Tag Archives: Boycott BP

Boycott BP: The Station Owners Part 2

Readers of this blog will know about my BP Boycott. My previous post went into a lot of the why’s, of the Boycott.  I addressed a major criticism with a BP Boycott, which is how it will affect the Independent BP Station Owners. It has been suggested by various articles (See Newsweek), and even from people on the street when I protest that Boycotting the BP stations only hurts the independent owners, and not BP, and thus taking the whole point away from the BP Boycott.

I considered this then I saw this pie chart printed on another gas stations pump. Note where this information is coming from. It is from the NACS, the National Association of Convenience and Petroleum Retailer. The idea behind the this chart from the gas station retail industry is to say:

Don’t blame the gas station for the high gas prices. It is not our fault because we do not make much money.

Lets look at these numbers:

58% for the crude oil (Which will go to BP)
17% for refining (Also going to BP)
14% in taxes (to pay for the up keep on road we drive on)
9% retail and distribution cost with %20 of that going to credit card companies
1% Lastly, the station owner will take in only %1 income from the sale of gas

So this means that of the $20 I spent today to fill up at a non-BP station, the owner takes in $.20.

So really the station owners do not make their money from the gas. They make way more off of the slushees, chips, beer, wine, lottery tickets, soda, candy, cigarette, ice cream, pork rinds, and hot dogs etc…

BP or other gas companies by contrasts will take in %75 from the sale. In the case of my last gas purchase $15 of $20. Of course not all of that is profit, but the record profits that all oil companies have seen come from these numbers.

And how did oil companies like BP make record profit and keep as much of my $15 dollars as possible? Their profit comes from in part from saving money by not spending it on safety R&D, and by hiring lobbyist to pay off politician to keep the profits coming.

So if all the oil companies are lax on safety why demonize BP right?

Because of the oil spill disaster in the gulf, and BP as far as the US is concern, is the worse oil company by far. The economic and environmental impact for the US will far out shines all other oil companies.

So if you are mad at BP, but do not want to hurt the gas station owners get your gas at another station, and buy your convenience stuff at an independent BP stations if you must. But won’t that just hurt the other gas station whose company did not create the worse environmental disaster in US history?

Related Post: BP Boycott: The Station Owner’s?

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BP Boycott: The Stations Owners?

I read a good piece in newsweek that talked about the BP Boycott. The gist was how all gas companies kind of suck either environmentally, or human rights wise, or both. So why single out BP with a Boycott was the sentiment because we gas car drivers were really to blame for using gas not the station owners we are boycotting.

From the Newsweek article why a Bp Boycott will not work:

Unless someone figures out how to make gasoline bought from BP produce exhaust that forms a big “BP” when it spews out your tailpipe, no one knows where you gassed up.

Really?? We are a bumper sticker nation, and a Boycott BP bumper sticker tells other drivers what gas you do not have in your car. Another sticker may say if your child is an honor student, or who you voted for in the last presidential election, or where you like to vacation in the summer. In fact more people will see my car’s bumper sticker than read this blog all year.

I even made my own sticker: click here to get sticker (All of the proceeds will go to the American Bird Conservancy who is doing some great work in the Gulf)

But I feel that pointing the finger at you and me, and joe gas powered car driver is wrong. You, me and Joe did not drive down to the gulf, and dump our oil from our car onto the beach.

BP screwed up big time, and they had no back up plan, or no plan really at all. And they spent millions of dollars not on safety, but lobbying for policies that help them maintain profits, which were created in part from cutting corners on safety, and ensuring they did not have to spend money on oil spill clean up R & D.

Now the BP gas station owners are taking a hit from consumer driven outrage with a BP station boycott. So are the gas station owners innocent here like I have heard during my BP Boycott efforts? They are unlucky I would say for choosing BP. But they are not innocent. They make their money selling gas with a BP label on it, and that includes all of the environmental destruction that has come to mean.

Will these BP station owners who are now affected by the BP Boycott go pro environment and strong government regulation, or will they vote with lobbying dollars paid to national associations to prevent a greener world?

Read for yourself.

Here is some copy from the National Association of Convenience Stores (and Petroleum Retailers) web site

What NACS Is Doing
While NACS is not taking the lead on these issues, NACS is incorporating the following positions into its advocacy and communications:

  • NACS believes that recent transportation fuel prices are fundamentally the result of inadequate supply at a time of increasing international demand and that these prices are having a negative effect on consumers and retailers alike.
  • NACS believes the United States can and must take a more aggressive role in providing for its own energy needs by concurrently expanding its use of domestically available natural resources and promoting the development of marketable alternative fuels.
  • NACS believes the commodities futures markets play an important role in the transportation fuels sector, but that questions concerning its operations must be resolved in a manner that poses the least amount of disruption to the market.

Therefore,

  • NACS supports oil and natural gas exploration and production on domestic land, including:
    • The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
    • The Outer Continental Shelf
    • The Gulf of Mexico
  • NACS supports development of alternative forms of petroleum resources, including:
    • Production of shale oil reserves in Utah, Colorado and Wyoming
    • Utilization of oil sands imported from Canada
    • Conversion of coal into liquid oil
  • NACS supports the development and marketing of alternative transportation fuels, provided:
    • Such fuels are implemented with due respect to the existing storage and distribution infrastructure and maximize the compatibility of the same.
    • Retailers are not required by law to convert existing equipment to accommodate new fuel formulations and are left to make conversion decisions based upon the development of consumer demand
    • Policies are implemented in such a way as to not disadvantage the development of particular fuels or feedstocks
  • NACS supports enhanced transparency in the commodities futures markets, including:
    • Identification of traders, commercial and non-commercial
    • Other features deemed by experts to promote transparency and eliminate potential deceptive practices

In other words, the retailers are in favor of cheap, and fast oil (gas) where ever, and however they can get it, which includes BP station owners. Let the environment be damned. It is all about price to drive consumer demand. There was no mention about money for R&D to prevent spill or clean up technology when a spill occurs nor about supporting legislating their industry to be cleaner, safer, and greener.

What also stands out is:

Retailers are not required by law to convert existing equipment to accommodate new fuel formulations and are left to make conversion decisions based upon the development of consumer demand.”

Basically the retail petroleum sellers will fight any regulation that would require retro fitting for different fuel sources unless a “consumer demand” warrants it. This consumer demand will not happen because there will not be any “supply” to create it because the industry will fight legally requiring non-gas fuel distribution accessibility. If you are waiting for the gas station owners to champion green energy, don’t hold your breath. They are just as into oil profits as their corporate parents. The slogan might as well be “Pump Baby Pump.”

According to the NACS web site: In 2008, the industry sold $450.2 billion worth of fuel, representing 72 percent of the industry’s total sales for the year

So we are talking about a huge industry with a lot of political pull. This boycott is not just about BP gas stations. It is to send a message for all gas station owners that the actions of their parent, and the policies their industry supports will affect their bottom line. Any gas brand can be next, so it is in the best interests of all station owners regardless of company affiliation to insist on higher safety standards to protect the environment, and to investment in R&D for spill recovery.

So far it has been in the best interests of the gas station industry to do business as usual and make a living off the status quo.

The Newsweek article suggested that the Boycott would not work because there is no better alternative. We can choose from one company that really sucks, and a company that sucks less.

But I do not agree.

Many articles talk about using less gas, rather then boycotting BP. This sounds nice, and I am trying to do this myself, but if the companies are still risking the environment regardless if we use slightly less gas, what really has change?

The fact is Boycotts do work. The BP Boycott is working, and BP is taking notice. Not because BP’s bottom line is majorly affected. It is not. This is in large part because BP holds massive US contracts to supply both of our Wars.

It is working because it affects BP’s brand, and as a result their stock price.

But more than that, this Boycott bands together a large group of people who vote our conscience at the pump, and who could also push now in wake of the worse environmental disaster in US history for strong regulation, and laws. Part of this BP Boycott is the US Gov’t contract BP Boycott. This can be done by contacting your Federal representative, and the White House directly. And another part is a BP Boycott against BP stock. A massive sell off of BP stock will directly affect BP’s bottom line too.

Ann Arbor BP Boycott Three

I was downtown on Saturday with my sign positioned outside of the peoples food co-op. There was a festival going on on that block, and the farmers market, so the foot traffic was high. I had only good responses. Unlike before where a person said, “If we boycott they cannot pay for the spill.” Last week BP spent 50 million on TV ads to spin their image, and 10 billion to pay out dividends to share holder as a bribe to prevent a massive sell off, and share holder lawsuits.

I still see people driving into BP station in this town like robots. The stations are everywhere, so I get it is all about convenience. Maybe they do not watch the news, or they do not connect with the place they by gas, and the people who caused the worse environmental disaster in US history.

Most of the money BP makes is not at the pump. The have big institution contracts with our military to supply jet fuel. Will that fact make our gov’t cave, and not go for disembarment, a process of basically kicking out a corporation from doing business in the US, and receiving gov’t contracts? Who knows.

Between the grossly inflated gas prices under Bush, and the hugh demand to feed our wars (which are in part oil related), the oil companies have made record profits in the last few years.

Part of those profit went to an army of lobbyists who created a “cozy relationship” to deregulate the industry for safety. In other words to drill deeper without spending money on clean up technology.

The result is that we have ruined the coastline of at least four of our states, and set the stage for huge dead zones in the ocean. Not to mention the fall out of people getting sick.

Will BP pay. Not if they do not have too. Their share holder got 10 billion this year, but it will remain to be seen how much BP will pay. As little as possible I figure because companies are about the bottom line not social responsibility.

Boycott BP: Part two

Today was my first day promoting a Boycott of  BP in Ann Arbor. I positioned myself with sign in hand at the Ann Arbor maine street BP. I made sure to be on the side walk, and not on BP property, and I provided enough room for walkers to pass by. This way I was not doing anything illegal. Free speech rocks!!!

In general the boycott protest went well. I was there for a little over an hour and recieived 103 either, honks, thumbs up, waves, cheers, woo hoos, or Damn Rights!.

Three people who had pulled into the BP station to get gas, saw my sign and drove off without getting gas (instant boycott). One guy yelled, “Your right. I should boycott their ass.”

I figure some others might go some where else the next time they get gas. For every thumbs up, I figure there must have been 5 to 10 times as many people who saw the sign. And this was at a slow traffic time.

I also had four people take a picture of me and my sign to I assume to show friends.

It was not all honks, and cheers I am afraid. One guy walking by said, “If you don’t support BP they won’t be able to pay for the spill clean up.”

He walk away before I could ask him if he was serious, but I could tell he was . I thought about it for a second, and realized the crazy logic.

I mean if that was the case then why stop at simply getting your gas at BP to show your financial support?

Why not send BP a charitable donation directly like one would say to the Sierra Club? Or why not ask your representatives to create a special BP tax to mandate our support right?

We are talking about one of the richest, most profitable, most powerful company and industries in the world. They got that way by hiring an army of lobbyists, and having a “cozy’  relationship with the gov’t so they would look the other way with regulations and safety for decades.

So, now that they screwed up, “we” the gas buying public, according to this guy, need to bail them out because they could not afford to clean up the spill without it? That is his argument, and it sound like the greatest public relation spin for BP of all time. BP has the money believe me. They had a record profit year before this happened, and have been doing great for years. Anyone remember the illogical gas price hikes during the last eight years?

Another one yelled, “They [BP stations] are independently owned.” In other words, it is not Joe BP station owners’ fault. They just happened to be in bed with an evil parent company. For one, independent or not, they still benefited from Parent BP’s practices of cheap, unsafe oil extraction. So they also take the PR hit when the company screws up.

I figure by boycotting BP stations, we affects BP’s and the independent station owner’s bottom line. This will get the independent BP station owners who have some pull, and probably are not too happy about the spill to go after their evil parent. The station owners who lose money from the boycott can also sue parent BP just like the share holders are doing for gross mismanagement which lead to a loss of stock share value, or customer at the pump.

In fact, a boycott at the pump can nudge independent station owners to flex some muscle, and if these station owners are truly independent and against there evil parent company, they can always switch brands of gas they sell. Maybe they can hang their shingle with a company that is not responsible for the worse US environmental disaster in my life time. Maybe, just maybe BP’s action may lose them the right to do business in the US, then all of the independent station owners will need to shop around for a new supplier, more responsible supplier.

Boycott BP: Ann Arbor

I wrote a post a few weeks ago about my excitement with local Michigan Shrimp. At the same time Michigan is starting to farm shrimp, the gulf coast region is being bombard with environment destroying oil, not to mention a oil dispersant that was banned in England that is being used by an English company. Don’t you just love a company with ethics and integrity?

As the days went by and the “Long Shot” attempts to fix the leak failed, again and again, I waited and hoped that the oil did not reach shore. It has.

News started coming out how BP willfully made unsafe decisions towards securing the well on the Deep Horizon Rig. This is not the first time they willfully, and criminally violated safety standard to increase profits. They are actually being sued by share holders for gross mismanagement. (Read Article)

At the same time that I was waiting to see what happens with the well, I noticed business as usually at the Ann Arbor BP gas stations. They were full of customers getting gas. My question was, Where is the Protest? There has got to be at least one pissed off person in this protest happy town who was frustrated, and angry enough to stand in front of a BP and hold a protest sign. But there was not. I had to wonder what was going through the minds of the people getting gas at a BP. Don’t they watch the news? Are they happy to pay their hard earned recession dollars to the company who basically willfully ignored safeguard to create Americas Trinoble? We are not talking out of sight, out of mind here. This is daily headline news, and it is still going on.

Well I say enough is enough. The Federal Government is seriously considering barring BP from any federal contracts on US controlled water or land (Read Article). Better late then never I say. Lets is if they have the guts to do it.

And I say we too should bar our contract with BP, or as I like to call them Big Polluter. I made this sign tonight, and I will be stationed in front of various BP’s around town this week. I invite concerned citizens to make their own signs and join me. If you see me this week, please give a supportive wave and honk.

CB