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March 24, 2022
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 Inside this issue
  Executive Directors Message  













Surprisingly contrary to what had been represented to us, the new Senate President, Nick Scutari (D-Union), made this statement: "The people of New Jersey are very clear in wanting to keep the system we have now, and there is no data supporting any contention that moving to a self-service model would save residents money at the pump. If the public sentiment changes or there is, in fact, data showing that it would dramatically reduce costs, I would reconsider." 

His comments caught not only us, but also many of his fellow senators in both parties off guard, as it was different from what we were told he would say or do on the subject, at least until he had met with us to discuss the proposal in detail. A meeting has been promised and continues to be promised to correct some of his misunderstandings on the issue. 

Within an hour of his statement we had responded and managed to get most publications to update their stories with our comment: "When the Senate president says New Jerseyans want to keep the system we have now, he's unfortunately relying on a flawed poll that asked the wrong question. Our internal polling shows that New Jerseyans want a choice and that's exactly what this legislation does. It gives motorists the choice of continuing to receive full-serve, or having the option of self-serve. It's about convenience for motorists who don't want to wait for someone else to pump their own gas. It's also about saving money. A survey we conducted on gas prices since 2007, shows markups have increased by about 15¢ a gallon over that time period, due primarily to rising wages, providing clear space for a savings to be passed back to the consumer. In a hypercompetitive business like gasoline retailing, it's clear that decreasing an owner's biggest expense will lead to lower gas prices."

It is particularly disappointing to see him refer to the poll from Rutgers, which only asked about personal preferences, not about our bill to allow the choice of both full and self (and even the pollster admitted this was the case, that the poll was actually conducted before our bill was introduced). 

Don't believe the few headlines saying the issue is dead, we will continue to fight, we clearly have all the facts in our favor, all that's against us is this sense of New Jersey culture and the emotion it creates, we never expected it to be easy, if it was this would have been done 15 years ago. We are fully prepared to keep fighting, this will continue to be a major fight for the next few months. 

One thing you can do to battle public perception is to make sure you follow not just NJGCA on Facebook and Twitter, but also our coalition group Fuel Your Way NJ, which is posting regularly about the issue. Please like and share their posts with your friends and family. 


I can tell you that I've never seen a rollercoaster like this, with wholesale prices going up and down big amounts from day to day. Even as rack prices have been going up retail prices have been going down, be careful with your margin now that the price is going up. The average rack price has gone up about 30¢ a gallon since last Wednesday. WTI crude oil is back up to $115 a barrel as I write this, after dropping to $35 a week ago. It's impossible to truly track gas prices right now because everyone's inventory in the ground was bought at a big gap in price from each other. Make sure you have enough margin to cover yourself and your expenses, especially since credit card fees increase as your retail price increases. Filling your underground storage tanks on a day the price has dropped is like winning the lottery but filling on a day when the price is back up feels like getting fleeced. You need your profits from the good days to cover the bad days. You will have to deal with both. Anyone who claims to know where this goes from here is delusional. 


The idea of a temporary suspension of part or all the taxes on gasoline and potentially diesel continues to be talked about throughout the country. Maryland has officially begun a one-month long suspension of their full gas tax. Connecticut is also on the verge of a 25¢ per gallon reduction in their tax. More importantly, legislators in New York and Pennsylvania have proposed significant reductions in their gas tax, but so far the Governors of those states have not endorsed the idea. 

In New Jersey more than one proposal has been introduced, most significant is A-3669 from Assemblyman Paul Moriarty (D-Gloucester). We are working with the sponsor about some technical concerns regarding the bill, most significantly a requirement that any reduction in tax be immediately reflected by the same decrease at the pump. Of course, that would not be possible in the real world since all the gas in the ground would already have the higher tax paid on it. In Maryland they solved this problem by ordering every retailer be given a tax rebate for all gallons in the ground when the tax suspension went into effect, and when the tax returns they will have a floor stocks tax on whatever is in the ground. This increases the amount of paperwork a business needs to do, but it does lead to a fairer marketplace. 

Others have suggested that rather than addressing the problem with these suspension gimmicks, it would just be easier to mail everyone in the state a check to cover the increased costs of gas and groceries. We will be monitoring the issue to see what if anything the Legislature and Governor decide to do. It seems the soonest any kind of suspension could reasonably go into effect would be June, based on the current legislative schedule. 


Last Friday we held a very informative and successful webinar with one of our MBPs, FreeWire. They are a supplier of electric vehicle fast chargers with a product that solves many of the challenges gas stations and auto repair shops face if they want to install a fast charger. This is a timely issue because there is currently a grant opportunity available in which the NJ DEP will fund up to $200,000 off the cost of installation, and FreeWire will assist with the grant application. The grant window closes in May so do not wait. We are offering a repeat presentation of the webinar for those who could not make it last week, or who might have more questions. We actually ran out of time there were so many good questions. The presenters will be offering the same presentation, it takes about a half hour followed by questions and answers. The webinar will be held next Friday, April 1st at 12pm. You can register HERE 


This week we participated in a cybersecurity forum that was hosted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The topic of discussion was President Biden's recent statement that Russian actors could be planning a cyberattack on the United States. This elevated concern for cyber-attacks stems entirely from the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, and the desire to thwart American (and Western) intervention in Ukraine. You can read more about President Biden's comments HERE.

If a cyberattack is launched, the targets are likely to be US businesses operating in the security, transportation, banking/finance, energy, and utility industries. As such, the Biden Administration has urged private businesses to follow "best practices" to guard against any threats. Government participants on the forum included the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), as well as security staffers from various industries. You can read more about threats and preparedness HERE and HERE.

Any cyberattack is likely to target (and harm) large commercial and financial entities. However, any fallout is likely to filter down and affect everyone participating in the market. In recognizing this threat, this is a good opportunity to remind you that plenty of small businesses like yours endure cybersecurity attacks; which often go underreported or overlooked by government agencies and the media. You may be thinking "this will never happen to me!" and merely ignore the warning. However, I can affirmatively state that several members have endured cyberattacks over the years. While I cannot identify who they are, I can openly say that these attacks resulted having their data held hostage and they incurred expensive countermeasures.  And unlike identity theft (which typically harms only you), remediating a data breach is far more involved. That's because the data that is stolen includes personal customer information, inventory data, sales and financial banking data, and more.

I strongly encourage you to learn from your fellow members, avoid being a victim, and take active steps to protect your data. Depending on your circumstances, this may be "as simple" as obtaining a sophisticated firewall to protection your business computers or instituting a redundant data backup system (so your information can be retrieved if an attack results in the loss or corruption of vital information).

Please don't make a mistake and take this lightly. If you are hacked and your data attacked, you will suffer immeasurably. After all, our lives and businesses have become entirely reliant on the electronic processing of data and information to operate today. It is on your private devices, work computers, cellphones, and more. 

If you're not sure how to accomplish this, give us a call and we can direct you. NJGCA also cohosted a webinar a few months ago with officials from the NJ Department of Homeland Security. If you missed it, you can view it HERE. If you do suffer a cyber-attack, please report the incident to CISA at report@cisa.gov or contact the FBI.


I want to bring the contents of this article to your attention, which discusses new trends in people trying to steal gasoline, from both consumers and retailers. This was a problem years ago too when prices skyrocketed. Make sure you are protecting your USTs and your dispensers, especially overnight. Watch out for vehicles potentially siphoning gas and make sure you have proper security monitoring and that it's fully functioning. It's more important than ever that you monitor inventory daily and recognize larger than usual variations in product loss. If you detect missing product, check the security tapes immediately and preserve any evidence for law enforcement. Please alert us as well so we can share info with other members, the people doing this are not going to stop at just one station. Repair shops should be aware they may see customers who have had their gas tank drilled directly into. Thieves have started doing this to get around anti-siphoning measures that have been added to cars over the years.


In the last few months, some companies have been promoting what amounted to a loophole in federal and state regulations on vaping products. By offering vaping products made with synthetic nicotine, not nicotine derived from actual tobacco plants, they were able to sell some flavored products otherwise banned. Puff bars seems to be the most common brand. The recent federal spending bill has closed that loophole, effective May 14th. Be aware that if you are selling any products made with synthetic nicotine, it will be illegal after that date. It is possible it could be extended if the individual manufacturer submits a lengthy application to the FDA, but that is seen as unlikely at this time. 


As part of legislation that was passed and signed into law in November 2020, on May 4th a variety of restrictions will come into effect dealing with bags and Styrofoam products. All single-use plastic carryout bags will be banned at all retail stores in the state. Single-use paper bags will still be allowed, but only for convenience stores under 2,500 square feet and businesses that do not sell food. Paper bags are generally more expensive than plastic bags, and c-stores under 2,500 sq. ft. are free to choose not to provide them at all and instead ask customers to either go bagless or purchase a reusable carryout bag. Stores could also charge a small fee for a paper bag if they wished to. Reusable carryout bags are defined as a bag that "(1) is made of polypropylene, PET nonwoven fabric, nylon, cloth, hemp product, or other machine washable fabric; (2) has stitched handles; and (3) is designed and manufactured for multiple reuse." We encourage you to stock some of these bags for sale to customers.

 There are several small exemptions to the plastic bag ban: a bag used solely to contain uncooked meat or fish, a bag used to package loose items like fruit, nuts, coffee, candy, flowers, small hardware items, etc., a bag used to contain food sliced or prepared to order including soup or hot food, a newspaper bag. 

Also banned are most food packaging products made of expanded polystyrene foam, commonly known as Styrofoam. This includes drink cups and food containers. There are several exceptions: disposable long-handled foam soda spoons used for thick drinks, portion cups 2oz or less, trays for raw meat or fish, and food that was prepackaged by the manufacturer with Styrofoam.

One benefit of this law is that once it goes into effect it totally overrides all local rules and ordinances covering these items, so if your local government had either prohibited paper bags or required your store to charge a fee for them, they will no longer be required to do so. Also, the penalty for violating any provision of this law is a warning for the first offense. The State has also set up a dedicated webpage for business owners covering these rules, which includes a list of vendors and distributors who sell approved reusable bags.


All members who are scheduled to renew their membership will receive an email with an electronic invoice and a link to pay for it. When you go to the site to pay you will have to retrieve your logon information as it has changed from last year. You'll receive an email with the new logon credentials. 

When you pay the invoice, a confirmation email will be generated. Also, when you click on the "continue" link in the email, you will see the actual invoice with details and an option to print it or download it to your computer. For all other members renewing throughout 2022, this is the new procedure for billing and payment. It is important to check your emails on or about the first of the month of your renewal. Reminder invoices will also be sent out on or about the first of the month. Any questions or concerns can be addressed by emailing accounting@njgca.org      

Be Well -  

Sal Risalvato
Executive Director




  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  


How to Explain to Customers Why Gas Prices Aren't Dropping Fast

The question we're hearing is, why aren't gas prices falling faster now that crude oil prices have dropped? The answer isn't that cut and dry. Although gas prices are greatly affected by oil prices, linking the two to current prices has its caveats. (Even President Biden has taken to Twitter to complain about gas prices. "Oil prices are decreasing, gas prices should, too," Biden tweeted.)


1 Big Thing: Democrats Look To Limit Gas Price Fallout

The White House and top Capitol Hill Democrats are scurrying to limit the political damage from high gasoline prices, Ben writes. Driving the news: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer vowed to haul Big Oil CEOs before Congress to explain the "bewildering incongruity" between pump costs and the recent crude oil price decline.


FDA Will Now Regulate Synthetic Nicotine

President Biden signed off on a $1.5 trillion spending package giving the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority to regulate synthetic nicotine products. The FDA has had regulatory and enforcement authority over tobacco products since 2009 when Congress passed the Tobacco Control Act. This new measure will give the FDA the same authority over products that contain nicotine that aren't derived from tobacco but made in a lab, known as synthetic nicotine. The FDA will have regulatory authority over synthetic nicotine starting on April 15, 2022. Manufacturers of synthetic nicotine have until May 14, 2022, to either submit a premarket tobacco product application (PMTA) or pull their products from the market.


NJ Gas Prices Are Beginning To Fall. But What Really Drives Them In The First Place?

The price of gasoline at New Jersey stations began to retreat from its record high this week after investors grew worried that a COVID-19 wave in China would slow global demand, experts said. However, it likely will take Garden State motorists longer to see the decline than the increase, observers said, since prices at the pump typically abide by the adage: up like a rocket, down like a feather. "You're going to start to see some drops a little at a time in the next week or so," said Sal Risalvato, executive director of the New Jersey Gasoline-Convenience Automotive Association, a trade group.


Jersey Girls Don't Want To Pump Their Own Gas? Puh-Leeze. We All Want That Freedom. | Opinion BY SAL RISALVATO

A recently released Rutgers-Eagleton Poll asked motorists whether they prefer to pump their own gas or if they preferred to have it pumped for them. The survey results shouldn't be surprising. The vast majority preferred to have it pumped for them. While the poll was being conducted Feb. 25 - March 4, a bipartisan bill was introduced in the Assembly that would allow for a hybrid fueling model in New Jersey. The Motorist Fueling Choice and Convenience Act would allow gas stations the option of offering self-serve, while still requiring stations with more than four dispensers to continue to offer full service gas pumps, giving consumers the option to pump their own gas, if they wish. Had Rutgers-Eagleton waited to go into the field and phrase the question in a way that reflected the reality of the proposal in the legislature, I'm confident the results of the survey would have been much different.


Powerful N.J. Congressman Wants Oil Companies To Justify The High Cost Of Gas

With gas prices at or near record highs, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. has asked oil company executives to explain why fuel costs so much. Pallone, chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has asked executives of BP, Chevron, Devon Energy Corp., ExxonMobil, Pioneer Natural Resources, and Royal Dutch Shell to testify on April 6 at a hearing on high gas prices. "As American families confront high gasoline prices caused by the volatility of global energy markets and Vladimir Putin's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, I am deeply concerned that the oil industry has not taken all actions within its power to lower domestic gasoline prices and alleviate Americans' pain at the pump," said Pallone, D-6th Dist. "Instead, the industry appears to be taking advantage of the crisis for its own benefit."


NJ State Senator Proposes $500 Gas Tax Rebate To Combat High Fuel Prices

A New Jersey state senator says that he has the answer to the rising price of gasoline - a $500 tax rebate. Republican state Sen. Edward Durr still works as a truck driver. He says that it costs his company about $500 to fill its big rig. There is mounting frustration and anger over the price of gasoline. The average price for gasoline as of Monday is $4.25 nationwide and $4.21 in New Jersey.  "I'm on a fixed budget, so yeah, it's tough," says Susan Hemdal, of West Deptford. "You got to take it out of somewhere else." Durr says that New Jersey should use its funds to help offset the costs. The state has more than $4 billion in extra revenue.


N.J. Is Considering Self-Serve Gas - And We're Not Alone. One Other State Is, Too.

New Jersey and Oregon, the two last states in the union that ban drivers from pumping their own gas, could be in a race to see which one is the first to allow 100% self-service. Legislation was proposed this year to end the nation's last two bans against pumping your own gas. Oregon's bill was proposed to deal with a shortage of people to pump gas. But it's on hold until next year's full legislative session, since the idea was introduced in the state's "short session" that only lasts about a month. New Jersey's bipartisan bill was introduced on March 1 in response to climbing gas prices and has to go through the committee hearing process. If passed by both the Senate and Assembly, it would go to Gov. Phil Murphy's desk. The governor has historically opposed ending the self-serve ban, but told NJ Advance Media recently he would consider it this time.


Does A Gas Tax Holiday Make Sense For New Jersey? Here's Why It's Complicated

With soaring gas prices and other costs from inflation, politicians are feeling pressure to give residents some kind of relief, particularly at the pump. Maryland and Georgia have rolled back or temporarily paused their state gas tax in recent weeks, and California proposed a gas tax rebate in hopes of giving residents a break. The Garden State is considering similar steps.



  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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