This might be one time when everyone pulling together proves to be futile.
The idea to boycott gasoline has been making its rounds through cyber space since at least 1999, in the form of chain e-mails — the idea being consumers band together and not buy gas on a certain day (usually May 1), to protest rising gas costs. The newest version points out the obvious problems with that boycott, and calls for a more specific boycott.
“Since we all rely on our cars, we can’t just stop buying gas. But we can have an impact on gas prices if we all act together to force a price war,” the newest version of the chain e-mail states. “Here’s the idea: For the rest of this year, don’t purchase any gasoline from the two biggest companies (which now are one), Exxon and Mobil. If they are not selling any gas, they will be inclined to reduce their prices. If they reduce their prices, the other companies will have to follow suit.”
Right. So is anyone actually jumping on the boycott bandwagon?
“We’re pretty slow today (Monday),” said Mohammad Sharif, supervisor of the Exxon station at the Y intersection in Athens, “ and we had a bad weekend, but I think that has more to do with it being the first of the month — bills due.
“I think it’s unfair to single out Exxon for a boycott, though. Everyone else is making just as much money as we are.”
But according to Sharif’s Texaco neighbor, things aren’t all hearts and roses for the other guy, either.
“Sales have been kind of low lately, but I don’t think it’s because of a boycott,” said the Texaco station’s manager, who declined to give his name. “We’ll be grateful if people come here, but I don’t think a boycott is going to make a difference. It doesn’t work like that. I wish it did.”
Sadly, the fatal flaw of the boycott idea, according to www.hoaxbusters.org, is this, “Boycotting company A’s gas doesn’t mean that they won’t sell it to company B and C.
“So, one way or another, company A’s gas will get to market, and they will get their money. Boycotting company A’s gas stations will only hurt the owner/operators and employees of those stations. So, in the end, boycotting particular stations won’t have much effect on the parent companies.
“There are really only two ways to influence gasoline prices. Producers must either make more oil and refined fuel available, or consumers must reduce the demand for it. It’s as simple as that.”
In recent years, fuel prices peaked in March and April, and new record highs were recorded in those months from 2002 to 2005, reports the Texas AAA.
“We’ve seen boycotts encouraged in the past and they have not been successful,” AAA Texas spokeswoman Rose Rougeau said. “Our prices are high for a variety of reasons. It is not due to a shortage of gasoline.”
Statewide, the prices of regular self-serve is $2.89 a gallon. On Monday, the average price was $2.84 a gallon in Athens.
“It’s (the gas prices) crazy,” said Athens Police officer Ron McCurry, who fueled up his patrol car Monday afternoon. “I was almost walking.”