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Continued from April 2017 issue pdf page 1 ~ Gas Stations

National Trends

The decrease in DC gas stations appears be a part of a national trend. National Petroleum News estimates that there may be 168,000 retail locations that sell gas to the public, down from 200,000 a decade ago. Three major reasons are cited: increased competition, stricter environmental regulations, and shrinking profit margins.

What, then, will be the future of gas stations? Surely, there is a decline in revenues from the sale of gas, cigarettes, sundries, etc. The Valero at the corner of 14th and W Streets highlights a trend of including fresh food along with the gas at its adjoining Fast Gourmet featuring fish tacos, meatloaf sandwiches, as well as Uruguayan and Argentinean specialties. It is estimated that approximately 1,500 both independent and chain gas stations are incorporating food services, even including roaming food trucks

Another national trend is for the gas station to be incorporated into a development and to be environmentally friendly. The gas station at the southeast corner of M Street, NW and 22nd is a prime example.

Another national trend that may be affecting the decrease in gas stations is the growing acceptance and purchase of electric vehicles. Presently, only one percent are electric, though some experts are anticipating that will increase to 30 percent by 2035 as purchase costs decrease. (Already, for example, the new Tesla model 3 may cost as low as $30,000, unless the federal government eliminates the purchase tax credit that had been enacted to encourage switching from using fossil fuels.)

The Electric Vehicle Association of Greater DC battery charging every 1,000 miles driven will add approximately $40 per month to the home electric bill. Already, some condo associations are installing charging stations in their garages.

[Note: Sources in addition to those cited above include the Independent and Franchise Gas Station Owners Newsletter and the National Association of Convenience Stores.]

*Larry Ray, a resident of Columbia Heights and former ANC commissioner for Dupont Circle and Columbia Heights, and who also served as President of the North Columbia Heights Civic Association, is a member and writer for TASA (Technical Advisor Service for Attorneys).

Copyright © 2017 InTowner Publishing Corp. & Larry Ray. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited, except as provided by 17 U.S.C. §§107 & 108 (“fair use”).