The cheap gas was organized by the New American Energy Opportunity Foundation, a group that’s in favor of increased domestic energy production in the U.S. and critical of the Obama administration’s energy policies. Among those on hand for the promotion were former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R), who stopped by to lend support, and the “Gas Can Man” a smiling gas can mascot that has been appearing at similar events in Ohio, Virginia and elsewhere.
Organizers say they planned to provide the cheap gas for about 150 motorists between 7:00 and 9:00 this morning. They said drivers started lining up a half hour before the event in order to take advantage of the offer. Some of the drivers, organizers said, asked whether they could still fill up even though they were Obama supporters (yes, they could).
Two Arlington police officers helped direct traffic during the event, preventing drivers on busy Columbia Pike from queuing up for the promotion. Still, traffic on eastbound Columbia Pike was slow as drivers stopped to ask the officers why they weren’t allowed to block the Pike’s right-hand lane in order to wait for one of the pumps to open up.
Signs placed around the station during the event blamed President Obama for higher gas prices.
“No CHANGE to fill my gas tank!” said one.
“Can Obama,” said another.
The $1.84 per gallon price of gas reflects the price just before President Obama’s inauguration in 2009, in the midst of the country’s economic crisis. Organizers said the president’s energy policies have led to an increase in gas prices since he took office.
The price of gas at the Citgo station down the street from the event today was $3.55 per gallon. By comparison, in June 2008 under President George W. Bush, the average price of gas in the U.S. was $4.10 for a gallon of regular unleaded.
Photos by ARLnow.com and courtesy of Scot Crockett, as labeled
Gingrich, a McLean resident, will be appearing at the Pentagon Liberty gas station at 2300 Columbia Pike (next to Bob & Edith’s Diner) from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m., when the station will be offering gasoline for $1.84 per gallon. The event is sponsored by the New American Energy Opportunity Foundation, a group that promotes increased energy production in the United States.
The group has been critical of the Obama administration and, in September, connected the “anti-American uprising in the Middle East” to “our nation’s destructive energy policies.”
The $1.84 per gallon price reflects the price of gas in 2008, before President Obama took office and in the midst of the country’s economic crisis.
The New American Energy Opportunity Foundation issued the following press advisory about the event.
Newt Gingrich will appear at a New American Energy Opportunity Foundation “Gas Can Man” event taking place at the Pentagon Liberty Store at 2300 Columbia Pike tomorrow [Nov 2] from 7:00 AM to 9:00 AM. Drivers will be provided with $1.84 a gallon gasoline “to dramatically show voters what life was like before President Obama imposed onerous restrictions on domestic oil and gas exploration that resulted in soaring gas prices,” according to NAEOF spokesman Joe DeSantis.
The “Gas Can Man” promotion has been a “hugely successful effort throughout the state of Ohio this week, attracting immense crowds and media coverage. We expect the turnout in Arlington tomorrow will create quite a stir,” he said. It is part of a massive campaign to educate Americans on how energy independence can be achieved and includes a million dollar national radio ad buy, hundreds of thousands of dollars in newspaper advertising, a major Internet presence, including a video that can be viewed at www.EnergyIsOpportunity.com.
DeSantis explained that the events have been successful in increasing awareness of the fact “that we need to begin tapping America’s enormous energy resources now. We have the resources at hand to produce all the energy we need. Vast amounts of oil and gas are right under our feet. Energy independence is a practical and viable goal.”
The New American Energy Opportunity Foundation is dedicated to empowering citizens and lawmakers to make the changes needed for the United States to reach its full energy production potential, creating more jobs, lower prices, and greater national security.
The plan, from Arlington-based affordable housing developer AHC Inc., would replace the gas station with a six-story, 83-unit apartment building for lower-income tenants.
According to slides from a recent AHC presentation to the Columbia Heights West Civic Association, the building will consist of 15 one-bedroom apartments and 68 two-bedroom apartments. Residency would be reserved for those making below 50 to 60 percent Area Median Income (AMI). The building is also expected to have 6,700 square feet of retail space and a “high-level of energy efficiency.”
The development would be located next to an existing AHC property: the 116-unit Harvey Hall apartment building at 860 S. Greenbrier Street. AHC owns 22 apartment communities in Arlington.
Over the next month or so, AHC will be applying for project funding through Arlington County’s affordable housing investment fund and through federal low income housing tax credits. AHC is pursuing the development via Form Based Code, which does not require County Board approval. Last night the Columbia Pike Form Based Code Advisory Working Group held a meeting to review the project.
By replacing the gas station, AHC says the building will enhance “a site that is underdeveloped and a visual detriment to the neighborhood.” If funding is secured, and if no significant environmental contaminants are found on the site, AHC hopes to begin construction in March 2013 and finish construction in the fall of 2014.
Images via AHC Inc.
Update at 8:00 p.m. — One lane of northbound Glebe Road opened around 6:00 p.m., according to Arlington Alerts.
Update at 5:00 p.m. — The gas leak has been stopped, firefighters are clearing the scene, and the southbound lanes of Glebe Road have been reopened. So far, northbound Glebe Road remains closed.
Update at 4:00 p.m. — Washington Gas has told firefighters that they have located the source of the gas leak and that it will be about another half hour until they can shut off the gas.
All lanes of Glebe Road have been shut down between Route 50 and N. Pershing Drive due to a gas line rupture.
Initial reports suggest that a major gas line was cut by a utility crew, necessitating extended road closures. Crews from Washington Gas are on the scene using digging equipment outside an apartment building at Glebe Road and N. Piedmont Street. The building has been evacuated and a strong odor of natural gas can be smelled a block away.
Police are on the scene directing traffic. Firefighters are monitoring gas levels in nearby storm drains and standing by with fire hoses in hand should something ignite the gas. Pedestrians, including school children walking home from school, aren’t being allowed on a two block portion of Glebe Road.
Drivers should plan for possible significant rush hour traffic impacts as a result of the closure.
Rosslyn Exxon Robbed at Gunpoint — The Exxon at 1824 Wilson Boulevard, in the Rosslyn area, was robbed early Wednesday morning. Police say two men robbed the gas station at gunpoint around 2:50 a.m. “The suspects were both African American men in their 30’s, around 5’10,” Arlington County Police said in the department’s daily crime report. “One subject was wearing a ski mask; the other had a medium complexion and a small mustache.”
Wag More Dogs Case Heading Back to Court — In a newspaper op-ed entitled “Arlington County Scrooges Need Bigger Hearts,” Wag More Dogs owner Kim Houghton says the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to hear her case early next year. Houghton, with the assistance of the Arlington-based Institute for Justice, is suing Arlington County over a dog mural painted on the side of her Shirlington doggie daycare business. The county has deemed the mural an illegal sign, while Houghton argues that it’s a work of art. [Washington Times]
D.C. Area Cars Are Getting Older — The average age of vehicles on Washington area roadways continues to rise. The average age of a car in the D.C. area is now 9.25 years — a one year increase since 2005. “It is likely that the recession has had a strong influence on people’s interest in and ability to purchase new cars,” according to Arlington’s CommuterPage Blog. The blog also notes that the older car fleet has a “negative impact” on local air quality. [CommuterPage Blog]
Flickr pool photo by mj*laflaca
The Navy Exchange/Quarters K gas station on S. Joyce Street, near the Pentagon, closed for good about a month ago. The Navy Times reports that the station will eventually be demolished as part of the cemetery expansion plan.
The expansion is being made possible by a 2008 land swap deal between Arlington County and the federal government. At some point after 2011, the county will exchange a 4.3 acre parcel of land along Southgate Road — which runs from Henderson Hall to the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Joyce Street — for 4.3 acres of land on the present Navy Annex site along Columbia Pike.
The county is eying the western portion of the Navy Annex, which will be shuttered and torn down, for a proposed Freedman’s Village heritage center and black history museum. The federal government, meanwhile, plans to eliminate Southgate Road to make way for the aforementioned planned expansion of Arlington National Cemetery.
Another aspect of the expansion plan is playing out in the halls of congress. Arlington’s congressional delegation has been seeking funding for a realignment of Columbia Pike between the Air Force Memorial and S. Joyce Street. The proposed project would eliminate a sharp bend in the road that routes it closer to the cemetery. Instead, the proposed realignment would take the Pike on a more direct path to Joyce Street, through what is now a Defense Department parking lot.
The project promises to “provide additional contiguous expansion space for the Cemetery” while enhancing the streetscape and resulting in “significant improvements in safety, mobility and economic development along the Columbia Pike Corridor.”
Congressman Jim Moran’s office confirmed that the Pike realignment was still in the planning stage but was unable to provide an approximate timeline for the project due to uncertainties regarding funding.
Storm Grazes Arlington — Last night’s storms brought wind and torrential rains to much of the region, but only grazed Arlington. Nonetheless, the storm managed to pack enough of a punch to knock down a large branch in Fairlington, near the intersection of S. Utah Street and 32nd Road.
Arlington Among Fuel ‘Teetotalers’ — Arlington residents spend among the least per month on gasoline, according to an analysis of data from major metropolitan areas by Mint.com. Arlington residents are “teetotalers” at $129 per month spent on fuel. That compares to $112 for D.C. residents and $102 for New York City residents, who spend the least. The biggest “guzzler” was San Jose, Ca. at $216 per month per resident. [CommuterPage Blog]
Sun Gazette Editorial Blasts Feuding Dems — The Sun Gazette has seen enough of the “sad spectacle” of the “uniformly amateurish” primary campaigns of state Senate foes Jaime Areizaga-Soto and Barbara Favola. The paper opines that the feuding Democrats have embarked “on a mission of self-immolation, conspiring for whatever bizarre reason to throw away control of the 31st District.” The war of words in the campaign has opened up an opportunity for Republican Caren Merrick to capture the traditionally Democratic seat, the paper suggests. [Sun Gazette]
Several people have emailed us and asked about the Shell station at 2835 Washington Boulevard in Lyon Park. Fences have been erected around the station and heavy equipment brought in to dig up the concrete around the pumps. That has led some to fear that another area gas station might have fallen victim to development.
Fear not, the station is merely upgrading.
County records show that the station is replacing three underground 10,000 gallon tanks. The construction crew is merely digging to reach the tanks.
Workers we talked to said the station will likely be closed for about a month.
Because of today’s breaking news, we had to push our article on last night’s very, very long discussion of the East Falls Church development plan to tomorrow. As a way of making amends, we bring you a segment from the English-language Russian
propaganda news channel Russia Today, which you may be able to find in a dark corner of your extended digital cable service.
In the clip, a reporter interviews some folks at a Shell station in Arlington about America’s “addiction” to oil (spoiler: people at a gas station are in no hurry to ditch their cars). But the real reason to watch is for the American anchor’s lead-in to the reporter’s story:
And when it comes to the topic of petrol, and America’s appetite for it, we’re like heroin addicts. And as the color of the waters of the Gulf turn from a murky blue to a poop brown, RT’s Lauren Lyster asked Americans, “Can you kick the habit?”
That’s right, comrades, we’re heroin addicts and our water is poop brown. Courtesy of a TV network from the world’s largest oil producer.
As if to make the setup to an otherwise perfectly normal news story more ridiculous, before you press play you’re treated to a photo of a drunk Uncle Sam holding a gas pump.