• EMA Weekly Review

  • EMA Weekly Review

    Energy Marketers of America weekly update on important national industry news
    October 23, 2020  [WR-20-43]
    Sponsored by Altria Group Distribution Company
    who generously supports The Energy Marketers of America 

    Quick Links to Articles for October 23, 2020

    Federated Insurance Takes Action in Response to an Emerging Catastrophic Trend

    New EPA Fuel Streamlining Rule Increases Fungibility of Distillate Fuels for Heating Fuel Dealers and Downstream Distillate Distributors

    Mandated Zero-Emissions Vehicle Standard Legislation Introduced

    COVID-19 Stimulus Deal Not Likely Before Election

    Urge Congress to Include Reasonable Liability Protections in Next COVID-19 Relief Package

    Senator Durbin Urges FDA to Publish List of ENDS Products that have Submitted PMTA’s 

    NHTSA Investigating Chevrolet Bolt Fires That May Be Caused by EV Batteries

    DOL Proposes New Rule to Clarify Worker Status Under the FLSA

    Oregon and California Emergency Declarations Extended to November 19

    Energy Marketers of America Name Change Reflects Growing Portfolio of Liquid Fuels Industry

    Energy Marketers of America’s Corporate Platinum Partner Spotlight Featuring: Reynolds American, Inc.

    Federated Insurance: It’s Your Life

    Articles for October 23, 2020
    Federated Insurance Takes Action in Response to an Emerging Catastrophic Trend

    Devastating vehicle crashes have not slowed during the global pandemic; in fact, data suggests roads are more dangerous than ever. Unfortunately, Federated’s association member clients are not immune to this as they have been involved in an alarming number of vehicle crashes in recent months. In response to this emerging catastrophic trend, Federated Insurance is taking additional action. 

    For the first time ever, Federated Chairman and CEO Jeff Fetters is personally addressing member clients about the incredible human toll of auto crashes and the unsettling rise in related claims we’ve seen in 2020 via a special video message and letter. He urges business leaders to spend a few minutes discussing driving safety with their valued employees. Finally, he passionately emphasizes that the responsibility to preventing vehicle crashes is a shared one, in which both Federated and association members need to play a proactive role.

    Federated marketing representatives have been providing this message, along with supplemental talking points document to help owners and managers having a necessarily conversation about safe driving with their employees, to businesses since late September.

    Federated cares deeply about protecting businesses, employee drivers, and all those whose lives are forever changed due to senseless, preventable vehicle crashes.

    For additional information or to discuss further, please contact your Federated regional representative or Energy Marketers of America’s National Account Executive Jon Medo at 800.533.0472. Federated is a EMA Corporate Platinum Partner.

    New EPA Fuel Streamlining Rule Increases Fungibility of Distillate Fuels for Heating Fuel Dealers and Downstream Distillate Distributors

    Heating fuel dealers are about to get much needed regulatory relief from the EPA designed to increase downstream fuel distribution efficiency and reduce costs by making distillate fuels more fungible. The agency’s final Fuels Regulatory Streamlining rule includes several regulatory relief provisions that affect the heating fuel industry as well as downstream distributors of diesel fuel, jet fuel, kerosene and locomotive and marine fuel. Energy Marketers of America - EMA (formerly PMAA) successfully advocated for all the heating fuel and distillate regulatory relief provisions in written comments and testimony submitted to the EPA during the rulemaking process earlier this year. Click here to read the Energy Marketers Association’s comments. 

    The first and most noteworthy change removes regulatory impediments that prevented downstream redesignation of 15ppm distillates such as 15 ppm heating oil to 15 ppm diesel fuel. Before the new rulemaking, heating fuel dealers could not redesignate 15 ppm heating oil to 15 ppm diesel fuel without triggering onerous testing and reporting requirements meant for terminal operators and refiners. Downstream redesignation was largely limited to designating 15 ppm diesel fuel as 15 ppm heating fuel. Under the new rule, any batch of distillate fuel that is certified and designated as ULSD by upstream manufacturers may be redesignated by downstream distributors as heating oil, kerosene, ECA marine fuel, jet fuel, or distillate global marine fuel if it is also suitable for such use. However, in order to redesignate distillates downstream, product transfer documents generated by the refiner or terminal operator must indicate the distillates were manufactured to ULSD standards, including cetane and aromatic specifications. Moreover, the bar against redesignating distillates intended for a designated use by upstream suppliers as indicated on PTD documents, is also removed. Before the new rule, even distillates that met the ULSD standard and cetane/aromatic specifications could not be redesignated downstream if the PTD indicated it was for a specific use such as “diesel fuel” or “heating oil.”

    Specifically, the new rule allows downstream distributors to redesignate distillate fuel without manufacturer recertification as follows:

    (i) Any batch of diesel fuel or distillate fuel that is certified and designated as ULSD may also be designated as heating oil, kerosene, ECA marine fuel, jet fuel, or distillate global marine fuel if it is also suitable for such use.

    (ii) ULSD that is also suitable for use as kerosene or jet fuel (commonly referred to as dual use kerosene) may be designated as ULSD, kerosene, or jet fuel (as applicable).

    (iii) ULSD may be redesignated as 500 ppm locomotive/marine (LM) diesel fuel, heating oil, kerosene, emission control area (ECA) marine fuel, jet fuel, or distillate global marine fuel without manufacturer recertification. 

    (iv) Heating oil, kerosene, ECA marine fuel, or jet fuel may be redesignated as ULSD diesel if the fuel meets required ULSD standard specifications (15 ppm or less sulfur content, minimum cetane index of 40, maximum aromatic content of 35 volume percent) and was designated as ULSD by the manufacturer on the PTD. 

    (v) 500 ppm LM diesel fuel may be redesignated as ECA marine fuel, distillate global marine fuel, or heating oil. Any person that redesignates 500 ppm LM diesel fuel to ECA marine fuel or distillate global marine fuel must maintain records from the producer of the 500 ppm LM diesel fuel (i.e., PTDs accompanying the fuel) to demonstrate compliance with the 500 ppm sulfur standard. 

    The new rule also removes the red dye provision for high sulfur distillates designed to prevent use in on-road diesel engines. The red dye requirement has become obsolete now that all distillates other than locomotive and marine meet the 15ppm sulfur content standard. However, the IRS red dye requirement for nontaxable fuel remains in place, limiting the redesignation of heating oil to off road and nontaxable uses. Dyed ULSD heating oil, however, is suitable for on-road use by state and local government entities only.

    Finally, the EPA is eliminating the current 500 ppm heating fuel dispenser label for use by retail and/or wholesale purchaser consumers and replacing it with the following:



    Federal law prohibits use in highway vehicles or engines, or in nonroad, locomotive, or marine diesel engines. Its use may damage these diesel engines.”

    The label content must be in block letters of no less than 24-point bold type, printed in a color contrasting with the background. The new labels are not required until existing dispenser labels require replacement due to fading, cracking, etc. 

    Mandated Zero-Emissions Vehicle Standard Legislation Introduced

    On Tuesday, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Rep. Mike Levin (D-CA) introduced legislation to terminate the sale of new U.S. gasoline-powered vehicles in 15 years. 

    The Zero-Emission Vehicles Act of 2020 would require that 50 percent of new passenger vehicles sales are zero-emissions vehicles (ZEV) by 2025. That federal standard would increase 5 percent each year to reach 100 percent by 2035. The legislation has zero chance of becoming law this year but serves as a messaging piece for democrats to take to the November elections. Even if Democrats take back the White House and Senate, the legislation is still likely to face an uphill battle to become law. 

    The EPA raised concerns early this month over California’s plan to ban the sales of new gasoline and diesel-powered passenger cars by 2035, arguing that the mandate is unworkable and likely illegal. The California ban is an ambitious step to bolster electric vehicles and slash greenhouse-gas emissions. The ban is aimed at new-car sales and will not prohibit Californians from owning or selling existing gas-powered cars.

    In a letter to California Governor Gavin Newsome, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler expressed concern that the electric vehicle mandate would strain California’s already overloaded electric grid. Wheeler questioned how California plans to handle the unprecedented increase in electricity demand that will result from the ban when the state is already experiencing rolling blackouts and seeking additional power from neighboring states. Wheeler also said the ban is likely illegal in the wake of the Trump Administration’s recent revocation of California’s Clean Air Act waiver that allowed the state to set its own air pollution standards.

    California is currently suing the Administration over the revocation. If successful, California would be the first U.S. state to ban gas- and diesel-powered vehicles. However, some states could soon follow California’s lead. Twelve states already adopt California clean air standards (NJ, CT, WA, VT, NY, ME, RI, MA, OR, PA, MD, and DC). 

    The federal Zero-Emission Vehicles Act of 2020 which would boost the market for battery electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles is cosponsored by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Cory Booker (D-NJ) in the Senate, and Representatives Joe Neguse (D-CO), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Julia Brownley (D-CA), Judy Chu (D-CA), Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-MO), Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA), Jared Huffman (D-CA) Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Jerry Nadler (D-NY), and Chellie Pingree (D-ME).

    COVID-19 Stimulus Deal Not Likely Before Election

    Although Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) continue to negotiate a potential COVID-19 relief bill, it is becoming more evident to both sides that a deal will not be reached before the November 3 election. While Speaker Pelosi maintains that the two sides are close to a deal, there are still significant obstacles to an agreement. The two sides continue to disagree over two major policies; funding for state and local governments (demanded by Democrats) and liability protection for businesses (demanded by Republicans). 

    Furthermore, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and the Republican-led Senate do not agree with some of the concessions that the White House has given Speaker Pelosi and the Democrats, claiming that another multi-trillion dollar stimulus package isn’t needed at this time. McConnell has said, however, that he will bring a relief bill to the Senate floor for a vote if the White House is able to strike a deal. Click here to view the story.

    Urge Congress to Include Reasonable Liability Protections in Next COVID-19 Relief Package

    The Energy Marketers of America (EMA) urges you to reach out to Congress in support of important legislation to expand liability protections for businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic known as the “Safe to Work Act” (S. 4317). The bill is retroactive to December 2019 and provides reasonable liability protection against COVID-19 lawsuits through October 2024 for businesses who have made good faith efforts to comply with government guidance. The legislation does not protect bad actors in cases where there is willful misconduct or gross negligence to the safety of an individual. The legislation provides preemption from state laws unless state laws provide greater liability protection. 

    It is important for everyone to reach out to their lawmakers urging them to include S. 4317 in the next COVID-19 relief package. Click here to do so.

    Senator Durbin Urges FDA to Publish List of ENDS Products that have Submitted PMTA’s 

    This week, Senator Durbin (D-IL) urged the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to publish a public list of currently marketed e-cigarette products for which the Agency has received a premarket tobacco product application (PMTA) by the September 9, 2020 deadline. “It has been more than one month since PMTA applications were submitted to FDA. In order to protect public health and uphold the duty to enforce against products on the market that are out of compliance, I urge FDA to immediately publish a comprehensive product listing of all relevant e-cigarette applications received by FDA,” said Senator Durbin.

    In a statement last month, Mitch Zeller, Director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) stated, "We request your patience as we work through the appropriate processes to ensure the posted information is accurate and compliant with federal laws. In the interim, we encourage retailers and other interested parties to refer to the public statements made by the companies or contact the companies directly to get information about applications they may have submitted." 

    Under a court order from the District Court of Maryland, e-cigarette products that were on the market prior to August 8, 2016, are required to submit PMTA's for the FDA to review and approve by the September 9, 2020 deadline. PMTA's require a product to meet a regulatory hurdle that can be complex and costly. E-cigarette products will be permitted to stay on the market for one year while the agency reviews the applications, or until the agency rejects them. If e-cigarette manufacturers did not submit PMTAs by the September 9th deadline, their products must be removed from shelves. By the FDA providing a public list of e-cigarette products that meet the proper requirements, retailers of these products will be informed as to which they can sell legally in their stores.

    The Energy Marketers of America formerly known as PMAA recently joined the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), the National Association of Truckstop Operators (NATSO), the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America (SIGMA) and the Food Industry Association (FMI) in signing a letter to the FDA urging it to release a list of approved e-cigarette products. Click here to view the letter.

    NHTSA Investigating Chevrolet Bolt Fires That May Be Caused by EV Batteries
    EV Fires Becoming More Prevalent

    Last week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that it was opening an investigation after receiving reports of three different Chevrolet Bolt EVs catching fire under the rear seat while parked and unattended. Notably, the NHTSA said in a statement that “in the three cases identified, fire damage appeared to be concentrated in the EV battery compartment area with penetration into the passenger compartment from under the rear seat.” It was reported that a fire caused physical harm to one of the EV owners. Click here to read the story.

    Similar incidents have also occurred recently with different model EVs. Prior to the Chevrolet Bolt fires, Hyundai Motor Co. made headlines when some of its EVs caught fire. Furthermore, after the Chevrolet Bolt fires, Ford Motor Co. and BMW AG announced fires in some of their EVs as well. As a result, Hyundai and BMW have decided to recall tens of thousands of its EVs from the global market. While EVs have already struggled to gain popularity with consumers, the fire incidents certainly will not increase demand for them. 

    DOL Proposes New Rule to Clarify Worker Status Under the FLSA

    On September 25, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued a proposed rule that would clarify whether workers are employees or are independent contractors under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Independent contractors are not entitled to the federal minimum wage and overtime pay that covered employees receive under the FLSA. 

    According to the Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Advocacy, the rule adopts an “economic reality test” to determine a worker’s status: the test considers whether a worker is in business for himself or herself (independent contractor) or is economically dependent on a putative employer for work (employee). The rule identifies and explains two “core factors” that determine whether someone is in business for himself or herself: specifically the nature and degree of the worker’s control over the work, and the worker’s opportunity for profit or loss based on initiative and/or investment. The rule identifies three other factors that may serve as guideposts in the analysis: the amount of skill required for the work, the degree of permanence of the working relationship between the worker and the potential employer, and whether the work is part of an integrated unit of production.

    The Small Business Legislative Council (SBLC), of which the Energy Marketers of America (EMA) is a contributing board member, plans to submit written comments to the DOL on the proposed rule by the October 26 deadline. 

    Oregon and California Emergency Declarations Extended to November 19

    The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Western Service Center extended the state hours of service emergency declarations for Oregon and California to November 19, 2020. The Governors of the States of California and Oregon issued state declarations of emergency in August due to the fires in the states and those declarations have been extended twice. 

    The Extension of the Emergency Declarations provides regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicle operations while providing direct assistance supporting emergency relief efforts transporting supplies, goods, equipment and fuel into the Affected States, and transporting persons into and from the Affected States, or providing other assistance in the form of emergency services during the emergency in the Affected States from the wildfires. To review the extension, click here

    Energy Marketers of America Name Change Reflects Growing Portfolio of Liquid Fuels Industry

    Recently, the Energy Marketers of America (EMA) announced a new era for the trade association previously known as the Petroleum Marketers Association of America. The name change is reflective of the group’s growing portfolio of affordable, efficient, and environmentally friendly liquid fuels and other alternative energy sources that are helping to reduce emissions while propelling Americans forward.

    Liquid fuels have played a critical role in lowering emissions over the past half century, and through innovation and technological advancement, they will continue to reduce emissions further in the coming decades. Investments in cleaner liquid fuels helped reduce U.S. air emissions by 73 percent from 1970 to 2016, even as total miles driven nearly tripled. Innovative technologies will ensure liquid fuels are part of a lower-emission future for decades to come.

    “Liquid fuels are and will continue to be a crucial driver of economic growth in this county and a catalyst for affordable transportation,” Energy Marketers of America (EMA) President Rob Underwood said. “The Energy Marketers of America (EMA) spans 47 states, our members own and operate 60,000 fuel stations across the country, and they supply heating fuel to more than 5 million American homes and businesses. The small businesses they represent provide thousands of jobs and help Americans get where they need to go as well as keep them warm during the winter.”

    While much progress has already been made, the Energy Marketers of America believes that addressing improvements in fuel efficiency and the carbon value of the fuel will yield significant gains for the environment. Policies and funding to reduce carbon emissions should be spread over all carbon sources and be applied to all fuels and energy sources equally. Research and funding for reductions in carbon emissions associated with liquid fuels should be treated with the same urgency as afforded electrification, particularly since about 98 percent of vehicles sold in 2019 still rely on liquid fuels. Additionally, Energy Marketers of America supports policies and programs that allows the heating fuel industry to provide more efficient and reliable heat, cooling and hot water to American consumers.

    “Lawmakers should consider a technology neutral approach when it comes to promoting policies that reduce emissions,” Underwood said. “The most cost-effective way to reduce transportation emissions is to support technologies designed for the vast majority of vehicles currently on the road.”  

    Energy Marketers of America’s Corporate Platinum Partner Spotlight Featuring: Reynolds American, Inc.
    Introducing Own It Voice It Trade Partners

    This year alone RAI and our partners have battled flavor bans, tax proposals, nicotine caps, coupon and discounting bans, and graphic warning proposals. These proposals are no longer insulated to select geographies as illustrated by efforts we undertook in typically friendly states like Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Georgia, Florida, Virginia, and more. 

    Despite the increased attention, RAI will never stop fighting for your association’s members. On top of our countless lobbying, advocacy, and education this year, RAI and our partners filed six lawsuits which were all aimed at protecting your member’s tobacco category for long term growth. One other thing is that, in all of these fights, we did not go at it alone. The voice of Energy Marketers of America (EMA) members is critical to our success in the legislative arena.

    To assist your members further, Reynolds is proud to introduce Own It Voice It “Trade Partners.” The program, created earlier this year and the first of its kind in the industry, provides access to a plethora of resources, but most importantly grants them accessibility to a world class public relations team. These teams (that we have used for some time now) are prepared to offer their services for opinion editorials, written or spoken testimony, letters to the editor, media training, letters to legislators, and much more. One thing we hear all the time is that our retail and wholesale partners want to get involved, but often do not know where to start. This program provides them a road map for success and the best part is that is completely free of charge.

    In order for this program to be successful, it must have a healthy amount of retail and wholesale partners enrolled and the endorsement of trade associations like Energy Marketers of America (EMA) can certainly help get the word out. Please see attached flyer to send to your membership base to encourage sign ups. Signing up is easy and takes less than five minutes. Simply follow the URL or scan the QR code and input your information. 

    For additional information or to discuss this in further detail, please contact Matt Domingo at 336-741-1486 or visitRAI Trade Marketing Services Company is a EMA Corporate Platinum Partner. 

    Federated Insurance: It’s Your Life
    Life Insurance Awareness Month (LIAM)

    At Federated Mutual Insurance Company, It’s Our Business to Protect Yours®. Part of that commitment is to make sure that our clients know the options available to help protect not only their business, but also their families, with financial resources in the event of an unexpected loss. One of these options is life insurance. September is National Life Insurance Awareness Month, which provides a great opportunity to remind you about this important tool and the impact that it can have on a family or business after the death of a loved one or owner. Listen to a short message from the LIAM 2020 celebrity spokesperson.

    Even if you already have life insurance, it’s a good idea to take a look at your coverage periodically to see if you want to consider any adjustments. To read the article in its entirety, please click here

    Please always feel free to contact your Federated regional representative or Energy Marketers of America’s National Account Executive Jon Medo at 800.533.0472 for any additional information or risk management questions. Federated is a EMA Corporate Platinum Partner.

    This article is for general information and risk prevention only and should not be considered legal or other expert advice. The recommendations herein may help reduce, but are not guaranteed to eliminate, any or all risk of loss. The information herein may be subject to, and is not a substitute for, any laws or regulations that may apply. Qualified counsel should be sought with questions specific to your circumstances. © 2020 Federated Mutual Insurance Company.