Phone: 732-256-9646

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Fwd: Road Warrior: Post-Earthquake Assessment, Future Zoom Cashiers?, EVR Deadline Reminder

April 11, 2024

Post-Earthquake Assessment – Make sure there aren't any hidden problems!

Last Friday, April 5th, many state residents were stunned by a magnitude 4.8 earthquake that emanated from northern New Jersey.  The quake was felt throughout the state, with the epicenter in Tewksbury Township (Hunterdon County).  Our neighbors in the immediate vicinity easily felt the quake in eastern Pennsylvania, New York City, and portions of Long Island.  News reports stated that most of the northeast (from Baltimore to Maine) felt some tremors.

Since that time, and as recently as yesterday, there have been a series of strong aftershocks. 

And at last count, there were approximately 47 aftershock episodes felt since last Friday.

While the quake’s 4.8 magnitude is relatively small in global terms, it is notable for our area.  And while there weren’t any bridges that collapsed or roads that split open like we often see in movies (or read about in other quake-plagued parts of the world), there were reports of municipal water main and electrical infrastructure damage.

Those kinds of failures make us worry that something will go overlooked at member facilities – and compels us to offer a homework assignment and a cautionary warning to all our members.

After the quake, we received some anecdotal updates from members on several possible issues that may need to be investigated and addressed.

With this in mind, we thought to compile a rough “safety check list” and associated suggestions to consider post-quake:

Physical Observations:
A visual inspection should be first on your list.  Walk around your station and consider if things look loose or broken.

For example, if you spot any broken glass or cracks on the façade of any structures on your property, this may speak to the movement of (and potential damage to) those structures.  That should set off a mental alarm to confirm if  anything within (or beneath) that structure is also intact and sound (think pipes, electrical conduit, waste water, waste oil, etc)

Another consideration is investigating your canopy, street signs, pole-lighting, and similar structures.  Many footed-structures tend to rust or become distorted over time. This can be especially true if there are any drainage issues on/around the object (think gutters on your canopy or potential water pooling in portions of your lot, which indirectly compromise the integrity of your street signs or lighting).  While it is not likely that the quake would have caused these structures to collapse, they may have weakened them, created additional “play” in their footings, or even sped up a potential, hidden problem.

While this may all seem unnecessary, remember that not every station ages at the same rate, uses the same exact materials, or had equally knowledgeable contractors when originally constructed.  

However, it isn’t only external structures that might need to be investigated.  Every facility should confirm that equipment, storage, and other non-bolted down items haven’t shifted or been damaged.  

One can easily image a shop lift, hanging hardware mounts, walk-in refrigerator boxes, food shelving, and other such fixtures being impacted and damaged.  

Leaks and Monitoring:
An obvious and general concern is to identify any product losses; and they should immediately be investigated and repaired.  

Product leaks aside, you should also look for water-related issues.  If there is an increase of water in your tanks, spill buckets, etc, it should be investigated and dealt with swiftly.  While an outright product leak may be readily discovered, additional water incursions will not likely manifest themselves immediately or without explicitly looking for them.

Take care to look at all containment areas, spill buckets, manway covers, sumps/tank tops, dispensers/dispenser pans, piping/leaking seals, submersibles, and probes.  Is anything wrong?

All station owners should perform routine tank tests on all their tanks (gasoline and diesel) to make sure their equipment isn’t damaged (i.e. independent primary and secondary containment testing; pressure decay testing ).  

Why is this necessary? 

First, because an outer wall breach to a double wall/fiber-reinforced plastic tank’s interstitial monitoring will not be noticeable if your compliance company only tests the primary tank, while gauging the secondary. 

Secondly, a pressure decay test will validate that all fittings on the top of gasoline/diesel tanks are still tight (remember that remediation for water intrusion can be very costly).

Of course, it is also equally important to make sure any electrical/ATG monitoring equipment wasn’t damaged, paying close attention to alarms, wiring, and readings.  From a compliance perspective, don’t forget that DEP will always come down hard on owners who ignore alarms or don’t take appropriate action when notified of an issue.

Post “Inspection” and Moving Forward:

Some of the items mentioned above might seem obvious and straightforward.

Despite this, and even if everything seemingly “checks out” physically and observationally, don’t stop there.  

Rather, it is strongly suggested that your compliance professional and environmental consultant do a more thorough inspection on their next service call to accurately gauge if everything is as it should be.

Better to get an “all clear” from a trusted source with fresh eyes and the proper equipment, than worry that something has gone unnoticed and will come back to haunt you.

It should be stated that the suggestions above are not a complete or exhaustive list of things to look for.  They are merely a starting point, and you should always speak with your outside consultants for a more extensive perspective.  The main thrust here is that every facility and location is different.  Which is also why you shouldn’t ignore taking some proactive steps to investigate if something is amiss.  

After all, how often does New Jersey get hit by an earthquake?

Was your location especially “shaken up” during the earthquake?  Did you have any damage or discover something was wrong once the tremors stopped?  

Let us know and feel free to reach out to Nick (at with any questions or comments. 

A Vision of the Future? NYC Restaurant has Cashiers Zoom in from Asia

A few restaurants in New York City this week unveiled a new business practice, and one that could catch on. They have partnered with another company to have some cashier and hostess jobs replaced by someone working remotely, zooming in through a screen at the register. But they're not calling in from their apartment on the other side of town, but from their home in the Philippines. With the NYC minimum wage at $16 an hour, the average pay in the Philippines is $3.75 an hour, and apparently the worker can generally serve at up to three different locations at once. Furthermore, the NYC resident making $16 an hour is struggling to survive, while the Filipino worker is living comfortably in their home country at that reduced rate, and working in a more enjoyable setting than the factory or farm they may otherwise be at. 

Could this one day work for you? These restaurants are, of course, not un-staffed; they have a manager and folks in the kitchen, and perhaps some number of in-person servers as well. 

A c-store would still need someone present to monitor the place for shoplifting, and would likely need someone to collect cash payments. Yet, could you one day have a virtual employee working the register and helping patrons; while an in-person employee focuses primarily on stocking shelves or cleaning up, and only infrequently assists customers with purchases?

While a virtual employee is certainly less personable and responsive than an in-person employee, they are better than a self-serve checkout machine. And one customer described the remote worker as noticeably more friendly than the average NYC cashier. 

Even in the repair world, a shop will obviously need someone in-person to do work on customers' cars.  But could some or all of the billing, payment, and scheduling work be managed by someone dialing in from overseas? Would it be worth the extra help if it was literally $5 an hour for the assistance? 

If this were to catch on, could we see attempts to outlaw or restrict it? After all, it's coming as a response to already existing state labor laws. Is a virtual human in another country actually worse than a self-serve checkout machine? We shall see. 

Reminder for Stations: EVR Deadline Coming in 8 Months

For nearly two years, the Association has reported on the NJ Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Enhanced Vapor Recovery (EVR) upgrade mandate. Looking back at those earlier warnings, the EVR upgrades affect all locations with underground storage tanks (USTs) installed prior to December 23, 2017 and the upgrades must be completed before the December 23, 2024 deadline.

We may sound like a broken record, but we will continue to urgently point out this deadline until all our members meet the mandate. While sounding the alarm the last twenty or so months could have been interpreted as “premature”, the reality is that securing a contractor and having the required work completed on time could prove difficult for some station owners.

That’s because getting a quote and signing a contract doesn’t necessarily mean that the work will be done quickly or be done on time. The update will include a California Air Resources Board (CARB) Certified Phase 1 system, and includes enhanced rotatable fill adapters, dust caps, spill buckets, hoses, and other requirements. There are plenty of manhours and parts incorporated into the equation. If one action item goes awry, you may face fines or penalties for non-compliance.

Looking at the Stage II Vacuum Assist Vapor Recovery decommissioning from a few years ago (which ended on December 23, 2020), there were plenty of examples of station owners with “good intentions” to get the work lined up and completed on time, but ultimately faced fines when the time lapsed. Despite their (incorrect) sense of having “plenty of time”, they unfortunately discovered that many contractors were already committed to taking on Stage II decommissioning projects through the end of that year. Those stragglers were out of luck, and many received violations and paid hefty fines for their non-compliance.

As stated previously, we highly recommend all affected stations comply with the upcoming mandates now! Any station with tanks installed before December 23, 2017 should contact their compliance vendor to inquire about the updates and schedule their completion immediately. If your contractor or compliance company has any questions, please click HERE to review the official DEP Compliance Advisory on the EVR mandate. 

Even if you think that it’s okay to wait until the last second, remember that manpower and materials are often at a premium. There’s nothing to guarantee against a shortage of knowledgeable staff or quality materials on hand by the time the project is complete. Don’t wait on this. Act now! Contact 732-256-9646 for questions

Rack Averages

Date Rack Avg Avg w Taxes Low Rack
03/28 240.34 $3.0104 224.79
03/29 239.94 $3.0064 224.79
04/01 236.28 $2.9698 227.85
04/02 241.34 $3.0204 235.15
04/03 241.87 $3.0257 235.75
Date Avg Retail Avg Margin Diesel Rack Avg
03/28 $3.29 0.34 269.97
03/29 $3.29 0.28 269.99
04/01 $3.28 0.27 269.93
04/02 $3.28 0.31 278.30
04/03 $3.27 0.25 280.35

News Worth Knowing:

Member Benefit Partner (MBP) Spotlight: Service Station Vending Equipment (SSVE)

Service Station Vending Equipment (SSVE) was founded in 1983, and they recently celebrated their 40 year anniversary of service to the gasoline industry.

They have never lost sight of what is important to YOU. They offer the highest level of service in the industry. 

Our loyal, dedicated, hardworking technicians average 15 years of service. We presently service thousands of retailers of all sizes.

NJGCA Members ONLY discounts applied.

Contact: William McCabe, 1-800-247-87211, 

Available Real Estate

Station for Sale

Thriving High Profit Gas/Service Station close to Major Highway in Prime Location. 

This Exclusive Gas Station is the Sole Provider in the entire town, achieving a remarkable fuel profit of up to and sometimes over 1$ a gallon. Consistently selling 45,000 gallons monthly. Most fuel customers come from Highway so fuel prices do not have to be competitive. 

Also included with the Property is a Reputable High End Auto Repair Facility. Repair shop has all required Specialty and Diagnostic Tools for servicing mostly High End Vehicles. Advertising is no longer used do to an enormous Demand and large Customer Base. Repair Business has has potential for increased profitability and expansion, the business is open to experienced buyers for a possible partnership or profit sharing arrangement. Location is 1 out of 100. Fuel sales make 20-40K a month and repairs can do the same with the right operator. 

This one of a kind opportunity can include seller financing for those with High-Level Automotive or Gas Station Experience.

Contact Greg

Cape Harbor Shell

795 Route 109

Unit B

Lower Township, NJ, 08204

Contact: Jerry 609-425-8837 

Our Road Warrior newsletter is brought to you by the following Member Benefit Partners:

New Jersey Gasoline-Convenience-Automotive Association
615 Hope Road, Bldg. 2, 1st Floor
Eatontown, NJ 07724


Phone: 732-256-9646

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