Across the country
, news outlets are reporting
grassroots boycotts of BP gas in response to the Gulf oil spill. As
local station owners begin seeing serious losses
consumer advocacy groups, The Chicago Sun-Times
and Facebook pages
(at least one boasting 600,000 members) continue to urge consumers to
bypass BP-branded gas stations. But what is the end result of such a boycott and who is it really hurting?
- You're Barely Hurting the Corporation, writes Gregory Karp at The Chicago Tribune:
"Boycotting BP gas stations does not hurt the oil company's coffers
much, at least directly. BP doesn't even own the 11,000 BP-branded
stations in the United States. The company started getting out of the
retail gas-selling business a couple years ago. In fact, all big oil
companies did because it wasn't profitable enough."
Hurting the Little Guy, writes S.E. Jones at Helium: "The main reason
that boycotting BP gas stations is a bad idea is because in doing so,
you will only be hurting Americans that own, or run, or just work at
these gas stations. Boycotting the stations won’t hurt BP, because the
number of people that would join the boycott would be insufficient to
even appear on their bottom line. ... The only real affect you might have is causing that
station to go out of business causing the owner and his employees to
lose their jobs. How is that hurting BP?"
- Signage Can Be
Deceiving, writes Diana Zoga at News 4 in St. Louis:
"Connections to BP aren't always apparent. A sign on a gas station that
says BP may not always sell fuel that comes from BP's wells. Haim Mano,
an associate professor of marketing in the College of Business
Administration at the University of Missouri - St. Louis says that BP is
a major player in the wholesale market. The company sells fuel to a
variety of sources and gas you buy at another station may actually carry
BP gas and vice-versa."
- It's a Lot Harder to Escape BP
Products Than You Think, writes Kait
Rayner at WJBF in Augusta: "BP does more than just sell gas. their
petroleum is used to make tires, sunglasses, and cleaning supplies. It's
in your lipstick, your shampoo...and even in your toothpaste."
Needs Money to Clean Up the Spill, adds S.E. Jones: "[BP] is going to need all the
cash it can get its hands on because oil companies are heavily
investment oriented companies. They don’t just keep cash lying around to
toss at problems should they arise. To come up with the kind of cash
that is needed to clean up the gulf, BP is going to need the cash income
from its gas stations, otherwise it will have to divest some of its
inventory, which could take a considerable amount of time, during which,
the cleanup would be stalled."
- Still Need a Way to Vent Your
Anger? Alissa Figueroa at The Christian
Science Monitor offers some alternatives:
-Bike or walk. Don’t drive.
-Drive smarter. Consolidate your
driving trips; include some form of public transportation in your
-Turn down your air conditioner, or in the winter,
turn down the heat.
-Visit house.gov or senate.gov to learn how your congressmen stands on
the upcoming energy package. If you don’t like their stances, write a
letter or call.
-If you do have some experience cleaning birds or
managing toxic spills, volunteer your time in the Gulf. Note that there
is not enough staff on hand to train people, and the oil is toxic, so if
you don't have any oil clean-up experience, you're not encouraged to
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