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Today Is No Gas Day: Does It Even Matter?

Today Is No Gas Day: Does It Even Matter?

Gas prices are rising and our air, water and soil is polluted with the toxic byproducts of fossil fuel extraction. Although our government claims it’s commited to a clean energy future, it’s all political lip service with no action.

So where’s a frustrated, angry, poverty-stricken populace to go for some relief?

Why not Facebook?

Last week, North Carolina resident Sarah Thompson took to the social network to see if she could organize an event to reach as many people as possible to have a day designated to boycott all gas stations across the planet–a global ‘No Gas Day.’

“I know this has been tried before,” says Thompson on the event page, “but not since Facebook has become the phenomenon that it has. So, send this event to everyone on your friends list, and let’s see if we can start our own revolution, by letting these oil companies know we aren’t going to stand for these prices!

Simply avoid all gas stations on March 31, 2011. And if you can go one step further, don’t even drive that day. Why not let Facebook help us spread the word? However, don’t forget your local mom and pop shop. Go IN and buy something that day. Make a point of it!”

More than 5 million people from across the country have been invited to join, and 1,736,459 have agreed to participate. But more than 500,000 have selected to decline the invitation, often writing on the event wall that it “won’t make a difference,” and “could end up hurting the economy.”

What Thomson fails to mention in her appeal is that the government, guilty of supplying excessive subsidies to petroleum companies and therefore artificially suppressing the cost to consumers, is also responsible for wildly fluctuating gas prices.

The corporations are simply doing what they exist to do: make a profit.

And then there’s us: the people who beg, borrow and steal to buy the products offered to us by the petroleum industry. Yup, we’re responsible too.

But here’s what Thompson says to the doubters:

“…Since there seems to be so much confusion about what we are trying to do here, let me clarify now. This is NOT about thinking we are going to send gas prices plummeting downward because of this one day. This is about taking a stand, together, against greedy people whose commodity happens to affect ALL OTHER commodity’s prices. What other commodity does that? Let’s be the nation of innovators that we are and come up with something better!”

And she’s right. Boycotting gas for a single day won’t do nearly as much as biking or walking to work instead of driving; supporting legislation that would boost the public transit system in America; or (gasp!) giving up your car altogether.

There’s actually some evidence that boycotts such as this actually benefit the gas companies because people stock up the day before. And if you have no plans to really curb your gas consumption permanently, I’m sure the gas companies are content to wait a day or two for you to return to the pump.

Now don’t get me wrong: if No Gas Day gets even a fraction of its 1 million+ participants thinking about the injustices perpetrated by the petroleum industry and riled up about our government’s resistance to renewable energy, it’s a win.

But it only matters if they take that knowledge/anger/indignation and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT in the days, weeks and months ahead.

Will you?

Related Reading:

Why We Should Be Thankful For $5 Gas

Rural Wyoming Has Worse Smog Than Los Angeles

New Oil Spill Spreads Across Gulf Of Mexico

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Image Credit: Flickr - makdune

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95 comments

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5:18PM PDT on Apr 5, 2011

Hard issue to remediate.

5:17PM PDT on Apr 5, 2011

True.

9:07AM PDT on Apr 5, 2011

Wish they would spend money on green energy instead of on extra family benefit!

12:26AM PDT on Apr 5, 2011

CO2 from vehicles is a major cause of global warming. It's good to reduce it.

10:26PM PDT on Apr 4, 2011

Hard to do a No Gas Day when one's job is driving Medicaid patients to their out-of-town doctors' appointments. I kind of like the boycott of Exxon-Mobile. If everyone stops buying from that big oil, they will probably have to drop their prices, then so will everyone else. For those of us who, for whatever reason, can't reasonably stop driving, that is a solution -- but it will only work in huge numbers.

One great way to save on oil, however, is to stop getting bottled water. I just read that about one and a half million barrels of oil are used to produce our individual plastic water bottles each year. Am I nuts, or is this truly insane?

I think bottled water is better than soda, and I like to provide it for my clients who are in the car for a minimum of three hours each way. I am trying to find a solution to this, because I drive a number of people, and water is an issue. A communal bottle and cups isn't as good in a moving vehicle; I'd hate to buy a bunch of metal water bottles then wash them each time, but that may be the answer.

Maybe I'm really no better than those who buy their own drinking water in plastic bottles, when they have perfectly good water on tap at home; but I think there's a difference. At least by using my metal bottle myself, I am saving hundreds a year.

Suggestions?

8:22PM PDT on Apr 4, 2011

Clean energy now!

7:14PM PDT on Apr 4, 2011

Well said. I agree that we should all reduce our use of fossil fuel, by walking, cycling and taking public transport. It is this kind of behaviour change that will make the difference.

10:39AM PDT on Apr 4, 2011

I was reading through the newer comments and thinking about what is going on in my community. We are a pretty little artist's colony on the MS Gulf Coast with an actual downtown, and those of us who live downtown have the advantage of a very walkable community. I can walk or bike to almost anyplace I go, including work and the beach. My car is 12 years old, and I have just shy of 46,000 mi. on it.

A small tract of land on the edge of downtown and across the street from a grade school and a high school is being filled with beautiful cottages in Southern style, different sized, and all with front porches. They also have the added advantage of being within walking distance of a food market and a number of other stores. They are bang-up next to each other, and that is the wave of the future around the country. We must get away from large lots and mini estates, and face reality. I sometimes wonder about the sanity of people who live way the hell and gone in the middle of nowhere, and commute long distances to work and for everything. We lived in the country for 5 years when I was in my early teens, and to me, it was a nightmare. My mother didn't even drive.

6:52AM PDT on Apr 4, 2011

I missed the day, sorry.
But in my view the price is not the most important thing in that game. We should be aware of better alternatives that lead to a nearly gas and oil free society. The alternatives exist, watch out and try to support that.

4:55AM PDT on Apr 4, 2011

Thanks for the article.

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