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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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NESSARA Announces Preferred Financing Relationship with Patriot Capital

NESSARA Announces Preferred Financing Relationship with Patriot Capital

Patriot Capital

Patriot Capital to Provide Financing Options to New England Service Station & Auto Repair Association Members

ATLANTA, GA – April 20, 2016 – The New England Service Station & Auto Repair Association (NESSARA), New England’s largest independent automotive industry association, has launched a program to help its members modernize their businesses and meet updated regulatory standards. A new exclusive financing partnership with Patriot Capital will enable NESSARA members to obtain equipment financing for upgrades related to EMV payments, underground storage tank regulations and LED lighting energy savings.

“Our members are faced with a wide range of equipment upgrades, and for many of them, financing is a logical business decision,” said Matt Lelacheur, NESSARA Co-Executive Director. “Our members have a history of successfully working with Patriot Capital, and Patriot’s support of the association makes our decision to endorse Patriot as our preferred financing partner a great step forward for us.”

Patriot Capital’s ‘Easy EMV’ program provides NESSARA members with access to financing to upgrade most equipment on a site, including gas pumps, LED lighting, underground storage tanks, and other fueling and in-store equipment. In addition to ‘Easy EMV,” Patriot Capital also offers a variety of financing options to help businesses update their facilities to meet the new industry standards and regulations.

NESSARA’s members, serving the retail fuel and auto repair needs of clients in the New England states of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Maine, will have access to a range of financing programs designed to match their business plan and equipment-upgrade strategies.

“NESSARA members are among New England’s most progressive convenience store and auto repair shop business people,’ said Jason Raffensperger, Northeast Regional Manager for Patriot Capital. ” We are excited about the opportunity to continue and expand our partnership as they move ahead to meet the revised UST regulations, upcoming EMV liability shift on gas pumps, and make other investments to improve their businesses.”

About NESSARA

Enhancing the profitability, education and rights of independent service stations and repair shops has been the mission of the New England Service Station & Auto Repair Association, Inc., (NESSARA) since 1974. New England’s largest independent automotive industry association, the organization offers resources, education, advocacy, and financing options to member businesses in all six New England states: Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Maine. Its members consist of service stations, auto repair facilities, convenience stores, auto body shops and other automotive-related businesses throughout New England. The organization’s goals include keeping members informed on all major issues that can have an impact on their businesses; creating cost savings and revenue-generating programs that help members enhance their bottom line; and lobbying for and against legislation that will affect the day-to-day operations of its members.

About Patriot Capital

Patriot Capital, a division of State Bank and Trust Company, specializes in enabling entrepreneurs to succeed by providing access to hassle-free equipment financing and SBA loans in the retail and commercial fueling verticals and other manufacturing industries. Working with its customers to enable them to optimize their financing and capital structures, Patriot Capital is the leading provider of capital equipment financing and leasing to NACS (National Association of Convenience Stores), PMAA (Petroleum Marketers Association of America) and SIGMA (Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America) members. Member FDIC. For further information, visit patriotcapitalcorp.com.

FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:

Patriot Capital, a division of State Bank and Trust Company
Richard Browne, Vice-President, Marketing,
Cell: (404) 977-1251
Email: rbrowne@patriotcapitalcorp.com
Follow Patriot Capital on Twitter @PatriotCapital

NESSARA
Matt Lelacheur, Co-Executive Director
574 Boston Road, Suite 12
Billerica, MA 01821
Phone: (978) 667-7706
Email: mlelacheur@nessara.org

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?

What can be done? At HUB, we suggest a 4-pronged approach to minimizing cyber risk: Avoid, Prevent, Mitigate and Transfer.

Avoid cyber risks by making sure anything sensitive is encrypted, including employees’ Social Security numbers, health care information, passwords, etc. This would include your desktop computers, laptops, and servers with sensitive information stored and can also include backup tapes.

Prevent intruders by deploying strong firewalls and intrusion detection systems as well as developing robust policies and procedures about document handling, storage and destruction. For example, get rid of personal information in a way that can’t be recovered, such as shredding paper files and deleting personal records, and smashing or acid-bathing hard disks.

Mitigate your potential cyber risks by developing an incident response plan in advance. Don’t wait until a cyber-breach occurs to create a response and continuity plan. Speak with attorneys, put in place a notification vendor, and public relations firm to mitigate the financial impact on the company. Do table-top exercises annually.

Transfer your risk by examining all vendor, cloud and partner contracts. Do liability agreements ensure that you receive indemnities from them should they cause a breach of your data? Are the damage caps too low for the potential losses? Have you demanded proof of insurance specific to this exposure? Unless you have read your POS contract thoroughly and received proof of insurance, you should not expect that they “will take care of it.”

Criminals are endlessly creative when it comes to monetizing breaches. They exploit easily guessed or re-used passwords, lost or stolen laptops and human error. More and more, they trick people into giving them your money. For example, a new form of social engineering attacks are eluded in most crime insurance policies; since the money is freely given by your employees, it causes a gap in insurance. Hackers breach a computer and send fraudulent emails directing others—in the name of the breached victim—to pay them monies at new accounts. Who loses? Not the bank but rather companies with minimal internal controls and weak or no cyber insurance/data privacy coverage.

Companies should not assume that their business owner’s policy will cover a potential breach. General liability policies usually do not cover cyber breaches. Many crime policies do not cover spear phishing. Therefore, firms need specialized cyber insurance forms that provide liability (claims from 3rd parties), as well as first-party (your business) coverage for breach expenses, regulatory investigation, non-physical interruption and extortion.

For more information about this increasing risk, your duties in the event of a breach, estimated expenses you will incur should you have a breach including regulatory penalties using data breach calculation tools email Tim Quin, Tim.Quin@hubinternational.com. We can also help review your contracted obligations including evaluating inexpensive cyber security liability policy to meet your individual needs.

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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7-Eleven Puts Some New England C-Stores up for Sale

7-Eleven Puts Some New England C-Stores up for Sale

7-Eleven has secured the services of NRC Realty & Capital Advisors, which will
coordinate the sale of 13 gasoline stations and c-stores in New England. There
are 12 locations in Massachusetts and one in New Hampshire.

7-Eleven vice president of mergers and acquisitions, Robbie Radiant, noted that
the stores were in many cases high quality assets but suggested that they don’t
fit 7-Eleven’s current business model. 7-Eleven has actively been purchasing
station chains in other sections of the country, including most prominently, in
Florida.

Lot sizes range from 6,000 square feet to six acres and stores range from 1,375
square feet to over 7,600 square feet. Nine of the sites are fee-owned and the
remaining four are leaseholds. All sales come without 7-Eleven branding. Sites
will come with fuel supply that will be provided by SEI Fuels, the 7-Eleven
subsidiary.

Properties will be sold using NRC’s “buy one, some or all” sealed bid sale
process. More information can be gleaned by calling the NRC Customer Service
Center at 800-747-3342, extension 1606.

ExxonMobil Launches Mobile Payment Platform

ExxonMobil Launches Mobile Payment Platform

ExxonMobil announced this morning that it is the first major retailer in the fuel space to accept mobile payments at its pump.

Through use of the Speedpass+ mobile payment application as well as Apple Pay,
the major will now accept mobile payments at the pump at more than 6,000 Exxon-
and Mobil-branded stations throughout the country.

ExxonMobil plans on having the mobile payment system available at more than
8,000 stations by the middle of 2016.

The mobile payment application allows customer to authorize payment at the gas
pump securely using cloud-based technology. Exxon and Mobil station customers
can choose to use Apple Pay as a default payment from within the Speedpass+ app.

The Speedpass+ mobile payment app can be downloaded for free and can be linked
to checking accounts or other major credit and debit cards. In the announcement,
ExxonMobil noted that when a customer uses Apply Pay, they will still receive
all the rewards and benefits their credit and debit cards offer. Customers using
the system can get a receipt emailed to them, get a physical one at the pump or
both. Also, a customer’s purchase history is recorded in the app, a feature that
is helpful for tracking business expenses, ExxonMobil points out.

Customers will be able to identify which stores have the mobile payment systems
in place within the app.

U.S. Tops List of Countries Victimized by Skimmers

U.S. Tops List of Countries Victimized by Skimmers

SECURITY CAM VIDEO: Men Installing Credit Card Skimmer

The United States leads the list of the top countries reporting losses due to skimming crime, according to the European ATM Security Team (EAST) fraud update in the first quarter of 2016.

The top three countries reporting losses from skimming remain the U.S., Indonesia and the Philippines, EAST said today.

The data, which overwhelmingly deals with ATM fraud, is also relevant to card fraud at gas stations, since thieves can use some of the same tactics at the pump or at point-of-sale terminals inside stores. Many gas stations also offer ATMs on site.

EAST sometimes receives reports of skimming attacks at other terminals such as those at gas stations. The group noted in its most recent poll that seven countries reported skimming at unattended payment terminals at gas stations.

EAST said card skimming at ATMs was reported in 20 countries attending its meeting in February. The data for EAST’s “European Fraud Update for 2016” is primarily from updates by representatives of 19 countries in the Single Euro Payments Area and four countries outside that area.

Criminals’ use of “throat inlay skimming devices” at ATMs appears to be on the rise, the group said. Three countries reported skimming attacks employing throat inlay devices, which are placed inside the card reader throat in front of the shutter.

EAST also noted: –ATM malware attacks were reported by three countries and two of them said thieves successfully used “black-box” devices to allow unauthorized cash dispensing.

–Ten countries reported ram raids and ATM burglary.

–Ten countries reported explosive gas attacks, one of them for the first time.

–One country reported the use of explosive liquid (nitroglycerin) to blow open an ATM safe, the first time this type of incident was reported to EAST.

–Donna Harris, dharris[at]opisnet.com

Copyright, Oil Price Information Service