Grant Circle Closed Due to Oil Spill

Photo by PoPville flickr user and Petworth resident Wayan Vota

From Wayan:

“Seems an oil slick down southbound New Hampshire Ave NW made a slip-slide for cars approaching Grant Circle. Three accidents later, DCPD has closed off the Circle to clean off the oil.

Expect a traffic jam on surrounding side streets as drivers look for alternate routes this evening.”

From MPD:

“All traffic approaching Grant Circle NW, will be shut until further notice; this will include northbound and southbound traffic towards the Circle; from Illinois Ave, 5th Street and Varnum Street, NW. This is an oil spill from a tanker truck. DCFD and DDOT are attempting to clean-up. We will advise the community when traffic re-opens”

Update 9:05pm: Grant Circle reopened to traffic.

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19 Comment

  • Damn you BP.

  • Slightly off topic, but did anyone else see today’s Post article indicating that many DC drivers were ignoring calls to boycott gas from BP. And how, you might wonder, did they get most of their information to indicate the boycott wasn’t working? … by interviewing customers getting gas at BP.

  • Boycotting BP stations is stupid. I don’t mean that in an ideological way; I mean it factually. BP (like basically every company save Exxon) franchises stations. Generally, what this means is that they have almost nothing to do with running them — they’re mostly serving as advertising. All BP gets from the deal is some negotiated amount of gas that the station will buy from them in a given period (e.g., 6 truckloads every 2 weeks, to keep the example simple). What you’re really boycotting are locally owned businesses that happened to accept money from BP at some point in the past to allow BP to put up its signs, colors, etc. They get that money up front in order to rennovate and/or update their stores and stations (including putting up those signs), and then they are obligated from some X years to buy that minimum amount of gas from BP. If they need more than that, they can buy from whomever they like. Further, that gas they’re buying from BP might also have nothing to do with BP except on paper. At the rack (the gas station for gas stations, if you will), BP might not have any gas that day — in fact, they may not stock gas there at all — meaning that the gas “from BP” is really Exxon’s gas (or Shell’s or Chevron’s or whoever else’s). Even if it’s BP’s, they might not have drilled for it, pumped it, put it through a pipeline, refined it, or had anything to do with it before accepting ownership of it. They might have bought it or swapped gas somewhere else for it on an exchange.

    In short, boycotting BP stations is stupid because the only person being punished is the local business owner who has to buy that gas or pay a penalty if she doesn’t have room to take it.

    • By your logic, then, boycotts are fundamentally wrong. The same is true of McDonald’s, Domino’s Pizza, and any number of other businesses that franchise.

      I am not making an argument for or against boycotts in general, but there is no question that BP will notice a boycott of BP gas stations. They buy stuff from BP. BP earns money in proportion to their sales.

      Yes, there will be collateral damage, but that is true of boycotting ANYTHING. Because every company has employees.

      • I think the point was that BP might notice, but you could cause a small business owner to go under who had absolutely nothing to do with the accident.

        It would be much more effective to boycott all gas, because to be honest, not a single oil company has the resources or plans to deal with this type of accident. BP just got unlucky.

      • You’re incorrect. They’ll eventually hear from their franchisees, but those people still have to buy the gas (or pay a fee if they can’t take it) because they are under contract for money already paid to them. It might drop overall demand and thus drop rack prices and lower those numbers for them, but that assumes you aren’t buying gas somewhere else instead, which is not what you’re stating. Unlike most franchises, gas stations are uniquely independent, and you really are just hurting a local business owner. Plus, if their own stations aren’t taking gass, it’s just sold to another oil company and their stations. Plus, you have no idea if your alternative stations where you’re going instead of BP are still selling BP gas. Costco, for example, is a huge reseller of BP gas in a lot of the US.

        The only party being punished in any meaningful way by a boycott is the local station owner, who took BP’s money long before the oil well leak.

        • So basically you think that the brand “BP” on a gas station has absolutely no connection to the oil company “BP”

          Why then, would they bother branding anything?

          As I said, there will be collateral damage. What do you know about other franchises? Many restaurant and food store franchises don’t even sell any products at all to their frachisees, they just get a franchise fee.

          So should we not speak with our dollars when it comes to anything?

          A brand is a brand. If the outcome of boycotting a BP gas station is that the station decide to change to a different brand for their store, or goes out of business, then it’s a victory, isn’t it?

          But that was the point. To make them notice. If you didn’t cause economic harm, and consequently harm people who work for that company at the margin, then it wouldn’t serve any purpose. Every dollar of economic impact you cause will, by definition, affect the livelihood of someone who works for that company. Those people are one and the same as the company itself.

          Bottom line is your logic applies to any company you might boycott. If there’s a brand on something, then the brand owner has an economic stake in it, and if you don’t speak with your dollars because you are concerned about the fact that an employee will also suffer, then you’ve just chosen to patronize a business you hate.

          Should I shop at Wal-Mart because I feel an obligation to keep their crappy-waged employees in a job? I mean really.

          • Does McDonalds sells burgers to Burger King? Does Wal-Mart sell through Target if they don’t have a store in the region but distribution centers galore? I’m not saying that BP has no connection to their franchisees; I’m saying that boycotting a few stations (or even all of the stations in a region) is barely a ripple. Most of those stations make more on snacks and cigarettes than they ever do on gas. BP is losing, maybe, 3 or 4 cents per gallon not bought, and if their franchised stations aren’t buying, they’ll just sell through another outlet and be just fine. Their money on gasoline comes at the wholesale level, not retail, and BP-branded stores are not the majority of that current make-up of fuel sales. Plus, BP would still make money by translating the market trends into cash by speculating and hedging on that data on regional exchanges or by doing swaps of inventory with other sellers to shift their non-selling product into excess product to serve higher performing retail markets elsewhere.

            You can speak with your dollars, but the only person that’s going to hear you are the franchisees, not BP.

  • Watch out next time it rains and the small amount of oil floats, very slick.

  • Ultimately, it’s Halliburton’s fault.

  • Part of it is Nixon’s fault.

  • And Krushchev

  • anyone know where, specifically, this spill was? North side? South side? On NH?

    (I’m usually annoyed at the Captcha-reporters, but “We Slowdown” seemed hard to pass up)

  • Anybody else notice the heavy traffic this week on New Hampshire between Grant Circle and Georgia Ave? We though maybe they were changing around the light-timers, or that some other street was closed. It has been super backed up all week and I don’t think this oil skick could be the cause. Thoughts?

    • Hum, I haven’t noticed too much traffic on the North side of Grant Circle. Although, one day I did notice that traffic was backed up through the intersection at Webster and that doesn’t happen very often.

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