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April 14, 2022
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 Inside this issue
  Executive Directors Message  










Our message is continuing to spread and get attention. The debate continues in Trenton. We started the debate and have kept it going for six weeks now. Monmouth University, which is one of the more reliable and credible polling entities in New Jersey, and are well respected by legislators and the Governor, felt compelled recently to do a thorough poll on the subject. Here's what they found

  • Over half of the public (54%) supports allowing self-service gas in the state as long as stations are still required to keep an attendant on duty for full service (our proposal mandates that larger gas station be required to offer full serve for certain hours during the day)
  • If offered the choice of self-service versus a full-service option that cost 15 cents more per gallon, 70% of New Jerseyans say they would pump their own gas at the lower price. 

We have been hammering the message that this is about a choice and we continue to highlight the fact that there will be a savings at the pump for those who choose to pump their own gas. This poll proves that our message is getting out. If you would like to read the press release we recently sent out to the media on the Monmouth poll, click HERE. This data is important for our overall message with the recent news that Senate President Scutari wouldn't move the self-serve choice bill because he thinks the public is not in favor. The findings of this poll proves otherwise and we hope that with the correct and clear messaging, we can persuade public and legislative opinion. 

We are also looking for gas station owners to volunteer to offer to participate in a "self-serve awareness day" by lowering their price for a day by whatever amount they would lower it if they were able to offer self-serve pumps, and posting signs and giving handouts to customers. Signs at the location would indicate why the price was lowered for that day. We will provide the signs for locations that make the commitment to participate. If you are interested, please contact Eric at eric@njgca.org 


Last year, NJGCA awarded four scholarships to children of NJGCA members and the children of employees NJGCA members. A total of $10,000 was awarded with $5000 being contributed thanks to the generosity of Utica Insurance. Utica Insurance is the insurance company that insures many NJGCA members. The contribution was arranged by NJGCA MBP Amato Agency. Once again Utica has contributed $5000 towards a scholarship that is to be awarded to a student attending an automotive technical school or studying automotive technology. The NJGCA Board of Directors has also approved participation in additional awards. Be on the lookout for an email that will enable you to complete the scholarship application online. Each NJGCA member will be entitled to submit ONE application that will be reviewed by the scholarship committee. Applicants may be either the child of a member or the child of an employee that works for the NJGCA member. More details on completing the application will follow soon.


Health coverage premiums have been increasing dramatically amongst all insurers in recent months, and the NJGCA program with Association Member Trust is no different. Recently, AMT sent notices to participating NJGCA members explaining that there would be a mid-year increase in health care premiums. It is highly unusual for premium increases to be made mid-year. However, all health insurers have begun to see unusually large claims as a lingering result of the COVID pandemic. AMT has been evaluating the situation for the past few months and has determined that in order to maintain the strong financial position that our self-funded trust has always enjoyed, this mid-year premium increase must be implemented.

I have received calls from many members about this. There are two actions that I encourage NJGCA members to take, and both require you to do some homework. First thing to do is to contact AMT to discuss options that are available that will help to lower the cost of your health care premiums. AMT has provided this option in the letter that was sent to you. Often small business owners explore these options on a regular basis to ensure that they are purchasing the most cost effective health coverage for their families and their employees. The second homework task is to contact me at sal@njgca.org. I have been exploring other options for NJGCA members so that you can be referred to other choices that come with a recommendation and the confidence that you will be dealing with a reputable representative of an alternate competing health coverage plan.

Costs will be rising on all of your expenses and one of the objectives of the NJGCA staff is to try to assist you to find the best alternatives to all of the products and services that your business requires. We put an enormous effort in to finding the best choices for you to explore.

Remember, first contact AMT to see how they can lower your costs, and second contact me at sal@njgca.org to discuss another option that I have been investigating for you.


This date is approaching fast, and given the significance of this change and how it affects every retail business in this state, you want to be prepared now, particularly with the supply chain issues we've all seen the last two years. 

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. 


On Tuesday President Biden announced that in response to high gas prices the EPA would be temporarily suspending its rule which prevents gasoline that is 15% ethanol (E15) from being sold between June 1 and September 15. The higher blend of ethanol (regular gasoline is already 10% ethanol) is more volatile and can increase smog in the higher temperatures of the summer, which is why for the last decade there has been a rule in place preventing its sale during those months. This change though is unlikely to have an impact here in NJ for a variety of reasons. For one, E15 cannot be used in motor vehicles older than MY 2001, in motorcycles, nor in small engines like lawn mowers. If a station were to replace regular gas with E15 it would in effect give up all that business. In most states a sign on the pump could warn customers what not to use E15 for, but with full-serve only a station could be liable if their attendant did not give a customer a warning before pumping E15 that later does damage to an unapproved engine. There are some other regulations a station would have to comply with if they wanted to sell E15 as well, and they would likely have to make some upgrades to the station. This is also only a temporary waiver, it still seems likely that the usual summer ban will be back in effect next year. This also makes it unlikely that many distributors will even offer E15 if a station wanted it. The advantages of E15 are that it costs about 10ยข a gallon less than regular gas yet also has a slightly higher octane level. About 3% of the country's stations currently sell E15, though most are in the Midwest near the cornfields and ethanol plants. You can read more info about E15 HERE and HERE 


Finally, I want to wish our membership that observe the holidays a happy Easter and Passover. I hope you are all able to safely celebrate with your families.           

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  


Attorney General Investigating Over 160 Gas Station Complaints

With the state's Gas Tax Holiday entering its fourth day, many motorists around the state were fueling up at lower prices on Monday. The $.25 cent per gallon state tax has been suspended until the end of June. While motorists were filling their tanks, the attorney general's office was investigating. It is looking into 163 complaints they've received since Friday about some service stations not dropping the $.25 cent tax. The office of the Attorney General said it has sent out 83 letters to service stations requesting information about their pricing. "That's the way the law is written by the legislature and the governor, and that's how I am going to enforce it," said Attorney General, William Tong.


Why Can't New Jersey Residents Pump Their Own Gas?

As the U.S. approaches 'full employment,' does it really make sense to force gas station business owners (in a state that already has one of the highest labor costs in the country) to fill a minimum-paying job that entails standing outside in all weather and dealing with New Jersey drivers? In a rare spasm of sane, pro-business pragmatism, the New Jersey State Assembly recently introduced the "Motorist Fueling Choice and Convenience Act." This piece of legislation would allow gas stations the freedom to offer self-serve, and any station with more than four pumps will still be required to offer full service.


Congress Tries to Get to the Bottom of Record-High Gas Prices

Multiple congressional committees met this week to see what can be done about skyrocketing gasoline prices. On Tuesday, the Senate Commerce Committee's hearing, "Ensuring Transparency in Petroleum Markets," focused on what factors determine the price of gasoline and if more oversight and regulatory authority over oil and gas markets is needed. In advance of the hearing, NACS, along with NATSO and SIGMA, sent a joint industry letter, explaining how fuel retail markets work and the four main components of gasoline prices, which are the price of crude, refining costs, taxes, and transportation and marketing costs.


Gas Prices Are Dipping, Even Though Strategic Reserve Oil Hasn't Hit The Streets Yet. Here's Why.

Officially, the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas on Thursday was $4.10 in New Jersey, crawling down from $4.17 a week ago and $4.24 a month ago, GasBuddy.com reported. By comparison, the national average price was $4.14 a gallon Thursday, down from $4.22 a week ago and $4.15 a month ago according to GasBuddy. But savvy drivers can pay less by shopping around. GasBuddy lists 15 stations where prices ranged from $3.68 to $3.81 and others aren't hard to find. Are we reaping the benefits from President Biden ordering the release of crude oil from the nation's strategic reserves for the next six months? Not yet, said Tom Kloza, global petroleum analyst for the Oil Price Information Service.


FDA Issues More Marketing Denial Orders

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued marketing denial orders (MDOs) to Fontem U.S. for several myblu electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) products, according to a news release. The FDA has determined that the company's applications did not show enough evidence that allowing these products on the market would be beneficial to public health. The products include myblu Device Kit, myblu Intense Tobacco Chill 2.5%, myblu Intense Tobacco Chill 4.0%, myblu Intense Tobacco 2.4%, myblu Intense Tobacco 3.6%, myblu Gold Leaf 1.2% and myblu Gold Leaf 2.4%. The FDA is issuing MDOs for additional myblu products not included in the above list. The FDA is only releasing publicly named products that the FDA or the manufacturer have confirmed to be currently marketed to avoid potential confidential commercial information (CCI) issues. The FDA recommends that retailers contact Fontem U.S. if they have questions about products that may have received MDOs but are not listed above.


Why Gasoline Prices Remain High Even As Crude Oil Prices Fall

When the cost of crude oil soared to new highs in early March with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, prices at the gasoline pump followed. They climbed 17 percent in a little over a week. But when crude prices eased - they're now down more than 20 percent from their March high - pump prices eased somewhat but have remained elevated. This pattern is so common, especially with gas prices, that economists have a pet name for it: rockets and feathers. When crude prices jump, pump prices tend to rise like a rocket. But when crude prices fall, pump prices tend to descend gently, like a feather. This widely documented phenomenon helps explain why gasoline has remained stubbornly expensive even as crude gets cheaper, and why gas stations tend to pocket fatter profits when prices are falling than when they're rising.


Jersey Wants A Choice On Pump-Your-Own, Full-Serve Gas Stations, Poll Shows

Most New Jerseyans want to be able to pump their own gas as long as the full service option remains available, a new Monmouth University poll released on Monday. . . "We're gratified that the highly regarded Monmouth University Poll asked the right question, unlike the previous Rutgers/Eagleton poll whose results on this issue were misleading. The Monmouth survey mirrors our own internal polling that shows the majority of New Jerseyans support self-serve gas as long as the option of full-service remains, which was always part of the recently introduced legislation," said Sal Risalvato,  the executive director of New Jersey Gasoline C-Store, Automotive Association We hope this poll helps lawmakers better understand that New Jerseyans do support-self serve and we urge them to begin acting on the legislation in the coming weeks."


Biden to Allow More Ethanol in Gas This Summer in Bid to Lower Prices

The Biden administration said Tuesday it would allow high-ethanol content gasoline to be sold in the hot summer months, in an effort aimed at lowering prices at the pump that could pay political dividends in farm-country states. "It reduces our reliance on foreign oil. Adding this fuel to our gasoline, 10% or 15% or even more, stretches the supply," President Biden said at a Poet LLC ethanol-processing facility in Menlo, Iowa. "It gives you a choice at the pump. When you have a choice, you have competition. When you have competition, you have better prices.'' Most gasoline sold in the U.S. contains 10% ethanol, a liquid fuel made from corn. Under the decision announced Tuesday, the U.S. will allow gas with 15% ethanol content-known as E15-to be sold between June 1 and Sept. 15, when it normally isn't allowed because it can create more air pollution.


Tax Rebates Eyed In New Jersey To Offset Gas Prices

While it's unclear whether legislators will advance any of the measures before them intended to cut gas prices for consumers, tax credits could be the likeliest plan to win enough support to become law. Lawmakers have also suggested temporarily cutting the state's gas tax and encouraging the IRS to increase standard mileage reimbursement. Gas station industry groups, meanwhile, claim if New Jersey ends its full-service requirement, the only one of its kind in the nation, motorists would pay less.


Opposing Self-Serve Choice Is As Dumb As It Gets In NJ (Opinion)
When bipartisan legislation was recently introduced to allow New Jersey a hybrid model of both full-service and self-service, (yes, you would have the choice) there was some hope. Some hope for those of us who are tired of sitting and waiting for one guy servicing five cars when we could easily be saving time doing it ourselves. Some hope for those of us who are sick and tired of this so-called full-service being far too often a guy who barely speaks English never even greeting you and not getting off his cell phone call during the entire encounter. Soon Senate President Nick Scutari had a thing to say. He pointed to one Rutgers-Eagleton poll that was based on a poorly-worded question and decided that that was it, he wouldn't support the idea and would not post it for a vote. Gov. Murphy soon followed saying he didn't see it happening anytime soon. That poorly-worded question? "Do you prefer to pump your own gas or have your gas pumped for you?" I that's like asking somebody do you prefer to pay for your dinner or have it bought for you? Do you prefer to do your homework or have it done for you? You get the idea.



  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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