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Skip the April 15 Gas Out and Boycott Gas Companies One Day a Week Forever

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There’s an article making its way around Facebook right now that calls for a gas boycott on April 15, 2011. If you haven’t seen it yet, hold on. You will. Because everyone thinks this is such a good idea. Let’s all of us just drive right on past the gas station that day. That’ll show those darn oil companies that we mean business. They’ll have to lower gas prices … or else!
I applaud the effort, really, I do. But there are two big problems with a gas out: participation and long-term effects.

Participation

One of the emails going around suggests that we use a chain letter approach to notify friends and relatives of the proposed gasoline boycott. According to the math, if we all notified 35 people, via email, then within eight days there would be something like 300 million people participating in this gas out.

Sorry. But notifying 300 million people and expecting that all 300 million will participate – no matter what the event – is unrealistic. At most, one percent of those 300 million will participate. That means 3 million people out of the 310 million that populate the United States. To put it in even simpler terms, if everyone who didn’t participate bought $1 worth of gasoline that day, the gasoline companies would collect $299 million instead of $300 million. Not really a very big dent at all, is it?

Gas-out vs. Boycott

How much difference is it really going to make if everyone drives on by the gas station on April 15? Not much at all. Because most people are going to buy extra gas on April 14 or 16. What would make more of a dent is to boycott the oil companies, which means to refuse to buy their product, period.

Other than to go to work and back home again, I only leave my house one or two days a week. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not a recluse, by any means. I just do all of my errands, shopping, and even most of my entertainment either on the way to work or on the way home. And I plan my route accordingly before I get in the car.

Take a look at your own driving habits and see just how many miles you can eliminate if you planned a little better. Once you eliminate those needless miles then you’ll be able to pass right by that gas station once or twice a week.

A boycott makes the math look so much better, too. Now, instead of hitting the gas companies for $300 million on a single day, which we’d really end up spending the day before or the day after anyway, we can hit them for that once or twice a week – forever.

How this could work?

The whole point of this rally is not to completely eliminate using your car one or two days a week. Although, if that’s a possibility in your family, go for it. But our lifestyles today make that almost impossible.

But what you can do is eliminate purchasing a couple days worth of gasoline. Take a look at your weekly usage to see how many gallons of gas you buy each week and divide by seven. Next, see how many miles you’re driving every week and divide by seven.

Now, all you really need to do is take a look at how you’re using that car and that gasoline and see if you can eliminate one or two days worth of mileage and gasoline, even if you have to spread it out over the week.

How can you knock off those miles and save that precious gasoline?

Take the bus – If you live in an area that has public transportation, take the bus, on those days when you don’t have any stops to make on the way home.

Carpool – Most people hate carpooling because it limits their after-work mobility. Only carpool on those days you don’t have any stops to make on the way home.

Plan ahead – Instead of dropping everything to run the kids to the mall, post a “driving calendar” on the refrigerator so you can drop the kids off while you’re getting your hair done and pick them up when you’re done at the grocery store. Let everyone know – unplanned trips have to be worked in wherever they won’t cost additional gasoline.

Plan your route – You’ll be surprised at how many gallons of gas you can save if you just map out your route before you leave home. Make a list of all of your stops and plot them on your mental map, or an actual map if need be, so you’re not wasting gasoline crossing your own path.

Walk or ride a bike – If all you need is a loaf of bread or a half gallon of milk, hop on that bike or put on your walking shoes. The exercise will do wonders for your figure and the extra money in your pocket at the end of the week won’t hurt, either.

You can help

Now, spread the word! Quit passing around that email about a gas-out on April 15 and start telling everyone about an all-out boycott, beginning April 15. That gas-out will just make us all look like clowns, scampering around on April 14 and 16 to make up for the gas we don’t buy on April 15. Let’s really stick it to those gas companies and quit buying gas – one day a week – forever!

At the top of this article you’ll find a Facebook Share button and a Twitter Tweet button. You’ll also find buttons here at the bottom to share this article on other social sites. Click those buttons and get the message out. Let those gas companies know we’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take this anymore – forever!

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About Donna Anderson

  • Dungarees

    The story suggests: “Let’s really stick it to those gas companies and quit buying gas ?” one day a week ?” forever!”

    Sorry, but that’s the same as not buying on April 15, or not buying on any other day. Better you suggest “quit using gas one day a week – forever!” By not using their product you’ll save money, and by not using their product you’ll get your “boycott” point across to the oil industry.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/donna-anderson/ Donna Anderson

    Hi Dungarees,

    Thanks for helping to clarify the difference between skipping one day and completely eliminating a day’s worth of gasoline usage every week – forever. I tried to get that across in the “how could this work” section but you added some extra oomph to it. And thanks so much for taking the time to comment!

  • Boeke

    I get it: boycott gas so that the price falls and we can consume more gas more cheaply.

    Or something like that.

    Sounds like a perpetual motion machine.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/donna-anderson/ Donna Anderson

    Boeke, and if we really didn’t consume more gas, the gas companies would just start jacking the price back up again anyway. Just like they do now. But at least they’d be starting from a lower price point.

    Thanks for taking the time to comment. Much appreciated.

  • Marisol

    I don’t think anyone is going to have to get extra gas on the 14th or the 16th – a gas tank is not bottomless. And in the email I got, it said last time this was done, gas prices did go down. Maybe, maybe not, I do agree that a better solution would be to boycott one particular gas company altogether. We really don’t have to tolerate rising gas prices because of speculation…and at least people are trying to get this point across – I think that’s worth something

  • Don

    I wasn’t aware of the boycott grassroots movement until I saw it last night on the news. I think the strategy of boycotting buying gas on a particular day won’t work because people will still fill up one day before or after. The gesture is noble but futile. What people should do instead is boycott one particular company for a quarter (3 months) . This way one company will feel the financial pain of masses of clients boycotting them. They will hurt bad and might lower prices to attract clients back or it will just collapse their share price when the lack of revenue is reflected in their quarterly report. Share price tanks and CEO and execs lose!

    Just a thought.

    Don

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/donna-anderson/ Donna Anderson

    Hi Don,

    And you probably didn’t hear much about it on the 16th either, the day AFTER everyone was supposedly going to ‘not buy gas for a day.’ That’s because most people just ignored it. Either that or, like you said, they filled up the day before. It’s ridiculous to think that not buying gas for one day is going to hurt the oil companies. They make billions and billions of dollars in profit each year. Missing a few sales for one day isn’t even a drop in the ocean to them.

    What’s really sad is that we’ve become so desensitized to being gouged by the big oil companies that when someone does try to do something – like start a boycott or a gas-out, most people just belittle the attempt. THOSE are the people we need to worry about.

    Thanks for commenting Don. Have a good weekend.

  • Marcinko412

    What you are saying isn’t the point. The point is to show the oil companies that we will not put up with these prices and that they cannot control us. I am all in favor of this because the American people need to learn how to become one again and how to fight for the things that we want. We have become to scared to do anything out of our comfort zone and we are to segregated these days to have anything like this happen. We need to remember that we art us not who the government or the oil companies say we are. The oil companies are pretty much forcing a monopoly upon us with these ridiculous gas prices. So i believe that showing them that we are not going to take this abuse and that they cannot control us

  • Marcinko412

    i dont mean to sound aggressive… i jsut took the time to read all of your comments and i realized you position on this argument!

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    I don’t use my car much, so I guess you could say I boycott oil companies 29 days out of every 30.

  • Edward C.

    To Marisol – the claim in the “gas out” e-mail that this “worked” in April 1997 is a lie. I did a little search and found an MSNBC article from a couple of years ago that noted there was very little change in prices from the beginning to the end of that month.

  • Justin Fratz

    If we buy the same gas before or after the 15 aren’t we giving them the same amount of money on different days? All It would achieve is more congested gas pumps on the days before and after and maybe throw off the people in accounting (though they would probably be expecting it since its being publicized). Maybe they would feel some pain from not making money on the interest they would make in a day from the sales from one day (diminished by the fact that some people would buy gas the day before and they would therefore make money off of the interest for an extra day on the extra sale from people that wouldn’t have bought gas until the next day).
    That is also assuming that the oil company makes it’s money when you fill up your tank. Its more likely that the oil company makes its money when the gas station orders a tanker to fill up its tanks. In that respect you would only be hurting gas station owners for a day, since they would have already bought the gasoline and would actually be the ones forced to sit and lose a day of income not only from the sale of gas, but of the people that go into their convenience stores whilst waiting for their cars to be fueled.
    If you really want to hurt oil companies, stop using so much gasoline. How about a day of not driving? Ride a bike, walk, take public transportation, car pool more, buy a more fuel efficient used vehicle, change the way you drive to conserve more fuel. If we all took these steps EVERY day, we could have an impact 1000 times greater than simply not buying fuel on one particular day.

  • crankyittybitty

    NO GAS APRIL 15th. I’m so fed up at this point, I’m going to take it one step further. I won’t be at the pumps April 15th or anywhere else for that matter. Thats right, OIL can kiss my $3.87/Gal red, white, and blue, because my gas guzzlers aren’t going to be on the road at all. I’M STAYING HOME.
    Ashley

  • maab

    if you really want gas prices to drop, people need to stop buying fuel from 1 particular company until they lower prices. for example, if everyone stops buying gas from Shell (let’s say for 3 weeks), and only buys from anyone BUT shell, they will lower prices to attract business. once prices drop, everyone go buy gas from Shell and only Shell. if fuel prices all of a sudden rise, stop buying fuel from them again, but with a penalty of the original 3 weeks plus an additional week. repeat until prices stabilize. repeat as necessary. you can would need a large group of people to make this viable.

  • Bob

    I appreciate your article for sure. I wish people would talk more about alternatives though. You do mention walking/riding and public transportation but I’d like to add ethanol to the list. And for those who would argue against it please take a minute to visit alcoholcanbeagas dot com and educate yourself. The petroleum companies have waged a very successful campaign against ethanol for fuel.