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Gas Boycotts — Unrealistic and Can Make Things Worse

Every time there is an increase in the cost of gasoline my inbox and Facebook become flooded with people inviting me to boycott buying gas on a certain day. Most people do this based on an emotional reaction and rarely think if it’ll actually have an impact, let alone a negative one.

The fact is that we all need gas and if we all avoid getting it on Wednesday, we’ll fill up Tuesday in anticipation or Thursday out of necessity; or the day after that. The gas companies know that we need their product and avoiding it for a day is just silly. I’m sorry but it is silly – they simply don’t care.

Photo by Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

Then there is the other side of the coin – the possible negative impact of not buying gas. Fossil fuels are a commodity that has a price largely driven by demand. Simply put the more gas we use, the cheaper it gets. When demand goes down, prices go up because they need to make up for the loss they are facing. Sure the price goes up when supply is low too – or the fear of it is present – and there are other factors that can have an impact on the price.  So why participate in a silly “boycott” of gas for a day when you’re going got need it anyhow and that boycott could drive the price up?

Snopes is a great website for anyone who believes these email forwards and needs to be set straight. Bill Gates isn’t sending you a million dollars for forwarding that email, Facebook is not shutting down, flashing your headlights at someone won’t get you killed as part of a gang initiation, and a gas boycott isn’t going to do a damn thing.

The only thing that will impact gas prices is us making a switch as a society to things that don’t rely on gas. So please stop forwarding those cheesy emails asking me to join your faux cause; same goes for those Facebook invites too.

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