Java Zen:Thinking Out Loud Wednesday, 2017.05.24
I never make any mistaeks.

2007.05.02

An Inconvenient Effort

[This post dovetails nicely as an example to my The Truth Never Changes post. – GPE]

After the fourth email with the subject “Fw: FW: FW: FW: No Gas On May 15th …” showed up, it was time for a blog post. Apologies to the senders, some of them are family and friends and they mean well. But thresholds are thresholds and to paraphrase Rodney King, “People, I just want to say, you know, can’t we all just get beyond the bumper stickers?”

The subject line is irritating enough. Nothing says “I’ve thought this through and it’s good stuff” like successive “FW” tags, stacked up like so many cheep slaps to the face from some cheesy interrogation scene staring James Cagney. Besides, scientists have proven that clicking on the “Forward Message” button contributes to global warming.

So here is the message:

NO GAS…On May 15Th 2007

Don’t pump gas on MAY 15Th

In April 1997, there was a “gas out” conducted nationwide in protest of
gas prices. Gasoline prices dropped 30 cents a gallon overnight.

On May 15Th 2007, all Internet users are to not go to a gas station in
protest of high gas prices. Gas is now over $3.00 a gallon in most
places.

There are 73,000,000+ American members currently on the Internet
network, and the average car takes about 30 to 50 dollars to fill up.

If all users did not go to the pump on the 15Th, it would take
$2,292,000,000.00 (that’s almost 3 BILLION) out of the oil companies
pockets for just one day, so please do not go to the gas station on May
15Th and lets try to put a dent in the Middle Eastern oil industry for
at least one day.

If you agree (which I cant see why you wouldn’t) resend this to all your
contact list. With it saying, ”Don’t pump gas on May 15Th”

Now let’s dissect it. And I’m so hopping, eye rolly mad, I’m not even going to use anesthesia.

In April 1997, there was a “gas out” conducted nationwide in protest of
gas prices. Gasoline prices dropped 30 cents a gallon overnight.

I can’t find any evidence of this. What’s the source of this data? Did the price fall 30¢ over night nation wide or just at Earl’s Corner Gas N’ Go? In fact, I can’t find where it has fallen this much over night ever. It’s a big drop and likely to have been noticed.

On May 15Th 2007, all Internet users are to not go to a gas station in
protest of high gas prices. Gas is now over $3.00 a gallon in most
places.

The negative command is painful enough, but…my bumper sticker cerebral lobe logic tells me high prices should be a good thing as it means people will drive less, produce less greenhouse gases, reduce global warming and bring about world peace and the long promised utopia. Why the protest? Bring it on! All things connected to fuel prices be damned.

There are 73,000,000+ American members currently on the Internet
network, and the average car takes about 30 to 50 dollars to fill up.

“Member”, eh? Gee, didn’t know I was part of a club. The various research data I was able to google indicated that roughly 40% of these members are children or young adults below the legal driving age. That leaves us with 43 million “members” in a position to fill ‘er up. But, how is it the average cost to fill up a tank of gas is between 30 to 50 dollars? An average would be one number because, well, it’s an average and not a range. So, using the members of the Internet of driving age figure and the average of $30 and $50 ($40) we get a total potential hit to the oil companies of $1,720,000,000. What’s more, the assumption is that this is pure profit for the oil company. There are taxes and costs incurred between the pump in the field and the pump at the gas station – R&D, labor, refining, transportation, etc. All those intervening steps are jobs for regular people with families, needs and dreams. And we all benefit from the taxes.

If all users did not go to the pump on the 15Th, it would take
$2,292,000,000.00 (that’s almost 3 BILLION) out of the oil companies
pockets for just one day, so please do not go to the gas station on May
15Th and lets try to put a dent in the Middle Eastern oil industry for
at least one day.

$2.3 billion is almost $3 billion like Danny DeVito is almost 6 feet tall. Anyway, the potential dent is $1.7 billion assuming 100% pure profit and 100% participation by all those driving Internet members. It’s a lucky election day if 50% from such a large pool of potential “customers” can be troubled to vote. The likelihood of 43 million people remembering to not do something is, in my opinion, negligible. And it is highly unlikely they will forego filling up their gas tanks ever again. They will simply fill up on May 16th. Presto! Zappo! the $1.7 billion is right back in the dreaded oil company’s pocket. Somehow, I don’t think the oil companies will mind, much less notice, they waited a day for the $1.7 billion.

If you really care to put a dent in the ol’ evil doing oil company’s revenues, you’ll need more of an effort. And that effort is likely to inconvenience you or otherwise crimp your lifestyle. For example, don’t drive on May 15th but still go to work and run a few errands. It will mean walking, using public transportation, car pooling or riding one of these (highly recommended!) But hey, don’t stop there. Start swapping out those regular incandescent light bulbs for compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs. And while you’re at it, join the team and track the dent you’re making in the lower left panel of this blog.

I fill up my truck about once every two weeks. So I might accidentally participate in this protest if I happen to not gas up the truck on May 15th. But if I don’t participate, know that I protested for the 7 days before and will likely protest for the 7 days after May 15th. The rest of you slackers will have protested on one day whereas I will have protested on 14 days! Ha! Me feel green.

[Edit History]

2007.05.02

Added some thoughts on how to make a difference that really is a difference.

2007.05.17

Here are some numbers via George Will:

While oil companies make about 13 cents on a gallon of gasoline, the federal government makes 18.4 cents (the federal tax) and California’s various governments make 40.2 cents (the nation’s third-highest gasoline tax). [Speaker Nancy] Pelosi’s San Francisco collects a local sales tax of 8.5 percent — higher than the state’s average for local sales taxes.

There you have it. The biggest gouger at the pump? Government.