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May 13, 2021
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 Inside this issue
  Executive Directors Message  









The labor shortage has been front and center in the national news and in every conversation I have had with legislators. I have even had several of you mention to me that potential employees at your gas pumps, repair shops and c-stores apply for positions, but will only accept if you pay them with cash under the table. It is extremely important that if you encounter an applicant that requires to be paid under the table in order to continue collecting the massive amount of unemployment that is currently being offered that you inform me immediately. Please send me that applicant's name and contact information. It is imperative that the Department of Labor stop this. Many of you are reporting that you are losing your mechanics, and gas pumpers to competitors because they are paying with cash. I have been offended by the governor's response to people abusing the unemployment system, and that he has no intention of investigating those that are cheating the system and are simply choosing to spend a day at the beach while they collect their enormous benefits. If you have a job for somebody and they are qualified, then they should be taking the job you offered and not collecting unemployment. I need your help in trying to end this. In addition, if this happens to you personally, and if you know of an employee working at a competitor for cash under the table, I want to know that as well. As is always our practice, you will never be identified as my source. I just need accurate and truthful information, not hearsay.



Also front and center in the national headlines this week: the hacking and shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline. You've all seen it in the news this week. Is it important? Yes; though has it affected us that much in New Jersey? No!  Not yet.  Will it?  I don't know.

I am totally baffled about why we have not seen any effect here in New Jersey, since I have been bracing for giant price increases since Sunday. Wholesale racks as of this (Wednesday) morning are exactly the same as they were last Wednesday. There are a number of reasons for this. One is that experts in the industry fully expect that the outage with the pipeline is temporary, and that there is enough supply here in New Jersey to accommodate the current demand. Port Newark and Elizabeth are both major points of entry for refined product being delivered from overseas. Although I have not been on a helicopter recently over New York Harbor, I am willing to bet there are barges out there waiting to be unloaded because there always are. I have been checking in with members over last several days to see if any of you have been notified of any potential supply interruptions. No one has been able to report anything to me yet, and that is supported by the fact that the wholesale rack prices literally have not moved. However, this could change overnight. If something new arises and the pipeline is not reopened, or if it is determined that they will be shut down for an extended period of time, rest assured you will see price increases and possibly difficulty getting product. My biggest concern is a false fear amongst the traders which results in a price spike of 10-15 cents on the worry that the pipeline will remain closed, causing a huge price spike.  Then a day later an announcement is made that it is reopening and the price drops as fast as it went up. That will mean that anyone that bought gas on the day of the price spike is going to be sitting on high-priced inventory because as soon as the pipeline opens back up, prices will go back down. This has happened on occasion when hurricanes threaten to disrupt the pipeline process on the Gulf Coast. I am monitoring this situation closely to bring you news quickly should any come in that you need to hear about.

*Note: As of 5:00 PM on Wednesday, May 12th, pipeline service has been restored. We will continue to monitor the consequences of this shutdown.

Click the links below to read articles published this week featuring Sal Risalvato:

NJ 101.5: "At These Prices, We Should Be Able To Pump Our Own Gas In NJ"

NY Post: "New York 'insulated' from pipeline fuel crisis, experts say"


You may have noticed last month that we sent an Action Alert to establish a successor to the Red Tape Commission, the Government Efficiency and Regulatory Review Commission (GEARR). Unfortunately, the Governor vetoed this legislation. Everybody is totally baffled since there was only one member in the entire legislature that voted against it. I am hoping that the legislature votes to override the governor's veto. Some of you may remember, it was the Red Tape Review Commission that finally made it possible for stage II vapor recovery to be eliminated from your gas stations. Without this commission, the NJDEP might still be enforcing stage II vapor recovery, as they had no appetite to have it removed even though we and our friends at FMANJ had been pestering them for three years to eliminate it.



We have previously asked our members about this and frankly, I did not get as many responses as I would have liked. However, I now have members that are telling me that they are having difficulty having scrap tires removed. I would greatly appreciate it if you would email me and tell me how you dispose of your scrap tires, who is hauling them away for you, and how much are you paying. Collecting this data will be helpful to me so I can inform your colleagues in the auto repair business.



Have you gotten your On the Road newsletter yet? If you have not, let us know. We are getting some indications the post office may still be running slow. I still haven't received mine at home and I'm worried as they were mailed out three weeks ago.

Be Well -  

Sal Risalvato
Executive Director




  Training Class Schedule  

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


ASE-Prep Training (for NJ ASE-track ERT/ETEP Re-Certification)

NJGCA will offer an ASE-prep class for Emission Repair Technicians (ERTs) seeing to continue their existing accreditation. Students will meet twice a week for the entire five-week period (ten sessions), and review the required material for the A6, A8, and L1 exams. While we anticipate most students would appreciate preparing for all three tests together, we can also accommodate technicians who only need to prepare for a specific section.

All classes will meet in Wall Township, from approximately 9:00am to 3:00pm, on the following dates:

May Dates:

Class 1 - Tuesday, 5/4

Class 2 - Thursday, 5/6

Class 3 - Tuesday, 5/11

Class 4 - Thursday, 5/13

Class 5 - Wednesday, 5/19

Class 6 - Thursday, 5/20

Class 7 - Tuesday, 5/25

Class 8 - Thursday, 5/27

June Dates

Class 9 - Wednesday, 6/2

Class 10 - Thursday, 6/3



NJGCA Members: $1,995.00 (plus the price of books)

Non-Members: $2,195.00 (plus the price of books)

Email Training@njgca.org if you are interested in signing up

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



  News Around The State  


'You Have To Pay Me Cash.' Some Workers Asking To Be Paid Under The Table To Keep Unemployment Benefits, N.J. Employers Say

While some workers are staying home because of COVID fears or child care issues, others just aren't ready to give up their unemployment benefits for a job, they said. One of the issues is that the Labor Department isn't enforcing requirements that workers must actively seek a job and not turn down any offers of "suitable work" to be eligible for unemployment benefits, employers said at a Tuesday town hall hosted by the New Jersey Business Coalition, a group of 100 statewide business associations. And given expanded unemployment benefits, some workers are trying to double-dip, asking to be paid cash under the table so they can continue to collect benefits, employers said.


NACS Works With U.S. Agencies on Fuel Waivers

Unlike fuel disruptions caused by hurricanes and other natural disasters, the challenges fuel retailers are currently facing due to Colonial Pipeline shutdown are more about fuel transportation and the ability to move fuel to needed locations, rather than a production or refining issue. The industry is in a unique situation where it is transitioning from winter blends to summer blends of fuel, and consumer demand is increasing as Memorial Day weekend approaches and the summer driving season kicks off.  To make matters more complicated, there is national labor shortage in the industry, including a deficit of truck drivers. To address this major supply disruption in the fuels market, the Biden Administration is working with our industry and issued several waivers to help alleviate the issues caused by the shutdown. On May 11, EPA issued a reformulated gas (RFG) l waiver for the Mid-Atlantic which will allow conventional fuel to be sold in RFG areas in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia to facilitate the supply of gasoline.


Gas Shortage Update: Colonial Pipeline Hack, Panic Buying Cause Station Closures, Gas Price Increase. Here's The Latest

Gasoline shortages have hit several states along the East Coast after a ransomware attack shut down the Colonial Pipeline, leading to panic buying that caused long lines and gas stations to run out of fuel. Gas prices are also expected to continue to climb. The problems are most pronounced in North Carolina where 12.3% of gas stations were out of fuel as of late Tuesday, according to GasBuddy.com. About 8.6% of Virginia stations lacked gas as did 8% in Georgia, 5.9% in South Carolina and 3% in Florida following the attack on the 5,500 mile long Colonial Pipeline last week.


Gas Pumps Start To Run Dry From Hacked Pipeline Shutdown

Motorists across a broad swath of the U.S. East Coast and South are struggling to find gasoline and diesel as filling stations run dry amid the unprecedented pipeline disruption caused by a criminal hack. From Virginia to Louisiana, convenience stores and corner gas stations are turning away customers as tanks tap out amid panic buying. The White House relaxed some environmental rules in a bid to allow gasoline to flow in from other parts of the country. One Washington D.C.-area fuel distributor warned that "catastrophic" shortages are imminent and called on government officials to order school buses to stay off the roads. Four days into the crisis, Colonial Pipeline Co. has only managed to restart a small segment of the pipeline as a stopgap measure and doesn't expect to be able to substantially restore service before the weekend. "It's going to be catastrophic," said John Patrick, chief operating officer of Liberty Petroleum LLC in Chester, Maryland. "Governors should declare a state of emergency and ask people chasing tanker trucks to gas stations to stay home. School buses stay put."



Gottheimer, Lagana, Tully, Swain Announce New NJ State Proposal to Combat New York's Congestion Tax Scheme

Today, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), along with NJ State Senator Joe Lagana (LD-38), Assemblyman Chris Tully (LD-38), and Assemblywoman Lisa Swain (LD-38), proposed new state legislation to fight back against New York's congestion tax scheme targeting hard-working New Jersey families and daily commuters with a new $3,000-per-year daily fee when entering into Midtown Manhattan. If New York moves forward with its congestion tax, new legislation will be introduced in both the NJ State Senate and State Assembly to add the New Jersey state sales tax only for out-of-state drivers to every toll at every crossing from New Jersey into New York. Every sales tax dollar collected will go to a new Congestion Tax Relief Fund to help New Jersey commuters who will get whacked by New York's congestion tax scheme. New Jersey commuters will get a credit from the new fund to help cover congestion fee costs.



N.J. Has Hiring Crisis: Here Are Some Ways To Address It

Small businesses in all industries, from child care and day camps to manufacturing and seasonal tourism, placing ads and help wanted signs everywhere, and getting few to zero responses. Welcome to New Jersey's great hiring challenge - the result of a perfect storm, which includes: Continued unemployment and stimulus payments causing many people to pass on work opportunities to instead collect an unemployment check; A lack of child care availability, with schools still not fully open in many areas and child care center license restrictions limiting capacity; Last year's ban on J1 Visa applicants for summer work continuing to impact this year's Shore-area employers. Gov. Phil Murphy appears to be dismissing this as a "passing reality," even though the enhanced Unemployment Insurance payments come to an end in September - after the tourism season ends. And, because he will not enforce the "actively looking for work" requirements, this crisis may actually get worse before it gets better.



SBA Has $5B Grant Program For Small Businesses: Here's Who Qualifies For Money

It's not too late to apply for funds under the Small Business Administration's Supplemental Targeted Advances. The SBA will continue to accept applications until the entire $5 billion is awarded. The program is targeted at up to 1 million small businesses and nonprofits. To be eligible, the small businesses must have no more than 10 employees, be located in low-income areas, and had an economic loss due to the coronavirus pandemic of greater than 50% over an eight-week period since March 2, 2020, compared to the previous year. They can receive $5,000 in grants, meaning the money does not have to be repaid. These are in addition to the $10,000 many businesses received from earlier Economic Injury Disaster Loan funds.



U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Blames Weak Jobs Report On Enhanced Unemployment Benefit, Kicks Off Lobbying Effort

The largest business lobbying group in America on Friday blamed a $300-per-week federal jobless benefit for enticing Americans to stay at home and April's far-weaker-than-expected jobs report. "The disappointing jobs report makes it clear that paying people not to work is dampening what should be a stronger jobs market," the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said in the hours after the Labor Department released its April 2021 employment report. "One step policymakers should take now is ending the $300 weekly supplemental unemployment benefit," the lobbying group added. "Based on the Chamber's analysis, the $300 benefit results in approximately one in four recipients taking home more in unemployment than they earned working."



Health Advocate or Big Brother? Companies Weigh Requiring Vaccines

As American companies prepare to bring large numbers of workers back to the office in the coming months, executives are facing one of their most delicate pandemic-related decisions: Should they require employees to be vaccinated? . . .For the country's largest companies, mandatory vaccinations would protect service workers and lower the anxiety for returning office employees. That includes those who have been vaccinated but may be reluctant to return without knowing whether their colleagues have as well. And there is a public service element: The goal of herd immunity has slipped as the pace of vaccinations has slowed.



Security Guard Prevents Customer From Falling Prey To Gift Card Scam As Lawmakers Call For More Training

Kane In Your Corner spoke with some advocates who said that retailers should flag it if someone purchases multiple gift cards worth the maximum amount. Many News 12 viewers wrote in wondering why the fraud departments did not pick up on the extensive purchases like credit card companies do. "It's on the companies that are involved in selling and processing these gift cards to take steps to make them as safe as possible," says John Brevault, with the National Consumer Law Center.



U.S. Adds Just 266,000 Jobs In April, Far Below Expectations

The U.S. economy added a mere 266,000 jobs last month. Forecasters had floated gains close to 1 million, making this the biggest miss, relative to expectations, in decades. Why it matters: It's a major setback for the hopes of a speedy labor-market recovery alongside America's great reopening. Adding to the pain: Job gains in March were revised lower. What they're saying: "This is a big miss that changes how we think about the recovery," economist Justin Wolfers tweeted.



RaceTrac Executive Testifies on EVs

Yesterday, AJ Siccardi, president of Metroplex Energy, testified before the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy on behalf of NACS, SIGMA and NATSO in a hearing entitled, "The CLEAN Future Act: Driving Decarbonization of the Transportation Sector." Siccardi shared the convenience and fuel retailing perspective on decarbonizing the transportation sector and the push by lawmakers to move away from the internal combustion engine to electric vehicles. Atlanta-based Metroplex, a wholesale fuel company, is a subsidiary of RaceTrac. "The fuel retailing industry is indispensable to decarbonizing the transportation sector-both through the sale of cleaner liquid fuels and electric vehicles. We want to partner with Congress to help achieve environmental goals in a market-oriented and affordable manner," Siccardi told the subcommittee.



  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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