If a new District of Columbia law survives a congressional review and a probable judicial challenge, it soon will be illegal for service station owners to convert from f
Gas-and-go, used as a trade name by one major oil company, has become almost a generic description for the latest phenomenon to sweep the oil industry - stations that pump gasoline but won't sell you a can of oil, fill your radiator or check the air pressure in your tires.
The D.C. City Council enacted a measure in December that would put a two-year moratorium, until 1979, on further conversions from full-service to gas-and-go.
On top of that, the measure would prohibit an oil refining company - the Exxon Corp., for example - from running its own stations in the District starting in 1981. All stations after that date would have to be owned by or leased to independent dealers.
The measure also puts various economic restraints on the oil companies, including prohitibions against arbitrary cancelling of sales arrangements with independent dealers.
Under the D.C. Home Rule Act, the law does not go into effect automatically. It was sent to Capitol Hill, where either house of Congress has 30 legislative days to decide whether to veto it. The 30 days runs out next Tuesday.
Hit where it is likely to hurt - in the cash flow artery - the oil companies struck back, spearheaded by a resolution that would disapprove the law, introduced by Rep. Bill Archer (R-Tex.).
A hearing on Archer's measure was held last week by a House District Subcommittee headed by Rep. Herbert E. Harris (D-Va.). Subcommittee members indicated they would kill the Archer proposal for reasons not related to the merits of the service station law. Rather, they said, they believe in the District's right to govern itself.
By early this week, no action had been taken by the Subcommittee on the Archer resolution.
At the hearing, Archer was followed to the witness chair by executives of Exxon and of the relatively small Scot discount gas-and-go chain.
Archer warned that the law probably is unconstitutional - a point challenged by D.C. City Council member Jerry A. Moore Jr. - and it probably faces legal challenge.
The oil executives insisted the District measure would prevent economies that are passed on to motorists in the form of lower gasoline prices than full-service dealers can give.
"There certainly is a percentage of the market for the full-service dealer," Harry R. Wainwright III, vice president of the company that owns five Scot stations in the city, told the Subcommittee. He suggested that those who want such service should pay the higher cost.
Vic Rasheed, the spokesman for 1,300 independent service station operators in the city and suburbs, said the recent cold wave showed the harm the gas-and-go conversion trend can do.
District residents needing road service had to call stations deep in the suburbs, he said, and then waited as long as two days for someone to come help get their cars started.
Rasheed said his organization, the Greater Washington-Maryland Service Station Association, made a survey of the situation in December.
"We found that some 50 full-service locations had been converted to gas only during 1976, giving D.C. a total of more than 100 gas-only locations out of . . . 235 stations," he said.
Most such stations are corporation-owned, he noted, adding, "D.C. has no dealer-protection laws. It really is a happy hunting ground for oil companies."
Del. Walter E. Fauntroy (D-D.C.) and other Subcommittee members said the trend toward gas-and-go could become troublesome for tourists who come here with cars needing lubrication or other service before the return home.