Ladies and Gentlemen, I asked someone familiar to us all to grace us with a reply to the recent email message I received entitled: "Don't Pump Gas on May 15th," the text of which you may have via a little interpolation, or, if you prefer, at your request. Mr. Hargis has indeed honored my request with his latest Guest Contribution to this forum. So I withhold from you no longer, and without further ado, Mr. Hargis:
There was an email fwd travelling around the internet exhorting Americans to stay away from the gas pumps on 15 May 2007 in an effort to stick it to Big Oil and the Middle Eastern oil industry. Some questionable numbers were used to show that such a boycott would rob those greedheads of a little over $2 billion. Seems like a good idea, right? Let's look at it a little closer, shall we?
If I see a house for sale and I don't buy it, have I taken anything from the owners? The correct answer is no. If I spend $100 per week on groceries at Save-A-Lot, that doesn't deplete Kroger's bank account at all. Millions of people don't buy Chevrolet Corvettes for all kinds of reasons. The effect is the same as if they'd boycotted them, yet Chevrolet still sells every 'Vette they make. See where I'm going? Not buying a thing isn't the same as taking something away from the seller.
I will be the first to admit that $2 billion is a big chunk of change...but not compared to $500 billion. I don't know what the total yearly revenues of the oil industry amount to, but I'm guessing it's closer to the latter than the former, and probably a lot higher. Furthermore, only a tiny fraction of that $2 billion goes to the oil companies, say 25 cents per gallon. It may even be less than that considering the millions of people involved in drilling, transporting, refining, etc., over which all that money is spread. $2 billion dollars divided by $3 per gallon equals about 670,000,000 gallons of gas. Multiply that by 25 cents and you get $167,500,000. A lot of money, but a tiny drop in the bucket compared to what is spent on the world's oil market. So if 73,000,000 Americans (the email's number) refused to buy gas for one day, the only people who would notice would be those 73,000,000 Americans. It isn't as though the gas won't get sold: Every gallon of gas you don't buy is a gallon freed up for someone else. By the way, if my figure of 25 cents doesn't seem right, feel free to use your own figure.
So, the point is that if you want to stay away from the gas pumps for a day as a symbolic gesture, fine. But don't fool yourself into thinking that your action is going to force some oil company executive to have to fire his maid and start cleaning his own swimming pool. The world oil market is simply too big for you, or even 73,000,000 of you to do that.