March 2, 2012
Dear NJGCA Member:
Here's what you'll find in this edition of the NJGCA Road Warrior, and thank you for reading:
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S MESSAGE: GREETINGS & SAL-UTATIONS!
•Attorney General targets stations selling illegal substances, email scam, and useful reminders
NEWS AROUND THE STATE
•First time unemployment claims drop to lowest level in four years
•New battery breakthrough offers bigger energy density, reduced costs
•Federal government to automakers: Make rearview cameras standard by 2014
•New measure pushes municipalities to share services or lose state aid
TRAINING CLASS SCHEDULE
•Interested in taking a class? Contact us today!
•Regency Property Appraisers: Serving all your appraisal needs in NJ, NY, and beyond!
MEET THE FOLKS AT LIBERTY GAS
•Looking for a new brand for your station? Take a look at the opportunity below!
MEMBER BENEFIT PARTNER MESSAGE
•TMP Energy Solutions: Another Way to Save On Your Energy Bills!
A SPECIAL MESSAGE FROM BELLOMO FUELS
•Serving New Jersey since 1910 -- Over 100 years of supplying gasoline retailers like YOU!
POLITICAL PARTICIPATON: THE NJGCA PAC
•Participate in the NJGCA PAC today and help us keep our Agenda rolling in Trenton!
THE MEMBER TOOL BOX
•On the NJGCA Homepage
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S MESSAGE: GREETINGS & SAL-UTATIONS!
THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW BY NOW!
ATTORNEY GENERAL TARGETS GAS STATIONS SELLING ILLEGAL SUBSTANCES
FUEL TAXES ON YOUR INVOICE
I received a call earlier this week that was both alarming and, well, startling. The member who called me said that he was just cited by the fire inspector for fueling a customer’s car while the engine was running. Some of you reading this will think “DUH, I knew that!” while others will be aware that this is standard operating procedure, but be unaware that it is a citable offense. Well, it is!
This isn’t the first time that we’ve heard of retailers getting slapped with fines for not telling a motorist to turn off their engine before fueling. It doesn’t happen often, but it is not unheard of – especially in the winter months when a driver will try to keep his car warm while waiting to get gassed up.
However, what many others may not know is that this incident is a violation on TWO fronts: First it is a violation of the fire code (which we’ve given an example of) and second it violates NJDEP regulations that prohibit extensive automobile idling. While many of you are aware that diesel trucks aren’t permitted to idle their engines longer than 3 minutes when not in traffic, some of you may be surprised to know that the same stipulation exists for gasoline powered passenger cars. Those rules have been promulgated via N.J.A.C. 7:27-14 for diesel vehicles and N.J.A.C. 7:27-15 for gasoline cars.
In fact, the rules also say that a motorist can be fined not only on public roadways, but PRIVATE property! The official language states that, “If the vehicle is parked or stopped on the side of a road, and is not in a lane of traffic, the owner or operator of the noncompliant vehicle may be cited once the inspector determines that an idling violation has occurred.”
NJDEP takes this seriously. They’ve even conjured up some ‘tickets’ and facts that everyday citizens can hand out for idling their vehicles too long. You can see them by clicking HERE.
For members who own a convenience store, you’re not immune to this either. In fact, you’re supposed to post signs that say that vehicles are not permitted to idle. If you don’t post them, you too can be fined! I remember a while back informing you of this 3 minute rule when the state had a task force monitoring convenience stores. I sent you a link to the poster then. Perhaps I should remember to re-send the link every year when the cold weather arrives.
So maybe you just learned something, and maybe you didn’t. But this situation has made me think about what other things may seem “obvious” to some of us, but not to others.
What about SMOKING around the gas pumps?!?! You may think I’m crazy for mentioning this, but only a few weeks ago, I pulled into a station to see some utter moron leaning on his car fender smoking a cigarette while his car was being fueled. Where was the attendant to tell him to put out the cigarette? Why wasn’t anyone else telling him that this is dangerous?
Being the sweetheart of a guy, I kindly told him – twice – to put out the cigarette using some colorful language that I shouldn’t repeat here. It really made me wonder if motorists and station attendants even bother to use common sense in their daily lives! The only thing that annoys me more than this is attendants who smoke around the pumps! Don’t think it happens? Trust me it does – I used to employ a whole litter of sense-less young men who didn’t think twice about lighting up a cigarette only a few feet from a pump when things go slow!
What about overly enthusiastic customers who want to pump their own gas? It seems harmless enough, right? After all, they do that in every other state in the union, except our very own Garden State and Oregon! Well, that’s a fineable offense too! We’re all motorists as well as small business owners. We’ve all had the experience of slow attendants who make you wait forever to start pumping fuel or take their time to come back with a credit card receipt. It happens, but it’s not an excuse to allow patrons to get out of the car to start pumping gas. Your attendants should know better and you’ll be the party stuck with the fine if they forget! I confess that as a customer I instinctively jump out of the car to pump my own gas when I am in a rush. I know that I shouldn’t, but I do.
I am aware of Fire Inspectors actually monitoring several high volume locations and citing them every time a customer is allowed to pump their own gas.
The one caveat in this, of course, is diesel fuel. While patrons pumping gasoline is strictly prohibited, pumping diesel fuel is permitted by state law.
So how did I do? Were these reminders helpful?
To learn more about these matters – and what fines can be levied for failure to comply – take a look at Retail Gasoline Dispensing Safety Act and Regulations on the NJ Department of Labor website, by clicking HERE. You’ll find all kinds of useful information there and is a good reference to have.
Earlier this week, we also learned that fuel supplies in the northeast region of the country may be a little tight after this summer. That’s because Sunoco may close their Philadelphia refinery this June. Aside from gasoline, the refinery produces a lot of diesel fuel for the region and represents 24% of the refining capacity in the region. You can learn more about this by clicking HERE to read an article from the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Wednesday I received a letter from the Attorney General’s Office regarding the banning and sale of synthetic marijuana. Some of these drugs have names like “K2,” “Spice,” and “Incense”. To stop the sale of these items, and gain the cooperation of retailers, the state will create a kind of “amnesty window” (until 11:59 p.m. on Friday, March 9) for retailers to surrender these designer drugs to law enforcement without facing criminal charges.
The new policy stems from a recent rash of incidents in which student teenagers were taken to the hospital after using these drugs. Since these designer drugs are typically sold in gas stations and convenience stores, the Attorney General’s Office wanted me to help get the word out about surrendering these items. You’ll recall that a similar situation arose last year when the sale of “bath salts” was prohibited. Those seemingly ordinary items were really illegal substances. Most of our convenience store and station received my warnings and removed these items from their stores and front offices. However, several gas station owners who are not NJGCA members and therefore did not receive my email warning were arrested. Unfortunately one NJGCA member ignored my email warning and found his picture plastered all over several South Jersey newspapers being led out of his gas station in handcuffs. I do not send these warnings without good cause. Please pay attention!!
I hope you’ll cooperate with the Attorney General’s Office and avoid a similar fate. For more information, click HERE to see the letter I received from the state regarding this matter. NOTE: This link will redirect you to an outside site to view the PDF - Just click on the green download button to view the file.
I would like to ask you for some help. I need a survey regarding the taxes on your invoice. Though your taxes should be all the same, I’ve been hearing that there may be some discrepancies out there. Please reply to this email with the EXACT taxes that appear on your invoice when you receive gasoline and/or diesel. Here’s what you should be paying on your invoices:
NJ State Excise Tax - .1050¢
Federal Excise Tax - .1840¢
NJ Gross Receipt Tax - .0400¢ ##
NJ Spill Fund - .000548¢
Federal Spill Fun - .00171¢ ##
NJ State Excise Tax - .1350¢
Federal Excise Tax - .2440¢
NJ Gross Receipt Tax - .0400¢ ##
NJ Spill Fund - .000548¢
Federal Spill Fun - .001900¢ ##
## Please note that, depending on your supplier, these items may have been incorporated in the rack price of the product and not listed separately as a tax.
Speaking of gas prices, I invite you to take a look at an OpEd I penned on gasoline prices that was published at NewJerseyNewsRoom.com. In the piece, I discuss how the current situation in the gasoline market is being driven, in part, by geopolitics and speculators that are fearful of how events in the Middle East will unfold. Click HERE.
I also wanted to warn you aware of a scam out there that could harm your computer. The office recently got an email from an outfit claiming to be the Better Business Bureau (BBB), telling us that our organization was getting cited for a customer complaint. If I didn’t know any better I’d take it as a genuine communication, open up the email, and immediately get struck by a computer virus.
I normally wouldn’t bother you with something like this because there are plenty of other scams and junk email. Except for the very nature of this email and how I expect you’d react. We’ve all worked hard on things like customer satisfaction, going the extra mile to make sure a patron’s issues are addressed and concerns mitigated. But just like anything else, there are those customers out there that you’re never able to satisfy, no matter how hard you try. If you had such a run in recently, and then got an email from the BBB saying a claim was filed, my first reaction (and I know your first reaction) would be to open it. DO NOT DO THAT. If the BBB was really trying to get in touch with you, they’ll send you an actual letter in the mail, not an email.
THE POLICY PATROL: On The Radar Screen this week I thought we would highlight the various bills that have been introduced with the goal of enforcing the nation’s immigration laws through workplace enforcement. We all know that the one of the main reasons why people from other countries immigrate to the United States is for our vast economic opportunities. It is for this reason that several legislators have decided the best way they can curb illegal immigration is to go after them where they work. Taking action against illegal immigration is a popular political position, so it is no surprise that there are several separate but similar proposals introduced by legislators from across the state. Since USDOL has been monitoring gasoline service stations and auto repair shops, it is important that we monitor this legislation.
A-322/S-164 are sponsored Assemblyman Ron Dancer (R-Ocean), Asm. Gary Chiusano (R-Sussex), Senator Robert Singer (R-Ocean), and Sen. Steve Oroho (R-Sussex). Assemblywoman Alison McHose (R-Sussex), Asm. David Wolfe (R-Ocean), Sen. Mike Doherty (R-Warren), and Sen. Joe Pennachio (R-Morris) are cosponsors. This set of bills would mandate that every employer use the E-Verify system to verify that a potential employee is authorized to work in the US. E-Verify is an Internet-based system operated by the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration. It provides an automated link to federal databases to help employers determine employment eligibility of new hires and the validity of their Social Security numbers. If an employer is found to have not used E-Verify they would have 72 hours to comply without a penalty (on the first offence) and after that be fined anywhere from $100-$1,000. However if an employer hires someone they know to be an illegal immigrant, they would be required to fire that employee, then submit quarterly reports for each new hire for the next 5 years and possibly have their business license suspended for several days. For a second violation of knowingly hiring an illegal immigrant, the employer’s business license would be permanently revoked.
The “New Jersey Jobs Protection Act” (A-879/S-240) also requires that all employers use the E-Verify system to ensure that all their employees are legal. It is sponsored by Asm. Chiusano, Asw. McHose, Asw. Amy Handlin (R-Monmouth), Sen. Oroho, and Sen. Jeff Van Drew (D-Cape May). The cosponsors are Asm. Bob Schroeder (R-Bergen), Asm. Erik Peterson (R-Hunterdon), Asm. Anthony M. Bucco (R-Morris), Asm. Dancer, Sen. Pennachio, Sen. Doherty, Senator Gerry Cardinale (R-Bergen), and Sen. Anthony R. Bucco (R-Morris). While this bill would not result in an employer’s business license being suspended or revoked, it does levy much higher fines on employers who hire illegal immigrants. The first offense is a $10,000 fine per illegal employee, and the fine is increased by $10,000 for each subsequent violation. Finally, A-1766/S-700, sponsored by Asm. Scott Rudder (R-Burlington) and Sen. Dawn Marie Addiego (R-Burlington) are very similar to the previous bills. In addition to mandating the use of the E-Verify program, it also levies fines on employers who hire illegal immigrants. This time the fines start at $20,000 per illegal employee and increase by $10,000 after that.
All of these bills are before the Assembly Labor Committee and Senate Labor Committee. We will keep you informed if any of them are discussed.
From The Manure Pile this week we are plucking A-1161/S-1391. This bill mandates that any retailer which sells any form of cell phone equipment must also include a brochure which describes the “dangers” of “sexting”. And not just to teenagers mind you, every adult would be expected to read through this pamphlet on all the “dangers” involved. Talk about taking the “Nanny State” to the extreme! Normally the Consumer Affairs Department tries to protect us from legitimate scams, now some opportunistic legislators want the government to try and protect us from ourselves.
Thanks for listening – See you next week.
NEWS AROUND THE STATE
First time unemployment claims drop to lowest level in four years
According to the US Department of Labor, the number of individuals seeking unemployment benefits has fallen to the lowest level in four years. Federal officials state that 351,000 people sought benefits, the fewest since March 2008. The national unemployment rate has now fallen to 8.3 percent, the fifth consecutive month of improvement and the lowest the rate has been in almost three years.
New battery breakthrough offers bigger energy density, reduced costs
Envia, a battery maker that has financial backing from General Motors, has announced a new discovery that will nearly triple the energy density in lithium-ion battery cells. The new battery offers an energy density of 400 Watt-hour/kilogram (Wh/kg), an enormous gain from current batteries that produce between 100 and 150Wh/kg. Company officials believe that the breakthrough will cut lithium-ion costs in half when fully commercialized. Click on the link to learn more and read the official press release.
Federal government to automakers: Make rearview cameras standard by 2014
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will soon announce plans to mandate that all new vehicles sold in the United States must be sold with rearview cameras. The new mandate comes after a multi-year study examining a number of children who were killed by vehicles backing up which lacked adequate rear-vehicle visibility. In an ironic twist, the number of fatalities has risen by 88% since the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s, as vehicle are now developed with higher beltlines and enlarged vehicles to comply with safety regulations. Click above to read more on this topic.
New measure pushes municipalities to share services or lose state aid
Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee has passed a measure which would give state municipalities an ultimatum on sharing services. Put simply, if the Local Unit Alignment, Reorganization, and Consolidation Commission conducts a study on if a town should share services, consolidate agencies or even merge – and that plan is rejected by voters in a referendum – the town will lose state aid. Legislature leaders believe that the drastic measure is needed to help the state’s 566 municipalities merge and share more services to reduce residents’ property tax burden. Included in the bill was a stipulation which would eliminate civil service protections for workers whose jobs are made redundant by sharing services.
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66 Morris Avenue - Springfield, NJ 07081 (Union County)
PLEASE NOTE: FUTURE DATES WILL BE ADDED UPON REQUEST AND ACCORDING TO DEMAND. CONTACT DEBBIE at 973-376-0066 or DEBBIE@NJGCA.ORG TO LET HER KNOW YOU ARE INTERESTED IN TAKING A SPECIFIC CLASS. THIS WILL ALLOW US TO GAUGE YOUR NEEDS AND KEEP TRACK OF THOSE WISHING TO PARTICIPATE!!
MEMBER BENEFIT PARTNER MESSAGE
TMP Energy Solutions
Another Way to Save on Your Energy Bills
We have had a number of NJGCA members successfully reduce their rate per kWh signing up through our energy saving program. We know it’s difficult to collect 12 months worth of previous electric bills to get an “accurate” analysis when comparing a variable rate to a fixed rate, but we now have another option available.
This new solution is a power purchase option; the other program is still in full force and has saved members thousands of dollars. If you sign up for the power purchase option, you will be grouped with other NJGCA members until the minimum KW demand is acquired. By pooling the member’s usage together, you will be able to take advantage, as large energy users do, and receive a lower kWh rate.
Each member will receive their own contract. Each member is responsible to sign and return the agreement the day it is received in order to secure the price for their group.
Please do your due diligence, so when you receive the proposal and the agreement you will be able to make an intelligent decision.
If by chance, you still want us to assess you bills, to give you a price to compare, we will require12 months of your most recent utility bills.
There are no bills required, but we would still like to have one bill per meter on file to check account #’s, meter #’s service addresses and other pertinent information incase there is a problem.
The term of the agreement is for 12 months. During this term period, you will have price protection against any energy price increases along with a low fixed kWh rate.
If you are interested in becoming part of this power purchase option, please contact Phil Apruzzi at the NJGCA.
Remember when you sign up your energy through the NJGCA Energy Program, TMP makes a considerable donation to the NJGCA Scholarship Fund through their proceeds. This has no affect on your rate, and costs you nothing out of pocket.
We hope to help hundreds of NJGCA members reduce their utility costs by participating in this and our other cost reduction programs. Our purpose, in the endeavor, is to help NJGCA members lower their energy costs while supporting the NJGCA Scholarship Fund.
Contact Phil Apruzzi at 973-376-0066 or email Phil at email@example.com. Mention that you are interested in saving money on your energy bills. NJGCA & TMP Energy Solutions will handle all the rest.
POLITICAL PARTICIPATON: THE NJGCA PAC
DEFENDING OUR MEMBERS.
PROTECTING YOUR INTERESTS.
ANSWER THE CALL & CONTRIBUTE TODAY!!
Promoting our agenda in Trenton is of utmost importance to NJGCA and our members.
To truly understand the importance of supporting our allies, consider our successes in Trenton:
However, in order to truly affect the debate, we must ensure our friends in the Legislature are re-elected. It is for this reason that your Association has established the NJGCA PAC.
For too long, the weight of funding our Political Action Committee, the arm of the Association responsible for political donations, has rested upon a few. This is not only unfair to those few members who have shouldered this burden, but means we are not utilizing our full strength to affect the debate in Trenton.
We defeated BELOW COST SELLING
We made history in getting FIRST RIGHT OF REFUSAL signed into law!
We have built large support for RIGHT TO REPAIR and got it passed out of the Assembly
We defended your small business against the false accusations of Attorney General Anne Milgram
We gained wide support to move New Jersey to an all PIF Inspection System and close the CIF lanes
...and MUCH MORE!!
In each instance, we achieved these goals with the help of our friends in the Legislature!
If every member contributes just $100.00 we will be able to provide the help necessary to ensure victory for our allies.
PLEASE SEND YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS TO:
66 Morris Avenue
Springfield, NJ 07081
Please make your donation payable to NJGCA PAC
I understand that times are tough for all NJGCA members, but this is just as important as any battle we have fought in the past.
We have made great progress in Trenton. I hope that you will answer the call.
THE MEMBER TOOL BOX
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NEWS AROUND THE STATE ARCHIVE
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