Saturday, May 10, 2008

Are You Defeated on Gas Yet?

Well, are you? What ever happened to voting with your dollar? The gas prices here in Chicago and across the US have climbed well over $4.00 per gallon now. When is this going to end? Why are we being choked out of all the money in our collective pockets? And the even more pertinent question is why are we doing nothing about it?

I have been trying to raise concerns over gas prices (mainly) and secondarily food prices around my friends and colleagues, but no one wants to do anything more than complain verbally. I have brought up repeatedly that perhaps we should do a small-scale but effective partial boycott of gas stations. That has been knocked down I can't tell you how many times. Everyone keeps telling me that won't work, but I'll tell you what will work. What will work is that when we continue to purchase this gas at the asking price of these large companies, we are telling them we are pleased with it, even when everyone knows we aren't. This is why the gas has steadily risen over a relatively short amount of time. We started out paying close to $3 and people started complaining but again did nothing. Then they raised it to $3.29, $3.59, $3.69, $3.99, and finally in some places regular unleaded is now $4.09. The thinking of these companies, and rightly so might I add, is that if the majority of consumers will pay x amount, then they won't mind paying only $.20 more. This is what our inactivity has taught them. We will complain verbally but when push comes to shove, we will ultimately do nothing. We're gonna go over to that pump and pay that money no matter what.

What I have proposed was a partial boycott. It is obvious these companies couldn't care less about what you or I have to say about these prices. As long as we pay without any retaliation they will continue to make excuses as to why the gas prices must rise yet again. I would say to boycott the gas stations at least twice a week. I understand that a full boycott is not only unreasonable, but unfeasible as well because many people really need their cars. However, no one goes to the gas station every single day except maybe a cab driver (and it's called a day off guys ). So one or two days out of a week shouldn't hurt the consumer, but it would hurt the companies over time. If you've been reading the news reports you will have noticed that companies such as Chevron and Exxon have posted extraordinary profits over the last quarter. Why do you think that is? If this government who is hand in hand with these big corporations were really raising gas prices to cover the cost of crude oil, how could they post such large profit margins over only a single quarter or so? I'll let you ponder that one yourself. If in a single region in the US conducted a boycott of only two days out of a week for a couple months I bet we'd see a change for the better!

Let's face it that the only thing that matters to these various entities is money. Not the lives they are sending towards a downward financial spiral because everything is going up. Not the strain and stress they are causing in the lives of your average citizen. Only money. Money talks and bullshit walks as the old saying goes. So let's do that then. Let our money talk. If an entire region or (lest I should dream too much) the whole nation boycotted two days a week (preferably stagger the days where one region boycotts on Tuesday and Thursday, another on Mondays and Wednesdays you get it) they would be forced to lower prices.

I urge all who read this not to shoot that idea down. Roll it around in your heads, because if no action is taken, you had best believe you'll be paying $5 or more at the pump by this summer or next year. Get together with the people in your communities and plan something, anything. Never let the government fool you into thinking that the collective people have no power. We do have power. This government is not some invincible monster that has no weakness. Money is its lifeblood. If we take it away it will be forced to change like any other business we don't like. It's the same thing. If there was a large chain of stores that people stopped shopping at for some reason, they will be forced to either change or go out of business. We should approach this gas issue the same way.

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