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June 9, 2022
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 Inside this issue
  Executive Directors Message  








Though residents of New Jersey can now legally purchase recreational marijuana, there are still no rules put together by the Cannabis Regulatory Commission as to employee workplace impairment. Despite the law being in full swing where people are permitted to make legal purchases of marijuana, there are still no protections for employers to help determine if an employee is stoned on the job. We believe this is critically important, particularly for our repair shops. I'm sure your customers would appreciate knowing that the technician working on their brakes wasn't high when the work was performed. And how about knowing if any of the technicians working on an aircraft are high when performing maintenance on the plane you are about to board? How about the guy driving the tanker filled with 8000 of gasoline?  Or the nurses assisting the surgeon?  Or worse, how about the surgeon?  These are circumstances that must be considered while the Commission determines what these rules will be. Currently there is no method to determine if an employee is under the influence of marijuana while they are working. We continue to monitor this situation along with other small business organizations and hope to have some answers soon. 


The New Jersey Assembly Health Committee last week approved a bill prohibiting the sale of all flavored cigarettes (including menthol and clove flavors) of electronic smoking devices in New Jersey. Eric spoke on behalf of NJGCA, and we want to also thank member Roger Verma who accompanied Eric and provided testimony to the committee as well. He explained to the committee how this would impact his convenience stores, as they are close to Pennsylvania and customers can simply choose to go across the border to make their cigarette purchases there. Eric pointed out this exact situation happened when Massachusetts instituted the same menthol ban. Neighboring states experience a surge in cigarette sales and the only ones that got hurt were the small businesses in Massachusetts. You can read more on this legislation, including quotes from our testimony HERE and HERE.


We learned late Tuesday that the new inspection contract has finally been awarded to OPUS Inspections. At the moment we have no details on start dates as that information is not being shared yet. The information we do have is from a reliable source that tells us the legal challenge to OPUS getting the contract is now over and we can expect a public announcement shortly. The State of New Jersey Treasury website has officially been updated to say that the contract has been awarded to OPUS. The new equipment for PIFS will run between $2,000 and $2,300, and the transaction fee with be $2.50 per inspection and the fees will include all maintenance. OPUS will be taking the place of Parsons, the previous contractor that ran inspections. OPUS is currently the largest provider of inspections nationwide. We are hopeful that this will be a positive change for the state and will share more details as they become available. The RFP for the contract bid, actually states that the contractor that is awarded the contract must work with NJGCA to assist in the transition and into the future. We expect that at some point we will have an information session with NJGCA shop owners and officials from both OPUS and Motor Vehicles.


When the wholesale rack price of gasoline spikes in one night by 15 cents, it often results in motorists lodging complaints on the price with the Department of Consumer Affairs to accuse retailers of gouging. Obviously motorists don't have a clue. Of course, their complaint really is that the price is high, they really do not have a legitimate gouging complaint. Although the state has been investigating these consumer complaints, it is not likely that gouging charges will be filed especially since gouging laws are only in effect during a declared state of emergency.

However, I have been receiving numerous complaints from members about other retailers violating the law by selling gasoline below cost. The same rules and mathematics apply with regard to investigating below cost selling as they do with price gouging. When complaints are made to me, I apply all possible mathematical equations before I turn it in to the authorities. If you suspect a fellow retailer of selling gasoline below cost, here is what I need in order to make a reasonable complaint to the Department of Weights and Measures: If you suspect a competitor is selling gasoline below cost, you should take a picture of the posted price, email it to me with the exact address of the location, and do this every day until I tell you that I don't need any more evidence. Often, members are quick to make a complaint, but aren't willing to go back out and take a picture. Too often they don't continue sending the pictures, which makes it difficult for me to provide the evidence I need to make the complaint. We need that evidence over time in order to make a valid complaint to the Department. The bottom line is that while I don't think price gouging is happening, I do believe that there is below cost selling going on. If you get me the information I'm requesting here, I will make the complaint to the authorities. I won't send the Department of Weights and Measures on a wild goose chase for no reason, I must have reasonable evidence to give them of below cost selling before I report the offender. 

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  


N.J. Moves To Ban Sale Of Menthol Cigarettes Despite Warnings Of Illicit Sales

The sale of menthol-flavored cigarettes and other smoking devices, long criticized for their appeal to minorities and underage smokers, would be banned in New Jersey under a bill that cleared a state Assembly panel Thursday. In April, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a plan to ban menthol products nationwide, which account for about one-third of all tobacco sales. But that regulatory process could take as long as five years to complete, said Assemblyman Herb Conaway, chairman of the Assembly Health Committee. He urged his committee colleagues to vote yes on the statewide ban rather than allow more harm.


N.J. Legal Weed In Full Swing, But Still No Rules For Detecting If Workers Are High On The Job

Six weeks after New Jersey launched a highly profitable recreational marijuana program and 15 months after the law allowing it took effect, the state agency charged with regulating the new industry still has not come up with basic standards for detecting weed in the workplace. The lack of progress on a certification protocol on what to do with workers who test positive or appear to be under the influence of cannabis has frustrated state lawmakers and corporate executives and left employees in the dark. "Now that cannabis is being sold legally in New Jersey, it's much more likely that employees will show up to work impaired or with traces of the drug in their system," state Sen. Anthony Bucco, R-Morris, said in a statement Thursday. "That could be extremely dangerous at a construction site, in a hospital, or in the airline industry where any level of impairment could result in serious accidents."


NJ Gas Hits $5: 3 Reasons Why Prices Keep Rising

With most pandemic restrictions in the rearview, more people are getting behind the wheel to enjoy the summer. But those trips come with a hefty price, as gas prices in New Jersey average nearly $5 per gallon. Turbulence in the worldwide oil trade, increased demand for summer travel, and oil and gas companies continuing to collect high profits have contributed to record-high gas prices around the nation.


NACS Requests 60-Day Extension on Menthol Ban Comment Period

NACS, along with NATSO and SIGMA, have asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a 60-day extension of the comment period for the FDA's two proposed tobacco product standards that would prohibit menthol as a characterizing flavor in cigarettes and cigars. "Given the complexity of the rules, the extensive data to analyze, and the impact to the marketplace to consider, the Associations are requesting a 60-day extension of the comment period. This additional time will ensure the Associations and our retail members can provide FDA with detailed and meaningful comments on these complex issues," wrote the groups in a letter to the FDA.


EPA Sets 2020-22 Biofuel Blending Mandate

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced biofuel blending mandates for 2022 and the prior two years, reports Reuters. The 2022 biofuel blending mandate for 2022 is 20.63 billion gallons, and the EPA retroactively set the volume mandates for 2021 at 18.84 billion gallons and for 2020 at 17.13 billion gallons. The EPA also denied oil refiners waivers to be exempt from the requirements but said it would allow extra time for small refiners to meet their 2020 blending obligations.


Costco Will Require Membership to Purchase Gas Starting July 5

Costco has announced that it will soon require a store membership in order to purchase gasoline. The new rule will go into effect on July 5, according to signs posted at Costco gas stations across the state. Purchasing fuel currently does not require a Costco membership. . . "My guess is if Costco is doing this it's because their members are not happy that nonmembers get the same privilege they do," says Sal Risalvato, executive director of the New Jersey Gasoline Convenience Store and Automotive Association. Risalvato says that there is no apparent legal reason preventing Costco from going members-only for gas. But he says he questions why customers would go out of their way to wait for prices that may not always be lower. "If you are going to wait in line for gasoline for 45 minutes to save 15 cents a gallon or even 20 cents a gallon, what did you save? You didn't safe anything. You burn that much gas waiting for the pump to be opened," he says.


Buy Gas From Costco In NJ? They're About to Make a Major Change

As the average price of gas climbs over $5 per gallon, many New Jersey drivers have found relief in lower prices at wholesale retailers. That could be about to change. . . Sal Risavado, executive director of the New Jersey Gasoline, C-Store, and Automotive Association, suspects the reason for the change is the long lines at Costco. He thinks members complained about having to wait in lines for up to 45 minutes along with customers who are not paying for a membership.


A Drop In NJ Gas Prices Could Start In Days
It's become the new reality in New Jersey: Gas prices keep climbing higher and higher to new records almost every single day. But we could soon get a break. According to Tom Kloza, the global head of energy analysis for the Oil Price Information Service, we could be getting a respite from rising gas prices in the coming days. He said over the next three months, "the trend is still higher but I think the next three weeks we might wobble back a little bit. You may see a nickel, 10 cents lower."


Costco Wants To Limit Gas Station Fill Ups To Members, But Is It Allowed In New Jersey?

Costco plans next month to restrict gasoline sales to club members across the country, including here in New Jersey. On Tuesday at Centerton Square in Mount Laurel there were six lanes of cars waiting to get gas at multiple pumps at the Costco gas station, whose prices tend to be cheaper than many other stations. The price for regular unleaded gas there was $4.83 per gallon - compared to $5 and more at many other stations - while premium was $5.29 per gallon. Signs posted at Costco gas stations pumps in New Jersey this week carry the following announcement: "Effective July 5, 2022, your active Costco membership card will be required for gasoline purchases."



  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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