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Posted at 12:35 PM ET, 06/10/2010

Who a BP boycott hits hardest

By Peter Galuszka

Consumer anger over BP's oil spill and rig disaster is being carried over into boycotts of BP stations.

But if you refuse to buy BP gas, will Tony Hayward, BP's embattled CEO, get your message? Possibly not.

The reason is that plenty of BP outlets, like all gas stations, are franchise arrangements owned by independent operators. If you shun their products, you will hurt the local owners, not the British energy giant.

In Hampton Roads, for instance, Miller Oil Co. owns 16 BP stations and supplies gas on a wholesale basis to 50 other small operators. The set-up takes the BP brand a few levels away from the parent firm.

Back in 1979, I did a newspaper story about the public outcry over high gasoline prices following the Iranian Revolution. I was friendly with the owners of an Exxon station in Virginia Beach, and they explained the micro-economics of their business to me. They went over their books and showed me that they didn't set the gas prices, although they had to factor in their needs by adding pennies to the higher prices per gallon to stay afloat.

In fact, Exxon was squeezing them on other costs, and they were having a hard time making whatever payments they needed to make to Exxon.The problem was exacerbated because customers were buying less of their gas because of the high prices.

Indeed, they probably had more friction with Exxon than with their outraged customers.Given the way BP has behaved in its deadly Texas City refinery blast in 2005 and with the Deepwater Horizon disaster, I would expect that tensions between independents and BP are even stronger.

Peter Galuszka blogs at Bacon's Rebellion. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

By Peter Galuszka  | June 10, 2010; 12:35 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., HotTopic, Maryland, Virginia, economy, energy, environment, traffic, transportation, wildlife  
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Comments

So people should continue to buy BP branded gas? I think not.
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More accurately, the message will be sent clearly to the local owner that the BP moniker is no longer acceptable and they should purchase their gas somewhere else.
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That is what will affect BP and it's CEO, losing their actual customers.
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As customers of their customers it is fully within our rights to tell our supplier we won't purchase from them if they continue to purchase BP gas.

Posted by: rpixley220 | June 10, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

if everyone stops purchasing BP gasoline it will punch a hole in many peoples' balance sheet. This is not a bad thing. This is what we SHOULD be doing to get this nation off of the oil standard and until we do we will be at the mercy of craporations destroying lives, the environment..., terrorists, both the violent kind as well as the accepted terrorism practiced by governments who provide oil to those who need it...sh_it the list of disasterous problems can go on for a very long time and will be going on until we stop using fossil fuels for virtually everything we do and start thinking smarter and changing these ingrained, and assinine, habits.

"drill, baby, drill?" Only if we are as stupid as porky palin and that other crack from AK.

Posted by: spike591011 | June 10, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Give me a break. If I see people at a BP station, I honk and flip the finger.

USA FIRST. Screw the British.

Posted by: FiatBooks | June 10, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Is Mr. Galuszka forced to work for the "National Inquirer" or "The Globe" to make a living? Is he forced to work as a writer? No. He can work for other, more reputable, news agencies. He can also to work outside the writing field.

BP gas station owners voluntarily become part of the PB oil "family." The owners elected to buy a BP franchise, not a Marathon or Speedway. Perhaps the owners should have done more homework about the mismanaged BP franchise before buying an outlet. Research about selling oil itself would have been a good idea. I'm sure the owners recall something about the Exxon incident.

I AM boycotting BP gas stations. I saw two recently closed stations over the weekend. May all stations in the US close down!

I'm also boycotting ARCO Aluminum, any company using "Thunder Horse" crude from America's Gulf Coast and Bitumen asphalt products--all BP products. I'm not using any Castrol products, also owned by BP.

The kind of reasoning used in this article reminds me of the purported excuse; "I was only following orders." It's NO excuse. PERIOD. We are the masters of our own fate. Too bad the owners made such poor choices. Maybe in their next career choice the owners will make a better, more informed, choice.

Posted by: jojojames | June 10, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Is Mr. Galuszka forced to work for the "National Inquirer" or "The Globe" to make a living? Is he forced to work as a writer? No. He can work for other, more reputable, news agencies. He can also to work outside the writing field.

BP gas station owners voluntarily become part of the PB oil "family." The owners elected to buy a BP franchise, not a Marathon or Speedway. Perhaps the owners should have done more homework about the mismanaged BP franchise before buying an outlet. Research about selling oil itself would have been a good idea. I'm sure the owners recall something about the Exxon incident.

I AM boycotting BP gas stations. I saw two recently closed stations over the weekend. May all stations in the US close down!

I'm also boycotting ARCO Aluminum, any company using "Thunder Horse" crude from America's Gulf Coast and Bitumen asphalt products--all BP products. I'm not using any Castrol products, also owned by BP.

The kind of reasoning used in this article reminds me of the purported excuse; "I was only following orders." It's NO excuse. PERIOD. We are the masters of our own fate. Too bad the owners made such poor choices. Maybe in their next career choice the owners will make a better, more informed, choice.

Posted by: jojojames | June 10, 2010 7:15 PM | Report abuse

There is a balance between the two. You can boycott BP, without hurting local business and putting them out of business. The truth of the matter is BP Francaise owners, barely make any money off the gas, as strange as it seems, there money comes from sales from their stores. Don't buy the gas, but do shop in the store. Do not buy BP oil or products with their logo. Do buy beer, soda, sand withes, candy, etc...

Posted by: SR13 | June 11, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

There is a balance between the two. You can boycott BP, without hurting local business and putting them out of business. The truth of the matter is BP Francaise owners, barely make any money off the gas, as strange as it seems, there money comes from sales from their stores. Don't buy the gas, but do shop in the store. Do not buy BP oil or products with their logo. Do buy beer, soda, sand withes, candy, etc...

Posted by: SR13 | June 11, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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