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Largest Automotive Trade Association in New England

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Straight Talk: Explaining Release Detection for USTs and Piping

Straight Talk: Explaining Release Detection for USTs and Piping

EPABookletCoverThis booklet provides easy-to-understand descriptions of several release detection methods for tanks and piping, as well as explanations of the regulatory requirements for release detection.

Release detection methods include: secondary containment with interstitial monitoring, automatic tank gauging, continuous in-tank leak detection, statistical inventory reconciliation, tank tightness testing with inventory control, manual tank gauging, ground water monitoring, vapor monitoring, and release detection for underground piping.

Download or read Release Detection For Underground Storage Tanks And Piping: Straight Talk On Tanks on EPA’s underground storage tank (UST) website at www.epa.gov/ust.

Order printed copies of many, but not all, of our documents from the National Service Center for Environmental Publications (NSCEP), EPA’s publication distributor: write to NSCEP, Box 42419, Cincinnati, OH 45242; call NSCEP’s toll ‐ free number 800 – 490 – 9198; or fax your order to NSCEP 301-604-3408

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Nine Unlicensed Auto Repair Shops Closed in Michigan

Nine Unlicensed Auto Repair Shops Closed in Michigan

April 26, 2015-Nine unlicensed auto repair shops were closed in Michigan in an operation conducted to tighten enforcement on illegal shops.

“Unlicensed auto repair shops and uncertified mechanics pose a serious threat to motorists,” Secretary of State Ruth Johnson said in a news release. “A bungled brake or alignment job could cause the driver to lose control, causing an injury or worse. Customers expect that auto repairs will be done safely by people trained to do the job. We’re taking action to ensure those expectations are enforced to the full extent of the law.”

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How innovative necessity and conservative thinking can work together to change your business and achieve future success

How innovative necessity and conservative thinking can work together to change your business and achieve future success.

InnovationWe’re still in the first few months of 2016. Each new year brings with it an arbitrary clean slate, a period of time when change is contemplated, if not always acted on. 

When I began writing this article, the United States was involved in a highly political chess game, and conservatives were among the players. And in our world of automotive service and collision repair professionals, innovation seemed to be the topic of all the new-car advertisements as the big auto shows opened around the country. Those are examples of how these two words can challenge us in different ways. 

Another example is whether a conservative approach to your business can coexist with the need to assimilate with the innovation that’s taking place in the car-making segment of the industry. In lieu of all this, my article will strive to give you food for thought: Can you conservative-thinking owners and innovative thinkers work together and contribute to your shop coming out ahead?

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Vendor View: EMV – When Should I Upgrade?

Vendor View: EMV – When Should I Upgrade?

By Richard Browne, Patriot Capital

EMV ChipGasoline retailers need to develop a plan for EMV on the forecourt.  Is 2016 the right time to upgrade gas pumps to EMV?

New requirements to cut down on the fraudulent use of credit and debit cards, enhanced marketing capabilities, lower maintenance costs and the opportunity to take advantage of tax incentives – including bonus depreciation and Section 179 benefits – and are among the main reasons gasoline retailers are looking to upgrade gas pump upgrades in 2016.

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Minn. Checks for Skimmers During Routine Pump Inspections

Minn. Checks for Skimmers During Routine Pump Inspections


Minnesota officials recently announced that a three-week, statewide sweep to look for gas pump skimmers turned up nine skimmers and that routine, state pump inspections will include checking for skimmers.

During the recent sweep, which started in March, state weights and measures inspectors checked nearly 8,500 payment card readers on gas pumps at more than 1,000 gas stations across the state, officials said. They prioritized stations with older pumps, which are considered more vulnerable, as well as stations located on heavily traveled streets and highways.
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Don’t let Cyber Criminals Put the Brakes on Your Auto Business

Don’t let Cyber Criminals Put the Brakes on Your Auto Business

According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, cyber security events increased by 27% in 2014 to reach 5,029 data breaches and as many as 675 million records compromised. Their scale and sophistication have led many organizations to conclude that their cyber-security programs don’t match the technological sophistication of today’s attackers. As large multinational Corporations hit the headlines with their inability to fight cyber criminals and the damage they cause, it’s hard to see how a smaller company would fare any better.

Cyber criminals will act like you might imagine a burglar would – choosing soft targets that offer the path of least resistance. In short, they’re looking for the organizations that don’t have proper security controls, policies and procedures in place so if you think your automotive business is too small to matter to cyber criminals – think again. With half of all gasoline purchases being made with credit or debit cards according to the Nilson Report , it’s safe to say that your industry is a soft target. In fact, according to Nilson, the gas-station industry has estimated that it incurred losses of $250 million in 2013 – while the payment-card industry estimates it lost $500 million on fuel-related fraud that year. If your business is a self-serve gas station with pay at the pump capabilities, for example, who would be there to stop anyone from hacking equipment on-site?

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Engine Design Trends Key Driver in Demand Uptick for High-Octane Fuel: EIA

Engine Design Trends Key Driver in Demand Uptick for High-Octane Fuel: EIA

Comparatively lower gasoline prices over the past year or so have been widely attributed to heightened consumer demand for premium-grade fuel, but increasing fuel economy standards have forced engine design modernizations that have likely been far more influential, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said late this week.

In a report focused on premium gasoline sales, the EIA noted that the share of high-octane fuel in total motor gasoline sales has steadily increased since 2013, reaching 11.3% in August and September 2015. The share of premium gasoline sold bottomed at 7.8% in June 2008 but has now rebounded to the highest portion of total sales since September 2004, according to the EIA.

However, instead of drawing attention to the effects of the low-price environment in pushing consumers towards high-octane fuel, the agency instead pointed to changes in fuel requirements for light-duty vehicles (LDV).

Under the latest Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulations finalized in October 2012, automakers for model years 2017-2021 are required to ensure LDV meet a fleetwide fuel economy of 40.3-41 miles per gallon (mpg), with standards for model years 2022-2025 increasing to 48.7-49.7 mpg. The EIA noted that automakers have turned to several technical improvements in improving engine efficiency, but one process was singled out: turbocharging.

For those who have seen any installment in the “Mad Max” film series, turbocharging mechanisms — and their cousins, superchargers — should appear familiar, as they regularly appear protruding from the hood of the vehicle driven by the titular protagonist. From a technical perspective, the function of a turbocharger is simple — to increase engine efficiency by forcing extra air into the combustion chamber.

Turbochargers work by using a turbine driven off of exhaust gas to pressurize intake air, allowing the engine to produce more power. However, the addition of more air into the combustion chamber increases cylinder pressure and increases the risk of engine knock, the premature and incomplete combustion of fuel. Knock can damage the engine, so turbocharged engines require the use of high-octane gasoline, which has the greatest resistance to spontaneous combustion.

Over the last decade or so, the share of turbocharged vehicles in new gasoline- fueled LDV sales has increased rapidly alongside the move toward higher fuel economy standards. In model year 2009, turbocharged vehicles accounted for 3.3% of new LDV sales, but by model year 2014 that share was nearly five times that at 17.6% of the market, according the EIA.

Moving forward, that trend is expected to continue, and by 2025 turbocharged engines are expected to make up a huge 83.3% of the LDV market, the EIA said.

Of course, not all of those engines require the use of premium-grade gasoline, but as the production of vehicles with turbocharged engines grows, it is likely that manufacturers will increasingly either recommend or require the use of high-octane fuel, according to the EIA.

From model year 2010 to 2013, the percentage of higher-octane gasoline-fueled LDVs increased from 12.5% to 14.2% of the total market, an uptrend the EIA sees as inevitable given the move toward more stringent fuel standards and production shifts towards turbocharged engines.

In terms of prices, even an incremental increase in demand for premium-grade gasoline could prove meaningful, especially during seasonal RVP shifts when regional markets become increasingly reliant upon high-quality blending components like reformate and alkylate. Typically, transitions to low-RVP and VOC-controlled specifications in March and April spur some considerable leaps in premium gasoline prices, which in many cases are made more extreme by production constraints during times of heavier regional refinery maintenance.

At present, such influences are the primary motivators in the Group 3 spot market, where spot prices for premium gasoline have rocketed over 15cts higher in just the last two sessions. Midwest trade sources recently attributed the moves to a growing scarcity of high-octane gasoline components amid spring maintenance work involving a considerable share of overall Midwest catalytic reforming capacity.

In a report focused on spring refinery maintenance, the EIA last week drew attention to planned PADD2 catalytic reformer outages that in April were expected to be near 10-year maximums in terms of overall capacity affected.

–Corey J. Walker, cwalker@opisnet.com

Data Indicate Possible Challenge to C-Store Growth

Data Indicate Possible Challenge to C-Store Growth

Convenience store industry sales in the United States reached a record $574.8 billion in 2015, a 17.4% jump over 2014, but pretax profit ($10.6 billion) was up only 1.6%, according to just-released data from NACS.

Inside-store sales jumped 5.8% from 2014 to 2015, reaching a record $225.8 billion, NACS stated. But fuel sales dropped 27.7%, to $349 billion, reflecting lower gas prices.

The association cautioned that direct store operating expenses had outpaced gross profit dollars in 2015, and that if those expenses stay high throughout 2016 and beyond, “this trend will create challenges for convenience retailers as they look to grow their businesses.”

In terms of in-store sale categories, in 2015 tobacco products accounted for the biggest category (35.9%), followed by food service (20.8%), packaged beverages (15.1%), candy; sweet, salty and alternative snacks (10.7%); beer (7.2%); and other (10.3%). Food service was a big contributor to profits last year, accounting for 33.7% of gross profit dollars.

–Vincent Taylor, vtaylor@opisnet.com

J2534: Looking Forward and Looking Back

J2534: Looking Forward and Looking Back

Vehicle technology has advanced rapidly since J2534 was written nearly 15 years ago, and the standard has struggled to keep pace. J2534 v5.00 is here, but vehicle connectivity that doesn’t involve the J1962 connector is already on the horizon.

The future of J2534 – the Society of Automotive Engineers’ recommended practice for pass-thru vehicle programming – has been under continual development and refinement for years. It’s just never been quite good enough. Granted, J2534’s many versions have propelled vehicle serviceability forward. The proliferation, adoption and investments in associated vehicle communication interface devices (VCIs), service procedures, training and other resources by shop owners and technicians are evidence of this.

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A Tale of Two Shops: Which One Is Yours?

A Tale of Two Shops: Which One Is Yours?

Currently, 56% of automotive shop owners want to sell their business, citing low income and not enough profit as the primary reasons. What are the other 44% doing? More importantly, what are you doing?

This is a tale of two shops – Bill’s Automotive and Ryan’s High Tech Auto. Bill spends most of his time working in his business, is stressed out, broke and doing everything himself. Bill has no time for himself or his family, or to run his business – he’s too busy working.

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