Don’t buy gas because…um….what?

I can do math.  That skill can be a problem when confronted with something like this:

 Don’t pump gas on April 15th, 2012

I’ll do it!  If running low, just get your gas the day before, on April 14th or the day after, on April 16th.

If all users did not go to the pump on April 15th, it would take…almost 3 billion out the oil companies pockets for just one day.

Hells to the yes!  I don’t like oil companies and I’d love to help screw them out of 3 billion dollars!

Except I can do math.

For anyone who has trouble with complex mathematical models, I’ll try to explain how this all works out.  Please note that the numbers are hypothetical to keep the equations simple.

I need gas on April the 15th, but I don’t buy it.  On that day, I don’t pay the gas company $60.00.

On April 16th, I still need gas, but now I need it more because it isn’t like I stopped driving on the 15th.  So now, I pay the gas company $70.00 (because I used more gas).

How much money did the gas company lose?

OK, let’s try another one.  I need gas on April 14th so I go to the pump on April the 14th and pay $60.00.  Because I still drove on the 14th, I would have had to pay $70.00 if  I’d filled up on the 15th.

So that means the gas company lost $10.00, right?

Well, are you going to fill up again?  When you do, you are going to have to pay to replace that $10.00 of gas you used on the 15th, won’t you?

So, what have we learned?  We have learned that the gas company doesn’t lose a cent.  Even if everyone did it, this “boycott” wouldn’t work.  You know why?

Because nobody is driving any less than they did before.  They are using the same amount of gas and paying for it on a different day.

This boycott idea has been going around for years.  Every time gas prices spike, we all want to stick it to the man by organizing a “boycott” that isn’t really a boycott because nobody stops using the product.

You think airlines are going to ground planes for a day?  Trucks will stop shipping food and supplies?  Ships will just cut their engines?

If we want to have an impact on gas prices, there is really only one way to do it.  Use less gas.

Drive more fuel efficient vehicles.  Don’t drive to the supermarket if you can walk to the supermarket.  Carpool to work if you can.  Ride a bicycle.  You know, make your life a little tougher so you don’t have to spend as much on fuel.

Except that isn’t going to make much of a difference either.  Know why?

Because a lot of other emerging countries (most notably China and India) are using so much gas that the dent we make by trying to be more efficeint won’t impact fuel prices all that much.

I’ll tell you what it will do, though.  It’ll make sure you pay less at the pump because you aren’t using as much fuel.

So hey, you want to stick it to the gas companies?  Ride a bike.  Walk.  Those choices, at least, have the off chance of making a tiny difference.

Oh, and the next time you see something like this, take a look at Snopes before you post it.

Further thoughts about what people don’t know about gas prices here.

About Petsnakereggie

Geek, movie buff, dad, musician, comedian, atheist, liberal and writer. I also really like Taco flavored Doritos.

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