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March 22, 2023
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 Inside this issue
A Message From Your Association
  A Message From Your Association  
  A Message From Your Association  

Flavored Vape Ban Enforcement

Gas Station “Heroin”

New Law Helps Small Businesses Avoid Costly Fines

Happy Ramadan!

Flavored Vape Ban Enforcement

As you probably know, it’s been about three years since the state of New Jersey outlawed the sale of all vaping products with any flavor other than tobacco. You may also know that law has gone almost entirely unenforced, which has created a big problem. Honest store owners are losing business to store owners willing to break the law since there’s been no enforcement or penalties. Even if someone did decide to start enforcing the law with a fine, those store owners breaking the law and selling the flavored vape products would still come out ahead with their sales. It’s been so widespread for so long that more and more stores have felt forced to start selling these products, which only encourages even more stores to join in. This has been a source of frustration for not only honest store owners, but also honest distributors and manufacturers of legal vaping products, who are losing sales to trunk slammers and internet vendors. RJ Reynolds Tobacco, in particular, has been upset about the situation and has already been trying to convince local health departments to start enforcing the law.

This week, they sent out a letter to some retailers claiming that they know they’ve been selling illegal vapes and threatening to sue for damages. They are demanding the retailer immediately remove the products and certify to Reynolds that they’ve stopped selling them within a week of receiving the letter. If you’ve gotten one of these letters, email Eric at eric@njgca.org as this looks to be something they are planning to do on a very large scale. The bright side is that if they do this to everyone, maybe it’ll have an impact and level the playing field for all retailers in New Jersey. For right now, especially if you have gotten one of these letters, we advise you get in compliance with the law. There’s a good chance they are looking for an excuse to sue some people and make an example out of these businesses as a warning to everyone. This may sound familiar to another effort we tackled a few years ago with a lawsuit regarding certain pills that were being sold at c-stores. In that situation, the company hired people to go around and take pictures of the product on the shelves for evidence. Don’t rule out the law firm in this circumstance hiring a similar person for a similar tactic. In fact, they may have already collected the evidence they needed before sending that letter. If that isn’t enough of a reason to remove the product if you haven’t already, then you may also note that the letters copy the county prosecutor with the name and address of the business, increasing the odds that you will get visited by the Department of Health or another entity. We will let you know if we get more information. 

Gas Station “Heroin”

Last week, we read an article warning people about Tianeptine which while marketed as a dietary supplement, is actually highly addictive and is being called “gas station heroin.” You may remember more than 10 years ago the “bath salts” issue, where gas stations and c-stores were selling products without really knowing what they were. Very suddenly they were made illegal and classified a Schedule I drug, and retailers were told to quickly remove them from shelves before they could be accused of being a drug dealer. Be aware if you are carrying these products, these could become illegal with very little notice beforehand, and make sure they are not being sold to anyone under the age of 21. Not only is there potential for criminal charges, but even if it is technically legal you can find yourself liable for a lawsuit. As always, we recommend purchasing your products from a reputable distributor like our Member Benefit Partner NCD.

New Law Helps Small Businesses Avoid Costly Fines

This week Governor Murphy signed bipartisan legislation into law that NJGCA supported and passed the Legislature unanimously. It would give small businesses (50 or fewer full time equivalent employees) a 60-day grace period if they are fined by the state for noncompliance with certain laws and regulations. If the business is able to correct the issue before the end of the grace period, they would not be subject to the fine. Unfortunately, this does not apply to all legal compliance issues; labor laws and/or anything that would have an impact on the environment are excluded, and the grace period only applies if it’s the first time the businesses owner has been fined for that issue. The legislation becomes effective in late June. NJGCA supported this legislation which allows honest business owners to correct their mistakes. The purpose of state agencies should be to maximize compliance, not to raise revenue. All that should matter is that the laws are being followed. Even though there are a bunch of exceptions to this, hopefully it’ll have a good impact with improving the reputation that New Jersey is legendary for finding ways to fine business owners. 

Happy Ramadan

We wanted to wish those celebrating Ramadan, a holy monthlong holiday of fasting and prayer for Muslims. We wish you a blessed Ramadan and Ramadan Mubarak!

Be Well-

Your Association Staff



  Training Class Schedule  

All classes held at NJGCA HQ -- 615 Hope Road, Building 2, 1st Floor, Eatontown, NJ 07724

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  


Big Oil Prepares for Upheaval at the Gas Station

Electric vehicles are a small but growing share of cars on the road. Energy companies already need to prepare for how they will change the gas station. On Thursday, Paris-listed TotalEnergies agreed to sell around 2,200 gas stations in Europe to Canadian convenience-store company Alimentation for €3.1 billion, worth $3.3 billion at current exchange rates. It is the second big deal in this space this year. BP paid $1.3 billion for TravelCenters of America in February, which has 280 locations on U.S. highways. The shift to more sustainable sources of energy will change how people use gas stations. Instead of everyone filling their tanks at the pump, some drivers will need fast-charging points, while others might eventually want low-carbon fuels. Gas stations will need to cater to a wider variety of technologies than in the past. It will also be important to be a good retailer. A customer refueling a conventional car spends five to six minutes on average on the forecourt. Even with fast charging, an EV owner might hang around for 25 minutes. Some oil-and-gas companies think this is an opportunity. Shell, which owns 46,000 gas stations worldwide, says EV owners spend twice as much in the convenience store attached to the forecourt as traditional car drivers. The length of time they need to spend recharging is likely a factor, though early adopters of the expensive new technology also tend to skew wealthier, so the effect may weaken as EV sales grow.


DEEM Enterprises' 'Car-Centric' Plan For Bader Field On AC City Council's Wednesday Agenda

 A Memorandum of Agreement with DEEM Enterprises to move forward with a $2.7 billion car-centric development at Bader Field is on City Council’s agenda for Wednesday, Mayor Marty Small Sr. said Sunday. Small has supported the plan to build upscale housing and a 2.4-mile raceway for high-powered cars owned by residents there. It would include about 4,000 units of housing, retail and other space, plus park areas.


Proposed Bill Banning Some Popular Candies Debated in California

California’s AB418 would ban brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, propylparaben and titanium dioxide, as well as the dye Red 3. The bill would “prohibit a person or entity from manufacturing, selling, delivering, distributing, holding, or offering for sale, in commerce a food product” containing any of these additives. Among the foods that could be impacted: Skittles, Pez, Hot Tamales, Sour Patch Kids and many others, including some breads, soups and sauces. Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel hopes to force the companies to change the product nationwide: “It is unlikely they'll have one recipe in California and one in Oklahoma,” he said.


Oregon House Votes To Let Oregonians To Pump Their Own Gas

The Oregon House on Monday overwhelmingly approved a bill to allow self-service options at every gas station in Oregon, raising a real possibility the state will cast off its place as one of just two states still forbidding many drivers from touching the pump. The chamber passed House Bill 2426 on a 47-10 vote, with several lawmakers saying their constituents had made it clear they’d like the legal right to fill their own tanks. The bill now moves to the Senate. Like similar proposals over the years, HB 2426 would not put an end to the full-service fueling that most Oregonians are used to. Rather, the bill would enable all retail gas stations in the state to designate up to half of their pumps as self-serve. Stations in Oregon’s most populous counties would still be required to employ at least one attendant, and to charge the same amount for gas from full-service pumps as they do at self-serve.


Going Up! When You Can Expect NJ Gas Prices To Start Rising

Prices at the pump in many parts of New Jersey continue to hover around $3 a gallon but they could soon start to go up. Tom Kloza, the global head of energy analysis for the Oil Price Information Service, said demand for gas is still not very strong right now. But starting in April and going to Memorial Day, “you’re going to see increases that maybe take you up to a Major League batting average of $3.40 or $3.50, something in that neighborhood.” He said in the coming weeks, “you’ll see an increase of about 15 to 30 cents, mostly in April and early May.”


7‑Eleven Launches EV Charging Network, Will Eventually Expand To Speedway Gas Stations

7‑Eleven is planning to build one of the “largest and most compatible electric vehicle fast-charging networks of any retailer in North America.” The network is known as 7Charge and it promises to deliver a “convenient and reliable fast-charging experience” at select 7‑Eleven stores. Several locations are already open in Florida, Texas, Colorado, and California but more are on the way.  7‑Eleven is also planning to expand the network into Canada soon. . . Pricing will vary by location, but it will be determined by energy usage and/or time spent charging. Furthermore, people who leave their vehicle connected after their charging session is complete, could be subject to additional fees. While chargers are only open in four states at the moment, 7‑Eleven said once their network expansion is complete they’ll have one of the largest charging networks on the continent. The company went on to say there will be chargers across its entire family of brands including Speedway and Stripes gas stations.


U.S. Court of Appeals Court Upholds $5B-Plus Swipe Fee Settlement

A federal appeals court is letting stand a $5.6 billion antitrust class action settlement involving more than 12 million retailers that accused Visa Inc. and Mastercard Inc. of improperly fixing credit and debit card fees. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit of New York denied a bid to dismantle the class action settlement by gas station operators that objected to it. The agreement, which was priced at about $6.2 billion before opt-outs, includes $523 million in legal fees, reported Bloomberg Law. . . The settlement resolved claims that Visa and Mastercard overcharged retailers on interchange fees, or swipe fees, when shoppers used credit or debit cards, and barred retailers from directing customers toward cheaper means of payment.


California City Rethinking Part of Gas Station Ban

A California city that previously banned new gas stations is rethinking part of the legislation. Last year the city of Novato passed an ordinance that banned the building of new gas stations or significant expansion to any of the 12 existing stations within city limits. The city’s planning commission is now looking at amending a section of the ordinance that addresses construction at existing sites, specifically the part that prohibits reconstruction if damages exceed 50% of the site’s assessed value. The planning commission unanimously voted last week to eliminate the section related to rebuilding sites and also added language that all construction must be done within two years of any damage to avoid blight.


TikTok-Fueled Kia, Hyundai Thefts: NJ AG Calls On Companies To Do More

State Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin joined attorneys general in 22 other states in a sharply-worded letter to Kia and Hyundai, telling them they haven’t done enough to stop the thefts of certain models whose surge has largely been blamed on a TikTok challenge. The thefts have not only left some car owners vulnerable but have led to deadly crashes and some insurers have even stopped providing coverage for the models in question. And several police departments in the Garden State have issued warnings to drivers, or offered free wheel locks to residents with certain year models. Many of the Kia models manufactured from 2011-2021 and Hyundais made from 2015-2021 lack the electronic immobilizers that tell the car something other than a key has been inserted in the ignition in an attempt to turn over the engine. Immobilizers are standard equipment on most other vehicles made during that time.



  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.



  Member Benefit Partner Message Board  





  Classifieds: For Sale and Help Wanted Ads  

Dispensers & Kiosk For Sale: Dispensers (2) are Dresser Wayne and EMV compliant & updated.  


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Union, NJ 07083

P: (908) 688-4480


Fran Metta

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E: franmetta@cs.com