More than 90 percent of Washington area gasoline station again will be closed Sunday but it is unclear whether this will result in long lines at the pumps as it did last weekend, according to the American Automobile Association.
"People are calming down and I hope that we'll be better off this weekend if everyone will stay cool and not top off their tanks," said Glenn Lashley, public relations manager for the AAA's District of Columbia branch.
Supplies of gasoline continue to be curtailed below normal levels by about 5 to 15 percent, according to oil suppliers.
Industry spokesmen and local officials emphasize that these supplies should be enough for most normal needs if everyone will conserve gasoline by driving 15 miles or so less per week.
"It looks considerably better than last weekend. Everyone seems to be behaving themselves and people have learned a pretty tough lesson last weekend," said Vic Rasheed, executive director of the Greater Washington-Maryland Service Stations Association.
Larry Stone, a Citgo sales manager, pleaded with the public to treat the company's employes well this weekend.
"They're getting threatened, intimidated, they're getting verbal abuse," said Stone of what happened last weekend, when long lines formed at many stations in preparation for the Sunday closings. "Emotions are running high, but try to remember our employes are human and they need understanding."
The phenomenon of "topping off' tanks by filling them in anticipation of a gasless Sunday causes havoc, suppliers say, because this drains already short supplies out of service station storage.
Much of this gasoline is never used on Sunday but simply stays in automobile tanks while drivers who may need gas go without.
Lashley said 85 percent of the area's stations will be open Saturday, but that most of these will close by sundown.