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Boycott BP? Reckless oil giant faces backlash by gas consumers and even a minor league baseball team

By Climate Guest Contributor on June 12, 2010 at 7:34 am

"Boycott BP? Reckless oil giant faces backlash by gas consumers and even a minor league baseball team"

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Are you boycotting BP gas?   Is it a good idea?

As oil keeps pouring into the Gulf, more and more people are protesting BP, especially at their gas stations.  As it turns out, though, the vast majority of the 10,000 BP stations in the country are independently owned and operated, so a boycott primarily hits the owner.  In this repost, TP examines the issue and some of the recent protests.

Across the Gulf Coast, anti-BP signs and calls for help are popping up. On June 4, people gathered at BP’s DC headquarters to protest the corporation and present a “prison jumpsuit” to CEO Tony Hayward. While no one came down to accept the gift, ThinkProgress was covering the event and saw several BP employees watching from the safety of their 7th floor offices.

Protests at the local level “” even ones that are nothing more than symbolic in nature “” are also picking up. The Brevard County Manatees, the minor league Class-A Advanced Florida State League affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers, has officially changed the name of “batting practice” “” known as “BP” for short “” to “hitting rehearsal.” “We hope to send a message to the community that we are definitely worried with the pollution that is in the waters off the Gulf Coast and its potential impact on the beaches here in Brevard County,” said the team’s general manager.

Last week in Pensacola, FL “” which is on the Gulf Coast close to the Alabama border and now has tar balls washing up on its beaches “” about 30 protesters gathered outside of a local BP gas station for a two-hour demonstration, with signs and bumper stickers reading, “Boycott BP,” “BP Lies Pensacola Dies,” and Wake Up and Smell the Oil.” Some other protests at BP stations around the country:

- On May 30, more than 200 protesters “swarmed Jackson Square” in New Orleans to vent their frustration at BP, where speakers “lashed out” at the “slow effort to keep oil from hitting Louisiana’s coastline.” Many posters had “scathing messages” including “BP = $ over people” and “refuse to be LOSEiana anymore.”

- Over Memorial Day weekend, hundreds of protesters “covered in ‘oil’ or dressed like sea creatures” flocked to a New York City BP station to rally against the oil spill and “to keep motorists from filling up.” Protesters chanted “BP your heart is black, you can have your oil back.”

- On June 3, middle-school students from Illinois valley spent the day “on a stretch of public sidewalk” outside a BP stationshouting facts about the disaster” and chanting “agree with me, don’t buy from BP.”

- Fifteen students in St. Cloud, MN “circled in front” of a BP gas station on Friday holding “painted signs” to show that “young people are doing something and they have a voice.”

- Over Memorial Day weekend, more than 20 protesters demonstrated outside a local convenience store in Charlottesville, VA. One protester urged the need for clean energy sources with “a placard touting fuel from hemp.”

- Protests have also gone viral. Over 330,000 members have joined the Boycott BP Facebook group. Twitter’s BP Boycott has over 2,500 followers.

Many business owners are worried that these boycotts and protests may hurt their profits while not affecting the parent company. The vast majority of the 10,000 BP stations in the country are independently owned and operated.

While the company isn’t publicly addressing the boycott efforts, they may still end up affecting how BP operates. Consumers also boycotted Exxon stations after the 1989 spill in Alaska, and while the company ignored it publicly, Exxon has now “reduced its dependence on consumer sales, and the company is much more dependent on business-to-business sales than it was 20 years ago.” Eighty-one percent of Americans disapprove of BP’s response to the spill, and 64 percent believe the government should pursue criminal charges against those involved.

JR:  The best response, of course, would be passing a comprehensive energy and climate bill that finally puts us on the path of ending our addiction to oil.

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24 Responses to Boycott BP? Reckless oil giant faces backlash by gas consumers and even a minor league baseball team

  1. Johne says:

    Nobody wants to let BP off the hook, but a boycott is not the way to go. There are 10000 BP service stations, most independently owned, and many more stations being supplied by BP refineries and BP oil goes to other refineries as well. While BP is a UK based company it is 40% owned by US shareholders, pension funds etc and a boycott does not help them. But more important, BP needs to generate profits to pay for the damage they have done. Vent your anger at the US regulators, politicions and Cheney, and BP management, but not the hundreds of thousands who depend on BP for their livelihoods.

  2. Leif says:

    A solution for the independently owned BP stations who, in good faith, have marketed BP products all these years, would be for BP to use a significant portion of the 10 Billion Dollar dividend check that they were going to try and pay out to stockholders and give assistance to their flock. Much like the financial assistance that they say that they will be paying to other innocently harmed businesses along the Gulf Coast.

    I am sure that the “Bill Gates” of the world would approve of this humanitarian effort, don’t you think?

  3. Jeff Huggins says:

    Boycotts Not Only Good, But Necessary

    There are a number of ways to register a serious “vote” for change, and send a meaningful signal, to the oil industry in ways that ultimately prompt change:

    * Stop buying gas yourself.

    * Participate in boycotts against them.

    * Disinvest in them, if you have stock in them — i.e., sell it — or call on the large pension funds and so forth to sell their stock in them.

    * Somehow have enough influence on politicians (via voting, petitions, calls, etc.) to get strong legislation passed.

    As we can all “appreciate”, to the oil companies “money speaks the loudest”. Thus, personal purchase decisions, very large boycotts, and disinvestment (dumping the stock) are all key measures. Indeed, they are going to be necessary measures. Things won’t change without those measures being taken.

    I have read a bunch of confusion about this stuff in some other pieces. So let’s be clear . . .

    Yes, a large majority of gasoline stations (in your towns and neighborhoods, etc.) are independently owned, now, even though they carry the brand names Exxon, Shell, BP, Chevron, Mobil, and so forth and buy their gasoline from some combination of these companies, or others. The major oil companies eliminated or dramatically reduced their ownership of service stations — gas stations — a while back. (The gas station business wasn’t profitable enough for them.)

    But let’s be clear: That DOESN’T mean that you shouldn’t boycott BP, or (even more importantly, given the big picture) ExxonMobil, via the gas stations that carry their brands and that do, ultimately, buy gasoline from them or others.

    First of all, ExxonMobil (for example) is headquartered deep in Texas. They’ve sold all, or at least most, of their branded Exxon and Mobil and ExxonMobil and etc. gas stations. So, unless you are willing to go to their headquarters way down in Texas, then you won’t be able to boycott them anywhere if you impose on yourself reasons not to boycott the Exxon and Mobil branded stations near where you live. (Or I suppose, you could try to boycott them at their refineries, which are in places where most of the public never goes, and where you will remain largely unseen by the public, unless the media cover you.)

    Indeed, this argument of “but we don’t own the stations” will be used as a “shield” of sorts, if you allow it, against boycotts of any nature.

    The folks that own the stations themselves are “small businesspeople”, yes, but they still sell gasoline, and they have contracts with the oil companies to do so, and they have contracts with the specific companies whose brands are on their signs, and whose motor oil they also sell, and so forth. If an oil company existed that was putting substantial and sincere efforts into making the transition to transportation fuels that emit less CO2 (electricity, etc.), then stations would have more choice to associate with that company and drop the others. (How many of them do you think will do so, without legislation or without policies that establish an economic context within which it’s favorable to do so?)

    And of course, these small businesspeople CHOOSE to be in the “provide gasoline to the public” business. Those with “Exxon” on their signs CHOOSE to deal with, and represent, ExxonMobil. The same goes for BP.

    If you still buy gasoline as a consumer, you are doing so, at least in part, because you don’t have better options yet. If you are reading this, on Climate Progress, you probably do want to kick the gasoline habit, and you probably want to do what will help society make it possible for many other people to kick the habit. But the gas station owners aren’t really helping, are they? Do you know of any gas station owners who, en masse, are petitioning the major oil companies to transition away from gasoline? Do you know of any gas station owners who are boycotting the oil companies? I didn’t think so.

    It is fair, and it is necessary, to boycott gas stations in focused fashion. If your main concern is BP, then boycott BP stations. On the other hand, if you are even more concerned with the climate change picture, I would strongly suggest boycotting ExxonMobil — Exxon and Mobil and ExxonMobil stations.

    Also consider this: If you decide that you can only boycott companies who are retailers — who actually OWN the stores from which you buy things — then you can only boycott retailers. Most companies, of course, are NOT retailers. Most of the products you actually buy are not made by, or branded by, retailers. You buy Bayer Aspirin from Safeway or Target or WalMart or whoever. So, if the company that makes Bayer Aspirin is doing horrific things (and as far as I know, they aren’t, so I’m just using this as an illustrative and inaccurate example), and if you decide that you should boycott that company, then you have to do so via boycotting in front of Safeway or Target or WalMart and by calling, in essence, for Safeway or Target or WalMart to stop carrying that product. In other words, unless you want to rule out the possibility of boycotts for about 97% of all products sold, and for most companies, you need to be willing to boycott those products or companies at the locations of the retailers that sell those products, in the hopes not only that people don’t buy the products, but also that the retailers themselves stop selling them.

    (Trust me: Companies that manufacture and advertise products will love it if the “can’t boycott the retailer” and “can’t boycott the local business person who does business with a company” paradigms hold. If you can’t boycott at a location of a retailer owned by anyone other than the targeted company itself, and if you can’t boycott in front of the location of a local business person who buys the product from the targeted company and then sells it to you, for a profit, then you’ll never be able to boycott P&G, Mattel, Hasbro, ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, Clorox, GE, and so forth and so on, if they were to do things that were worth boycotting. If the “retail layer” and the idea of “local businesspeople”, or even of “employers who employ local people”, are all seen as things that validly block the justifications of consumer boycotts, then most boycotts have just been eliminated “by definition”, and many companies and their products become untouchables, no matter what harms they cause.)

    There is another point regarding boycotts that I’ll make in a future comment, hopefully later today, in order to avoid making this comment too long.

    Cheers,

    Jeff

  4. David Smith says:

    I dont think a boycott of BP will have much impact on the company. They are too large with too many different markets. Only a global boycott might have impact. However, change is coming. Defending an old corrupt industry that appears to be destroying our planets ability to support living things because of jobs seems a bit out of touch and probably immoral. Lets see, 80,000 jobs at service stations vs. the future of 8 or 10,000,000,000 people (with predictions of 100,000,000s may die).

    Everyone who invests in these energy companies to make a profit or buys one of their products (gasoline)is supporting this system. Debating about how the govenrment should do this or the corporation should do that doesnt get you off the hook.

    If All the executives of BP get life sentences and BP is not allowed to operate in the United States, it might make us feel better, but there are other companies playing by the same rule book that will take its place. The result will be little or no impact on the effects of AGW.

    If big energy acts like we can not stop buying their products, it is because it is an observable truth. We cant stop buying.

    Heres an idea, NO GAS WEEK. Lets pick a week some time in the next year, All people concerned about AGW and the distruction we cause by consuming big oil products, agree to not purchase or use (Burn) petrolium products for one week. It would be nearly impossible for most of us. It would require personal sacrifice. If we could do it, it might have some impact.

    Otherwise, get out their and invent and support new technologies, materials methods that do not use the products of big energy. Make them all obsolete.

    And,… anyone who buys BP products might as well be out there dumping in the Gulf themselves because you are helping.

  5. David Smith says:

    I would like to add to Jeffs list (#3) get out there and invent change, make the old ways obsolete.

    For example, I am starting a company that focuses on creating buildings that only use small amounts of energy and only from clean on-site renewable sources. Presently my work involves basic building functions, heating, cooling, lighting, clean air and proper humidity. These are the things all buildings are expected to do. Its a starting point.

  6. homunq says:

    Nationalize, don’t boycott. Obviously, the US can’t nationalize the whole of British Petroleum, but I’m sure there are large chunks which can be put in receivership, so that all profits go to pay off the damages.

    (As for the pension shareholders… if we really feel that their interests should come ahead of those of those of the rich investors, then we have to find a constitutional way to clean out the big boys and leave the old ladies intact. I’m skeptical, but open to ideas. Meanwhile, the old ladies can’t be human shields for the big investors: if the company is not producing net value for society, its shareholders should get nothing.)

  7. Jeff Huggins says:

    Fair and Necessary Boycotts, and a Letter to Grandchildren

    OK, adding to my earlier comment (but there’s no need to read that comment in order to understand this one) . . .

    It’s fair and necessary to boycott any organization or person that participates in key ways anywhere along the entire process involved in getting oil out of the ground through using the gasoline that generates CO2, especially those that profit from the process at any step, and especially those who understand that they are doing so, and especially those that are doing things to perpetuate the process.

    So, for example . . .

    * It’s fair and necessary to “boycott” any governments of any countries that are trying to keep us addicted to their oil (notice I said the governments of those countries, which are not the same as the individual citizens of those countries).

    * It’s certainly more than fair, and highly necessary, to boycott the major oil companies themselves. (More on this below.)

    * It’s fair and necessary to “boycott” those politicians who want to perpetuate the oil problem and who resist addressing climate change. Here, I mean that it’s fair and necessary to vote against them, to actively support politicians that “get it”, and so forth.

    * It’s fair and necessary to boycott the service (gas) stations. (See my earlier comment for more on this.)

    * It’s fair and necessary to “boycott” bad energy policies and support good energy policies.

    * It’s fair and necessary to “boycott” ourselves (e.g., me boycotting me) in relation to any continuing use of gasoline, and especially any inefficient use of it. Here, I’m saying that we should each be trying to “push” ourselves to get off the habit. That push, if it is sincere and moving us in the right direction, is a personal “boycott”, of course, against one’s own bad habits.

    * It’s fair and necessary to boycott media — to stop buying and supporting any media — that don’t give us the straight scoop on (for example) ExxonMobil and etc. For example, The New York Times repeatedly carries ExxonMobil advertorials and yet doesn’t offer any investigative journalism that would educate the public about ExxonMobil in the most relevant and revealing ways. In my view, The New York Times deserves to be boycotted at this point, I’m sad to say.

    * It’s also fair and necessary to boycott — not invest in — funds that have substantial investments in companies that play important roles in the process of turning oil into CO2.

    Two additional points …

    Here’s a would-be letter to grandchildren, relevant to the (unfortunate) case that we don’t address the climate change problem:

    Dear Grandchild,

    Sorry for the mess that we left you. I really really thought about what I could rightly do about it: I wondered whether I should boycott ExxonMobil, but I figured that wouldn’t do any good. I wondered if I should boycott the gas stations, but they are owned by local businesspeople. I wondered if I should boycott The New York Times, but I like Paul Krugman and the sports pages. I wondered if I should go to Washington DC and march in front of the API (American Petroleum Institute), but that would have involved flying there and would have generated CO2 emissions. I wondered deeply and sincerely about all these things, but there are many many reasons why not to do them. As you can see, though, I tried my best! Again, sorry!

    In any case, Good Luck!

    Signed, your wonderful and wondering and wandering Grandpa.

    (Peacefully at rest by the time you read this.)

    OK, then, there is one more point. Many people seem to argue that “Why should we boycott ExxonMobil when Shell and BP and Chevron and ConocoPhillips and etc. all sell us gas and do the same things too?”

    There are many good, convincing, and necessary answers to that question. I’ll only briefly mention a couple (but there are more).

    First of all, when a policeman spots six cars speeding along a highway, at dangerous speeds, way above the safe limit, and when one of those cars is clearly leading the pack and out in front of it, and if the policeman can only stop one car (for now) to give it a ticket, which car does it make the most sense for the policeman to choose? I assume that I don’t have to explain all of the dynamics and reasons involved.

    And second (although a related point), if one company is doing even more than the others to confuse the public, to delay legislation, to stick stubbornly to the status quo, and so forth, then should we feel “bad” by focusing on that company, initially, when it comes to boycotts?

    The argument that “If we are going to boycott any oil company, it wouldn’t be ‘fair’ to boycott just one, and we must boycott the entire industry or else no company at all” is a nonstarter, doesn’t make sense, isn’t practical, and doesn’t reconcile with all sorts of other human actions that we consider to be necessary, warranted, and reasonable in daily life.

    I’m afraid that people who want to be creative in finding all sorts of reasons NOT to boycott participants in the “petroleum pushing process” are needlessly working against themselves, if they ultimately want to address climate change and make the necessary energy transitions.

    Be Well,

    Jeff

  8. Fredo says:

    Personally I have no more sympathy for local gasoline dealers than I do for local crack dealers — or for fossil fuel production workers. The best that can be said for them is that they are victim/perpetrators in a system which didn’t bother to teach them that what they are doing is wrong. The worst, obviously, is that what they are doing has tugged at their consciences or more, and they have not listened. Either way, their business model is on the way out, and they are in need of a new profession. Change is a constant in our economy, they say, and when it is the most harmful parts of it that are being changed to something better because of evolving consumer preferences, I’m not sure why I should have one drop more sympathy for those that stand to lose their businesses and jobs than I do for anyone else who loses their business or their job every single day in this world because they are offering an inferior product that people don’t want. This is how we evolve to the future, and that process is not always kind to everyone. I have confidence that the relatively few jobs that stand to be lost in the fossil fuel industries will be replaced by other jobs, and that those who lose them will find something else to do after no more difficult a period of transition than many people have to go though many times in their lives who work in much worthier industries. In short, tough shit and I am perfectly happy to tell my local BP station owner that to his face.

    On the other hand, it absolutely isn’t about BP, which is why we have to boycott ALL gas every day that we can as well as the machine it feeds, the death-car.

  9. rumpole! says:

    It may not be very effective, but since the gasoline transaction is my only direct interaction with BP, by default it’s the only lever I have. When your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail….

  10. Richard L says:

    Would the best boycott be to (1) reduce driving, (2)use mass transit, (3) car pool, and (4) buy the most fuel efficient car you can find? This way you reduce your consumption of the hurtfule products all oil companies produce….

  11. Sasparilla says:

    To boycott or not is an interesting question. While BP is being vilified everywhere – everybody should take a deep breath and realize that this disaster could have happened with a deep water well in the Gulf with Shell or Exxon just as easily (they all use the same drilling platform companies and you can bet they all want to take shortcuts to make the most money the soonest since nothing bad has happened in decades). BP just had snake-eyes come up for them on this well, but it could have happened to any of our big oil companies drilling deep in the Gulf.

    We need to learn from this and make sure regulations are put in place to prevent something like this from happening again (like make sure your blow out preventer is working well and at the depth needed before proceeding and constantly testing it, make sure regulaters aren’t in bed with the industry they regulate, don’t leave drilling well management up the company wanting the well who will want to take short cuts that could lead to a blow out – like it did here etc.).

    Quite frankly, I want BP to be around and profitable for a long time, cause we’re going to need someone with long term deep pockets to pay for the continuing clean up (if you can call it that) for a long, long time (decades probably). Driving BP into bankruptcy or out of the US would only make the taxpayer pick up the tab for things and be self defeating. JMHO.

  12. catman306 says:

    Castrol motor oils are a wholly owned trademark and brand of BP. How long before that becomes past tense? IMO not soon enough. Let the consumers and invisible hand of the free market choke the life out of Castrol.
    Dirty oily companies need to learn something from this disaster.

    Has anyone else noticed that the other oil companies have reduced their advertising presence?

    Maybe BP could get Tiger Woods to be their new CEO/spokesperson? He may or may not know much about oil extraction but at least HE appreciates life.

  13. Mark Shapiro says:

    Whether or not we boycott BP, or ExxonMobil (it’s hard to avoid both), we should always name and shame the people in charge. No one likes having their name and reputation dragged through oily slime — so let’s mete out what little punshment we can.

    BP has no feelings — but it’s leaders do. Tony Hayward is getting a small dose of the ignominy he deserves. Let’s spread that well-deserved shame to his fellow directors: Carl-Henric Svanberg, Iain Conn, Robert Dudley, Byron Grote, Andy Inglis, Paul Anderson, Antony Burgmans, KBE, Cynthia Carroll, Sir William Castell, LVO, George David, George David, Douglas J Flint, CBE, and Dr DeAnne S Julius, CBE.

    Those names will ever ring with death, destruction, greed, and shame.

    Let us always remind people of that. The MSM is too craven to do so.

  14. prokaryote says:

    This is about oil, if you want to make a difference get off of oil.

    Apply sun/wind to your home or order renewable from your energy company. Get an electric car or make a conversion on your existing motor – there are garages who are specialized on motor conversion (combustion becomes electric). For an average at about 80% of your car usage, an electric car is sufficient. For the other 20% you need to look out for battery loading stations or maybe your car can be loaded with conventional plug’s (normally takes longer).

    This is a process and it will get better each month and if more people do this it will went faster. Of course it depends on future law and programs to accelerate the transition to a new and clean transportation/energy infrastructure.

    The expensive part is the battery here, there are different types. Basicly you pay in the beginning and overall considerably less in comparison with oil use.
    I think you get even subsidies when investing into electric.

    This will make oil companies for the most part redundant. This will be a huge contribution into the affords to curb greenhouse gas emissions. This will create a new economy, where money will be shared to those participating into the next gen clean tech economy.

  15. lizardo says:

    One way to affect BPs sales directly is to boycott Castrol oil (for your car, gas-oil power tools etc.) because this doesn’t affect small business owners, you can patronize whichever you want and just boycott one of BP’s brands.

    You can also boycott BP gas stations but buy something else inside to support the owner like a 6 pack of beer (which seems like the one thing that is going to be the same product most anyplace, the cookies are sometimes stale depending on what and where…)

    There’s been a lot of media attention in my area about hurting small business etc. etc., but the fact is I didn’t often buy their gas, don’t have to commute, and my impact would be close to zero.

    My state (NC) is considering raising the liability cap for oil spills affecting our coast and so lobbying legislators re that is probably worth doing.

    If you plan to attend or organize a protest about/against BP it doesn’t have to be at a gas station, and in most areas there are plenty of places with better visibility.
    You can call for “Seize BP” if you want that or
    “Ban BP” (because mostly people won’t understand what legal debarment is–can’t drill here, can’t get govt contracts
    “No oil drilling off our coast” or whatever message you want

    As for the issue re the other oil companies. The evidence just keeps piling up that BP is a whole different animal to other oil companies drilling and pipelining in or offshore of the USA. Sasparilla is wrong, this wasn’t some unforeseen act of God that could happen to anyone involved in the very risky business of deepwater offshore drilling. The BP blowout was the result of profit driven criminal negligence by management. The people who make their living actually doing this out on the rigs are unspeakable furious with BP and want jail time for people in suits.

    Since this horror started in the Gulf I have had to buy a couple of gallons from a BP station to avoid running out completely as there aren’t many stops between towns here. Next time I was running low in a different town I found that on that side of town you were faced with 3 BP stations unless you were really savvy and kept looking (which I did). Around me there are quite a few stations selling mystery fuel.

    But I simply can’t help staring at people who are filling up a BP station and thinking to myself “what are you thinking???????”

  16. lizardo says:

    Article in yesterdays NYT re boycott issues, the opaque fuel supply business, and associated issues we’ve been discussing here. It points out that US consumer boycott may not hurt BP’s bottom line at all, and explains why. Also (snippets):

    “…revenue for some BP station owners has declined as much as 20 percent since the oil spill, according John Kleine, executive director of the BP Amoco Marketers Association, which represents many of the owners and suppliers of the BP and Arco stations…..

    “BJ’s Wholesale Club does not buy gasoline directly from BP, but a spokeswoman, Kelly McFalls, said that didn’t mean it wasn’t peddling BP’s fuel. “There is not a single retailer out there that can guarantee that the gas it’s offering isn’t mixed with some BP gas,” she said. “That’s just the way the fuel business works.”

    People who still need a short-term hit of righteousness may continue to avoid filling up at BP stations. But it would be nice if they picked up a week’s worth of milk from a BP mini-mart on the way home at night. That way, the station owners don’t suffer as much.
    “Then, the next morning, all of those drivers ought to go shopping for a hybrid.”

  17. PeterW says:

    My guess is the owners of these stations fully supported the policies of the Oil president Bush/Cheney. There are many people who are out of work right now, I have much more sympathy for them.

    As for investors, the stock market has recently demonstrated there is no such thing as a sure thing. If you don’t want risk, buy bonds or stuff the money under your mattress.

    If you want to put a dent in the Oil companies, buy a bicycle or an electric assist bicycle and use it as much as possible.

  18. pete best says:

    The USA is not used to finally being dumped on. This on their door step incident unfortunate but oil companies have dumped waste and oil all over the world so long as Europe and the USA can keep on growing and prospering.

    As we have to go off shore and into deeper waters so the risk of accidents grows more likely. Its more likely to happen off USA waters to as they have the sillyest cars, the lowest MPG and the highest per capita consumption of which as yet they have done little if anything about.

    Come on USA – its about time your stopped empire building and get back to reality!

  19. sod says:

    And of course, these small businesspeople CHOOSE to be in the “provide gasoline to the public” business. Those with “Exxon” on their signs CHOOSE to deal with, and represent, ExxonMobil. The same goes for BP.

    Jeff is 100% right. the boycott will hurt local businessman, who made a (false) business decision. consumer only has one power, and that is boycott.

    the BP spin on this (supported by conservatives) is starting to get absurd: don t boycott gas stations, it will hurt local business. don t stop BP from paying divident, as you are only hurting pension funds. don t blame BP workers, they are doing the best to stop the spill. don t blame Hayward, he did not blow up the well.

    so as usual, there is noone to blame, in big business accidents. when you are involved in the next car accident, you will notice that the world is very different at small scale. there will be blame, and you will be forced to pay.

  20. David Smith says:

    It seems that the way to impact these large energy corporations is to accomplish things that reduce there stock value. This would include boycotts as well as other avenues, but stock price is what makes the company strong or weak. Look at what is happening to BP as their shares fall.

    They are, after all, doing the things they do in the name of the share holders profit. One must make owning shares in these companies a social liability.

    Stock ownership in BP, ExxonMobile, Massey, etc equals death and distruction. In the extreme, death of the planet. Stockholders profit and innocents die.

    Those who look at the science and see radical climate change coming see this death and distruction in the future but hesitate to really bring it into the debate.

  21. Chad says:

    I have been boycotting BP gas; however, I have been going out of my way to purchase my random caffeine shots at BP gas stations, precisely because I feel sorry for the owners. They are just one more casualty in this mess.

  22. lizardo says:

    Kind of sad story this am on NPR’s Morning Edition (text and podcast at the link):

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=127747890

    [BP already squeezing it's independent gas station owners, charging them more for wholesale gas and making them process all debit/credit payments through BP with a week's delay. The station owner interviewed is on the verge of default. This is a station where sales are down 20%.]

  23. mother2alex says:

    I agree that boycotting BP will diminish their profit margin to cover the millions- possibly billions they have to come up with to financially satisfy those who have taken a personal hit financially from their mistake. However, in the same accord, boycotting them has driven prices low- as low as they should have been to begin with before gas companies gouged us and we just spread our cheeks wider to get more of it-. I say that is a good thing to have come out of this disaster. (Gas prices being repectfully lower.)
    ANd it was stated VERY early on (for those who have only recently started to pay attention) that it was, in fact, 100% proven, that BP officials drilled after the site was declared dangerous and unstable from their own BP engineers. So if there is any reason to Boycott and punish such selfishness, and seeing the immeasurable damage it cost globally financially and especially environmentally, then I say, this is it! If we (the people- globally) do not take BP down for this, then what will come from the next “mistake” a selfish company makes?

  24. mother2alex says:

    on top of my last comment, and for those who feel bad about private BP owners- trust me- they will get their payback. Bp has failed to act on the best interest of their owners- their own people. Don’t think there isn’t a separate class A lawsuit on behalf of the store owners.

    For every store who is forced to shut down, there will be a sizable payoff to the storekeeper for the value of the store before the explosion happened. More stores who just figure this out, and shut their doors now, will be in a much better situation than if they continue the steep slope of bankruptcy. Better yet, they can sell out their private shop to one of the other gas companies who is picking up BP’s lost clientèle.