Fuel efficient vehicles is just one reason why the number of gas stations in the U.S. have been declining over the last 25 years. According to the Community & Environmental Defense organization, there were 202,800 gas stations across the nation in 1994 compared to 156,065 in 2012. Other than cars getting better gas mileage, other contributing factors to the decrease include new stations adding additional pumps, supermarkets and big box retailers offering less expensive gas in order to attract consumers. If a new gas station is being proposed in your town, ask for a gas station need assessment. Approximately 3,000 to 6,000 people living or working in a market area are needed to support a single gas station located within a half to a mile and a half from the site. For more information about needs assessment click http://ceds.org/convenience.html#Assessing_Gas_Station_Need. Residents of Ocean Township who oppose the development of over 30 acres of historic land are challenging the necessity of the proposed Wawa/convenience store, which is only a fraction of the Ocean Town Center Development project (corner of Deal Road and Hwy 35). Within the local vicinity of the proposed project, there is a sufficient number of gas stations including Gulf, Exxon, O.T. and Sunset Service Stations, Shell, Costco Gas Station, 2 Sunoco stations and the newer QuickChek station/convenience store on Hwy 35 North. An ideal location for a gas station/convenience store would need to be distant from residential homes and not within view of historic resources. An ideal location would also need to be away from ground or surface water resources and designed with few escape routes for criminals as convenience stores are a known target. An additional factor to consider is if the area can accommodate a new station without putting others out of business. This could lead to abandoned gas stations, which deteriorate the aesthetic appeal of a community. Ocean Twp residents will be directing their questions on Thursday, January 4th at the Ocean Township High School at 7pm to Paramount Realty as they present their development plan to the community.