If you cannot see the message, please click here
June 29, 2023
Follow NJGCA:

 Inside this issue
A Message From Your Association
  A Message From Your Association  
  A Message From Your Association  

NJGCA Networking Events: Join Us for Fun!

Oregon Passes Self-Serve: Will New Jersey Follow?

Emergency Menthol Hearing Held in Trenton

Inform Consumers Act Enacted to Deter Theft

Internet Lottery

Feedback Wanted on Educational Classes and Training

Networking Events

We had a very successful networking event with our members and MBPs at Tommy’s Tavern and Tap in Clifton last Thursday. It was a great evening with good food and good conversation. We have been looking for ways to engage our membership and get people out again. These events we run are for you, our members, to show you that your association is not only working for you, but we hope to be able to get members more involved in the work that we are doing. We just need your participation!

May be an image of 6 people and text
May be an image of 10 people, drink and table

Luckily, we have another two FREE events coming up, and the whole business (and family) are invited! We wanted to have some fun this summer, so we reserved groups of tickets at both the Jersey Shore Blueclaws ballpark and the Somerset Patriots ballpark to take you all out to the ballgame! Arrive by 6 PM to enjoy BBQ and stay after the game for fireworks. Again, this event is completely FREE for our members, you just need to sign up ASAP as tickets for both games are limited! Find the registration forms for both ballgames at njgca.org/baseball. Registration for the Blue Claws closes on July 17th, less than three weeks from now!

A poster for a baseball game

Description automatically generated with low confidence

Oregon Self-Serve

You may have seen in the news that the Oregon State Senate passed legislation that would legalize self-serve across the state. It’s expected that the governor will sign it, leaving New Jersey as the only state in the country where self-serve is unavailable everywhere. As we’ve said before, the Oregon bill is not true self-serve legalization as it still requires all gas stations to offer full-serve and dedicate half of their pumps to full-serve at all times. There is also no price difference allowed between self- and full-serve. This leaves questionable benefits for most station owners. The bill that we have advocated for would allow stations with four gas dispensers or fewer to be entirely self-serve if they wanted to. So, what are your thoughts? We may have more success in New Jersey adopting Oregon’s language, but are we better off? Would it make any difference? Or would we be worse off since WaWa can easily make the changes needed to satisfy the law such as cut staff, meanwhile much of our membership only have one gas pumper to begin with and still need at least one to function. Let me know what you think at eric@njgca.org. A poll conducted by the Lakewood Scoop asked its Twitter followers if New Jersey should change the law, with 56% saying yes. You can participate in the poll HERE. Self-serve also received an endorsement from 101.5 radio host Bill Spadea, who may be a candidate for Governor in 2025.

Emergency Menthol Hearing in Trenton

You may remember two weeks ago the Senate Health Committee passed the ban on menthol cigarettes in New Jersey. After passing the Health Committee, it was referred to Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, since this could cost the state up to a quarter billion dollars a year in revenue. We were hopeful that would be the end of the bill for a few months, but on Tuesday it was added to the Budget Committee agenda while the committee was in progress. Eric, representing NJGCA was able to race to Trenton in time and was the only person to testify on the bill. We are cautiously optimistic that it will not be voted on this Friday, which means the soonest it could be voted on would be in November. That being said, it did narrowly pass the committee which makes it more likely that this could become law at the end of the year. The only chance we have of stopping this is if small businesses make their voices heard by their representatives. 

The Inform Consumers Act

On Tuesday, a new federal law to prevent the growing issue of organized retail theft and the sale of counterfeit and harmful products online took effect. The Inform Consumers Act requires online marketplaces, such as Amazon and eBay, to verify and share information on third-party sellers that handle a high volume of transactions on their platforms. The hope is that this will deter theft and selling stolen or harmful goods. Violations to the law could cost the offender more than $50,000 in fines for each violation. The law passed in Congress with support from national allies that we work with. Associations in other states have members that have reported a big uptick in organized retail theft affecting their members, especially in places like California. When we asked this question last to our members, you reported there had not seen any noticeable increase. If you have noticed an uptick in crime at your business, email Eric at eric@njgca.org.

Internet Lottery

On Friday we found out that the Lottery Commission was planning to vote to formally accept their proposal that would allow them to sell tickets directly to consumers through the internet and mobile apps. As you may remember, this proposal only applies to draw games (like MegaMillions, Powerball). The commission has explicitly said that they do not view this plan as harmful to retailers, and they think retailers can benefit from the implementation of this program. Nevertheless, we continue to be very skeptical of that. It’s hard to imagine this won’t take away some business from your stores, whether that be infrequent players buying a ticket hoping to win a big jackpot, or regular players who may start making a portion of their purchases online instead of in-store. We and our allies did some outreach, and the item was pulled from the agenda and did not pass. Though they did suggest revisiting this in the future, with an eye toward rolling it out sometime next year. We will continue to monitor this issue and try to get the best deal possible for retailers. 

Feedback Wanted on Educational Classes and Training

Over the last few months, NJGCA has been investigating an alternative means of delivering supplemental training opportunities to our members.  Our search has included online instruction, on-demand videos, and other methods. 

Last week Board President Joe Ocello met with an educational services provider to explore potential offerings to reinforce our own training classes. Though discussions are ongoing, and we’re not prepared to make any announcements, the visit did provide an opening for us to reflect on what potential topics, accreditations, and training opportunities our members would like to see. 

For over 15 years, our Association has run a successful training program that focuses largely on two areas. The first is the NJ State INL gasoline/passenger- and heavy-duty/diesel-emission inspector classes. The second is the Emission Technician Education Program (ETEP)/Emission Repair Technician (ERT) training for those seeking such accreditation (and, once the ETEP classroom training track was eliminated in 2020, we refocused on offering ASE-prep classes for those seeking to win their ERT credentials).  We can proudly state that our training program has not only educated our members, but also fleet customers, state agencies, and even big-box delivery and logistics companies. 

Though the vast majority of our members have broadly asked only for the two above-mentioned offerings, our recent meeting compelled us to ask what kind of additional classes you'd like to see offered.  While many will wholly concentrate on technical training, perhaps broader options would be welcomed.

For instance, perhaps you'd like to take a class that helps you to run your shop better?  Maybe you'd like to learn how to operate a workflow management system to keep your operation running smoothly?  If you're new to the business, would a "crash course" in how to maximize profits be helpful? Or maybe you'd want ASE study classes beyond the L1, A6, and A8 required to win your ERT accreditations? 

We're just throwing out ideas and spit-balling, but maybe there is something you or your employees need training on that we can eventually offer. And if so, we'd like to investigate how we can help to make that happen.

If you'd like to get in on the discussion and offer up some suggestions, please call or email Joe (joe@njgca.org) and Nick (nick@njgca.org) with your thoughts.


Finally, we want to wish you all a wonderful July 4th holiday. We hope your celebrations are safe and festive. Our office will be closed on Tuesday to observe the holiday, but we will be available all weekend for anything you may need assistance with. 

Happy 4th of July From Color Glo International — Color Glo International

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  


A Fight Over the Right to Repair Cars Takes a Wild Turn

This week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the US vehicle safety regulator, warned automakers not to comply with nearly three-year-old state law that requires them to share vehicle data with owners and independent auto repair shops. In a letter, a lawyer for the government argued that giving customers and repairers access to the vehicle systems demanded by Massachusetts could also make them available to hackers, who could then access steering, acceleration, braking, or electronics systems.


NJ Transit Gets $47M Federal Grant To Help Electric Buses Roll In Newark

The second phase of NJ Transit’s electric bus test program got a boost Monday from the Federal Transit Administration, which awarded $1.7 billion in grants to agencies in 46 states to buy low-emission buses or modernize facilities. The $47 million grant to NJ Transit, funded by the Biden administration’s bi-partisan infrastructure law, will allow the agency to install bus charging equipment and modernize the Hilton Bus Garage in Maplewood. The garage, built in 1989, serves 13 bus routes in Newark and Maplewood. The Hilton bus garage is one of five where NJ Transit plans to install electric bus charging infrastructure in the agency’s first phase of bus electrification. The Newton Avenue garage in Camden was the first to be modernized and is operating NJ Transit’s first eight electric buses as part of a test program. The second phase of the electric bus program is to test an additional eight buses on the #25 route in Newark, officials said. Those buses will be based out of the Hilton bus garage.


Thousands Of Unauthorized Vapes Are Pouring Into The US Despite The FDA Crackdown On Fruity Flavors

The number of different electronic cigarette devices sold in the U.S. has nearly tripled to over 9,000 since 2020, driven almost entirely by a wave of unauthorized disposable vapes from China, according to tightly controlled sales data obtained by The Associated Press. The surge stands in stark contrast to regulators’ own figures, which tout the rejection of some 99% of company requests to sell new e-cigarettes while authorizing only a few meant for adult smokers. The numbers demonstrate the Food and Drug Administration’s inability to control the tumultuous vaping market more than three years after declaring a crackdown on kid-friendly flavors. Most of the disposable e-cigarettes, which are thrown away after they’re used up, come in sweet and fruity flavors like pink lemonade, gummy bear and watermelon that have made them the favorite tobacco product among teenagers.


A Second Life For EV Batteries? Depends How Long The First Is

Global automakers have touted plans to re-use electric vehicle (EV) batteries when they lose power, but competition for battery packs and cell materials, and the appetite for affordable cars cast doubt on this part of the circular economy. An array of startups offers second-life energy storage using old EV batteries. But creating the viable industry envisioned by carmakers such as Nissan would mean fighting off competition from recyclers, refurbishers and the needs of drivers squeezed by the cost-of-living crisis. . . While a possible solution for buses, trucks and other commercial vehicles, it will take longer for batteries from passenger cars to be re-used at scale. The second-life energy storage idea is in theory simple.


Measure Underway To Regulate ‘Bathtub Gin Of The Cannabis Space’

A measure that would ban the production and sale of delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a hemp-derived cannabinoid that is not regulated under New Jersey’s cannabis laws, is being considered by state lawmakers. Readily available in CBD and vape shops, as well as gas stations, convenience stores and other retailers across New Jersey and online, delta-8 THC products come in many forms, from gummies to vape cartridges to tinctures. . .But amid exploding sales across the country, safety concerns are growing about an easily accessible product made with unregulated production processes. Federal officials have also warned of the potential dangers of a substance that’s neither evaluated or approved by regulators, attributing more than 2,000 accidental poisonings between January 2021 and February 2022 to the delta-8 THC. As a result, 14 states and counting – including states where recreational cannabis is legal, like New York and Colorado – have banned delta-8 or all unregulated forms of THC. Though adult-use cannabis has been legal in New Jersey since April 2022, licensed dispensaries have been slow to open due to a variety of challenges, including high start-up costs, access to capital and a tight real estate market. At the 30-plus recreational dispensaries currently open, consumers are likely to face high prices, while delta-8 products are cheaper and much easier to find at gas stations, corner stores and other small shops.


After New York’s Attack On Pizza Ovens, Some Wonder If N.J. Is Next

Is New Jersey on the cusp of banning what is universally accepted to be the best pizza in America? Eric DeGesaro, representing the Fuel Merchants Association of New Jersey and the New Jersey Propane Gas Association, worries that might be part of Gov. Phil Murphy’s future plans after New York City moved to regulate coal and wood-burning pizza ovens. Under the New York plan, restaurants with pre-2016 coal and wood-burning pizza ovens will need to come up with a plan to reduce their carbon emissions or move to electric ovens. “Garden State residents will have to fly to Italy to get a decent slice of pizza because we all know no one in the U.S. makes pizza like Jersey does,” DeGesaro said. DeGesaro is concerned that the state’s clean energy plan could mean the end of some of New Jersey’s best pizza.


Pair Stole 19 Catalytic Converters From N.J. County’s Vehicles, Prosecutor Says

Seventeen catalytic converters were reported stolen March 20 from county-owned vehicles at the public works lot in the 100 block of Essex Street in Lodi. On May 1, a second burglary occurred at the facility and two more converters were stolen from county vehicles, authorities said. Detectives with the county prosecutor’s Special Investigations Squad identified the suspects as two men from Allentown, Pennsylvania, according to Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella. The suspects were each charged with burglary, theft and criminal mischief, all third-degree crimes, Musella said.


New Jersey Soon To Be Only State In US Where Residents Not Allowed To Pump Their Own Gas

There are only two states in the country where residents cannot pump their own gas. But now that is going to change. Oregon lawmakers voted to end its 72-year ban on self-serving gas. House Bill 2426 will require half of Oregon’s gas pumps to be open for people who want assistance and half for people who want to do it themselves. The bill passed the House in March and has to be signed into law by the governor of Oregon. It would take effect immediately once signed.



  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