(It’s Spring Break here this week, so I am taking the week off from blogging to work to revise a few articles and begin working on new research projects. As a result, I am re-posting old posts that some new readers might have missed but which were very popular the first time I posted them. The following was initially posted on March 9, 2011.)
I just saw this on Facebook:
“OKAY! WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH!!! Gas Strike March 10th! This worked once before…let’s try it again. On March 10 if everyone does not buy gas for one day, it will hurt the oil companies. It’s time we stood up to them. We CAN have a voice…REMEMBER “MARCH” 10th DO NOT BUY GAS! Please repost this to as many people as you can…it is urgent that this spreads like wildfire!
PS: Try not to fill up the day before or after so that this day will have an impact on the companies
Annoying statements in ALL CAPS and questionable punctuation (or lack thereof) aside, I just wanted to state for the record that this is a really, really stupid idea.
Why? Because whatever gas you don’t buy today, you will have to buy tomorrow. Deciding not to buy gas today is not like forgoing a meal at McDonald’s: if you don’t eat at McDonald’s today, you’re unlikely to make up for it tomorrow. But if you don’t buy gas today and still drive to work, you’re going to have to make up for the gas you used today sooner or later.
Instead of acting on their emotions, people should think about this rationally. You want to stick it to gas companies? Cool. Why not take the bus or carpool to work? Better yet, why not bike to work or telecommute? If enough people chose one of these options instead of blindly following others into a “gas strike,” gas companies might actually be stuck with an excess supply of gas and may have to lower their prices as a consequence.
In the long run, why not buy a hybrid vehicle or simply move closer to work? I was once told — and am inclined to believe — that your happiness is maximized by making the triangle defined by your home, your work, and your kids’ school as small as possible.
Sadly, I’m afraid few people are going to adopt any of the options I’ve just enumerated, because those actually require a real commitment to changing things instead of just talking, and heaven forbid US consumers should give anything up, right?
The price of gas is high, but come on, folks, let’s face it: gas strikes are the result of knee-jerk emotional reactions and bad economics. In other words: Gas strikes don’t work.