Montgomery County police yesterday identified the 56-year-old Gaithersburg man who has been charged with murdering his 26-year-old son as John William Beane.

His son, John Cole Beane, was found lying on the kitchen floor of the Beane home with several gunshot wounds in his chest, police said. The father, who called police, was released on a $25,000 personal bond, police said.

The elder Beanehs attorney, Robert C. Heeney, said his client is a retired government electrician. The son was unemployed according to police.

The family lived at 20 E. Deer Park Drive.

At a meeting here last week the 17-member board voted to hold hearings soon on whether it should recommend that gasoline be sold in liters instead of gallons.

Polk said the issue came up because the price of gas is nearing a $1 a gallon, the most that can be registered on the nation's 1.5 million gas pumps.

Because of the difference in size, gas that costs $1 a gallon would be just 26 cents a litter.

Polk said switching to liters would save $150 for each gas pump involved rather than a resetting the gears to register over $1 a gallon.

Thomas Hanningan, a union official who is the sole outspoken skeptic on the presidentialy-appointed board, said it would be just as cheap to reset the gas pumps to quarts, which are exactly one quarter of a gallon.

"That way nobody would lose their reference point," Hanningan said.

"I don't think it makes such difference what system (of measurement) we use," Hanningan said. "But how we go from one to another, that really does matter . . . I don't know if its possible to convert a country with 220 million people and a $3 trillion economy and a tradition of freedom, too. If I was a dictator, I could do it, but it's not so easy to change in a free society that's so big."

"If you're going to reason that way," Polk responded later, "we'd all still be using Roman numerals rather than the Arabic numerals we're using now . . . Sure, the United States is a very, very large country. But now the United States is the oddman out in the world. Almost everyone else has changed to metric. Why should we handicap ourselves? . . We're just as intelligent as the other people in the world and the others could make the change."

Polk predicted that the United States will become "predominantly metric" in 12 to 15 years even with the present voluntary programs.

In some public school systems, including those in Maryland, the change is happening even faster.

Under a resolution passed five years ago by the Maryland State Board of Education, all schools in the state are supposed to teach mainly in the metric system in 1980. Some schools already are doing it, according to the state department, and in many schools both metric and conventional systems are taught side by side.

That has problems of its own.

"To teach them both systems just isn'r a good thing," said Kent Sullivan, a researcher of the National Institute of Education. "How tall am I? That's what a young child wants to know. If you tell her two different answers (one in centimeters and one in inches), shehs just not going to know."

"I don't think we'll ever be 100 percent metric," said Jeffrey Odom, the metric coordinator of the National Bureau of Standards. "But we ought to change everything we can. If we just change where people think it's necessary, then we'll have an incredible mess . . . I'm afraid that's the way we're going."