BP station boycott is the only effective protest

June 15, 2010

Unfortunately the boycott of BP gas stations affects local station owners, but consumers really don't have any other way to vent their frustration with the oil company. ("Sales fall at area BP pumps in wake of spill," June 14). As a consumer I know that the only way we can truly avoid such disasters is by cutting down on our consumption of oil and hope that automobile manufacturers will produce cars that will use renewable sources of energy that won't harm the environment as much as oil. That won't necessarily solve our problems as we have become a world dependent on the use of petroleum and other sources of fuel that pollute our earth.

First of all, I believe that we as consumers really don't have many avenues for voicing our discontent with the situation in the Gulf Coast. A boycott, whether it is organized or the result of a personal decision, may seem misguided, but it is still a way of letting those responsible know that it did not go unnoticed. As stated in the article, BP no longer owns the stations that bear its name. They are under contract to purchase BP gasoline, and that is the product that consumers are boycotting to express their frustration, but it does impact the owners of BP stations. The article also mentioned that other stations buy their brand of gasoline as well. Who should we really boycott?

I remember the boycott of Shell Oil Company as a protest to their investment in apartheid South Africa during the 1980s and the boycott of Exxon/Mobil after the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska. These boycotts were a way of letting our disapproval about how these companies do business be known. If a company does something that the public disapproves of, we as consumers really don't have any other way of effecting change in the corporate boardroom. Exxon fought back and reduced the penalties which were imposed after the Exxon Valdez disaster. We cannot allow BP to do the same.

I know that this disaster is the result of our insatiable need for oil and its many by-products. Not only do we depend on oil for transportation but also for plastics which seem to be a part of our everyday lives whether we drive or not. Regrettably, we are bound to the use of petroleum for so many things in our lives that it will be difficult to break our dependency on it. This disaster has given us an opportunity to reconsider our relationship with oil.

Overall, a new energy policy is needed and an incident such as the one in the Gulf Coast region has prompted renewed discussions on what we should do in the future. This disaster just compounds the problems the people of the Gulf Coast have had to endure during the last decade. The impact it has had on the local environment will be felt for many years to come. The time is now to move forward on renewable energy and move away from our use of fossil fuels and the harm it does to all living things on our planet.

Eddie Diaz

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