If you want to boycott BP take a close look in the mirror

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

If you buy gas you are supporting BP (and the rest of the oil industry) and if you really want to boycott BP (and the rest) then you have to change your ways.

Bought gas lately? Then you’re supporting BP. While it is next to impossible to boycott BP it is also very easy. What you mean that is an oxymoron?

The real problem is that national calls for boycotts of BP stations are relatively ineffectual as BP sold its last filling station a few years back. You may be preventing a few cents from entering BP’s wallet, but that is about all.

If, on the other hand, you fill up at a rival station, you may be giving 80 cents on the dollar to BP, as it is their gas, oftentimes, even if not labeled as BP. Great, eh?

So how can you, the little guy in the street, really hurt BP?

The answer is very simple: Drive less.

Punishing BP Is Harder Than Boycotting Stations

With each day that BP's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico continues more and more drivers in the USA are weighing a choice that if BP is on the left and some other station is on the right, is filling up at BP an endorsement of the company’s conduct? Many, therefore, go and fill up at the other station.

Public Citizen and many other Advocacy organizations like them urge consumers to stay away from BP stations. About 550,000 Facebook users have clicked the “Like” button on the Boycott BP page. And angry people have picketed at BP stations.

This does not, however, send a particularly powerful message to BP for, after all, BP owns only a handful of the 11,000 stations that bear its brand and is trying to sell the few still on its books.

This means that those who wish to inflict the maximum amount of pain on the company are instead putting much of the hurt on the family businesses that actually own the stations.

The only way that motorists, yes, you, the one who drives that car there, can hurt BP and other oil companies – though you also may hurt the gas station owners who may be an independent just getting the gas from this or that company, is by actually, and this is really, really radical...

by actually driving less and instead walking, using a bicycle – my favorite choice – or public transportation.

As long as you fill up with gas to drive you are supporting the oil companies, most of which do not run very clean operations, and that in more than one aspect.

You want to boycott BP? Then don't drive.

© 2010