BP sends local gas stations signs to post stressing theyre “Part of the community”

I discussed last month whether people should boycott BP gas stations.   Many Americans are doing so, and BP — whose recklessness and hubris has devastated the Gulf community the company claims to care about — is responding disingenuously.  TP has the story.

As BP continues to fumble the response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, many Americans have decided to protest BP by boycotting gas stations around the country. Business owners responded by arguing that such moves were hurting their profits while not affecting the parent company, since the vast majority of the 10,000 BP stations in the country and independently owned and operated.

Some BP station owners are now trying to get this message out by putting up signs saying they are “part of the community.” However, these don’t appear to be homemade signs; the exact same ones have been spotted in multiple locations. A ThinkProgress reader sent in the [above left] picture below, taken at a gas station in DC’s Logan Circle neighborhood. The one on the right was posted on the blog Energy Tomorrow “” run by the American Petroleum Institute “” and is located in northern Virginia

ThinkProgress contacted an employee at the gas station in northern Virginia, who confirmed that BP sent them the sign to use. So ironically, in an attempt to distance itself from the parent company, these BP stations are using corporate signs.

BP needs to do more than offer pieces of paper to its local gas stations, which are bearing the brunt of a national boycott launched in response to the actions of the parent corporation. According to the AP, BP gas station owners are getting increasingly frustrated at the lack of support they’re receiving:

Station owners and BP gas distributors told BP officials last week they need a break on the cost of the gas they buy, and they want help paying for more advertising aimed at motorists, according to John Kleine, executive director of the independent BP Amoco Marketers Association. The station owners, who earn more from sales of soda and snacks than on gasoline, also want more frequent meetings with BP officials.

“They have got to be more competitive on their fuel costs to the retailers so we can be competitive on the street”¦and bring back customers that we’ve lost,” says Bob Juckniess, who has seen sales drop 20 percent at some of his 10 BP-branded stations in the Chicago area.

Many people have begun questioning how much of an effect a boycott of BP gas stations will really have on the parent corporation. Boycotts certainly heavily hurt small business owners “” many of whom have very few ties to BP and make most of their money from convenience store items “” but they can also influence investors and convince them to sell their shares or put pressure on the company to clean up its act.

Are you seeing signs like these at your local BP station? If so, send photos of them to us.

Public Citizen President Robert Weissman tells the Guardian that it’s disingenuous for BP gas stations to try to separate themselves from the corporation: “BP’s franchisees enter into agreements with BP because they want to benefit from an attachment to the BP brand. If consumers are told they can’t take action against wrongdoers like BP, that’s an immunity for large corporations from the consequences of their actions.”
— This is a Think Progress crosspost.

10 Responses to BP sends local gas stations signs to post stressing theyre “Part of the community”

  1. Wit's End says:

    “Methane at 100,000 times normal levels”

    Thanks BP!

    And in case anybody missed this published in 2000:

    “…the planet is symptomatic of a deeper, institutionalized subordination of all life-including human life-to profit. Algeria is a typical example. It’s been ruled by a military dictatorship since 1962. Elections were held in 1991, but the government scrapped them when it became clear a militant Islamic party would win, and since that time some eighty thousand people have died. In some cases, armed attackers have descended on defenseless villages at night to cut the throats of women and children. The violence has been characterized by psychotic frenzy, including the dismemberment of infants. It’s not exactly clear who is doing all of it, although the government is heavily implicated. But one thing is for sure: the world has done nothing about it.

    Jensen: Why not?

    Edwards: I can answer that question with one word: oil. Algeria has gas and oil deposits worth billions and supplies the gas for Madrid, Rome, and many other European cities. It has a $2.8 billion contract with British Petroleum. Because of this, no Western government wants to make trouble with Algeria. John Sweeney-just about the only British journalist who has written anything about it-called the eighty thousand deaths “Europe’s gas bill.” Instead of demanding an end to the slaughter, the European Union is giving Algerian generals $125 million for “restructuring and democratization.”

  2. Robert says:

    Would you be as critical if it had been Exxon?

    Will you continue to be critical when Exxon have taken over BP (coming shortly I’m sure)?

    [JR: Uhh, probably more so. Read my previous posts on Exxon.]

  3. catman306 says:

    If BP wants to help out the people who own the BP brand convenience stores, it could release them from their BP brand and the stores could put up new signs with some other recognized brand. The BP brand is toast in America anyway. BP has NOTHING to loose.

  4. sod says:

    the boycott is the only method, by which customers can send a message to BP.

    franchise owners made the bed, they sleep in now. they can decide to leave BP and publish their resolution in a local paper.

  5. Richard Brenne says:

    Doing their part to help bring about our extinction, BP can stand for “Beyond People”.

    At that point stock prices might finally be put in their proper context.

  6. Michael Tucker says:

    It is impossible to boycott BP and not hurt the small station owners and their employees. The fact that ALL gas stations make their profits on all the other crap they sell is not news! If it is news to anyone they just have not been paying attention for MANY YEARS.

    I do support the boycott AND I am well aware that it will hurt the small station owner. It may or may not hurt BP. I think the large claims that BP is liable for have the potential to hurt the company much more than a boycott and that is exactly why they are being completely uncooperative in making payments, admitting the existence of underwater oil plumes, and obstructing efforts to determine exactly how much oil has and is coming from the blowout. The pending claims are keeping the BP stock price low as investors wait to see what will happen. Despite all the nice talk of cooperation and the commitment of $20 billion BP is going to fight the claims. That is why Republicans are denying subpoena power to the President’s commission that will investigate the blowout. Jim DeMint took the action on behalf of other unnamed Republicans while claiming to support the subpoena power himself. I fear the real fight is yet to come and BP will defend itself relentlessly.

  7. Ryan T says:

    I can appreciate the concerns about small business operations. But as I’ve said before, if these stations are truly independent then they can buy fuel elsewhere, and make it clear that they’re offering an alternative, maybe with supporting documentation upon request. If not, then BP is still being held responsible, if indirectly. I do question whether enough Americans would stick with a boycott for more than a few months, especially if it’s anything of an inconvenience. It may be similar to Exxon: A modest percentage of people supported the boycott initially, but that effort apparently dropped off in short order.

  8. Fredo says:

    People whose business is selling gasoline, of whatever brand and however local and small-time, are “part of the community” in exactly the same way that people whose business is selling crack cocaine, or people whose business is selling illegal weapons to said crack dealers, are “part of the community.” They are victim-perpetrators in a cycle of social disease. We can and should empathize with how they got into the destructive businesses they are in, and we can and should attempt to provide alternative jobs “in the community” so that people can transition out of such destructive occupations, or never have to enter them in the first place. But we should NEVER confuse the human worth of these victim-perpetrators, or our need to empathize with them and support them in their job transitions, with tolerance for the business they are in. The wider effects of the business are just too harmful. Of COURSE they should be boycotted– just as ALL gas stations, and coal mines, and other death-industries should be boycotted– REGARDLESS of the jobs which will be lost as a result.

  9. Charles says:

    “I fear the real fight is yet to come and BP will defend itself relentlessly.”

    What he said.