Gasoline probably will be hard to find in the Washington area today because about 70 percent of the station operators here are expected to shut their stations -- many to take the holiday themselves, a dealers' association official said yesterday.
"No one can give an accurate number of stations that will be open," cautioned Victor Rasheed, the executive director of the Greater Washington -- Maryland Service Station Association Inc.
The District of Columbia, hawever, has released a list of 10 stations that have promised to sell gasoline in the morning.
Beyond that, Rasheed said, his knowledge of gasoline supplies and dealer plans leds him to estimates that fewer than 30 percent of the area's 1,500 stations will be open.
The fuel outlook is better for motorists travelling in the southern and western parts of Virginia and in the outlying Maryland areas.
The Auto Club of Virginia reported that about 58 percent of the stations in areas outside Nothern Virginia would be open today. A survey of the Eastern Shore resort areas of Maryland showed that an estimated 90 percent of stations are expected to operate.
The uncertainity of holiday gasoline supplies was only the latest frustration for motorists in te Washington metropolitan area.
A gasoline allocation rule permitting oil companies to shift up to 5 percent of a state's gasoline from surplus areas to shortages areas promised some relief. But state and local government officials, who would activate the shift by certifying an area's need, downplayed the significance of the rule.
"It's not anything new," said Ginny Friedlander, a press aide to Maryland Gov. Harry Hughes.
"It doesn't provide any more gasoline to the state."
She said there would be little point in moving gasoline from rural areas of Maryland to the large metropolitan areas because it would have little impact.
About 80 percent of Maryland's population lives in metropolitan areas, she said. And the amount of gasoline that could be removed from rural areas and sent to those heavily populated urban cities would not be enough to make a significant difference, she said. It would be like placing a few drops of gasoline into a large tank, she said
The office of Virginia Gov. John Dalton withheld final hudgement on the rule until it can study the announcement. "We don't know the extent of the order yet," said John H. Wessels, executive assistant to the governor.
District of Columbia officials also were waiting for a copy of the rule, which the Department of Energy spotlighted in a press release earlier this week.
But Theresa Augustono, an energy planner for the District of Columbia government, said the shifting of gasoline would not help stations within the city very much. "As we see it, the whole city is suffering from a shortage," she said.
Oil company officials said they were studying the rule to determine how they could shift supplies if state officials demanded it. "Obviously, there are a lot of problems connected with doing that," said Pat O'Connor, a spokesman for Exxon.
"You have a great deal of difficulty playing judge to decide when you take gasoline away from one dealer and give it to another," he said.
While state officials mulled over the meaning of gasoline rules, motorists waited for gasoline in long lines given
One line at a Chevron station at Georgia Avenue and 13th Street in Silver Spring contained 58 cars. Customers there said they waited an average of one hour for gasoline.
Obtaining information about gasoline supplies was almost as difficult as obtaining gasoline. In cells by The Post to 195 District stations, 34 had numbers that were disconnected, unpublished or out-of-service.
Another 26 stations refused to set hours before they receive their July shipment. All other stations gave hours with the qualifier, "if we have gas."
Four stations had no gas at all.
Dealers complained that they had trouble obtaining information from their companies.
"No one tells me anything," said the owner of Quality Service Station, 1200 ss. Capitol St.
Fourth of July
The following stations in the District will be open from 8 a.m. to noon, tFourth of July:
Jack's Exxon, 801 H St. NW; Citadel Mobil, 1731 Kalorama Rd. NW; Connecticut Avenue Amoco, 5001 Connecticut Ave. NW; Davis Exxon, 4501 14th St. NW; Forth Dupont Shell, 4107 Alabama Ave. SE; Pennsylvania Avenue Amoco, 2500 Pennsylvania Ave. Se; Scott's Mobil, 4501 Bowen Rd. SE; Mason Brothers Exxon, 4854 Dean [Burroughs] Ave. Ne; and Ward's Amoco, 400 Rhode Island Ave. NE.
Here is a list of gasoline stations in the District of Columbia that a city energy official said will sell gasoline between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday:
Pennsylbania Avenue Gulf, 2300 Pennsylvania Ave. SE; Hillcrest Shell, 2721 Naylor Rd. SE; Bill's Gulf Servicenter, 5120 Georgia Ave. NW; Jamison's Sunoco, 1253 Ninth St. NW; Melby's Gulf, 3124 Mount Pleasant St. NW; MacArthur's Service Center Amoco Station, 5101 MacArthur Blvd. NW; Parkway Shell, 1944 Bladensburg Rd. NE; and Webb's Exxon Servicenter, 4100 Hunt Pl. NE.
Following are telephone numbers of agencies providing information deal with gasoline emergencies:
District of Columbia Mayor's command center: 727-6161. An official said it will be staffed from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Prince George's Country "hot line" 779-1151. An official said it would be staffed from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
American Automobile Association: 222-5000. Officials said AAA members may obtain small quantities of gas or be toward to a nearby station if they are stranded.
New Flag System
Washington area service stations have been asked to display special flags, nothing the availability of gasoline.
A green flag means leaded and unleaded gasoline are available.
A yellow flag means only leaded gasoline can be purchased.
A red flag means a station's pumps are closed.
Gas station owners in the District of Columbia can pick up flags at the Munsey Building, 1329 E St. NW, Room 1258. CAPTION: Chart, Daily Gasoline Guide