BP’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has garnered plenty of media attention, but now it seems to have driven some Facebook users into a tizzy as well. Seeking a means to protest against the spill, some consumers have turned to the social networking site to attempt a boycott of BP products and services.
“I won’t buy their gas anymore,” Patricia Jarozynski, a member of the Boycott BP Facebook page, told CNN. “I won’t patronize a company that’s destroying our planet.”
The Boycott BP page appears to be growing in popularity. At this time, there are over 278,000 “fans,” up from the 118,000 the page had one week ago. Those numbers, however, don’t necessarily indicate any boycott will be successful.
The page suggests consumers vote with their spending power and purchase gas from non-BP stations. That said, the action may not actually hurt BP. Every BP-labeled gas station is an independently owned franchise. Should this grassroots movement translate into an actual (and organized) boycott, those owners — not the company itself — will likely feel the most impact.
“You can boycott all you want, but BP can sell product wherever they need to,” said Patrick Eakins, vice president of Edison Oil, an independent gasoline delivery company in Florida. “They are one of the largest trading companies that trade oil on the open market. It’s a global economy. Those gallons will shift elsewhere if the U.S. doesn’t want them.”
We imagine some consumers will have difficulty avoiding BP products altogether. Apart from gasoline, the company sells many other products, including hydraulic fluids, motor oil, asphalt, and aluminum. Some consumers may be forced to buy BP gasoline simply out of location — would you drive 20 miles out of your way to avoid a BP station?
We’re not surprised to see such protests lobbed against an oil giant like BP — especially in wake of the entire oil spill fiasco — but we wonder just how much they’ll actually affect the company. What are your thoughts? Is it a good idea, or is it simply a moral victory for eco-conscious shoppers? Sound off in the comments below.