Lines at area service stations will be shorter, gasoline will be more easily available and more stations will operate during evening hours this week, according to local energy officials.
"I think conditions have stabilized quite a bit, despite the fact that we aren't getting enough in allocations," said Glenn Lashley, spokesman for the Washington branch of the American Automobilie Association.
"People have adjusted," Lashley said. "I don't think the lines are going to extend out into the streets this week like they have in the past."
Officials said the odd-even system of allocations and emergency setaside programs have eased the gasoline squeeze in the area. They reminded motorists that today is an even day.
Maryland officials, meanwhile, said 102 gasoline stations, including 32 in Montgomery and Prince George's counties, will operate for the first time during evening hours this week, as part of the state's emergency setaside program.
Each of the Maryland stations will be open on two evenings - one odd and one even day of their own choosing - from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
In the District, eight stations will remain open between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. this week. They are:
Garland Alston's Exxon, 1720 New York Ave. NE; Market Exxon, 400 Florida Ave. NE; Putnam's Exxon, 6350 Georgia Ave. NW; Brown's Exxon, 3128 Georgia Ave. NW; Call Carl Exxon, 2929 M St. NW; Pettaway's Sunoco, 1248 Pennsylvania Ave. SE; Gouldin's Exxon, 3825 Alabama Ave. SE, and Exxon USA, 1001 South Capitol St. SW.
The easing of the gasoline crunch yesterday found beelines of travelers taking to area highways while nearby resorts, beaches and shopping centers reported growing numbers of visitors.
Most dealers contacted at service stations that were open yesterday said that automobile lines and customer waits were about the shortest for any Sunday since the gasoline grip began hert more than a month ago.
Marked increases were reported this weekend in hotel and motel occupancy at resort areas such as Colonial Williamsburg, Va., and the Shenandoah National Park area near Luray, Va.
In Williamsburg, the Hilton Motor Lodge was more than 80 percent booked for the weekend. On previous weekends, according to a Hilton official, fewer than half the rooms were occupied.
Baltimore Harbor tunnel officials and Chesapeake Bay Bridge police reported, meanwhile, that traffic yesterday was the heaviest of the summer. Tunnel police said 1,00 more cars per-hour travled under the harbor yesterday than on previous Sundays this summer.
Locally, merchants at Montgomery Mall and Landover Mall said their parking lots were packed with more cars than on previous Sundays this summer. And Bob Chen, manager of the Village Mall Cinema in Gaithersburg, added a final bit of good business news. "We're breaking our house record this weekend," Chen rejoiced. CAPTION: Chart, Daily Gasoline Guide