Saturday, May 06, 2006

The Futility of Retail Gas Boycotts

A little old lady tells how she heard on talk radio that oil executives secretly hoarded millions of gallons of oil, and only when congress threatened them with felony charges did they release their reserves. I reply that a conspiracy of that magnitude would require thousands of people keeping their mouths shut. She thinks for moment and admits she wondered where they hide that much oil. The surge in gas prices has much of the population thinking and this much collective thought guarantees a lot of goofy and flawed theories. Not even Front Page Magazine is immune from questionable ideas.
Terror Free Oil: The American Center for Democracy (ACD) has developed a new program called the Terror-Free Oil Initiate (TFOI). The purpose of the program is twofold: 1. to cut off the flow of money that goes to terrorists and 2. to decrease America’s dependency on foreign oil. … “This project is dedicated to encouraging Americans to buy only gasoline that originated from countries that do not export or finance terrorism.” … Americans must, once and for all, take a stand and support companies like Sunoco and Sinclair that don’t get their crude from ‘the crude.’
This type of selective purchase protest is exactly like one proposed by the leftists.
Buy Your Gas at Citgo: Looking for an easy way to protest Bush foreign policy week after week? And an easy way to help alleviate global poverty? Buy your gasoline at Citgo stations. And tell your friends. Of the top oil producing countries in the world, only one is a democracy with a president who was elected on a platform of using his nation's oil revenue to benefit the poor. The country is Venezuela. The President is Hugo Chavez. Call him "the Anti-Bush."
The futility of retail boycotts is explained by the Department of Energy.
Where Does My Gasoline Come From? The Energy Information Administration (EIA) cannot definitively say where gasoline at a given station originated since EIA does not collect data on the source of the gasoline sold at retail outlets. The name on the service station sign does not tell the whole story. The fact that you purchase gasoline from a given company does not necessarily mean that the gasoline was actually produced by that particular company’s refineries. … This is because gasoline from different refineries is often combined for shipment by pipeline, and companies owning service stations in the same area may be purchasing gasoline at the same bulk terminal. … Even if we knew at which company’s refinery the gasoline was produced, the source of the crude oil used at that refinery may vary on a day-to-day basis. Most refiners use a mix of crude oils from various domestic and foreign sources. The mix of crude oils can change based on the relative cost and availability of crude oil from different sources.
Oil is a global commodity where price set by market demand and market supply and petty partisan gamesmanship will not change that fact.