"Gas Out" for slacktivists, not activists
"Gas Out" idea is for slacktivists not activists.
The "great Gas Out" boycott requires no sacrifice, no work,
no effort, and no time, which is why it has no effect. But
calling the elected official(below) could actually bring down
For those of you who are wondering, a "slacktivist"* is someone who thinks that by sending an e-mail to a political leader, that he or she has actually helped accomplish a worthwhile goal. Not true. Politicians these days rarely even count e-mails, and one handwritten letter or fax, or a phone call carries more weight than 1,000 e-mails.
The "Great Gas Out" combines a slacktivist love of e-mailing with a slacker's idea that doing absolutely nothing will bring down gas prices.
Once again (sigh ... ) an e-mail is being circulated urging consumers to participate in the "Great Gas Out." The e-mail says that by not buying gasoline on a single day (this year it is May 15) that gas prices will magically drop. Every year the e-mail makes the same tired old claim that it has made since 1997 when a slacker first originated the idea, saying: "it worked!"
Not only is this claim false (it has never worked), but the statistics it cites regarding the money such a boycott would cost the oil industry are highly questionable. The reality is that if you delay buying gas for one day, the oil companies will still get your money the next time you buy gas.
The ugly truth is that boycotts don't work unless you stop using the product for an extended period of time. Period. If enough people stop buying gasoline for a month or even a week, it might have the effect of bringing prices down by glutting the market with surplus fuel, but the effect would only be temporary unless you stop buying gas altogether.
Even boycotting specific brands of gasoline is a highly questionable idea because the oil companies swap gas supplies like wives at a Hollywood hot tub party. If Arco runs out of gas because it is favored by consumers over Chevron, it is very likely that Arco will get the supply it needs from Chevron because Chevron will have plenty of surplus fuel to sell. We repeat: the only effective boycott involves not using gasoline.
Unfortunately, very few of us can simply stop buying gas, but there is something we can do that can immediately bring down prices: We can call or write our elected leaders. Historically, the one thing that has an almost immediate effect on gas prices are public hearings with a credible threat of regulatory or legislative intervention. To learn more about why gas boycotts are not terribly effective, we suggest visiting the mythbusters at snopes.com.
Our suggestion? Other than buying a more fuel-efficient car or getting rid of our cars, we can direct complaints about gas gouging to Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez and the Honorable Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Their addresses and phone numbers are below. Remember: we have not listed their e-mail addresses because a single hand-written letter or personal phone call has the impact of about 900 e-mails. When you make a phone call or send a letter, you have actually done something. You will have become a citizen activist. Here are the addresses:
The Honorable Fabian Núñez
Speaker of the Assemby,
P.O. Box 942849
Room 219 Sacramento, CA 94249-0046
Phone: (916) 319-2046
The Honorable Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
Governor of California
State Capitol Bldg.
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 445-2841
Fax: (916) 445-4633
The word slacktivist comes from the combination of the word "slacker," which means "one who shirks work" and "activist." The "great Gas Out" boycott is a great example of slacktivism" it is a boycott that requires no sacrifice, no work, no effort, and no time (and that's probably why it continues to be a popular, albeit completely worthless boycott idea).