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Fwd: Road Warrior: Product Recall, Right to Repair, California Nightmares

April 4, 2024

More Official Warnings on 'Tianeptine'

This week one of our state's Congressmen, Frank Pallone (D-Monmouth and Middlesex), held a dedicated press conference to bring more awareness to tianeptine, while demanding that retailers choose to stop selling it. This product, which is increasingly being called “gas station heroin” is certainly bringing a bad reputation to the industry (though it's widely sold at smoke shops and online). One brand of it, 'Neptune's Fix' was recalled by the manufacturer recently after a local man died from accidently overdosing on it. It is also sold under the brand ZaZa, Tianaa, as well as some others. Generally it seems to come in small bottles, similar to 5 Hour Energy. Some stores may be selling it not knowing its impact. 

Though the substance is currently legal to sell, there is growing pressure to outlaw it in New Jersey and federally. Even if it is not currently illegal, a business can face a serious threat of a lawsuit if some customer takes it and suffers problems. You can read more about the impact of it HERE

Right to Repair Report

The federal Government Accountability Office released an interesting report recently where they looked at the repair industry and potential challenges they face from evolving technologies, especially as it relates to wireless telematics. For example, the use of technology to wirelessly transfer vehicle health and repair data with automakers could give dealerships an advantage.

The report concluded that if independent repair shops don't have access to this data, people might have fewer repair choices. In addition, according to some independent repair stakeholders GAO interviewed, the use of telematics systems to wirelessly transfer data between vehicles and automakers could give dealerships a competitive advantage over independent repair shops in conducting some repairs. 

While much of the data needed for repairs is available under the terms of the 2014 industry agreement (which NJGCA fought to enact), there is growing concern that manufacturers will not comply as more data gets transmitted wirelessly. The 2014 memorandum exempted telematics, and more importantly is an optional agreements, it does not have the force of law. You can read their report and its conclusions HERE. Does it match with your experience?

The REPAIR Act continues to be discussed by Congress, the bill has passed a subcommittee hearing and the sponsors continue to hope it may get passed before the expiration of this session of Congress in January. It now has 50 co-sponors, including NJ Representatives Josh Gottheimer (D-Bergen, Passaic, and Sussex) and Chris Smith (R-Ocean and Monmouth). 

This is as important as ever as motorists continue to prefer independent small businesses over dealerships, as a recent survey completed by Consumer Reports found: “independent repair shops offer service that’s just as good as dealership service departments’ but at a lower price.” You can read their article HERE

California Starts $20 Minimum Wage for Some

This week a new law went into effect in California which requires certain retail businesses (chain restaurants with counter service and more than 60 nationwide establishments) to pay all employees a minimum of $20 an hour. 

As we've seen, ideas for regulations and mandates have a tendency to start in California and get adopted in NJ and NY. When Gov. Murphy first ran for office six years ago he explicitly said he wanted to make NJ the California of the east coast. Just a few weeks back he also said he thought the minimum wage for the entire state should be as high as $20 an hour. He has already ceded control over our state's new car market to the California Air Resources Board, which is where the eventual ban on gas-powered vehicles came from. 

This article talks about some of the experiences of a franchisee in CA, his concerns are not just about the higher costs but the kind of cronyism and backroom shakedowns that are happening with this attitude toward the role of government. Labor unions are funneling big contributions to state politicians, who then pass laws making it easier for the unions to enroll workers and get them to pay dues. Then they pressure business owners to give them what they want or else. Not just higher pay, but more control over their business, like forcing them to hire round the clock security (isn't that what cops are supposed to be for?), and extensive training sessions for employees on ways they can sue the business owner. 

More business owners feel the need to hire their own lobbyists and lawyers to directly try and counteract some of these efforts, which increases their costs further. There's been talk of discussions and negotiations about state law that take place only under formal NDAs. Some types of industries were exempted with very specific language, allegedly because they had personal connections with the Governor, other types of businesses didn't know if they were covered even after the law took effect. 

The law even set up a formal council of labor and business advocates to negotiate over the standards and working conditions for the fast food industry, which is being seen as an explicit push toward 'sectoral collective bargaining', a system found in some European countries where entire industries are governed based on decisions made by these small councils of union reps and a few business reps. 

You can read more about the law HERE

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: Dana UST Insurance

Dana continues into 2024 with the same objectives that they’ve had since the beginning – helping members obtain pollution insurance and striving to offer reliable service beyond simply providing a policy.

This year has marked new opportunities for the owners and operators of underground tanks, including those tanks that are 30+ years old. For NJGCA members that are frustrated with high deductibles or overwhelming paperwork requirements to obtain insurance; give them a call or send us an email. They have new options for helping you.

In the past 15 years, one thing hasn’t changed – NJGCA members still want the best tank insurance advice they can get. They want explanations about changes in the tank insurance market and in their policy. We’ve noticed some insurance companies limiting coverage and changing retroactive dates with little or no disclaimers. These changes are important, so we want you to know about them.

NJGCA members want the best tank insurance coverage they can get. All storage tanks bring on regulatory challenges, and they have the experience to guide you through the process. They remain confident in a better future. We know that “hope” is not a good risk management plan. Trust is an important factor in every business. Our integrity and knowledge of this industry will make a difference.

DANA Insurance is proud to be a partner with NJGCA and to have served for many years on behalf of its members. They’ve provided tank insurance to thousands of tank owners and operators. They value working with every one of them.

Contact: Steve Dana, 800-821-1990 

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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