Friday, May 11, 2007

One-Day Gas Boycotts: Not Affecting Oil Companies Whatsoever Since 1999

Once again, word is circulating through the tubes that we can bring oil companies to their knees by refusing to buy gas on May 15th.

Once again, oil companies are not scared, and are in fact laughing at you right now, high up in their towers constructed from the bones of polar bears.

Why? Because one-day gas boycotts don't actually involve buying less gas. They just shift the purchase from one day to another, without actually costing the gas station any sales over the course of a week. It's not like the gas is going to go bad on that one day you don't buy it.

As my friend Lowell from Raising Kaine has pointed out, a one-day event would work only if it was a driving boycott. But that would involve actually changing your behavior, as opposed to a one-day gas buying boycott, which allows you to feel revolutionary as you continue to zip around unimpeded in your gas-guzzling Lincoln Navigator.

The Urban Legend website has an in-depth analysis of why one-day gas boycotts are both wildly popular and completely ineffective. Go read it. A great summing-up:
[T]he only message being sent is: "We consumers are so desperate for gasoline that we can't even do without it for a few days to demonstrate our dissatisfaction with its cost." What supplier is going to respond to a message like that by lowering its prices?
Want to send a message about gas prices? Take public transportation for a day or a week or a month. Buy a hybrid. Walk. Bike. Carpool.

A one-day gas boycott? Don't make Dick Cheney laugh.
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