Spill Cuts Into BP Sales

While it’s never been the intention of TRUE Independence Day to explicitly support disrupting the business of BP service stations, other gas station or any oil-based enterprise for that matter, it’s telling that people have found a little protest can begin to make dents — but is it making dents in the wrong place?

This nugget from Bloomberg (http://tinyurl.com/2e6932o), arriving on the same day that AP reports that tar balls have washed up on the Texas shore, thus making the BP oil spill felt on all Gulf shores, makes clear that consumer sentiment can be commercially memetic. According to hearsay, the article reports, sales at BP service stations in Gulf-area locations alone is down 30 percent, and that a $60 million aid package offered by BP Plc. to BP-brand gas stations is having little impact. The aid package, the article reports, amounts to roughly $5,200 per station.

I have to admit that I, like so many Americans, when faced with a choice as to where to buy my gas (and there are many, many choices) that I do not fill up at BP anymore. I realize that this is not particularly useful when it comes to encouraging real change in national energy policy, but that the same time, that ol’ righteous rage, which is usually misguided and gut-based, surfaces and makes me wonder why should I give my money to BP of all places right now?

But when we use our brains, it’s understood that starving service stations is not necessarily how to effect a transition in policy. Unlike in Arizona, where some prominent organizations have taken the boycott route to to take a stand against new immigration laws, there is just too much, when it comes to our nation’s energy policy, that we would have to “boycott.” At the outset of this campaign, we said that supporting a change in energy policy is not akin to putting ma and pop out of business, and it’s still not. So why are we inclined to act at the pump? And why do we discriminate when it comes to which brand of pump we boycott? Is filling up at Shell, or Exxon really any better?

There needs to be a better way to express our concern. It begins by calling your legislator at 877-762-8762.


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