Friday, 18 June 2010

Boycott Hurts Independent Station Owners, Not BP

BP doesn't own the 11,000 BP-branded stations across the United States. While it gets a small cut as a franchise owner, all big oil companies started getting out of the retail gas-selling business years ago. Because oil is a globally traded commodity, a boycott of BP-branded gasoline isn't likely to hurt the oil giant responsible for the Gulf of Mexico spill at all. Instead, boycotts only hurt the independent station owners. "If sales volume drops and BP gets stuck with unpurchased gasoline, it can quickly and easily wholesale the excess to stations that sell gas without a brand name," the Chicago Tribune reported. Regardless, public advocacy groups -- and hundreds of thousands of Facebook users -- have called for a boycott of BP. "The 'mob mentality' forming against BP station owners is frightening, said Paul Fiore, executive vice president of the Service Station Dealers of America and Allied Trades," the Tribune reported. According to Fiore, business is down 20 percent recently at some BP stations. "It's a totally misguided attempt by frustrated people," he said. "They are not going to harm BP, I guarantee you." Stations owners in the Chicagoland area that the Tribune spoke to said that sales were down, but not so much that they would be forced to shut down. Most customers, owners said, recognize that they have little connection to the spill in the Gulf of Mexico. "It's an accident," one BP customer said. "It could have happened to anybody. I want them to fix the problem, I want our government to be more proactive, but I don't see any reason to boycott." A representative with the advocacy group Public Citizen, which is promoting a boycott, said that the point isn't to hurt sales but to harm the company's image.

Read original story in The Chicago Tribune | Friday, June 18, 2010

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