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.
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!