I don’t know if I’m quite ready to say the BP oil spill drama is “winding down,” but I definitely don’t hear as much about that man-made disaster as I’d expect to — and I mean from friends, family, and other everyday folks rather than the news media. Other than retweeting the occasional smart-alecky remark, joke, or video I don’t hear much about it in everyday life. And that makes me wonder. Why?
When gas prices went through the roof people here boycotted the gas stations. They took fewer road trips. They bought more eco-friendly cars. I’m not sure if it’s just a local thing or what, but I haven’t seen the same kind of outrage over the oil spill. Where are the BP boycotts? Better yet, where are the boycotts in general?
My Local BP: Are the Times A-Changin’?
This question first came to mind not after watching the news for the latest oil spill updates, but after visiting my own local BP station. The fuel pump was leaking little bits of gasoline on the concrete next to me as I moved its handle to my car. All kinds of jokes came to mind, but I’m not a comedian so I’ll spare you. But then I looked around. There were maybe one or two others there. And I thought to myself, “Why the hell am I patronizing BP right now?”
At first I felt bad, thinking I must be one of the few poor schmucks still buying from them. But after driving by at rush hour I realized that, no, it was business as usual. (That BP station is located with a McDonald’s, so when Mickey D’s is busy, so often is the gas station.)
The Environment vs High Gas Prices
Maybe what it really comes down to is the fact that people are selfish (myself included). When we’re hit directly in the wallet by a few extra cents a gallon, we can become infuriated. But destroy the environment (when it’s not directly where we live) and we seem to move on fairly quickly.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not calling for a BP boycott or anything of the like. I just found the whole situation to be somewhat curious. I do care about the environment. That’s one reason I drive a very fuel-efficient car and probably always will. But I also love to drive (and where I live you can’t really get anywhere without driving). I have no intention of giving it up. I’ll continue to purchase fuel, and probably wherever I find a good deal, or wherever it’s convenient if I’m out for the day.
I’m curious about what you think, and what you’ve observed. Have you boycotted BP? Have you made an effort to purchase less fuel overall due to the effects of the oil spill, to try to send a message to the oil companies? Is there even a BP station where you live? Do you even think about these larger issues in the news when you’re going through the mundane process of filling up your tank for another work week? Does price trump all? Are things in your area much different from what I observed here (in Pennsylvania)? Leave a comment and tell us how the BP oil spill has affected your life and buying decisions, if it has at all.