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Where Did All The Gas Stations Go?

If you think it's hard to find a gas station in the District, you're right, according to D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr. (D-Ward 5).

Thomas introduced legislation today to encourage the construction and retention of gas stations by giving them tax breaks. The details, he said, would be worked out later. But he said the city must stem their closings. The number of gas stations dwindled from more than 200 to 108 in recent years, Thomas said.

Several council members signed on as co-sponsors at the council Committee of the Whole meeting today.

By Nikita R Stewart  |  March 17, 2009; 10:41 AM ET
Categories:  D.C. Council  
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Does anyone care about this except Harry Thomas Jr.?

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | March 17, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Unless these new gas stations offer gas at less-than-outrageous prices, like many do already in DC, I'm happy to fill up on trips out to MD or VA.

Posted by: ah___ | March 17, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I suppose this legislation is in response to the many people who are clamoring to have a gas station built next to their house?

Posted by: Meridian1 | March 17, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Agree re: price gouging. I have lived in DC for two years, and have bought gas here once. Yes, the taxes play a role. But when I can fill up while in Virginia at 20 cents less per gallon, why waste money in DC? Particularly at the stations that are offensive in their price gouging - Exxon on the corner of Virginia Ave and the Rock Creek Parkway, near the Watergate, I'm lookin' at you.

Posted by: DCMike1 | March 17, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

OK for all you folks who live in the District and buy your gas in VA or MD, I'm glad I'll never have to listen to you all whine about the bad roads in the district.

Posted by: crete | March 17, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Yes, please build a gas station next to my house. Also, instead of walkable, vibrant blocks full of interesting shops, bars, and restaurants with sidewalk seating, let's raze buildings and put gas stations there instead so SUVs can fill up while they are zooming through my neighborhood. I personally find gas stations to be the most beautiful structure imaginable and I won't be happy until we have one on every block.

Posted by: magnuson | March 17, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Fewer gas stations means fewer gallons of gas sold in the District, which means declining tax revenues. That decline has a direct impact on funding to repair local infrastructure.

Posted by: IHeartDC | March 17, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

re: expensive gas in the District

It's all about where you buy your gas. The Hess on Florida Ave NE is usually within pennies of the cheapest gas I can find at a close-in suburb in VA and cheaper than it is in Maryland. Also, even when it's slightly more expensive I still buy my gas in DC because the tax revenue goes to DC instead of MD or VA and it's hardly worth my time to save a dollar or two by making a 30+ minute round trip to buy gas in the 'burbs.

Posted by: gken69 | March 17, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

A tax structure that is anti-small business; a school system among the weakest in the Nation; a public health crisis (HIV/AIDS) that is epidemic in proportion...
Let's vote for Statehood.

Posted by: beeman | March 17, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Plenty o' gas stations on Georgia Ave, I can solidly report.

Posted by: mendelsonmustgo | March 17, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

I never have problems finding gas stations in the district. There are gas stations all over DC and many of them have inexpensive gas. I can name about 12 gas stations I frequent when I'm in different parts of the city.

The problem with gas stations in DC is that they are frequented by homeless people asking for change. The one on 14th St in Columbia Heights has this problem at night.

I cannot possibly imagine what Harry Thomas is thinking. Make this a ward by ward bill to encourage new business in Wards 7 or 8 if needed, but gas stations are plentiful in wards 1,2,3,5, etc.

Posted by: bbcrock | March 17, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Of course I buy gas in the suburbs too. When I'm way out on Rt 66 I'm not going to get caught in that traffic while low on gas.

I think some people in DC are stuck in a 1980s, Barry-era mindset when businesses were treated unfairly and they wouldn't open. that information is 20 years old. Gas stations in DC are thriving.

Posted by: bbcrock | March 17, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

The prices are based on demographic area. But there are enough gas station in DC just not at the right price. If I do buy within DC its on South Dakota Ave or 295 N on Kenilworth. But most time I get while I'm at work, VA is the cheapest. They have Shell on Leesburg Pike that its cheaper to pay with cash $.10 cheaper then the regular price at the station.

Posted by: patlr504 | March 17, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Why gas stations in Ward 7 and 8. As a resident of Ward 7 for 47 years living in the Penn/Branch area I want nice restarants with sidewalk dining, stores beyond liquor, beauty shops, and corner mom and pop that sell junk. Ward 7 and 8 would like nice businesses, speak for your Ward and don't minimize others.

Posted by: jvd1 | March 17, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

FWIW, the number of gas stations is declining everywhere. Companies realize it's more efficient to have one large station with multiple pumps rather than two (or more) small stations with fewer pumps.

BTW, DCMike1, gas tax in the district (20cpg) is about the same as Md (23cpg) and Va. (19cpg)

Posted by: ah___ | March 17, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

This is all about his battle on behalf of the owner of a derelict station at 1400 Maryland NE -- right around the corner from another station. Fight the power!

Posted by: jsmjr | March 17, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Yikes, Harry Thomas really is dumb. This is the dumbest idea ever. 108 gas stations is still a lot. I can always find gas when I need it. Some areas of the city have too many stations, in fact. Let the market solve this problem.

(Gas stations also detract from property value and waste valuable space)

Posted by: sgrahamuva | March 19, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

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