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A Gas Of An Idea

Thinking of not buying gas on Sept. 1 - just to stick it to the oil companies?

A Gas Of An Idea

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Gas_pump Thinking of not buying gas on Sept. 1 - just to stick it to the oil companies?

Before you do that, stop  by Snopes, the urban legends site.

Boycott Gas emails are circulating, again -- variations on this one, which arrived at the paper recently:

"IT HAS BEEN CALCULATED THAT IF EVERYONE IN THE UNITED STATES DID NOT PURCHASE A DROP OF GASOLINE FOR ONE DAY AND ALL AT THE SAME TIME, THE OIL COMPANIES WOULD CHOKE ON THEIR STOCKPILES.

AT THE SAME TIME IT WOULD HIT THE ENTIRE INDUSTRY WITH A NET LOSS OF OVER 4.6 BILLION DOLLARS WHICH AFFECTS THE BOTTOM LINES OF THE OIL COMPANIES.

THEREFORE SEPTEMBER 1ST HAS BEEN FORMALLY DECLARED "STICK IT UP THEIR @$$ "
DAY AND THE PEOPLE OF THIS NATION SHOULD NOT BUY A SINGLE DROP OF GASOLINE
THAT DAY."

Snopes sees this as an annual rite, which typically rises with gas prices.

"First of all, everyone's 'not purchasing a drop of gasoline for one day' will not cause oil companies to 'choke on their stockpiles.' Oil companies run their inventories on a weekly basis, and since the 'gas out' scheme doesn't call on people to buy less gasoline but simply to shift their date of purchase by one day, oil company stockpiles won't be affected at all."

"Next, merely shifting the day of purchase will not 'hit the entire industry with a net loss of over $4.6 billion.' Consumers won't be buying any less gasoline under this 'gas out' proposal; they'll simply be purchasing gas a day earlier or a day later than they usually would. The very same amount of gasoline will be sold either way, so the oil companies aren't going to lose any money at all."

What would work better?

Snopes makes this suggestion: Pick a day to do without your car -- "an act that could effectively demonstrate the reality of the threat that if gasoline prices stay up, American consumers are prepared to move to carpooling and public transportation for the long term."

By te way, cheap oil is almost gone, says this piece re-posted this week by Harper's.

Jason
Posted 08/31/2005 07:51:40 AM
I got that one from my brother.  I tend to discredit emails in ALL CAPS, but thanks for the scientific proof :)  I thought the $4.6B sounded a bit exaggerated.  I probably won't be buying gas tomorrow, since I probably won't spend one minute in my car from now and then and I'm already at a full tank :)  I also read that Paul Roberts article (from a year ago).  That's gloomy stuff.

I visit this site sometimes
http://www.hubbertpeak.com/
Maidink
Posted 08/31/2005 09:15:39 AM
I hate that e-mail (and all other urban legendish e-mails).  

I'm waiting for the one that points out specific oil companies to boycott.
Geoff
Posted 08/31/2005 02:12:49 PM
A basic understanding of economics would have shown the folly of this almost immediately. Sadly, most people lack a basic understanding of economics.
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About this blog
Daniel Rubin is a columnist and The Inquirer's director of social media. Since joining newspaper as a staff writer in 1988, Daniel Rubin has reported from Mayfair to Macedonia, 27 countries in all. He has been the European Correspondent for Knight Ridder Newspapers and for two years he sat at home and wrote Blinq, the paper's first daily blog. Dan began newspaper work in Norfolk and Louisville, Ky., after getting his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Northwestern University. He has lived in all four commonwealths, most recently in Pennsylvania. He teaches urban journalism at the University of Pennsylvania

Email Blinq here. My day job - Inquirer metro columnist - is here.

Reach Daniel at drubin@phillynews.com.

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