because we've spoken to officials at DEP's UST section on this and have it under good authority that any Notice of Violation (NOV) for an improper fill port cap color is likely to come with a 30 day reprieve to get the issue corrected. I say "likely" because, if you are rude to an inspector or have a list of 10 other violations, you're likely to have that fill port cap infraction added to the NOV list. If everything else is "good", and you only need to address your fill port cap colors, you're probably going to just get a warning.
Let me say, this is NOT a big or expensive problem to fix. It'll cost you ten bucks to run down to the corner hardware store, buy spray paint, and then paint over the emblems on top of your caps to make them a solid color and be in compliance, that's it. Things are still plenty hectic out there, but don't overlook this update. Take a look at the link above and review the April 2020 revision to API RP 1637. Go to the hardware store, buy some paint, repaint your fill ports accordingly, and avoid a potential fine!
Yesterday we heard from a large number of members who were locked out of their vehicle inspection workstations. Most of the members we spoke to had a June 30th PIF renewal deadline. They assured us that they had sent in their PIF renewal applications with payment weeks ago, and were confused as to why they were locked out.
After reaching out to Parsons and MVC, we have learned that a number of factors lead to this widespread problem -- including a computer glitch and a staffing shortfall due to the continuing Coronavirus lockdown. Thankfully we were able to pass along the names and PIF numbers of those affected members and get their equipment turned back on quickly and without incident.
If you were similarly impacted and are still locked out of your workstation, please contact Nick at nick@njgca.org to let him know. We'll pass along your information and ask that your station be unlocked.
As we were chasing down this problem, we also unofficially learned that yesterday's lockout will likely mean that MVC is going to extend all PIF licenses for 30 days. This will allow them to clear out the backlog of renewal submissions. Nothing has been formally announced, but we will update you as soon as we hear more.
There are growing reports of a shortage of coins in circulation across the country. The US Mint was shut down because of the Coronavirus, cutting off the supply of new coins. The fact that fewer people are going out shopping, and more customers are paying with a credit/debit card when they do shop means that there are fewer coins being put into regular circulation. This is obviously a concern since without ready access to coins your store cannot make change when a customer pays with cash, eventually leading to retailers having to require customers pay with exact change if they are paying with cash. Have you experienced this yet? If so, please email Michelle@njgca.org so we have an idea of how widespread the problem is in NJ. Current reports are that this has been a bigger problem out west so far. If you have not had a problem, then I encourage you to reach out to your bank and stock up on coins while they are readily available.
I want to congratulate new NJGCA Board Members Saad Abbasi of Holmdel Exxon and Tom Sadowski of Sadowski Auto Care on their elections to our board. Also reelected for another three-year term are Ebbie Ashabi, Meer Fazaldin and Jesse Georgaklis.
Finally, happy Independence Day from all of us at NJGCA!  Have a safe and Happy 4th of July!
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
September 16th & 17th, 2020

After a long delay due to the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis, NJGCA is pleased to announce that our training classes will resume! If you, a colleague, or an employee technician wishes to become a NJ Emissions Inspector, we can help and now is your chance! NJGCA will offer a two-day class with all the information and training you need to become a NJ Emissions Inspector.
On day one you will receive in-class instruction from NJGCA's instructor. We will break for lunch (provided), and the State will administer the written test in the afternoon. On day two will go over the hands-on test at an emission inspection location to fully prepare you for the hands-on test.
In light of the current crisis, and to protect both students and staffers, all participants must wear facemasks at all times while on the premises and respect social-distancing guidelines.

September class registration click here



  News Around The State  

July 4 Gas Prices Expected to Be Lowest Since 2004
This year's July 4 gas prices will be at their lowest since Independence Day 2004, reports WIBC.com. "That's not too unfamiliar. Memorial Day also saw the lowest Memorial Day prices since 2004, so essentially we're just continuing a trend here," said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. "It does compare to 2008" when the U.S. was in the gripes of the last recession. GasBuddy estimates this year's July 4 national gas price average will be $2.17 per gallon, compared with $2.76 in 2019. In 2004, it was $1.87. 

House Passes $1.5 Trillion Infrastructure Bill, But McConnell Calls It 'Pointless Political Theater'
The House on Wednesday passed a $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill that would sharply increase spending on roads and transit, push for deep reductions in pollution, direct billions to water projects, affordable housing, broadband and schools, and upgrade hospitals and U.S. Postal Service trucks. . .The bill is meant, in part, to address the expiration in September of a law authorizing spending on highways, transit and other transportation programs. Backers, including Transportation Committee Chairman Peter A. DeFazio (D-Ore.), said the bill represents an ambitious, years-in-the-making push to buttress and expand aging infrastructure in a sustainable way. Supporters said it marks a departure from traditional surface transportation legislation because of its emphasis on maintaining roads and bridges, building transit and reducing transportation-related pollution, the nation's top source of greenhouse gases causing climate change.

Consumers Want Contactless Commerce to Continue Post-Pandemic
As the nationwide response to the COVID-19 pandemic reached a fever pitch across the United States in March, local businesses that could remain open quickly adopted new ways of serving customers, like more convenient communications, curbside pickups, local delivery and contactless payments. A new survey from Podium shows that the majority of Americans have both used these services (84%) and expect local businesses to continue offering them (86%).

N.J. Reopening MVC Inspection Stations And Driver Tests Today, But Other In-Person Services Get Delayed
New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission inspections stations reopen Monday from coronavirus closures and driver's license road tests may resume, though plans to offer in-person services at agency offices have been delayed a little longer due to technical problems. Those who pass the road tests will have to wait until agencies reopen July 7 to get their new licenses, but they will be given access to "Road Test" express lanes at every Licensing Center, MVC officials said. . . MVC agencies plan to use a text messaging system to allow people to check-in and then wait in cars for their turn for in-person services, but that wasn't ready in time for Monday's reopening and needs more testing. The new date for the broader reopening is July 7.



  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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