Code of the District of Columbia

§ 36–304.01. Prohibition on conversions.

(a) For the purposes of this section, the term “full service retail service station” means any retail service station location which provides a garage, service bay, work area, or similar enclosed area for repairing, maintaining, servicing, or otherwise working on motor vehicles, or any service islands. Such repair, maintenance, and service work may include, but is not limited to, the installation or replacement of batteries, tires, fan belts, lights, brakes, water pumps, mufflers and other parts and accessories and the performance of motor oil changes, lubrications, wheel alignments, tune-ups, tire repairs, brake adjustments, and general repair and maintenance work and services.

(b) No retail service station which is operated as a full service retail service station on or after April 19, 1977, may be discontinued, nor may be structurally altered, modified, or otherwise converted, irrespective of the type or magnitude of the alteration, modification, or conversion, including, but not limited to, any alteration, modification, or conversion which has the effect of merely obstructing access to an existing garage, service bay, work area, or similar enclosed area by any motor vehicle which was previously accommodated, into a nonfull service facility or into any other use.

(c) No person who is an operator of any full service retail service station on or after April 19, 1977, including any person who is a subsequent operator of any such retail service station, or who, in any manner, controls the operation of any such retail service station, shall substantially reduce the number, types, quantity, or quality of the repair, maintenance, and other services, including the retail sale of motor fuels, petroleum products, and automotive products, previously offered. Such operators shall maintain the retail service station’s existing garages, service bays, work areas, and similar areas in a fully operational condition and reasonably equipped to perform repair, maintenance, and service work on motor vehicles, including the provision of a qualified individual or individuals who is or are capable of performing repair, maintenance, and service work on motor vehicles during a reasonable number of hours per day and of days per week. This subsection shall not be construed as prohibiting any person who operates or controls a full service retail service station from discontinuing the retail sale of motor fuels at such retail service station, provided that less than 20% of such retail service station’s gross revenue derived from the retail sale of motor fuels, petroleum products, and automotive products and from the repair, maintenance, and servicing of motor vehicles is derived from the retail sale of motor fuels, and provided further that such discontinuance of the retail sale of motor fuels shall not authorize any other substantial reduction in repair, maintenance, or other services previously offered. This subsection shall not be construed as prohibiting a full service retail service station from selling motor fuels on a self-service basis, provided that such retail service station continues to sell motor fuels on a nonself-service basis.

(d)(1) An exemption may be granted to the prohibitions contained in subsections (b) and (c) of this section if:

(A) A petition for exemption has been filed with the Gas Station Advisory Board (“Board”), established pursuant to subsection (e) of this section, by both a distributor and a retail dealer (collectively referred to as “petitioners”) that complies with the requirements of paragraph (2) of this subsection;

(B) The Board makes a determination, pursuant to paragraph (3) of this subsection, that an exemption should be granted and makes a recommendation to the Mayor to grant the exemption; and

(C) The Mayor, in agreement with the Board, grants the exemption.

(2) To be considered for an exemption under this subsection, petitioners must file a petition with the Board that includes:

(A) Plans and a certification by petitioners that the station will be improved in the following ways:

(i) By improving or increasing the lighting of the facility (to a reasonable level);

(ii) By improving customer accessibility to the gasoline dispensers; and

(iii) By improving customer conveniences, including separate restroom facilities for men and women, a working air hose for automobile and bicycle tires, and water for windshield cleaning equipment;

(B) Any existing site market studies that justify the conversion;

(C) Certification that petitioners have notified the Advisory Neighborhood Commission (“ANC”) in which the station is located and any ANC within one-quarter mile of the station, and has met or offered to meet with any affected ANC before submission of the petition for exemption regarding their plans for the station and its impact on the neighborhood; and

(D) Certification by petitioners that, should the application be granted, any later changes to the building design or lighting will be submitted to any affected ANC before the application for building permits.

(3) The petition for exemption shall include any existing site market studies that justify the conversion.

(A) The Board shall only make a recommendation to grant an exemption if the Board finds that:

(i) The operator of the full service retail service station is experiencing extreme financial hardship; and

(ii) Another full service retail service station exists within one mile of the station which provides equivalent service facilities.

(B) In addition to the requirements in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph, the Board shall give due weight to the views of the community and the affected ANC.

(4) If the Board makes a recommendation to the Mayor that an exemption should be granted under this subsection, the Mayor shall issue a determination on the petition not less than 45 days, nor more than 60 days, after the date the petition is submitted, deemed complete, and notice of thereof has been published in the District of Columbia Register. If the Mayor does not issue a determination within the 60 days, the petition shall be deemed approved.

(d-1) A distributor shall not attempt to threaten or coerce an operator of a full service retail service station into:

(1) Converting the station from a full service retail service station to a non-full service retail service station; or

(2) Submitting a petition for exemption from the requirements of subsections (b) and (c) of this section to the Board.

(e)(1) There is established a Gas Station Advisory Board to consider petitions for exemption from the requirements contained in subsections (b) and (c) of this section.

(2) The Board shall consist of 5 members as follows:

(A) One member representing the retail service station dealers, appointed by the Mayor;

(B) One member representing the oil companies, appointed by the Mayor;

(C) One member representing the community interest, appointed by the Mayor;

(D) One member representing the community interest, appointed by the Council;

(E) One member representing the Mayor.

(3) Members of the Board appointed under this subsection shall continue to serve until their successors are appointed.

(4) The Board shall establish and publish, for 30 days comment, the rules and for 30 days comment, additional criteria which shall be used in reviewing the petitions for exemptions.

(f) The Mayor shall study the motor vehicle repair, maintenance, and other services being offered by existing full service retail stations and non-full service retail service stations to residents, commercial establishments, commuters, and other affected persons in the District of Columbia, both in terms of adequacy and in terms of convenience. This study shall include an analysis of the impact of converting existing full service retail service stations to non-full service retail service stations in various areas of the District of Columbia. The Mayor shall study the adequacy of existing retail service stations to serve the needs and convenience of residents, commercial establishments, commuters, and other affected persons with respect to the retail sale of motor fuels, petroleum products, and automotive products in various areas of the District of Columbia. The study shall include an examination of the petroleum products and automotive products being offered by commercial establishments other than retail service stations. The Mayor shall, if necessary, present to the Council a preliminary report within 30 days after September 21, 2000. A final report detailing the findings of the study, including the Mayor’s recommendations or proposals with respect to any necessary or desirable legislation or other actions, shall be submitted to the Council no later than June 1, 2001.

(f-1) On January 1, 2009, the Gas Station Advisory Board shall provide to the Council a report on the impact of the Retail Service Station Amendment Act of 2007 [D.C. Law 17-80]. The report shall include statistical data as to the impact on independent dealers as a result of jobbers operating the retail service stations they own on:

(1) Independent dealers;

(2) Gasoline prices;

(3) Opening of new retail service stations; and

(4) Closing of existing retail service stations.

(g)(1) Any person, including the principal officers or agents of a corporation or association, who falsely certifies a petition for exemption, or willfully or knowingly fails to provide information required by this chapter, or intentionally provides misleading information required by this chapter, upon conviction, shall be subject to a fine of not less than $2,000, but not more than $5,000, for each offense.

(2) Any owner or operator of a retail service station who converts or causes the conversion of the retail service station without procuring an exemption pursuant to this section shall be guilty of a civil infraction, subject to a penalty of $20,000, and the license to operate the retail service station shall be suspended or revoked until such time as operation comes into compliance with this chapter. The Mayor may adjust the fine by rulemaking.

(3) Any owner or operator of a retail service station which, as of April 8, 2005, has been converted into a non-full service facility in violation of this section, shall have 90 days to either restore the facility to full service or obtain an exemption from the from the Gas Station Advisory Board pursuant to subsection (d) of this section. Any owner or operator who fails to comply with the provisions of this subsection shall be subject to a penalty of not less than $5,000 per day.

(h) The District of Columbia Office of Energy, unless another agency is designated by the Mayor shall, pursuant to subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2, issue rules to implement the provisions of this section which shall include a requirement that each petition for exemption include an estimated date of completion for each phase of a full service retail station conversion.

(i) The Office of Energy or successor agency, unless the Mayor shall direct otherwise, shall be the agency charged with the civil enforcement of this section. The adjudication of any civil infraction under this section shall be pursuant to Chapter 18A of Title 2 [§ 2-1831.01 et seq.].

(j) The Mayor shall notify the Gas Station Advisory Board of any building or construction permit application filed by or on behalf of an owner or operator of a full service retail service station. The Mayor shall provide a copy of the permit application within 10 days of receipt.


(Apr. 19, 1977, D.C. Law 1-123, § 5-301, 24 DCR 2371; Dec. 29, 1979, D.C. Law 3-44, § 2(c), 26 DCR 2093; Oct. 24, 1981, D.C. Law 4-45, § 2, 28 DCR 4269; Mar. 14, 1985, D.C. Law 5-145, § 2, 31 DCR 5975; Dec. 16, 1987, D.C. Law 7-59, § 2, 34 DCR 7085; Sept. 21, 1988, D.C. Law 7-148, § 2, 35 DCR 5427; Aug. 17, 1991, D.C. Law 9-44, § 2, 38 DCR 4986; Apr. 18, 1996, D.C. Law 11-110, § 22, 43 DCR 530; Apr. 9, 1997, D.C. Law 11-196, § 2, 43 DCR 4564; June 24, 2000, D.C. Law 13-130, § 2, 47 DCR 2688; Apr. 8, 2005, D.C. Law 15-297, § 2(d), 52 DCR 1485; Jan. 29, 2008, D.C. Law 17-80, § 2(b), 54 DCR 11883; July 18, 2005, D.C. Law 18-35, § 2(a), 56 DCR 4282; May 2, 2015, D.C. Law 20-271, § 211, 62 DCR 1884.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 10-231.

1973 Ed., § 10-231.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 36-302.05.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 13-130 rewrote this section, which previously read:

“(a) For the purposes of this section, the term ‘full service retail service station’ means any retail service station location which provides a garage, service bay, work area, or similar enclosed area for repairing, maintaining, servicing, or otherwise working on motor vehicles, or any service islands. Such repair, maintenance, and service work may include, but is not limited to, the installation or replacement of batteries, tires, fan belts, lights, brakes, water pumps, mufflers and other parts and accessories and the performance of motor oil changes, lubrications, wheel alignments, tune-ups, tire repairs, brake adjustments, and general repair and maintenance work and services.

“(b) No retail service station which is operated as a full service retail service station on or after April 19, 1977, may be structurally altered, modified, or otherwise converted, irrespective of the type or magnitude of the alteration, modification, or conversion, including, but not limited to, any alteration, modification, or conversion which has the effect of merely obstructing access to an existing garage, service bay, work area, or similar enclosed area by any motor vehicle which was previously accommodated, into a non-full service facility until October 1, 1999.

“(c) No person who is an operator of any full service retail service station on or after April 19, 1977, including any person who is a subsequent operator of any such retail service station, or who, in any manner, controls the operation of any such retail service station, shall substantially reduce the number, types, quantity, or quality of the repair, maintenance, and other services, including the retail sale of motor fuels, petroleum products, and automotive products, previously offered until October 1, 1999. Such operators shall maintain the retail service station’s existing garages, service bays, work areas, and similar areas in a fully operational condition and reasonably equipped to perform repair, maintenance, and service work on motor vehicles, including the provision of a qualified individual or individuals who is or are capable of performing repair, maintenance, and service work on motor vehicles during a reasonable number of hours per day and of days per week. This subsection shall not be construed as prohibiting any person who operates or controls a full service retail service station from discontinuing the retail sale of motor fuels at such retail service station, provided that less than 20 per centum of such retail service station’s gross revenue derived from the retail sale of motor fuels, petroleum products, and automotive products and from the repair, maintenance, and servicing of motor vehicles is derived from the retail sale of motor fuels, and provided further that such discontinuance of the retail sale of motor fuels shall not authorize any other substantial reduction in repair, maintenance, or other services previously offered. This subsection shall not be construed as prohibiting a full service retail service station from selling motor fuels on a self-service basis, provided that such retail service station continues to sell motor fuels on a non-self-service basis.

“(d)(1) A petition for exemption shall be filed with the Mayor by both a distributor and a retail dealer (‘petitioners’). The Mayor may grant an exemption to the prohibitions contained in subsections (b) and (c) of this section if the petitioners agree in writing that the distributor will perform the following:

“(A) Structurally alter, modify, or otherwise convert a retail service station, irrespective of the type or magnitude of the alteration, modification, or conversion, including, but not limited to, any alteration, modification, or conversion that has the effect of merely obstructing access to an existing garage, service bay, work area, or similar enclosed area by any motor vehicle that was previously accommodated, into a non-full service facility; or

“(B) Substantially reduce the number, type, quantity, or quality of repairs, maintenance, and other services including the retail sale of motor fuels, petroleum products, and automotive products; and

“(C) Certify that a station is experiencing financial hardship; or

“(D) Certify that there is another retail service station within 1 mile of the station that provides equivalent service facilities; and

“(E) Certify that the distributor will improve the station in the following ways:

“(i) Improve or increase the lighting of the facility;

“(ii) Improve customer accessibility to the gasoline dispensers; and

“(iii) Improve customer conveniences including separate mens and womens restroom facilities, a working air hose for automobile and bicycle tires, and water for windshield cleaning equipment.

“(2) The Mayor shall issue a determination on the petition within 45 days after the date the petition is submitted and deemed complete. If the Mayor does not issue a recommendation within the 45 days the petition shall be deemed approved.

“(e)(1) Within 30 days of the effective date of the Paternity Acknowledgment and Gas Station Advisory Board Re-establishment Emergency Act of 1996, the Mayor shall appoint a Gas Station Advisory Board to make recommendations on petitions for exemptions. The Board shall consist of 5 members: One representing the retail service station dealers, 1 representing the oil companies, 2 representing the consumer interest, and 1 representing the Mayor.

“(2) The Board shall establish and publish, for 30 days comment, the rules and procedures which shall govern its conduct.

“(3) The Board may establish and publish, for 30 days comment, additional criteria which shall be used in reviewing the petitions for exemptions.

“(f) The Mayor shall study the motor vehicle repair, maintenance, and other services being offered by existing full service retail stations and non-full service retail service stations to residents, commercial establishments, commuters, and other affected persons in the District of Columbia, both in terms of adequacy and in terms of convenience. This study shall include an analysis of the impact of converting existing full service retail service stations to non-full service retail service stations in various areas of the District of Columbia. The Mayor shall study the adequacy of existing retail service stations to serve the needs and convenience of residents, commercial establishments, commuters, and other affected persons with respect to the retail sale of motor fuels, petroleum products, and automotive products in various areas of the District of Columbia. The study shall include an examination of the petroleum products and automotive products being offered by commercial establishments other than retail service stations. The Mayor shall, if necessary, present to the Council a preliminary report within 30 days after September 21, 1988. A final report detailing the findings of the study, including the Mayor’s recommendations or proposals with respect to any necessary or desirable legislation or other actions, shall be submitted to the Council no later than June 1, 1989.

“(g) Any person, including the principal officers or agents of a corporation or association, who falsely certifies a petition for exemption, or willfully or knowingly fails to provide information required by this act, or intentionally provides misleading information required by this act, upon conviction, shall be subject to a fine of not less than $500, but not more than $2,000, for each offense.

“(h) The Mayor shall, pursuant to subchapter I of Chapter 15 of Title 1 issue rules to implement the provisions of this act which shall include a requirement that each petition for exemption include an estimated date of completion for each phrase of a full service retail station conversion.”

D.C. Law 15-297, in subsec. (b), deleted “until October 1, 2005” following “nonfull service facility”; in subsec. (c), deleted “until October 1, 2005” following “previously offered”; repealed subsec. (e)(4); rewrote subsec. (g); in subsec. (h), substituted “The District of Columbia Office of Energy, unless another agency is designated by the Mayor” for “The Mayor”; and added subsecs. (i) and (j).

D.C. Law 17-80 added subsecs. (d-1) and (f-1).

D.C. Law 18-35 rewrote subsec. (d)(2).

The 2015 amendment by D.C. Law 20-271, in (b), substituted “discontinued, nor may be structurally altered” for “structurally altered” and added “or into any other use” at the end; and rewrote (d).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary amendment of section, see § 2 of the Extension of the Moratorium on Retail Service Station Conversions Emergency Amendment Act of 1995 (D.C. Act 11-101, July 21, 1995, 42 DCR 4007).

For temporary amendment of section, see § 2 of the Extension of the Moratorium on Retail Service Station Conversions Emergency Act of 1996 (D.C. Act 11-280, June 28, 1996, 43 DCR 3667), § 2 of the Extension of the Moratorium on Retail Service Station Conversions Congressional Review Emergency Act of 1996 (D.C. Act 11-419, October 28, 1996, 43 DCR 6088), § 2 of the Extension of the Moratorium on Retail Service Station Conversions Second Congressional Review Emergency Act of 1996 (D.C. Act 11-479, December 30, 1996, 44 DCR 209), and § 2 of the Extension of the Moratorium on Retail Service Station Conversions Congressional Review Emergency Act of 1997 (D.C. Act 12-19, March 3, 1997, 44 DCR 1762).

For temporary requirement for the Mayor to issue rules to implement the provisions of this act, see § 3 of the Extension of the Moratorium on Retail Service Station Conversions Emergency Act of 1996 (D.C. Act 11-280, June 28, 1996, 43 DCR 3667), § 3(a) of the Extension of the Moratorium on Retail Service Station Conversions Congressional Review Emergency Act of 1996 (D.C. Act 11-419, October 28, 1996, 43 DCR 6088), § 3 of the Extension of the Moratorium on Retail Service Station Conversions Second Congressional Review Emergency Act of 1996 (D.C. Act 11-479, December 30, 1996, 44 DCR 209), and see § 3 of the Extension of the Moratorium on Retail Service Station Conversions Congressional Review Emergency Act of 1997 (D.C. Act 12-19, March 3, 1997, 44 DCR 1762).

For temporary designation of title as the Gas Station Advisory Board Re-establishment Emergency Act of 1996, see § 201 of the Paternity Acknowledgment and Gas Station Advisory Board Re-establishment Emergency Act of 1996 (D.C. Act 11-356, August 8, 1996, 43 DCR 4561.

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 211 of the New Columbia Statehood Initiative, Omnibus Boards and Commissions, and Election Transition Reform Emergency Amendment Act of 2014 (D.C. Act 20-481, Nov. 18, 2014, 61 DCR 12133, 20 STAT 4405).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 211 of the New Columbia Statehood Initiative, Omnibus Boards and Commissions, and Election Transition Reform Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2015 (D.C. Act 21-7, Feb. 26, 2015, 62 DCR 2646, 21 STAT 807).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of section, see § 2 of the Gas Station Advisory Board Emergency Amendment Act of 2015 (D.C. Act 21-190, Oct. 29, 2015, 62 DCR 14230).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2 of the Gas Station Advisory Board Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2016 (D.C. Act 21-280, Jan. 29, 2016, 63 DCR 1177).

Temporary Legislation

Section 2 of D.C. Law 11-68 amended subsection (b) by striking the phrase “October 1, 1995” and inserting the phrase “October 1, 1999” in its place; amended subsection (c) by striking the phrase “October 1, 1995” and inserting the phrase “October 1, 1999” in its place; and amended paragraph (e)(4) by striking the phrase “October 1, 1995” and inserting the phrase “October 1, 1999” in its place.

Section 3(b) of D.C. Law 11-68 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect or upon the effective date of the Extension of the Moratorium on Retail Service Station Conversions Amendment Act of 1995, whichever comes first.

Section 202 of D.C Law 11-206 rewrote (e).

Section 401(b) of D.C Law 11-206 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.

Section 2 of D.C. Law 13-72 amended this Act to establish a moratorium on the conversion of full service retail service stations to limited service retail stations until October 1, 2003, and to extend the life of the gas station advisory board.

Section 3(b) of D.C. Law 13-72 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2 of the Gas Station Advisory Board Temporary Amendment Act of 2015 (D.C. Law 21-60, Jan. 30, 2016, 62 DCR 15610).

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2 of Gas Station Advisory Board Temporary Amendment Act of 2016 (D.C. Law 21-164, Oct. 13, 2016, 63 DCR 10166).

Mayor's Orders

Exemption from Moratorium on Conversions of Full Service Retail Service Stations: Amoco Oil Co. Station located at 2917 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, S.E., Washington, D.C: See Mayor’s Order 90-61, March 21, 1990.

Exemption from Moratorium on Conversions of Full Service Retail Service Stations: Amoco Oil Company (Ronnie's Amoco) Station Sherman Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C: See Mayor's Order 92-14, February 10, 1992.

Exemption from Moratorium on Conversions of Full Service Retail Service Stations: Exxon Company, U.S.A. Station North Capitol Street, N.E., Washington, D.C: See Mayor's Order 92-113, September 21, 1992.

Exemption from Moratorium on Conversions of Full Service Retail Service Stations: Exxon Company, U.S.A. Station Florida Avenue, N.E., Washington, D.C: See Mayor's Order 92-129, October 20, 1992.

Exemption from Moratorium on Conversions of Full Service Retail Service Stations: Amoco Oil Company Station South Dakota Avenue, N.E., Washington, D.C: See Mayor's Order 93-52, April 30, 1993.

Exemption from Moratorium on Conversions of Full Service Retail Service Stations: Exxon Company, U.S.A. Station Pennsylvania Avenue, S.E: See Mayor's Order 94-159, July 12, 1994 ( 41 DCR 4965).

Exemption from Moratorium on Conversions of Full Service Retail Service Stations: Exxon Stations located at 3535 Connecticut Ave., N.W., and Connecticut Ave., N.W: See Mayor’s Order 98-91, June 9, 1998 ( 45 DCR 4562).

Exemption from Moratorium on Conversions of Full Service Retail Service Stations: Mobile Station located at 2200 P St., N.W: See Mayor’s Order 98-119, July 24, 1998 (45 DCR 6381).

Exemption from Moratorium on Conversions of Full Service Retail Service Stations: Exxon Station South Dakota Avenue, N.E., see Mayor's Order 2000-71, May 2, 2000 (47 DCR 4752).

Fleet Management Policy, see Mayor’s Order 2000-75, May 11, 2000 ( 47 DCR 4758).