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Price at the pump: Gas prices headed down in DC metro area

Written By | Dec 9, 2015

WASHINGTON, Dec. 9, 2015 – Gasoline prices have declined dramatically in the Washington, D.C. Metro area in recent weeks, mirroring a nationwide trend.

Worldwide, the price of black gold remains under severe pressure as Saudi Arabia and OPEC refuse to allow supplies to match declining demand in order to maintain their own market share and blunt the U.S. shale oil renaissance.

The end result is a disaster for most international oil companies and related industries and commodities. But it’s a huge and continuing price break for American consumers, most of whose family budgets have been constrained for years due to virtually nonexistent wage increases.

Locally, prices at the pump continue to decline to near-record post-crash lows, with the outer suburbs of the Washington metro area enjoying the lowest prices.

Here’s a sampling of the lowest prices at the pump here as of Tuesday:

Fredericksburg, Virginia:

Best prices in the DC region. Costco at 3102 Plank Rd., near Brag Road and BJ’s at 3303 Plank Rd. near Central Park Boulevard, both post prices for regular gas of $1.71 per gallon.

Winchester, Virginia:

Runner-up to Fredericksburg. Costco at 251 Front Royal Pike & Costello Drive, Sheetz at 1503 N. Frederick Pike and Fox Drive both post prices for regular gas of $1.77 per gallon.

Sterling, Virginia:

Costco and Sam’s Club off Cascades Parkway offer regular at $1.84 per gallon.

Arlington, Virginia:

Arlington Auto Service at 5200 Columbia Pike and S. Frederick Street offers regular gas at $1.85 per gallon.

Herndon and Reston, Virginia, get noticeably less of a deal, even though prices have come down in these jurisdictions as well:

Herndon, Virginia:

Sunoco at 13300 Franklin Farm Road near Fairfax County Parkway has regular for $2.15, while Exxon at 597 Elden St. and Van Buren Street offers regular for $2.19.

Reston, Virginia:

Sunoco at 1496 Reston Parkway near Center Harbor Road has regular for $2.17, while Exxon at 11854 Sunrise Valley Drive near Colts Neck Road offers regular for $2.19.

Washington, D.C.:

Costco at 2431 Market St. NE near Ft. Lincoln Drive NE offers regular at $1.89 per gallon, while Citgo at 3820 Minnesota Ave. and Blaine Street NE is selling regular for $1.93 per gallon.

But in the Georgetown area, Sunoco at 2450 Wisconsin and Calvert NW offers regular for $2.24, while Valero at 2715 Pennsylvania Ave. and M Street NW is selling regular for $2.32. Both “low” prices are still substantially higher than the cheapest prices elsewhere in the District.

College Park, MD:

BP at 9667 Baltimore Blvd. and Cherry Hill Road, Shell at 9322 Baltimore Ave. and Fox Street Gulf at 3891 Rhode Island Ave. and Edgewood Road, 7-11 at 8905 Rhode Island Ave. and Greenbelt Road and Xtra Fuels at 8721 Baltimore Ave. near Tecumseh Street all have regular at $1.99 per gallon.

Bethesda, MD:

Residents here pay more than residents in the eastern and southern D.C. suburbs of Maryland. Citgo at Palmer Road E and Stokes Road and W. Express at 5143 River Road and Dorsey Lane both offer regular at $2.12.

Note the price differentials in various areas, which basically constitute redlining in reverse, with gas priced significantly higher in areas apparently deemed to be “affluent.” In addition to higher real estate taxes, residents of these areas have apparently been providing some kind of gas “subsidy” to less wealthy jurisdictions for years, proving that the federal government isn’t the only entity that’s been redistributing wealth.

The price gouging is particularly apparent in the District’s affluent Georgetown area. Maryland’s close-in north-of-District suburbs are only slightly lower, while the Reston-Herndon-Tysons areas of Fairfax County continue to take it on the chin at the pump as well, with prices higher than those in Bethesda, Maryland and nearly as high as they are in Georgetown. It’s surprising that at least some of these residents don’t complain about this substantial differential.


Terry Ponick

Biographical Note: Dateline Award-winning music and theater critic for The Connection Newspapers and the Reston-Fairfax Times, Terry was the music critic for the Washington Times print edition (1994-2010) and online Communities (2010-2014). Since 2014, he has been the Senior Business and Entertainment Editor for Communities Digital News (CDN). A former stockbroker and a writer and editor with many interests, he served as editor under contract from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and continues to write on science and business topics. He is a graduate of Georgetown University (BA, MA) and the University of South Carolina where he was awarded a Ph.D. in English and American Literature and co-founded one of the earliest Writing Labs in the country. Twitter: @terryp17