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June 16, 2022
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 Inside this issue
  Executive Directors Message  









We have been receiving calls from members alerting us that there seems to be an extraordinarily high number of "drive offs" in the recent weeks. Since gasoline has become a much more valuable commodity, it's worth it for thieves to risk criminal charges and are driving off more frequently after filling up their tanks. Obviously, if you are using a credit card to get the sale started, then this is not an issue. But if someone tells you they are paying cash, you have two options. You can watch them very closely and record the license plate while car is filling up.   Actually let the customer know that you are recording the license plate.  Or better yet, get the cash up front and you can give them change if necessary after the sale is complete.  If anyone balks at giving cash up front, that's a good indication they were planning not to pay you anyway and you can ask them to leave. Post signs so that all customers understand that everyone must comply.  As a reminder, the actual theft of gasoline in bulk from your USTs is still very attractive and once again, you need to be alert if there seems to be any kind of a commercial vehicle or van parked over your fill ports for any extended period of time. You must be suspicious of everyone in this marketplace. If you have security cameras that are focused on the fill port area of your location, that's even better. For the members that called us to give us a heads up on this rise in crime, thank you, and please keep us updated on any increases in crimes of this nature or others that we have mentioned in previous Road Warriors


One of the biggest news stories in the past few weeks has been the huge fluctuations within the gasoline marketplace that is affecting the entire nation, but especially in New Jersey where self-serve is not utilized as a means to save at the pumps. This week, an exceptional editorial was published by the Press of Atlantic City, a major south jersey newspaper, addressing this issue. This article could not have been any better than if we wrote it ourselves. There is a widespread lack of knowledge of how gas prices are determined and how self-serve would allow motorists to save money and this article does a great job shedding some light on that. 


As you know, the federal government has officially proposed regulations that will completely ban the sale of menthol cigarettes nationwide and ban the sale of all kinds of flavored cigars, which by some estimates represent about half of cigar sales at C-Stores. The FDA is taking comments from those who will be affected by these rules. They need to hear from as many business owners as possible if there is going to be any way to either get them to change their minds, or even just increase the amount of time before such bans would take effect. Please take a moment to click the links below and submit comments. The process is easy, just write in the comment box, enter your email address, select that you are an individual, and hit submit.  


We encourage you to personalize the message as much as you can, with details like how many people you employ, how long you've been in business, how much of your revenue is tied to these products, etc. Below is some sample language you can copy and paste or use as a base for your own comments. Unfortunately the FDA website doesn't allow us to use our regular VoterVoice system that allows you to easily contact legislators. 


The link to submit comments on the menthol cigarette ban is: 



The link to submit comments on the flavored cigar ban is: 



Sample comment: 

As a convenience store owner, I urge you to repeal the proposed ban of these products. Prohibition policies don't work. Smokers will just purchase their preferred products illegally, buying counterfeit products shipped in by criminals from overseas. Our store always pays its cigarette taxes and checks IDs, someone selling through the black market won't. My small business stands to lose a huge portion of its sales should this ban become law. Store owners survive on the products smokers buy like coffee. Such a ban would not impact total smoking rates but it would hurt honest small business owners. The better policy is to continue having these products sold at regulated businesses, collect taxes on them, and then spend that revenue on anti-smoking efforts. Please cancel this planned regulation, thank you.  


Last week we mentioned that a new inspection contract had finally been awarded to OPUS Inspections. We are expecting to meet with the contractor in the next week and hopefully will have more details on the start date and the program in general. Stay tuned because we may need to schedule a meeting with all private inspection facilities to go over any details and new requirements and expectations for those in the inspection program. Be on the lookout for more information in future Road Warriors


Just a reminder, 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  


Cigars under FDA Scrutiny

Proposed rules from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) targeting flavored cigars have retailers considering what such a ban would mean for their business. On April 28, 2022, the FDA announced proposed product standards "to prohibit menthol as a characterizing flavor in cigarettes and prohibit all characterizing flavors (other than tobacco) in cigars." The National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO) explained that, if the standards are finalized and implemented, artificial and natural characterizing flavors (other than tobacco flavor) in cigars, cigar components and parts - such as cigar tobacco, filters or wrappers -  would be prohibited. Flavors including but not limited to an herb or spice, clove, vanilla, chocolate, cherry, menthol and mint would be included in the ban. The regulation would also apply to premium cigars, which would only be able to feature a characterizing flavor of tobacco. 


NACS Urges Congress to Extend Biodiesel Blenders' Tax Credit

NACS, along with other associations, has written a letter to congressional leaders asking them to extend the biodiesel blenders' tax credit and ensure that there is parity with jet renewable fuel and other alternative fuels using the same blend stocks. "This $1.00 per gallon blenders' credit has successfully decreased carbon emissions associated with transportation fuel and has promoted America's energy security," reads the letter. "The credit can continue fulfilling this important purpose if Congress extends the existing law and does so at an amount that is at parity with other alternative transportation fuels that compete for the same feedstock, such as sustainable aviation fuel." The transportation fuel markets are experiencing increased pressure amid skyrocketing diesel prices, supply chain disruptions and inflation. None of these trends are letting up any time soon, and this pressure will make it challenging on the markets to ensure consistent diesel supply in all regions.


Costco Is Barring Non-Members From Buying Its Discounted Gas In New Jersey, Report Says

Nearly two decades ago, Costco reportedly caved to New Jersey's demands that it open up its pumps to all members of the public. The Associated Press wrote in 2004 that, "Costco's membership requirement violated New Jersey laws regarding fuel sales, according to state consumer officials." But insiders say New Jersey may have overstated its case 18 years ago. "The rules have not changed," Sal Risalvato, executive director of the New Jersey Gasoline, C-Store, Automotive Association, told Insider in a statement. "NJ law never had anything in it that prohibited Costco from selling gas to 'Members Only.'" Risalvato said he believes that in 2004, New Jersey's Department of Consumer Affairs "balked at the notion of Costco only selling gas to their members" and that the chain "acquiesced and permitted the gas pumps to serve all motorists" to avoid a controversy.


Consumers Rethink Their Driving Habits

The national average cost for a gallon of gasoline is a record-busting $4.98, according to AAA, and Americans are feeling the pain. AAA took care of 50,787 out-of-gas calls in April, a 32% increase from the same month last year, the Washington Post reports. Filling up a tank for some consumers cost more than $100, which is 14 hours of after-tax income for certain low-wage workers. The high cost of gas combined with food and housing cost increases has Americans weighing how to spend their money. The Consumer Price Index hit a 40-year high of 8.6% in May, driven by skyrocketing energy and grocery costs, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data released today. Grocery prices were up 11.9% in May compared with a year ago, while energy prices were up 34.6%.


The Oil Price Shock Will Reverberate Into Next Year

Wall Street may be abuzz with talk of recession next year, but it's a different story in the energy market. Most traders, policy makers and analysts see oil demand growing through 2023 and supply struggling to keep pace. In private, Western officials worry Brent crude will reach $150 a barrel soon from about $120 now. Some fear it keeps going higher, with wild chatter about oil hitting $175 or even $180 by the end of 2022, driven by post-Covid pent-up demand and European sanctions against Russia. And the shock won't end this year. 


More Summer Working Hours for Teens Under New Bill

With school almost out for summer and employers still struggling to hire workers, lawmakers are moving a bill they hope would help businesses by making it easier to have teens on staff. The measure (A4222) would extend the hours a minor can work to a maximum of 50 hours a week and simplify the process for them to get working papers. The Assembly Labor Committee advanced it unanimously Thursday.


They Got Battered By COVID. At Least Protect Small Businesses from Tax Hikes | Editorial

An automatic tax hike is about to hit New Jersey businesses just as most economists are predicting a downturn, and inflation recently rose to a 40-year-high of 8.6 percent: Yikes. A moment like this, when a recession is expected and some businesses have just been brutalized by covid, is certainly not the ideal time for a tax increase. Thankfully, a compromise is in the works that would protect the most vulnerable businesses while preserving money for competing needs, like controlling property taxes.


EPA Extends Emergency Waiver for E15

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has extended the emergency waiver that allows E15 gasoline-gasoline that uses a 15% ethanol blend-to be sold. This is the second time the waiver has been extended this year. The extension took effect June 11 and runs through June 30. "In taking this action, the agency is seeking to address the extreme and unusual fuel supply circumstances in the market by allowing the continued sale of E15 during the summer driving season," said EPA Administrator Michael Regan in the waiver.


Why Gas Prices Are So High

Gas prices in the United States are at record highs. And even when adjusting for inflation, they are on average at levels rarely seen in the last 50 years, including during the energy crisis of the late 1970s. When fuel prices go up, consumers are hurt directly at the pump, but also indirectly when higher transportation costs raise prices on everything from food to diapers to construction materials. The single biggest factor driving the spike now is the price of crude oil. As of April, according to the Energy Information Administration, the cost of the raw material accounted for 60 percent of the price of a gallon of regular gasoline. That compares to 52 percent the same time a year ago, and just 25 percent in April 2020 - when the pandemic sapped demand for fuel, along with most other goods and commodities.


Why an Energy Crisis and $5 Gas Aren't Spurring A Green Revolution

Big solar projects are facing major delays. Plans to adapt the grid to clean energy are confronting mountains of red tape. Affordable electric vehicles are in short supply. The United States is struggling to squeeze opportunity out of an energy crisis that should have been a catalyst for cleaner, domestically produced power. After decades of putting the climate on the back burner, the country is finding itself unprepared to seize the moment and at risk of emerging from the crisis even more reliant on fossil fuels. The problem is not entirely unique to the United States. Across the globe, climate leaders are warning that energy shortages prompted by Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and high gas prices driven by inflation threaten to make the energy transition an afterthought - potentially thwarting efforts to keep global temperature rise under 1.5 degrees Celsius.


Biden Warns Big Oil Over Gas Output

President Biden will warn CEOs of the nation's largest oil companies on Wednesday that he's considering invoking emergency powers to boost U.S. refinery output, according to a letter obtained by Axios. Why it matters: Biden's direct engagement with the oil giants is part of an ongoing White House effort to tame fuel prices despite limited options - and cast oil companies as responsible for consumers' higher bills. The letter, which calls on the companies to boost output, signals how gasoline and diesel prices have become both an economic and political shock reaching the highest levels of the administration.


Biden's EV Charging Plan Draws Skepticism From Some States

The Biden Administration is moving full-steam ahead on its electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure plan, which includes fast EV-charging stations every 50 miles along major highways, but some states in the Western U.S. argue that plan doesn't make sense for extreme rural areas, reports the Wall Street Journal. Utah, Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico and Colorado are skeptical of the rules that would enable them to receive a portion of the $5 billion in federal funding Biden has promised to states to build a national EV-charging network. The states say it would be nearly impossible and at best difficult to run a series of chargers along desolate stretches of highway. "There are plenty of places in Montana and other states here out West where it's well more than 50 miles between gas stations," Rob Stapley, an official with the Montana Department of Transportation, told the Journal. "Even if there's an exit, or a place for people to pull off, the other big question is: Is there anything on the electrical grid at a location or even anywhere close to make that viable?"


Biden Slaps Oil Companies For Profiteering At The Pump.

President Biden chastised some of the largest oil companies for profiteering off surging energy prices and "worsening that pain" for consumers, as he increased the pressure on them to boost refining capacity and bring down costs at the pump. With the average price of gas in the United States topping $5 a gallon for the first time, Mr. Biden pointed the finger at energy firms in a letter to seven top executives dated Tuesday. He demanded that they explain their decision to limit refining capacity and announced that his administration would hold an "emergency meeting" to discuss ways of stemming the crisis.



  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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