I see the following call to arms over high gas prices in the USA is making the rounds again ...
Here's a message I received recently from someone I know, who felt the need to transmit it to their entire e-mail address book:
GAS WAR-- An Idea
"This was originally sent by a retired Coca Cola executive. It came from one of his engineer buddies who retired from Halliburton. It 's worth your consideration.
"Join the resistance!!!! I hear we are going to hit close to $ 5.00 a gallon by next summer. Want gasoline prices to come down? We need to take some intelligent, united action.
"Phillip Hollsworth offered this good idea. This makes MUCH MORE SENSE than the 'don't buy gas on a certain day' campaign that was going around last April or May! The oil companies just laughed at that because they knew we wouldn't continue to 'hurt' ourselves by refusing to buy gas. It was more of an inconvenience to us than it was a problem for them. BUT, whoever thought of this idea, has come up with a plan that can work. Please read on and join us!
"By now you're probably thinking gasoline priced at about $1.50 is super cheap. Me too! Now that the oil companies and the OPEC nations have conditioned us to think that the cost of a gallon of gas is CHEAP at $1.50-$1.75 and the price of gasoline going up more each day, we consumers need to take action. The only way we are going to see the price of gas come down is if we hit someone in the pocketbook by not purchasing their gas! We can do that WITHOUT hurting ourselves. How?
"Force a price war:
"For the rest of this year, DON'T purchase ANY gasoline from the two biggest companies (which are now one), EXXON and MOBIL. If they are not selling gas, they will be inclined to reduce their prices. If they reduce their prices, the other companies will have to follow suit. To have an impact, we need to reach literally millions of Exxon and Mobil gas buyers. However, it's simple to do! Now don't wimp out on me at this point...keep reading and I'll explain how simple it is to reach millions of people!!
"I am sending this note to 30 people. If each of us sends it to at least ten more (30 x 10 = 300) and those 300 send it to at least ten more (300 x 10 = 3,000) and so on, by the time the message reaches the sixth group of people, we will have reached over THREE MILLION consumers.
"If those three million get excited and pass this on to ten friends each, then 30 million people will have been contacted! If it goes one level further, you guessed it: THREE HUNDRED MILLION PEOPLE!!!
"Again, all you have to do is send this to 10 people. That's all!
"How long would all that take? If each of us sends this e-mail out to ten more people within one day of receipt, all 300 MILLION people could conceivably be contacted within the next 8 days! Acting together we can make a difference.
"If this makes sense to you, please pass this message on. I suggest that we not buy from EXXON/MOBIL UNTIL THEY LOWER THEIR PRICES TO THE $1.30 RANGE AND KEEP THEM DOWN. THIS CAN WORK.
"Xxxxx Xxxx, Research Coordinator"
This has been attempted before, and it's never been successful. The basic reason is that the USA is a country with a very diverse populace. Any attempt to get an effective number of them to abide by the discipline such a plan would require is simply impractical.
However, that's not the point I want to make. I contend that these people are missing the real point:
Why can't the American public accept that the issue isn't high gas prices, but their stubborn subservience to gasoline?
The obvious answer is that gasoline is the established and easiest facilitator for personal transportation. And, as long as those facts remain, the Americans' habits will remain, as well.
Placed in a global perspective, $5.00 for a gallon of gas is not unusual. The difference is that the rest of the globe has accepted lifestyle adjustments and moved on to other issues.
One of the simplest of those adjustments to make is changing the location of the workplace. Move it from an office to home!
Cyberspace can make decentralization much more efficient. Some Fortune 500 companies began to embrace the concept over a decade ago. Bank of America, for instance, allows many of their executives to utilize a home-office relationship. Clearly, not every job allows its worker to perform at home, but there are enough that do. The effects would be subtle, but significant. For example, if even 20% of the vehicles in a commute were removed from the road, traffic congestion would be eased. That, in turn, would allow for better mileage in the vehicles that wouldn't be stuck in idling or stop-and-go sequences. That saves gas and reduces demand.
As e-commerce continues its relentless drive toward mainstream acceptance, numerous shopping trips can also be reduced. Cyber-meetings also are very possible now, and they can accommodate the sharing of documents. Even cyber-schooling could be expanded; Sweden has been operating a cyber-curriculum for the youth of its citizens abroad for years, which is a great way for its culture and high academic standards to be provided to those who work elsewhere.
So, any attempt to target Exxon --- or British Petroleum or Elf or Shell --- is Quixotic. Target yourself instead. You'll surely get much better mileage out of your time. You'll also probably notice an improvement in your monthly gasoline budget. In the bigger picture, as well, it's a simple plan which relies on simple market forces, ie- less demand lowers prices.
Small strategies are what win the wars. In this one, open your battlefront in cyberspace.