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May 15: Gasoline boycott day

by Richard Masoner

The annual ” Boycott Gasoline” emails are making the rounds again as the price of gas tops $3/gallon in much of the USA. The date for the 2007 boycott — May 15 — happens to fall right on Bike To Work Week! I think I’ll participate in the boycott!

Oh wait, I already do boycott gas.

The suggested boycott of just switching purchases to another gas station for a day doesn’t work. The only effective way to reduce the price of a limited product is to reduce the demand. In other words, if you want cheaper gasoline, you have to buy less of it. To buy less gasoline, you need to drive less. Since most of us need to show up for work, one way to drive less is to Commute By Bike.

 
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21 Responses to “May 15: Gasoline boycott day”

  1. Jett says:

    On snopes.com, they mention:

    An event like a “gas out” can sometimes do some good by calling attention to a cause and sending a message. In this case, though, the 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? Those who really want to send a “message” to oil suppliers should try not buying any gasoline for several months in a row.

  2. Ghost Rider says:

    For more information on why these “boycotts” do nothing, please visit:

    http://www.snopes.com/politics/gasoline/nogas.asp

    Fritz is right — reduce demand by using less on a LARGE SCALE is the only way things will change…so, everyone: get on those bikes and ride!!!

  3. James says:

    Someone in my office showed me the message he received this morning. No one sends me those pointless boycott messages anymore. Either they figured out that my bike doesn’t take gas, or they didn’t like my responses to the previous forwards.

    Either way, like you, I will be participating by default.

  4. wolfy says:

    I don’t understand why lower gas prices would help the situation.

    -M

  5. Jett says:

    Yes Wolfy, where’s the email going ’round that talks about what we can do to RAISE gas prices ? ;-) .

  6. Shawn says:

    I guess I am participating by defualt as well. Even though the No Gas Boycott is bogus.

  7. John G says:

    I’m still waiting for “Make gas irrelevant to your whole way of life Year.” But, I’m not there yet either.

  8. Mike says:

    I agree with Wolfy. Lower gas prices will encourage more driving and less fuel efficiency. I forget which site I saw it on, but gasoline’s cost to society is around $15/gallon when you factor in price supports, environmental damage, health effects, road subsidies, oil wars, and the like. (Frankly I thought the price would be higher! Go figure.)

    If we want more responsible driving, we should be demanding that the government stop subsidizing it or start taxing gasoline to make the price closer to its real cost.

  9. Ann says:

    I have kids in school…in order to afford housing, we live in the outskirts of town…school is 11 miles away. Driving is just the way it is for us…I’d love to live within biking/walking distance for things….we just can’t afford to live that close to town.

  10. Karen says:

    I wouldn’t drive more if gas was less expensive, I would just save more to buy food, pay rent and basically survive. I am tired of the lame excuses as to why the gas prices are going up and then see the oil company quarterly reports that indicate record profits. Let’s reduce their profits and send a message saying enough is enough.

  11. Linda says:

    I dont understand why our gas price keep going up? can anyone tell us why? I feel that our troops are over there fighting this should bring everthing down not go up. ENOGUH IS ENOUGH NOW

  12. wolfy says:

    That’s EASY!!!

    Supply is low and demand is high. Remember, we’re buying gas, not oil.

    -M

  13. Jett says:

    Ann, I find living intown much cheaper than living 11 miles away. How can you afford cars? They’re SO expensive.

    Karen, I’m all for sending a message. That’s why I ride my bike. It doesn’t use gas at all.

    Linda, quit buying gas and the price will go down.

    Also, understand that our gas prices are artificially low. You don’t have to buy many tanks of gas in Europe to understand how cheap it is here. Mike makes that point in his comment.

    BTW, does anyone know if these are real people I just responded to? ;-) .

  14. Dave says:

    Bike To Work Week is this week. Try it, you will like it, maybe even switch. Track your miles and know how many pounds of CO2 you avoided burning.

    I’m also responding about the choices we all make about where to live and how to get around. My kid is in school too but we chose to live in town on a smaller lot, an older house in nice area, with character– and my bike commute is 4.5 miles, quite do-able from April thru October, then I bus to work. We chose a hybrid car for the family and it gets 45 mpg for real. All in all, increased sustainabiliy is closer to our reach if we are willing to change. The cost of gas remains too low, I heard today it was a higher relative dollar cost in 1981. Either you buy into the old mindset (suburban car dependence, two job slavery) or you think outside the box (come back to the city, take care of your neighborhood, and voila– community and sustainability).

    Linda, the battle for cheaper gas will not be won with guns as the fossil fuel resource is not growing with world demand. Renewable fuels and conservation are the best way to get out of the Oil Trap.

    Bike On!!! Bike to work, make every day Earth Day. Exercise is the secret bonus for health and happiness. Who needs a coffee for a pick me up after biking to work?

  15. michael says:

    I think you guys are on to somthing here. I think its a great idea and i admire you for what you do. I personally dont know anyone who rides there bike to work. If i did this i would be the talk around the water jug. Then maybe someone would join in. It seems like im at the hardest part of this “getting started” i live in the houston,tx area and traffic is thick. any advice on geting over the hump of starting.

  16. Shawn says:

    Michael – just do it. Get people talking. But please find a safe route devoid of traffic. neighborhoods are always fun to cruise through. Especially in the summer when you can see all the moms on your ride home. Giggity!

  17. Jett says:

    Michael, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You might try driving part way and riding the rest, or bringing your bike to the office and riding at lunch. Mass transit can serve as a bridge; you can make test rides on Sunday morning (the quietest street time in Atlanta at least).

    The point is, there are lots of alternate ways to ease into the commute. This allows taking baby steps instead of leaps and bounds and your confidence builds up more quickly and safely. It also avoids having to make all the adjustments at once.

    Thanks guys for a good discussion. I’ve been enjoying this.

  18. Sandy says:

    Hi Michael…..I lived in Houston, Texas for 25 years and was a taxi driver so I know what the traffic is like there. I know that I did not feel safe riding a bike there…too afraid of getting run over by a truck or car and getting my bike hijacked and mugged. Some of those foreign drivers there don’t know how to drive. And then you have the scorching humid heat in the summer….a/c is needed.

    I am rambling but it’s nice to meet another Houstonian.

    Sandy

  19. BJ says:

    Well, here’s my take on saving gas via boycott:
    10. Work longer days but less days – hang at home an extra day! (Could save you 20% on your gas!) I think they should do this with school busing too – reduce education costs everywhere.
    9. Find at least 1 day to ride a bike to work, rideshare or take the bus. And if it’s a long distance- try putting an electric motor on your bike, or a gas 120 mile-per-gallon. (Could save another 20% on your gas!)
    8. Ask employers to give office employees 1 day at home a week to work from home (computer). Some might even be able to work more from home.
    7. Don’t mow your lawn (not a big impact but it’ll all add up). See NoMowGrass.com for grass that doesn’t grow too tall.
    6. Buy food at Farmer’s Markets (it has to travel least amount of distance to get to your table). Better yet- add a veggie & fruit garden to your patio or landscape.
    5. Get to know your local butcher. Food won’t be traveling far.
    4. Buy less packaged items (many plastics are petro -based).
    3. Shop online to compare prices before driving to buy anything and don’t drive to shop unless you have a list. Or just buy online and let the postal deliver with the mail.
    2. Patronize delivery places that use bike-delivery verses cars. Have patience and wait for your food.
    1. Do a family vacation on bikes using local Bike trails and campgrounds or state forests.

    In other words -Live Better via the Boycott

  20. Christina says:

    I have an idea for a bumper sticker….although a bumper sticker can’t really fit on a bike. :s “Boycott big gas….Ride a Bicycle!” Seriously, I think you could turn the so-called Gas boycott to your advantage.

    I know that supposedly it puts off the inevitable for those who decide not to make this a regular thing but maybe it might. Not to mention, while it wouldn’t put a huge dent in the amount of gas used, it’s still a larger dent than those who just stay away from the gas umps until another day and still use their vehicle.

  21. Fritz says:

    Thanks for the comments, all. A bumper sticker idea I saw recently was “High gas prices: Like it or bike it!”

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