I have a friend who dutifully forwards glurge to me every day. A week or two ago she sent me the ExxonMobil boycott chain mail in which recipients are asked to stop buying gas from Exxon Mobil gas stations and to instead patronize competing stations. The idea is that these stations will reduce their prices; we consumers then use the cheaper gas at XOM and boycott another set of gas stations. We game the "system" for our financial benefit.
I hit "Reply-All" and kindly explained why this scheme does not work. Tim Habb at the Environmental Economics blog does a better job than I at explaining why the boycott is pointless.
With oil and gasoline prices making the news again, politicians are grandstanding and demanding investigations. If you have a million gallons of gasoline on hand but Americans want to buy 1.2 million gallons, the price will rise until demand drops to one million gallons. Sure, oil companies are making record profits, but the only thing artificial price controls will do is artificially increase the demand. Because supply is not flexible, the increased demand will lead to shortages, gas lines and pain.
Which brings us back to a boycott. Not just of Exxon Mobil, but for all gas stations. Practicing restraint and getting by with less will result in reduced gasoline prices. Ride a bike to work and school the shopping, combine trips, use public transit, save energy in the home -- these are the patriotic actions that will truly work to help preserve our way of life.
Tim Habb article via The Oil Drum. Tags: peak+oil, gasoline, boycott, xom, economy, exxon