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February 25, 2021
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 Inside this issue
  Executive Directors Message  


NJGCA and the State of New Jersey has lost a champion. Senator Gerry Carindale was a champion in so many ways - as a member of the Commerce Committee, he was a champion for free enterprise, taxpayers, and small business. I personally have had several experiences where he stood almost by himself against people in his own party to do what he thought was the right thing. He was one of four champions in our quest to pass Right of First Refusal in 2010, which has saved hundreds of our members that own gas stations from being put out of business. But Gerry's one cause that he ran and won his election to New Jersey Senate in 1981', and the issue I remember him most for, was self-serve. He was passionate about changing the law in NJ and worked for 40 years to permit motorists to pump their own gas. Oddly enough, back in the early eighties NJGCA opposed self-serve but our members have since asked us to change our position. Since 2014, we have worked side-by-side with him and hoped this legislation would have passed before he retired, never thinking he would pass on before his retirement. At his wake on Tuesday evening, his wife and daughter both mentioned to me that changing the self-serve law in NJ was the one thing that Gerry was unable to accomplish. I say let's get it done for him and his legacy! Senator Cardinale sure would have been pleased at our effort to conduct a campaign with Fuel Your Way NJ to get this legislation passed.
For more on Senator Cardinale's life - read this excellent write-up by David Wildstein
Some of you may have received both mail and emails from Fuel Your Way NJ pertaining to an effort to change legislation in New Jersey to allow for motorists to pump their own gas. If you are interested in attending a presentation to learn more about this effort, please register HERE. If you are interested in seeing self-serve legislation pass and you did not receive the email, please contact Michelle at michelle@njgca.org. I'll have more to say as the campaign continues.
This week Governor Murphy unveiled his proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2022, which runs from July 1, 2021 - June 30, 2022. The plan proposes to spend $44.8 billion, a 29% increase in spending since Gov. Christie's last budget less than four years ago. Between tax collections doing better than expected, the $4.5 billion in new "emergency" debt taken out last year, and mountains of federal aid, the Governor is able to propose increased funding with no new tax increases. Republicans are calling it an "election year budget," since the Governor and all 120 legislators will be on the ballot this November.
Updated projections for total fuel tax revenues for the current fiscal year are $2.058 billion, down about $17 million from their original prediction and below the $2.102 billion Highway Fuels Revenue Target for this fiscal year (the target is higher than normal because it includes last year's big shortfall). If gas and diesel sales don't increase in the next four months, then we will be on track for another increase in the gas tax by around 1 cent per gallon. Thankfully, the governor did not again include a proposal to increase the cigarette tax, and his budget proposal notes that "cigarette sales have more than held up during the pandemic, actually halting a decades-long downward trend, in part due to a shift in consumption patterns away from electronic cigarettes and back to regular cigarettes." That shift is due in no small part to government actions to eliminate flavored vaping products.
For the past few weeks, we have been bringing you steady updates from both the government and big business around the shift towards greener policies. We already have seen GM pledge to eliminate gasoline powered vehicles from its fleet by 2035 and Ford has already promised to make big investments in electric and autonomous vehicles, planning to invest $22 billion in electrifying new vehicles and $7 billion on autonomous vehicles. Ford has now announced that in Europe, they will completely eliminate fossil fueled vehicles by 2030. It seems it is only a matter of time before a similar promise to GM is made in the United States. Further, as the demand for EVs continues to rise, established companies and start-ups are racing to create the technology and factories needed to churn out batteries and get these new millions of EVs on the road.
Recently we hosted two webinars with Chargepoint, an installer of fast charging equipment, and look forward to another webinar, tentatively scheduled for March 24th that will be presented by new NJGCA MBP FreeWire (we will send a link to register in a future email communication). We are happy to offer our members ways to stay tuned in to these changes; we are taking this seriously and so should you. We will continue to have programs to keep you informed on this subject. We hope that when the pandemic is over, we can come together for a conference on the subject to learn more. Please let us know if this would be something you would be interested in (once we can all be together in the same room, of course).
We have been sending you updates on the PPP program whenever possible. The latest news is that the most recent round of PPP was more successful in reaching small businesses than the last, with the share of funding going to small businesses with fewer than ten employees up by nearly 60 percent. The Biden administration plans to further target small businesses for more PPP relief. Starting yesterday, the administration instituted a 14-day period during which only businesses with fewer than 20 employees can apply for PPP relief. Further, the Biden-Harris administration will revise the loan calculation formula for sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed applicants so that it offers more relief. $1 billion has been set aside for businesses in this category without employees located in low- and moderate-income (LMI) areas. Other restrictions that were previously in place for certain businesses and individuals have been lifted as well, for a list of all the changes, click HERE.
Last week, I provided short- and long-term predictions on gas prices based on the series of storms and cold weather people are experiencing across the country. I mentioned that I expected prices to continue rising until crude oil production and refining of finished products gets back to normal. Even with this suppressed demand (due to storms and COVID), the price is going to continue rising. However, I predicted last week that once production is back to normal, we will see prices drop. This is purely a Sal prediction - no one else is saying this! Hopefully with news of more vaccines and spring warmer weather on the way, we will start to see prices slide back down again.

Beginning in February, our MBP Auto Parts International is offering CTI + Worldpac Training Institute will be offering 1-hour technical training classes at lunch time in all 4 Continental US time zones at NO COST, but registration is required
  • 1 technical topic offered per week and classes will run Tuesdays 12-1 PM (Pacific and Central time zones) and Thursdays 12-1 PM (Eastern and Mountain time zones)
  • CLICK THE BELOW FLYER to zoom in for more information (flyer will be added to ProCentral later this week) or click here to view the schedule: Lunchtime Schedule

We want to share information about a special promotion for our members  - EMV4NJ- from our vendor member Sound Payments and its Sound Easy Pump solution. As you may know, the EMV mandate deadline is April 2021, which means if there is a chargeback and the station does not support EMV at the pump, the station owner will take on the liability and be financially responsible. We know how this has been a concern for many due to the high cost to replace your pumps.
The great news is that there are cost-effective options that can easily upgrade your pumps while also providing you with updated features like contactless capabilities. Our vendor partner, Sound Payments is providing a special discount of 10 percent off hardware between now and April 1, 2021. Sound Payments Sound Easy Pump™ is a semi-integrated, retrofit solution that can easily and cost-effectively enable EMV at the pump in a matter of a couple of hours or even less. It supports contactless via card tap or NFC, QR code scanning, PIN-on-glass, MSR, and EMV chip and PIN. Sound Easy Pump™ is easy to install with only one power cord and eliminates the need to purchase new pumps and close stations for installation. The platform is flexible so it can also easily support future innovations.
Reach out to Sound Payments at petrosales@soundpayments.com or call 844-319-5635 and provide them EMV4NJ for the 10 percent discount. You can also learn more about Sound Easy Pump™ at soundpayments.com and join them for a webinar on Feb. 25 at 2 p.m. ET. Register here.
Learn more about Sound Easy Pump and the promo here: https://soundpayments.com/emv-cost-comparison-nj/

Be Well -  
Sal Risalvato
Executive Director




  Training Class Schedule  

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

Contact Nick De Palma at Nick@njgca.org to inquire about additional class dates



  News Around The State  

New Or Used? Either Way, Price Hikes Squeeze US Auto Buyers
The viral pandemic has triggered a cascade of price hikes throughout America's auto industry - a surge that has made both new and used vehicles unaffordable for many. Prices of new vehicles far outpaced overall consumer inflation over the past year. In response, many buyers who were priced out of that market turned to used vehicles. Yet their demand proved so potent that used-vehicle prices soared even more than new ones did. The price of an average new vehicle jumped 6% between January of last year, before the coronavirus erupted in the United States, and December to a record $40,578, according to data from Edmunds.com. Yet that increase was nothing next to what happened in the used market. The average price of a used vehicle surged nearly 14% - roughly 10 times the rate of inflation - to over $23,000. It was among the fastest such increases in decades, said Ivan Drury, a senior manager of insights for Edmunds.com.

No New Tax Increases, Fees For NJ Amid COVID, Gov. Murphy Says
New Jersey residents will not see any tax increases or new fees over the next year as the state continues to navigate its way through the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Phil Murphy said while presenting his $44.8 billion budget in a virtual address Tuesday afternoon. . .Murphy presented an optimistic budget that he hopes will boost the state's economy as New Jersey tries to move beyond the COVID crisis, saying the Garden State is trying to get there by providing more vaccines. . . There will be $3.1 billion in debt service, and $4 billion for executive operations, which represents the various direct costs of running the state government. The state anticipates $40.86 billion in revenue.

Fraud Checks and Errors Slow Small-Business Relief Loans
Six weeks into the second run of the Paycheck Protection Program, $134 billion in emergency aid has been distributed by banks, which make the government-backed loans, to 1.8 million small businesses. But a thicket of errors and technology glitches has slowed the relief effort and vexed borrowers and lenders alike. Some are run-of-the-mill challenges magnified by the immense demand for loans, which has overwhelmed customer service representatives. But many stem from new data checks added by the Small Business Administration to combat fraud and eliminate unqualified applicants. On Monday, the Biden administration unveiled a number of changes to address some problems and ensure that the most vulnerable small businesses get priority. For a two-week period beginning Wednesday, only businesses with fewer than 20 employees will be able to apply for loans. Under the general rules, businesses with up to 500 employees are eligible for aid. Also, the Small Business Administration will revise the way loans are calculated so that sole proprietors and other self-employed individuals, who in the past were excluded from the program if they were not turning a profit, are able to tap more funds.

Toyota's Green Strategy Has Mix of EVs, Hybrids, Hydrogen
Toyota Motor Corp. is embracing a multi-faceted approach to green powertrains that includes a mix of battery-electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids, traditional hybrids and hydrogen-fuel-cell models for the U.S. market as it pushes to meet its goal of offering 40% of all new models as electrics by 2025 and 70% by 2030. During a recent media roundtable, Bob Carter, Toyota North America executive vice president of sales, said the automaker wants "to be the Macy's department store of powertrains, and by doing that, we can continue to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of our customers," MotorTrend reports. It's an acknowledgement that not all buyers need or want pure EVs, and Toyota will provide them with options that offer some level of electrification.

Here's Why Gas Prices Are Rising - And How High They're Likely To Go
When the pandemic hit last year, Americans hunkered down at home, demand for gasoline plunged, and prices dropped. Last April, the national average for all grades fell below $2 a gallon for the first time in over four years, according to government data. Now, prices are rising fast - up more than 10 cents a gallon nationwide in the last week, auto club AAA reported on Sunday. And it's going to get worse: Fuel prices are expected to see a big spike in the next few weeks, followed by more increases all the way to summer.

N.J. Budget Could Be Surprisingly Flush With Cash. What Will Murphy Do With All That Money?
State tax revenues are surpassing projections. More than $6 billion in federal stimulus support could soon be on its way. And the Legislature's leading Democrat, Senate President Stephen Sweeney, has already said he sees no reason to hike taxes or fees. All things considered, budget experts predict Murphy's most pressing question will be something almost inconceivable 11 months ago: How is the government going to spend all of this money?

Will N.J. Gas Prices Go Up Until Texas Thaws Out?
Gas prices began increasing this week in New Jersey as the mercury dropped and severe winter weather knocked out Gulf Coast oil refineries. Roughly 20 Gulf Coast refineries have shut down entirely or curtailed operations due to electric power problems in Texas that have left hundreds of thousands of people without electricity. Those refinery outages in Texas and a few other states increased prices at the pump in New Jersey by 12 to 20 cents a gallon from Feb. 14 through next Wednesday, said Tom Kloza, Oil Price Information Service global petroleum analyst.

Texas Freeze Ignites Worldwide Crisis in Oil Market
What started as a power grid situation for some southern U.S. states has triggered a crisis across the globe in the oil market, Bloomberg reports. Nearly 40% of the U.S. crude production-more than four million barrels per day-has been shuttered, according to officials and traders. One of the largest oil refining centers in the world has had to significantly reduce output, while access to the waterways that deliver U.S. oil to the world has been interrupted.



  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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