Mad at BP? Skip the Boycott. Stop Driving.
The harsh reality is that BP and the rest of the oil companies drill for oil because we are willing and able to pay for it. There is no supply without demand. And Americans, who produce only 2 or 3 percent of the world's oil but consume over 20% of it, have been the demanders in chief.
It will do absolutely no good to boycott BP if you keep buying oil and gas from someone else. BP's oil, along with everyone else's, is sold on the world market, not just to BP stations. Local gas stations are usually owned by entrepreneurs in your community, not by BP. They sell gas that comes from a variety of sources, not just their namesake. So as a consumer, even if you boycott a BP station, you're not necessarily boycotting gas produced by BP. Likewise, if you buy gas from a different station, you could be buying BP gas.
Plus: is there any "good" gas? Are there any "good" oil companies? Is Exxon, responsible for what was previously the largest oil spill in U.S. history, better than BP? What about Shell, a company known for its horrid human rights violations? Or Chevron, which has been sued for polluting pristine rainforest in Ecuador?
Take a look at the photo (above, left) from AP photographer Charlie Riedel. It's a bird, but that's about all we can tell, it's been so mired in oil.
Sadly, it's a perfect metaphor for our economy.
Want to change it?