Friday, May 4, 2007

Boycott gas boycotts

Every year I inevitably get an email from someone asking me to participate in a one-day gasoline boycott. Mind you, this is not a solicitation to stop using gas -- just to postpone buying it for one day. The email claims that prices will drop overnight. The only possible harm you could do to the gasoline industry is take a day's pay out of the pocket of your local gas station proprietor. The gas distribution companies drop fuel off every week or so -- they don't care what day you buy it on. The big oil companies that trade millions of barrels care even less. How about not driving for a day, or even better a whole week? Feel free to ignore those boycott solicitations or better yet, when you get one think of riding your bike to work that day.


Elliot said...

Ride a bike to work? Do you do that? How far do you drive to your job? Someone who drives 20 miles to work uses about 20 times as much fuel as someone who drives 1 mile to work, all other things being equal (vehicle, loaded weight, etc.). Would you support a mileage tax? It'd be easy...just base it on odometer readings.

CT Energy said...

I do ride a bike to work and it's about 1.5 miles, though I also rode my bike when I lived 7 miles away. As you imply, the choices we make on living proximity greatly affect our energy consumption -- often moreso than our choice of vehicles. I used to commute 50 miles (each way) and I tried to minimize consumption by carpooling with 3 others. Eventually I was fortunate enough to find a job and a home very close to one another.

I'm not sure I would really oppose the concept of a mileage tax, but I think fuel taxes are a bit more appropriate and easier to implement. They more accurately reflect a person's transportation energy usage and don't really require any new collection methods.

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