• Apr 15th 2011 at 9:30AM
  • 139
Consumers,fed up with high gas prices, are starting to ... Consumers,fed up with high gas prices, are starting to fight back (basykes, Flickr).
With nationwide gas prices hitting an average of $3.80 per gallon this week, consumers are truly feeling the pain at the pump. And, as a result, they're starting to fight back.

Several campaigns across the Internet and on social media platforms, especially Facebook, have recently popped up, asking consumers to organize for "National Gas Boycotts." The thinking behind these campaigns is that if a large number of participants skip buying gasoline for the day, demand will plummet and prices will follow in suit, just like we were taught in Economics 101.

The boycotts certainly aren't new. In fact, there seem to be rumblings of mass protests every time a dramatic increase in gas prices occurs. Because gas prices have hit record highs for this time of year, we're starting to see them surface again.

One popular status update and mass email has been urging people to recreate "history" by boycotting gas stations on April 15, 2011.

"GAS OUT APRIL 15, 2011. In April 1997, there was a 'gas out' conducted nationwide in protest of gas prices. Gasoline prices dropped 30 cents a gallon overnight. On April 15th 2011, please do not go to a gas station in protest of high gas prices... Please re-post this to your status if you agree!"

On Facebook, the frequency of reposting has been increasing, according to All Facebook, meaning that the word is getting out and more and more people are signing up to skip the pump this Friday. And given the nature of social networks, awareness could still easily increase exponentially.

But even if every American that is on Facebook (51% of the population, aged 12 and up) signs up to boycott on April 15 and actually goes through with it, will it really make a difference? Will the evil oil companies really lose out on billions of dollars after one day of no sales like the calls to action promise?

In a word, no.

The fact is that what dictates the price of gasoline is far more complicated than the boycotts would have you believe. What you pay per gallon at your local gas station is based on a complex combination of what goes into finding and refining crude oil (transportation costs, exploration, profit, etc.), the operational costs of the gas station (which include marketing and profit) and, of course, state and federal taxes.

The perennial ups and downs that gas prices experience are mainly driven by the first part of that equation, which is why you see gas prices spike when natural disasters strike near refineries (Hurricane Katrina) or civil unrest threatens crude oil production (Middle East protests). Because of this, one day of low gasoline sales in the United States simply is not going to disrupt that equation in any significant way.

So while the thought of protesting high gas prices is a good one, we'll have to look for a much stronger action to take than a one-day boycott. We certainly don't want to discourage anyone from participating, of course, because the boycott can work as a symbolic gesture. If enough people stand up and protest perhaps our movers-and-shakers may become more and more motivated to look for the energy alternatives for which we are becoming increasingly desperate.

Until then, we recommend you numb the pain at the pump by driving slower, keeping your tires inflated and carpooling whenever possible.

Will you be participating in a gas boycott? Tell us in the comments!


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  • 139 Comments
      uqj0
      • 4 Years Ago
      you damn people are letting them raise gas and putting tax on it you retarted people dont do nothing about it everyone needs to starting putting there foot down about this crap come on start getting mad and having hudge flash mobs and riots till they do something about them gas prices you know washington is behind this wake up stupid tards maybe if you start protesting you dont want to have 5 or 6 or maybe 7 a gal
      uqj0
      • 4 Years Ago
      Drive Slower no dont think so only grandma and grandpas drive slow and the not knoing how to drive ones they scared of the car and let the car control them you dont let the car control you you control the car if you scared of the car you dont need to be driving at all
      • 4 Years Ago
      Face it! It is time to fire everyone in Government and start over. Their only loyalty is to their highest Donors not the voters. Take back America Vote them all out!
      jacobtoyou
      • 4 Years Ago
      WELL THIS IS WHAT YOU GET WHEN YOU VOTE SMUCKS INTO OFFICE, IF YOU LOOK AT THE STATES THAT ARE IN TROUBLE LOOK WHO THEY ELECTED ,I DON'T HAVE ANY FEELINGS FOR THEM IF THEY ARE THAT STUPID TO VOTE THE SAME PEOPLE BACK IN I FIGURE THEY ARE GETTING ALL THEY DESERVE. IT SEEMS THAT EVERY TIME THE COUNTRY GETS INTO MONEY PROBLEMS THE LEFT WINGERS ARE IN CHARGE OF BOTH HOUSES.THE TIME WHEN CLINTON WAS IN OFFICE HE WAS SMART ENOUGH TO WORK WITH THE REPUBLICANS WHO CONTROLLED BOTH HOUSES. THAT SHOULD HAVE TOLD VOTERS WHAT IS WHAT BUT MOST AMERICANS GOT THERE MIND WARE THE SUN DON'T SHINE. THAY STILL BLAME BUSH BUT BOTH HOUSES WERE CONTROLLED BY LEFT WINGERS FROM 2006 THAT SHOULD HAVE TOLD THEM SOMETHING.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Big oil has no moral integerity. If I ran out of gas in front of an Exxon station, I would walk 5 miles to next station to buy my gas. Not that it would make any difference to them, but I would feel so much better!
      '57mad
      • 4 Years Ago
      every year it is the same thing happens the refineries claim they have to shut down in order to switch the fuel mixture but none of the big oil companies offer to build any new refineries to take over produciton of these fuels needed while they cut production in other areas.and every year the govrenment says to be patient and the prices will level off ,but every year the prices go up and so do the big oil companies record profits while the public sits on their hands and allows it to happen. then we have 67 percent fuel taxes that are misused and abused while the same government spends and spends on road projects that seem to never stop, and as far as the unemployment records in this story they are off by half the unemployment in ohio is at 18 percent and the 60 percent that are employed in jobs that are paid weekly are being paid minimum wage 8 dollars or less a hour while costs of fuel,food,electric,natural gas have gone up 7 percent each year since nine eleven. the average cost of living raise in ohio is less than 3 percent. this article is so full of false infromation i can't believe it was allowed to be published on the net. nothing will be done about gas prices because the president and his staff /government want people to switch to alternate fuel source vehicles . the only thing is the people that are hit the hardest can not even afford the gas/fuel for these cars nor the 30-40 thousand dollar price tag that goes with them. whcih the president nor the cabinet/government seem to wan to see as they fly around in private jets and drive gas guzzling fleets of tahoes and limos.maybe if we cut the fuel supply to their jets and fleet vehicles they would get the picture. as peresident washington said when the government fails to serve all the people it is time to remove them from power even if it means civil war. of course our president and the government seem to forget our own history and as the saying goes- when you forget history your doomed to repeat it .. ..........kind of reminds me of nero playin his fiddle while the city /nation burns/goes down the toilet.
      jfsny14626
      • 4 Years Ago
      UNDER Mr Obama the man who had all the answerers ! unemployment is 10% + gasoline is at $4 per gasoline China’s Economy to Surpass U.S. Economy in 5 Years Expert: Mexican Drug Cartels Infesting US, Even Our National Parks we now have a $14 trillion deficit /bush left us with a $577 billion dollar deficit Dollar plunges lowest level in more than two-and-a-half years MR OBAMA ISNT A democrat he is a Marxist that's why the American people are against his policy's.
      • 4 Years Ago
      when gas hit $3.00 per gal in my area of NC i took my avg interstate speed from 72 to 65. i drive 350 mi per wk on interstate. i went from 25.6 mpg to 28 mpg in a v6 2001 honda accord. guess what. everybody on the road was passing me. until we learn how to drive with more sense and reduce consumption, they will be able to charge what they want. there are no other options that make monetary sense. we as a nation drive our big trucks and suv's like our goal in life is to pass the car in front of us. wouldnt matter if no one bought gas on a particular day because we would all fill up the day before or after. so any 3 day avg that included boycott day would not change amount of gasoline sold. besides every time gas goes up the local news station always does there "man on the street" opinion pole at a local station. sure enough some dumbass with pump in hand says "it would take 5 dol a gal before i would change the way i drive" given that bit of inside the oil companies and speculators seem to have a good barometer on what we'd tolerate. as a child i remember gas averaging 28 to 30 cents per gal, but my dad only made about $2.00 an hr. the ratio of gas price to his wage then is about the same as gas price and my wage now so how bad is it really. i guess the point is either use less of it, whatever it takes: or quit bitchin about what it costs
      snellshc
      • 4 Years Ago
      I would suggest we all boycott one brand. For the month of June do not buy fuel from Chevron/Texaco. If we did this in mass they would quickly understand our message. They would lower their price and then as Americans we could go after the Dutch and boycott Shell in July.
      gymdeuce
      • 4 Years Ago
      The Boycott needs to be aimed at the large retailers, not the one day buying boycott. Don't buy from the big name retailer/distributor/refiner of gas. Buy from the little guy! Out in the market place the new retailers-grocery stores- set their price by driving a perimeter and checking the big boys gas prices, adjusting to them. Rarely does what they're paying influence the selling price. The grocers want you in their lot, hoping you go in the store to spend your left over cash. The grocer knocks money off the cost after you spend X amount of dollars for the pump discount. The grocer's profit is on volume sales, huge volume sales...spend a 100 bucks and get 10 cents off a gallon. buy 30 gallons and save $3.00! At least you have 100 dollars in groceries to show for the 3.00 savings! All the big boys need to be left holding their gas for several months by John Q. Public moving to the little guy retailer... the big guy retailer makes just that extra several billion $$ of profit per quarterly report, from the pumps. If the big guy retailer does not have sales, the big guy retailer can lower the price to bring customers in, this will force everyone down in price to compete, staying away will apply even more pressure at the pump. paying the extra pennies helps the little retailer, strengthening his market position, get him a better price due to volume sales allowing him to lower his prices. This will also show what a rigged system, our gas prices are ruled by... holiday weekends influence the price of gas? The summer gas mixture changeover only happens once ... yet the prices flies up on the Wednesday before a holiday weekend and climbs to Saturday holds for 2 to 3 days and then slowly trickles back down. The price goes where the big retailers take it!!
      wesdik
      • 4 Years Ago
      This sounds great and all, but it's entirely just NOT enough! we need to get a hell of alot tougher than just a one day ordeal. In order for this idea to even make a dent, we'll need to do this at least one day a week and you know damn well that many people will forget and fill their tank anyhow! Maybe the truck drivers will pull their rigs to the side of the road like they did back in the early 80's I believe it was? can't remember the exact time frame, but I surely remember when that occured though! I totally agree with the concept of it because it's really getting ridiculous already! One thing's for sure...it's costing most families alot of money to fill up 2 cars, almost like having to pay for a second mortgage...VERY COSTLY TO SAY THE LEAST, AND WE ALL NEED TO FIGHT THIS TOGETHER AND GET TOUGH AND STAND OUR GROUND IF ANYTHING IS EVER GONNA IMPROVE WHETHER IT'D BE AT THE PUMPS OR WHERE EVER ELSE FOR THAT MATTER!!!!!!!!!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Do you see any of the oil companies owners taking cabs, or city buses to get to their personal jets to travel?? NO! Closer to home, all the fans that go to ballgames, car racing, and other sports do they drive small gas saving cars?? Here in Michigan they want to build a new bridge to Canada for a zillion dollars! Why not build gas refineries instead it would be a lot cheaper!! Boycott!! Why not, at least try something to stop all this lying and excuses they've been giving us!!
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