Canadian Drivers push for boycotts of fuel : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread


(fair use blah blah posted 17:40 MST 2000/03/06)

"Monday March 6 5:45 PM ET

Canadian drivers organize e-mail campaigns pushing for consumer boycotts of fuel

TORONTO (CP) - Canadian drivers aghast over sky-high gas prices have been fuming over their keyboards, sending e-mails flying across the country and south of the border calling for boycotts at the pumps.

"It's just ridiculous how much prices have risen in the past couple of months," said Jenn Brown, a Halifax university student who received an e-mail from a friend in Baltimore, MD, informing her about a three-day boycott of all gas purchases planned for April, which she passed on to friends across Canada.

"Regular is 74.9 right now. Ick!" said Brown, who usually buys gas once a week but is driving less to cut costs.

"People are sick of having to pay more just because the OPEC countries decided to reduce production."

Gas prices have skyrocketed since the world's oil producing countries cut oil supplies last year by four million barrels a day in a move to push up crude prices. Oil which traded at $10 US in late 1998, now trades at more than $31 US on global markets.

Industry experts say the price of gas at the pumps - as high as 93.9 cents a litre for full-service supreme in Gander, Nfld. - has followed the surge in crude prices.

Any grassroots boycotts of the sort being pushed on the Web would have little success in reducing the cost of a tank of gas, they say.

Consumers would do better, say analysts, to put pressure on provincial and federal governments to lower gasoline taxes, which account for about 40 per cent of the pump price.

Still, word of a revolt appears to be getting out, and at least some consumers seem to support it.

Dennis Saunders of Kingston, Ont., has never heard of Brown, yet the e-mail calling for a boycott April 7-9 found its way to him.

It was one of three messages calling for a variety of gas boycotts he received from friends over the weekend.

"The rebellion is starting," he said Monday.

"I will participate in any protest because the price of gas is too high and because I use my car for my job and it is costing more and more to do so."

Another e-mail came from Kenrick Hopkinson, a Toronto driver who has devised another plan to force the larger gas companies to drop their prices.

"It's time we do something about this and turn the gas companies against each other," said Hopkinson.

He wants fellow drivers to stop filling up at Esso, the first of several companies he intends to target, for at least four months. If prices drop below 60 cents a litre, commuters are then asked to reward Esso with all their business. Hopkinson says that could force competitors into a gas price war.

Saunders, who forwarded the e-mail to some 80 people across Canada and as far south as Florida, says his job servicing photocopiers makes it impossible for him to curb his car trips or go longer than three days without filling up.

But Bernie Wolf, an economist at York University in Toronto, believes the boycotts are doomed to fail because drivers will simply refuse to give up the luxury of their cars.

The laws of supply and demand will naturally lower the cost of a tank of gas, but only once people start to use less fuel, either by leaving their cars at home or buying more cost-efficient vehicles, Wolf says.

"If the price tends to stay up, people will start to change their driving habits. They may decide: 'Hey I don't have to make five trips to the store.'

"It's when enough people have bought cars that are less fuel intensive that you make an impact."

While the escalating cost of oil has also added to the cost of heating some homes, Wolf says consumers are more upset about the rising cost at the pumps because the price literally stares them in the face.

"It's rubbed in their nose," he said.

"Every gas station is showing in bright lights exactly what it's charging."

The digits flashing in front of Canadian gas stations over the past few days have never been higher, with an average price in major cities ranging from 62.7 cents a litre in Calgary to 78.5 in Yellowknife.

In Toronto it was as high as 75.9 cents, the highest on record.

) The Canadian Press, 2000"

-- firefly (, March 06, 2000



Price of regular gas 79.9 cents/liter which translates to $ 3.04 per US gal. in Canada GST and QST is included in the price so why would the Governments want to lower prices think about it. Don't forget April 7, 8, 9,

-- Taxpayer (, March 06, 2000.

In Ontario, Harris says the tax has stayed the same at 22 cents for the past five years. The price increases in the past year have not been due to taxes.

-- firefly (, March 07, 2000.

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