Thursday, April 27, 2006

Sticking It To The Man

The Gas Man, That Is

We've said it before -- boycott Exxon-Mobil. You ignored us. We said it again, louder. BOYCOTT EXXON-MOBIL! Did you pay attention? Silly question. Now, mass e-mails are making the rounds, telling millions of Americans to boycott Exxon-Mobil. Will you listen now? Of course not!

Here's that e-mail making the rounds:

Join the resistance!!!! I hear we are going to hit close to $4.00 a gallon by this summer and it might go higher!! Want gasoline prices to come down? We need to take some intelligent, united action. Phillip Hollsworth (alleged, through the rumor mill, to be everything from a mathematician to a former Haliburton engineer) offered a good idea. BOYCOTT EXXON-MOBIL.

This makes MUCH MORE SENSE than the "don't buy gas on a certain day" campaign that was going around last April or May! The oil companies just laughed at that because they knew we wouldn't continue to "hurt" ourselves by refusing to buy gas. It was more of an inconvenience to us than it was a problem for them.

Whoever thought of this idea, has come up with a plan that can really work. Please read on and join with us! By now you're probably thinking gasoline priced at about $1.50 is super cheap. Me too! It is currently $2.89 for regular unleaded in Smithtown, NY. Now that the oil companies and the OPEC nations have conditioned us to think that the cost of a gallon of gas is CHEAP at $1.50 - $1.75, we need to take aggressive action to teach them that BUYERS control the marketplace..... not sellers.

With the price of gasoline going up more each day, we consumers need to take action. The only way we are going to see the price of gas come down is if we hit someone in the pocketbook by not purchasing their gas! And, we can do that WITHOUT hurting ourselves. How? 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.

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.

To have an impact, we need to reach literally millions of Exxon and Mobil gas buyers. It's really simple to do!

Now, don't wimp out at this point.... keep reading and I'll explain how simple it is to reach millions of people. I am sending this note to more than 30 people. If each of us sends it to at least ten more (30 x 10 =3D 300) ... and those 300 send it to at least ten more (300 x 10 =3D 3,000)...and so on, by the time the message reaches the sixth group of people, we will have reached over THREE MILLION consumers. If those three million get excited and pass this on to ten friends each, then 30 million people will have been contacted! If it goes one level further, you guessed it..... THREE HUNDRED MILLION PEOPLE!

Again, all you have to do is send this to 10 people. That's all. (If you don't understand how we can reach 300 million and all you have to do is send this to 10 people.... Well, let's face it, you just aren't a mathematician. But I am, so trust me on this one.)

How long would all that take? If each of us sends this e-mail out to ten more people within one day of receipt, all 300 MILLION people could conceivably be contacted within the next 8 days!!!

I'll bet you didn't think you and I had that much potential, did you? Acting together we can make a difference.

If this makes sense to you, please pass this message on. I suggest that we not buy from EXXON/MOBIL UNTIL THEY LOWER THEIR PRICES TO THE $1.30 RANGE AND KEEP THEM DOWN.


Ah, the stuff urban legends are made of! And this talk of boycott is nothing new, either.

So, will avoiding one company's gas stations effectively and permanently drive prices down? No. In fact, it would likely have the opposite effect, if any at all. Gas is a commodity. Commodity markets work on the law of supply and demand. When supply is higher than demand, sellers lower the price until the two factors equalize again. When demand is higher than supply, sellers raise the price to curb use and stretch supplies until, once again, the two factors equalize.

Just for the sake of argument (and we'll play the Devil's Advocate here, as we support the boycott of Exxon-Mobil), let's say we successfully organize the Exxon-Mobil boycott (we know this is fantasy, but hang with us here). Exxon-Mobil loses business and lowers prices to lure you back. The other stations will follow suit and lower prices to compete, right? Not quite.

To avoid Exxon-Mobil you go to the Speedway across the street, instead. Speedway's business increases, causing them to raise their prices to try to control demand, otherwise their supply would be quickly depleted. Their higher prices drive customers to Shell, who in turn raise their prices and drive customers to BP, and so on. Eventually, supply and demand will equalize and all stations will have the same price again.

As consumers, we can do little to control supply, but we can control demand. However, effectively doing so means reducing demand overall, not just at one station. The reduction in demand must be severe and long-lasting. If you want to save money at the pump, slow down on the expressway, plan outings to get everything in one trip, walk more, car pool, and trade in that gas-guzzling SUV for an economical compact car for starters.

Contact your State Assemblymember and State Senator, encouraging them to give New Yorkers some tax relif at the pump, and reminding them that they are up for re-election in November. You can also write your Congressman and Senators, urging them to close the tax loophole that would allow oil and gas companies to cheat the federal government out of $9.5 billion in royalty payments over the next five years.

Then why support the boycott of Exxon-Mobil? Well, because it is better than doing nothing. Call it self-help or self-empowerment, it is our small way of standing up and raising our collective voice. And it's a heck of a lot better than waiting for our elected officials to take action on our behalf (tantamount to doing nothing). The President isn't going after gougers or profiteers -- after all, no matter how "concerned" he tells us he is, Bush still runs with the pack. Congress isn't likely to step up to impose a Windfall Profit Tax on the oil companies. And our State Legislators have already defeated a measure to lower the state taxes we pay on gasoline -- roughly 63 cents per gallon, the highest in the nation.

If you need a reason -- or several -- to boycott Exxon-Mobil, other than what they're doing to us at the pump, consider some of Exxon-Mobil's other corporate misdeeds:

- human rights violations (providing facilities and equipment for torture and murder of political opponents in Indonesia, Chad & Cameroun);

- toxic discharges (into NY harbor, from a pipeline spill in California, a spill of carcinogens into Long Island groundwater, radioactive contamination of residential area in Louisiana, disregarding the dangers of carcinogenous oil additive MBTE contaminating the drinking water in several states, and toxic discharges from a waste storage facility in Kazakhstan);

- testing of its petrochemical products on laboratory animals;

- shareholder disclosure violations (failure to disclose required information on diversity, environmental breaches, executive compensation, lack of investment in alternative renewable energy and human rights violations);

- abuse of power and public trust (high-powered and heavily-financed opposition to the Kyoto Accord, denial of the impact of greenhouse gases on global warming. and trying to get scientists concerned about global warming removed from government advisory bodies);

- disregard for health and safety (negligence resulting in death of refinery workers in Australia);

- threat to endangered species (seismic testing in areas inhabited by rare whales in Asia);

- discrimination (a score of 14 out of 100 on equality and discrimination against gays and lesbians in hiring practices, refusal to provide benefits to unmarried couples, violations of the international embargo against apartheid in South Africa);

- ethics violations (price-gouging of independent retailers, reneging on price agreements with franchisees, cheating state governments out of royalties);

- complicity in the coal-for-arms trade between the US and Colombia (Exxon built the huge, devastating coal strip-mine in Tabaco, Colombia, and then spun it off to a consortium of other multinational oil companies, so that those suing the mine cannot get satisfaction from either "we're no longer involved' Exxon or the "this happened before we were involved" consortium that now owns the mine -- a classic corporatist tactic);

- reports from several countries also allege that Exxon/Esso engages in price-fixing with competitors, and has the dirtiest burning gasoline available. [Excerpted from, How To Save The World.]

And then there are those nasty greenhouse gases. A 2004 study commissioned by Friends of the Earth found "ExxonMobil is single-handedly responsible for 5% of all the greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere in modern history, earmarking it as the world's single largest contributor to global warming." [And you thought it was Dick Cheney...]

Okay. Maybe we're the bleeding-heart, tree-hugging, save the planet, beat up on corporate America, liberals. Shame on us for giving a damn about the air you breath, the water you drink, and the dollars that big oil (among other profiteers) are picking from your pockets.

Boycotts of Exxon-Mobil may well be the stuff that junk mail is made of, but hey, if we're going to target any company, why not one that has absolutely no redeeming value? Besides, boycotting Exxon-Mobil would be cool. Think of it as our way of sticking it to the man -- the gas man, that is!
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Do boycotts work? Check out
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Click HERE to read, Exxon's $8B 1Q Profit Is 5th Highest Ever

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