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December 9, 2021
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 Inside this issue
  Executive Directors Message  








There are so many things that are affecting the wholesale price of gas right now. I know all of you last week experienced as much as a 30 cent decrease in your delivered price of gasoline from your suppliers. I thought about commenting on this last week, but was concerned that it was simply going to be coming back up to recoup the 30 cent decrease that you experienced and it was just a matter of how quickly this would happen. However, by my observations the refiners have recouped about 25 of that 30 cents and I expect it to go higher. This is because coinciding with that decrease was also a substantial decrease in the price of crude oil. Crude has traded as high as $85 a barrel and last week saw lows of $65 a barrel. As of today, its $72 dollars a barrel and as long as crude oil increases in price, so will the price of gasoline. I don't have a clue what forces are working on crude oil. Nationwide inventories are much lower than they were a year ago which obviously forces the price upward. And although demand is higher than a year ago, it's not as high as it was pre-COVID. I think the traders in both crude oil and refined products such as gasoline are just taking a gamble every day and I don't have any scientific or instinctual ability to figure this out the way I used to. Stay tuned to see how this rollercoaster ends up. 


Earlier this week, NYC Mayor DeBlasio announced a citywide vaccine mandate that will apply to all businesses, including private employers. This comes on the heels of the discovery of the new Omicron variant that is spreading ahead of the winter and holiday seasons. Unlike the federal mandate which is only required of businesses with 100 or more employees, the NYC mandate applies to all businesses. As of this week, conversations with legislators in Trenton indicate that there is no appetite to do the same in New Jersey. However, I am always concerned about bad policies that happen in NYC being contagious and infecting New Jersey. We will be monitoring the thoughts of legislators in Trenton and continue to voice our opinion that these mandates would be very bad for our state. 


This week two conflicting stories came out in the news as far as New Jersey's plan to move away from fossil fuels. Governor Murphy and New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti issued a Request for Expressions of Interest to the Trenton Mobility & Opportunity: Vehicles Equity System Project, or Trenton MOVES, which aims to start the country's first autonomous vehicle transit system in Trenton. The plan would deploy 100 autonomous electric vehicles throughout Trenton, available at low cost to users in underserved neighborhoods. Though we haven't talked about autonomous vehicles in a while, you may remember we were talking about it often pre-COVID. Although this has been on the backburner for some time due to the pandemic, I fully expect it will begin to heat up again as technologies improve and the cost of fossil fuels continue to rise. For those of you who operate repair shops, it is going to become more important that your technicians have the skills, knowledge, and tools to properly service ADAS vehicles today so that they will be able to service fully autonomous vehicles in the not too distant future. It is closer than you think. 

On the other side of the spectrum, lawmakers also recently approved bills that may be seen to walk back the state's goals set in the Energy Master Plan to transition away from fossil fuels. First, the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee unanimously released a bill that would prohibit state agencies from enacting policies that mandate electric heating systems or electric water heating systems to replace natural gas systems. Business advocates say they worry that other reliable ways of heating homes are not readily available. And those alternatives, if they are available, are not affordable for consumers. NJGCA contributed to the support to move away from allowing such a mandate, as consumers and businesses should have a choice in what systems they use. Additionally, that same day, the Assembly Telecommunications and Utility Committee released a bill that would require the state Board of Public Utilities to establish a program to promote renewable natural gas. Several gas utilities in the state are exploring using renewable natural gas or hydrogen to heat homes in the future as natural gas is phased out.

Also this week, governors from states that were included in the regional Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI), which could have added as much as 50 cents a gallon to the gas tax have begun dropping out of their commitment. This includes the governor of Massachusetts who was the one to start the initiative. We have heard that there were plans in the New Jersey legislature to try to force New Jersey to join, but this now appears to be on hold due to the high prices of gasoline and the continuous fluctuations of price as a result of the pandemic and supply issues. 


For convenience stores that sell cigarettes and other tobacco products, this week, legislation passed the Senate and Assembly Health Committees that will require all retailers other than cigar stores that sell any tobacco product to be required to also sell at least one FDA approved "nicotine cessation product". This could be any product from the "patch" to Nicorette gum, or the fairly new Nicorette lozenges. Stores would have the discretion of which cessation products are offered, how many of them, and the retail price, though the product must be placed alongside the tobacco products behind the sales counter. The wholesale cost to meet this mandate is as little as $5. Retailers would also need to provide printed notice within the store that nicotine replacement products are available for sale, and the logo, phone number and website of the NJ Smoking Quitline. Other chain retailers are already doing this and view it as a good business opportunity, which we agree. If a customer is interested in quitting smoking, then offering these products will also help ensure they continue to visit your store, and the profit margin on these products will almost certainly be higher than it is for a pack of cigarettes. 


Be Well -  

Sal Risalvato
Executive Director

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  Training Class Schedule  

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


ASE Training Course - Reach Out Today!

Are you (or an employee) getting ready to take your A6, A8, or L1 in preparation to recertifying your Emission Repair Technician (ERT) credentials through the State's Emission Technician Education Program (ETEP)?  

We can help --- but we need to hear from you, first! 
NJGCA wants to hear from students interested in our ASE-prep training program, so we can gauge demand and schedule our next session series. 

As you know, the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) has always maintained a "dual-track" system to allow technicians to earn their Emission Repair Technician (ERT) credentials through New Jersey's Emission Technician Education Program (ETEP). In doing so, technicians were allowed to certify as ERTs through either an ASE-test track or an ETEP-educational class track. Starting on January 1, 2020, NJDEP amended the ETEP criteria, and the ETEP-educational class track was abolished.  

Today, only the ASE-test track remains, and all ERTs must certify or re-certify their credentials though ASE to remain in the Program. 

NJGCA has recently offered an ASE-prep class to help you get ready for the A6, A8, and L1. In doing so, students were welcome to participate in a ten-session preparatory class that covered material for all three ASE exams. We also had a handful of students who joined us only for the A8 or L1 sections.  

Once completed, students took their ASE exams with a local ASE-approved test proctor (NJGCA can train you to prepare for the ASE exams, but are not permitted to offer the actual exam - students must make these arrangements individually themselves). 

Building on that success, we are now seeking student participation in our next training series session. To make arrangements and organize a session, we need to hear from you! 

If you are interested, please email us at training@njgca.org ASAP. 

We'll record your interest, inquire on your availability, and schedule a class once we have a full complement of students.   

Only with your feedback can we gauge student headcount and participation.  

Please reach out to us today, and thank you for your interest! 

Contact Nick De Palma at Nick@njgca.org to inquire about potential trainings and class dates



  News Around The State  


Gas Prices Will Fall Below $3 Per Gallon in 2022, Government Projections Say

Across the country, Americans may see lower gas prices at the pump in 2022. On Tuesday, the U.S. Energy and Information Administration projected that retail gasoline prices would average $3.13 per gallon in December before falling to $3.01 per gallon in January. The EIA expects prices to continue to drop, forecasting the annual, national average to be $2.88 per gallon in 2022.


Employers Plan to Lift Wages in 2022

U.S. companies are planning to use an average of 3.9% of total payroll for wage increases next year, which is the most since 2008, reports the Wall Street Journal. The amount is according to a survey by the Conference Board, which also found that companies are planning on raising salary ranges, which would result in higher minimum, median and maximum salaries. A raise in salaries could contribute to higher consumer prices and increase inflation, economists say. Roughly 39% of respondents to the survey said inflation factored into their decision to set aside funds for wage increases next year.


State Plans Sweeping New Climate-Change Regulations

In what officials say is a significant step to curb pollutants causing global warming, New Jersey plans regulations for nearly 100 natural-gas power plants and thousands of commercial and industrial boilers used to heat apartment buildings, schools, and other facilities. The Department of Environmental Protection described the proposal, published Monday in the New Jersey Register, as an important first regulatory step toward decarbonizing the state's electric generation sector and electrifying fossil-fuel boilers. The 165-page rule proposal, in the works for more than a year, marks the agency's first major regulatory initiative to limit carbon-dioxide pollution from power plants and other sources to curb greenhouse gas emissions by 80% below 2006 levels by 2050 - the so-called 80 x 50 goal.


NACS Files Brief against Vaccine Mandate

NACS has filed a brief opposing the Biden Administration's emergency court motion with the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati to reinstate the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) requirement that private-sector businesses with 100 or more employees have all their workers vaccinated or tested weekly for COVID-19. Shortly following OSHA's ruling, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted an emergency stay temporarily halting enforcement of the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for private employers, citing "grave statutory and constitutional issues."


Swipe Fees Impact Consumer Spending

Consumers are bearing the costs of swipe fees, reports The Balance. The average U.S. household paid $724 a year for credit card fees in 2020, whether or not they used cards, according to an analysis by CMSPI, an independent global payments consultancy, which is $261 more than in 2012. Retailers are being charged 2.2% on average for a customer to pay with a credit card, and retailers pass along about 70% of that cost to consumers in the form of higher prices, said Callum Godwin, chief economist at CMSPI.


The Latest Sign of President Biden's Inflation Politics Problem Comes from Main Street

The politics of small business owners is similar to the politics of the majority of Americans in one major way: it's become hyper-partisan. But as President Joe Biden's approval rating among entrepreneurs slips to an all-time low and Main Street confidence reverses to near its all-time low set in the first quarter of 2021 when Biden's presidency began, it's not only Republicans who are downbeat about the president's handling of the economy. The latest CNBC|Momentive Small Business Survey shows a decline in small business confidence and Biden's approval rating, with respondents who identify as independents primarily responsible for the downshifting, and concerns about inflation a major influence over the data. Concerns about the labor shortage remain high, but even more small business owners are seeing higher prices and supply chain disruptions. . .


Your Parkway And Turnpike Tolls Are Going Up Jan. 1 - Again

Roughly 16 months after tolls on the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway went up in 2020, drivers who use the state's two largest toll roads are facing another 3% toll hike on Jan. 1. Included in the New Jersey Turnpike Authority's $2.289 billion 2022 budget is one sentence that might make drivers cringe - "annual toll rate indexing at 3% effective January 1, 2022,″ which in laypersons language means tolls are going up New Year's Day.


New Poll Shows Labor Shortage Likely to Persist

Many unemployed Americans are not eager to rejoin the workforce, which does not bode well for the current labor shortage. Fifty-three percent of Americans who became unemployed during the pandemic said they were only somewhat active or not very active at all in looking for work, according to a new poll by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Additionally, 56% said they continue to be unemployed for more than six months before it becomes essential to return to full-time work. Eleven percent said it will be more than a year before it is necessary to return to work, and 15% said it will never be essential. The U.S. economy added back fewer jobs than expected in November. Nonfarm payrolls increased by just 210,000 for the month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.


Legislators: Convenience Stores Should Sell At Least 1 Product That Helps People Stop Smoking | Opinion

Whether this is a trend or not, what we already know is that smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. It claims the lives of 11,800 New Jersey adults every year and 143,000 of our state's kids will ultimately die prematurely from smoking. The state's annual health care costs directly caused by smoking are $4.6 billion and smoking leads to $3.15 billion in productivity losses each year. It's important to note that these staggering numbers are pre-pandemic and do not include health costs caused by exposure to secondhand smoke, smoking-caused fires, smokeless tobacco use, or cigar and pipe smoking. All of this only further emphasizes the need for lawmakers to make it as easy as possible for more New Jerseyans to kick the habit. Putting smoking cessation products in the stores where an overwhelming majority of cigarettes are sold is a good place to start. That's why we introduced legislation A6020/S4114 and encourage our colleagues in the Legislature to sign on and support the bill. Right now, smoking cessation products, like Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) are not readily available at convenience stores, even though convenience stores are where 92% of all cigarettes are sold in the Garden State. In fact, less than 3% of nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) are sold at convenience stores. This lack of access is not by accident. Convenience stores are disproportionately located in low-income, minority communities, presenting barriers to quitting smoking for these residents and further fueling disparities in tobacco use and its associated deleterious health effects.


Is It Legal To Buy NJ Lottery Tickets As Gifts For Children, Teens?
Lottery tickets may seem like an easy choice to slip into that stocking hanging over the mantle or in a card for a relative or friend. But be careful. New Jersey law requires lottery purchasers to be 18 years of age. . . The New Jersey Lottery has teamed up with the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey, the National Council on Problem Gambling, and the International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors at McGill University to build public awareness that lottery products are not an appropriate gift for minors. The Lottery is launching a holiday advertising campaign that includes the messaging, "Tis the season to gift responsibly. Lottery Tickets Aren't Child's Play."



  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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