May 16, 2004

Here we go again: my E-mail box is getting copies of one of those poorly-written all-caps chain letters suggesting a May 19 gas boycott. What is sad is that some people I know are among those cc'ing it, and I know it's hopeless to even bother suggesting something meaningful like carpooling or selling that damn Dodge Durango. A glimmer of hope: the soaring costs are just now starting to hurt SUV sales, according to an industry report. I'll leave you with this stinger left by one poster, epitomizing the futility of a boycott: "I am definitely in on the boycott. I will get enough gas [to get through May 19] today or tomorrow."
  • ... I'm speechless at the stupidity of some people. Also, the fewer stupidly large view-blocking road-hogging overconfidently-driven vehicles there are on the road, the happier I'll be.
  • 'speople like this that give us real organizers a bad name. Ugh.
  • That last bit is very funny is very funny.
  • I'd love to have a gas-free day, but I'm having such problems with my stomach at the moment, I don't think I'll be able to take part.
  • A gas free day won't do much until we funadamentally change how we think about vehicles. I'm a grad student and I am amazed at how many of my fellow grad students will drive halfway across campus drive around looking for a spot when it is just as quick to walk. It also amazes me how many of them talk about driving to the gym to go run around the track. These are educated people who know about the evironment and the politics of oil. If these people can't get off their butts and walk, I don't have much faith for America changing thier habits.
  • Skrik is my hero.
  • I saw something briefly in the news the other day about the possibility of gas stations recording your gas mileage and charging accordingly. That might make more of the SUV driving folk think twice about buying that second Hummer.
  • Actually that story about gas stations recording milage was about screwing fuel efficient vehicles. It was talking about the way that the government gets money for road construction from gas taxes and if everyone has a fuel efficient car the government won't get as much tax money. Therefore, they are working on a way to charge fuel efficient cars more taxes.
  • well damn....thanks for the info jccalhoun. *runs out and buys the shiny yellow H-2 Hummer*
  • Sing ho! for the rebirth of the carpool!
  • As an ex-pat Brit I laugh at your puny American gas prices Here in northern California, its $2.49 for a gallon of premium. Any English Monkeys care to let the rest of the Monkeyhouse know how many bananas you have to shell out for a gallon of 4star in Blighty? over $5.00? I'm guessing. Johnny American (sorry Im back into Tango man mode again) needs to read this and then lobby for HIGHER prices.
  • you monkeys talk about the destruction of the planet as a bad thing. Don't you want to go home to Jeezus?? *claps, both paws in air*
  • If we take 3.785 litres to the US gallon, and 80pence a litre, todays rate of $1.77 to the pound gives us a uk price of $5.36 per gallon in the UK.
  • well, gee, i just got that damn email. again. from my uncle. seems that once every few months or so i get a relative who likes to send this stuff, until i've rebuked them enough times that they start thinking before hitting "send" (generally i just refer them to snopes until they start checking there themselves, prior to forwarding anything). then once i'm all proud of myself for teaching my family about researching before sending, another one gets an email account and i start over from zero again. sigh. if they want more road taxes, there's three ways to go about it - charge efficient vehicles more to make up for lost tax revenue, charge more per gallon for gas to increase the tax base, or charge large vehicles more in registration fees to make up for the higher impact they have on roads in terms of wear. as for the last one, i can pretty much guarantee that large trucks, etc. do more to hurt roads than my little 4-door compact does. they know this, that's why semis, etc. have weight limits... except SUVs fall outside of some category or other due to a loophole that really needs closing, so they aren't hit by some of these taxes - but they should be. christ, small business owners get a damn tax break for buying one of these hulking beasts. do we really need the government to subsidize hummer sales? i think not. as for the first, i would hope that any politician dumb enough to levy higher taxes on fuel-efficient vehicles would get run out of town on a rail come november, but i'm sorta not relying on the intelligence of the average american voter so much, these days. especially given that the average american doesn't generally bother to vote to begin with. yay, democracy. and the second option - raise gas prices - well, that just makes people so angry, because it makes us all pay more for food and stuff. well, hey - that's too damn bad, considering that we already have some of the cheapest gas prices in the industrial world. as a member of one of the richest nations out there, i've gotta say that paying a little more for my bread and milk for the benefit of cleaner air, more efficient vehicles, serious investment into alternative fuels, and less hulking beasts on the road (just itching to roll over or crush some small car, at the drop of a hat) is a good, good thing. see, that part about us being all rich and stuff? we can afford to pay more for stuff that matters. (and if we go back to growing more of our food locally, we won't end up paying that much more or less for food, anyway. plus that way some smaller farmers might be able to make a living without getting subsidized up to the eyeballs. hey, you want cheaper food, why not start with cutting farm subsidies there folks? oh wait, that's right, the big corporate farms lobby peole to vote to make sure we keep paying them big bucks to not grow corn. there's that democracy again.) bring on the $5 a gallon gas, folks. you'll see a line at the small car dealers and mr. hummer sales rep going flat broke in no time. why do you think the cute little cars in all the european movies are so cute and little, anyway? because, when it comes to gas, they're smarter than we are. yep, mr. nascar fan, hummer-driving, beer-swilling, bloated average american joe six-pack, i'm talking to you. that's right, buddy, europeans are smarter on this. yep, even the french are smarter than you about gas. how do you feel about your hemi now?
  • oh, and hey klepton and biffa - what's up with the "litres"? we thought you brits had our back on that whole imperial weights and measures thing. i mean, since you all kinda came up with it and such... not that it makes more sense than the metric system, of course, but... don't you like to piss off the french too, just on general principle? next thing you know you'll stop selling beer by the pint, and then it's 1984 all over again... (cue old man saying "'alf a liter aint' enough, and a 'ole liter is too much for me bladder...") in democratic america, only cola comes in liters! (yes, that's actually the smallest volume you're legally allowed to buy in most fast food restaurants. and they're outlawing diet.)
  • Along with the flat tax/sales tax arguments, would not raising the gas tax be unfair and unkind to the poor? yep, mr. nascar fan, hummer-driving, beer-swilling, bloated average american joe six-pack... You forgot white. Its cool to denigrate white male joe six-packs.
  • Beeswacky, I'm with you on the carpooling. One lucky person in my office will get the pleasure of my uncaffeinated company during morning rush hour. Snopes posted a story on the gas boycott.
  • If America wants Europe's dynamic economy, punitive energy taxes would give it an excellent start in that direction. We'd still have work on modeling their labor regs, though. Euro cars are minute because Euro streets were laid out in the sixteenth century to the dimensions of the mighty donkey. Someday, just for performance, I'd like to wedge an American fullsize dually pickup (but not a work truck, oh no... I mean the kind kitted out as a commuter rig, bought for hauling a bass boat or horse trailer, with shiny paint and a clean bed) onto a Lisbon city street. Once the truck could go no further, I'd bring out troupes of acrobats and musicians, and throw candy to the children, who could garland the great beast with flowers. The work ends when the toreador brings his Sawzall.
  • You're not using Imperial properly anyway, caution live frogs, so you're on your own.
  • i got the email, too. :( and the best way to "stick it" to those oil companies is by taking your bike or segway or scooter or roller skates or just walking to school/work. econ 101: lower demand --> more supply --> lower prices duh! why are people so naive??
  • The oil and gas market isn't really based on supply and demand. Its more of a futures based contract controlled by NYMEX. Civilian, non-commercial use gasoline is just a fraction of the total output from 'those oil companies'. Just as effective (or non-effective, depending how you look at it) "stick it"s would be switching from propane to charcoal for your grill, wood fireplaces, synthetic lube oils and solar waterheating.
  • I just lubed a squeaky exhaust fan in my bathroom the other day with olive oil instead of lube oil. Not that that will dent Big Oil profits, but petrolium products extends well beyond just gasoline, even in the non-commercial markets.
  • I just got a forwarded email from my mother. The NZ version of this goes as follows:
    DON'T purchase ANY petrol from the two biggest oil companies (which now are one .BP) If they are not selling any petrol, they will be inclined to reduce their prices. If they reduce their prices, the other companies will have to follow suit.
    I don't know what to say, really. It's like the lazy man's boycott, even moreso than rolypolyman's original post.
  • But did she do boycott BP on the 19th, or is it on a different date Down Under?
  • There's no date because the writer of the email wants this to be an ongoing action. So no one-day boycott.
  • SUV sales are taking a beating. Ford Expedition has been hit the hardest (sales are 60% off from last year). [about time... phew] Heh, as I was walking down a street in Queens NYC the other day, a shiny new Mustang screeched its tires and sped off... There was a group of young teens standing nearby - instead of the usual hoots of approval, they started heckling the driver, "haha buddy, that's gonna cost you $5 in gas!"
  • I think the gas boycott thing has been throughly debunked, by Snopes among others. However I think the SUV bashing thing has actually started to go a bit knee-jerky: true, they waste gas and pollute, but dont waste any more gas then 1970s big block cars, and pollute somewhere around 1/100th as much. I realize the rich guy in his SUV makes a tempting target, but I think the best thing we could do for the environment and oil usage is to offer people with very old cars cash incentives to take them off the road. A lot of people just seem to resent the sight of an SUV, even if its a hybrid that doesnt use any more gas than a regular car. I fidn it slightly silly to own one in the city and never take it off-road, but I support people's right to buy the vehicle they want.
  • If America wants Europe's dynamic economy, punitive energy taxes would give it an excellent start in that direction. We'd still have work on modeling their labor regs, though. I'm sorry, is "Europe's" economy more "dynamic" than ours now? Does that actually mean something?
  • I'm sorry, is "Europe's" economy more "dynamic" than ours now? Does that actually mean something? i dunno, but the goetter's post was may 17 of last year so maybe the internets work "faster" in "europe".