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March 4, 2021
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 Inside this issue
  Executive Directors Message  

Last week, I mentioned Fuel Your Way NJ and many of you should have received invitations to join us to attend a presentation. I can't stress enough that if you are interested in seeing the self-serve law in NJ changed, please respond to the invitation and join the presentation next Wednesday. For more than seven years now, members have been clamoring to have this law changed, especially as we are the only state in the country to still have these laws in place. We have laid a foundation with legislators over the last six years, but now we need the motoring public's support. Many of your colleagues have helped to form FYWNJ to conduct a public relations campaign. If you are serious about wanting to help change the law in New Jersey, please attend the virtual presentation next Wednesday.
This week, Governor Murphy announced that he would be expanding vaccine eligibility beyond the elderly and immunocompromised to include teachers, transit workers, and some other groups of essential workers before the end of March. We have been calling for action from the governor's office for weeks to expand vaccine eligibility to include gas attendants and convenience store employees. This week, we wrote to the governor's again following his announcement, in order to urge him to include our employees in this next group of vaccines, as they have continued to serve their communities, interacting with customers on a daily basis and are considered essential. Click HERE to read the letter.
When this first popped up back in 2018, I asked how many of you utilize Non-Compete Agreements. In other words, do you ask your employees, particularly your technicians in the repair shop, to sign an agreement that if they leave your employ they have a restriction as to where they can work and how long before they can work there. What I learned from asking you back in 2018 is that you don't have much of an interest in this, and that our members do not use these agreements. However, since there is greater difficulty hiring and keeping qualified technicians more so today than ever, I have always maintained a position with the legislature that we are opposed to this legislation. For the past three years, we along with other small business groups have been able to keep this on the back burner, however, because now there are some employers that have been taking advantage of their employees, there are several legislators trying to bring this back to the top priority list. I am going to ask once again, if any of you use these agreements please let me know, or better yet, if you have had auto mechanics leave your employ and go to work for a competitor, stealing your customers, I need to hear from you immediately! Email Michelle at michelle@njgca.org with any information you have to share on this.
Our new MBP FreeWire announced in their most recent newsletter a $50 million Series C funding round. According to their newsletter, the new investment will enable FreeWire to accelerate international market expansion of its flagship product, Boost Charger, and expand production capacity to meet unprecedented customer demand. Demand for EV charging continues to increase, especially with the change of administration and President Biden's aggressive efforts to address climate change. We are looking forward to our webinar hosted by FreeWire scheduled for March 24th. 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). You can sign up to receive FreeWire's newsletter on their website.
Last week, we informed you of the changes being made to the PPP program in order to help small businesses. As a reminder, this is still the period of exclusivity where only businesses with fewer than 20 employees may apply for PPP loans. This period ends on March 9th. The deadline for submitting for a second round of PPP funding is March 31st. We have heard some reports that it is taking longer for loans to be processed and approved. If you are eligible, have been considering applying and have not yet done so, now is the time to get your application in. Contact nick@njgca.org if you need assistance.
Visa and Mastercard will plan to raise swipe fees for some types of credit-card purchases starting in April to address the declining use of cash. Both companies are expected to raise fees for many online transactions and lower some swipe fees, including fees on certain low-price transactions. Mastercard also plans to increase swipe fees when rewards credit cards are used to shop inside small supermarkets. The use of cash has been declining in the U.S. for years with COVID-19 accelerating the shift even faster. Card-industry executives say swipe fees help cover costs for technical innovation and fraud prevention, though the burden of the fees end up on the merchant. We will keep you posted on any additional information that comes out on this.
Stay tuned for some changes in our point of sale services. Beginning May 1st, all dues payments with a credit card must be completed online. We will no longer be able to process credit cards here at headquarters.  Yes, members will be able to pay dues via mailed check. Events and class registration payments will also be online on our website. We will be sure to inform you when these changes occur.
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  

Volvo Plans to Sell Only Electric Cars by 2030
Volvo Cars one-upped larger rivals like General Motors and added momentum to the movement toward electric vehicles on Tuesday by saying it would convert its entire lineup to battery power by 2030, no longer selling cars with internal combustion engines. The declaration by the Swedish carmaker is the latest attempt by a traditional auto company to break with its fossil fuels past. It is also one of the most ambitious proposals and ratchets up the pressure on others to follow suit. The auto industry has been moving toward electrification for years, but the shift has taken on new urgency in recent months. President Biden's election, along with his commitment to fight climate change, has raised expectations that the United States will offer the kind of incentives that helped make electric cars the fastest-growing segment of the European market last year.

Cities Are Starting To Ban New Gas Stations
Petaluma, California, has voted to outlaw new gas stations, the first of what climate activists hope will be numerous cities and counties to do so.Why it matters: Expect more such ordinances, particularly in liberal towns. Grassroots groups are popping up with the mission of spreading this type of ban and forcing pollution cleanups at existing gas stations.

They Warned NJ Needed To Borrow Billions. Now There's A Booming Surplus. What Happened?
They warned "winter is coming" and said then-President Donald Trump's administration deserved "shame" for not sending New Jersey more robust federal aid. Democrats who control both houses of the state Legislature last year said they needed an emergency borrowing issue - bypassing the constitutional mandate for voter approval - as a "last resort" to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Their goal: address what Gov. Phil Murphy's administration was calling a "historic fiscal crisis." But now the state's fortunes are nowhere near as dire as predicted. A revenue collapse that at one point was being forecast by Murphy to be on par with the Great Depression has not fully materialized.

The New EV Opportunity? Commercial Real Estate
Will the 2020s be when the future of electric vehicles becomes more ubiquitous? In the U.S., more than 18 million EVS are forecast to be on the road during the next decade, driven by the Biden Administration's pro-EV agenda, Forbes reports. What does this mean for those in commercial real estate? An investment opportunity for charging stations. Currently, only 40,000 public charging stations have been registered with the U.S. Department of Energy, compared to around 150,000 U.S. gas stations. The White House has a target of half a million charging stations. This means charging infrastructure investments should top $13 billion between now and 2026. The opportunity this presents for commercial real-estate managers is simple: Charging stations bring customers to retail locations much like fuel pumps bring customers to convenience stores. Eighty-two percent of gas stations also have on-site convenience stores, which bring in $250 billion in revenue.

Republicans Propose $10 Minimum Wage
Republican Senators Mitt Romney of Utah and Tom Cotton of Arkansas have proposed boosting the national minimum wage to $10 an hour, below the $15 favored by President Biden, Bloomberg reports. The proposal was presented as an opening offer if Democrats are unable to push through Biden's version in the COVID-19 relief bill, which the House is expected to vote on Friday. The Romney-Cotton bill is tied to stricter immigration controls and would require all employers to check the immigration status of employees and job applicants after 18 months.

Consumers' Use of Cards Over Cash Hits Merchants
In April, Visa and Mastercard plan to raise swipe fees for some types of credit-card purchases, putting an additional squeeze on restaurants and retailers struggling with other pandemic-related problems, reports the Wall Street Journal. While customers have opted for online shopping during the pandemic, that growing trend is creating extra costs for merchants. Swipe fees, which merchants pay when a customer pays by card, are often higher for merchandise bought online. The swipe fees are a perpetual source of contention between merchants and card companies. The charges are invisible to shoppers, but merchants often end up paying fees of about 2% of their customers' credit-card purchases. The fees are established by the card networks, and merchants pay them to the banks that issue the cards.



  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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