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It Would Be Really Hard to Boycott BP

There are a few BP-branded gas stations in Los Angeles, and, even though they're franchises, I try to avoid them these days as a small sign of my intense displeasure about the situation in the Gulf. But to really boycott BP would be very hard because the company is everywhere.

You've probably been touched by a BP product or brand if you've ever flown on a commercial airliner, purchased an item that was delivered to the U.S. by ship, turned on a natural gas stove or water heater, warmed a home with fuel oil, gotten a drink from an AM/PM "thirst oasis," filled up at an Arco station or bought Amoco fuel or Castrol motor oil.

BP's five U.S. refineries provide fuel and other petroleum products not just for BP and Arco dealers but also for stations that aren't affiliated with a major brand, including pumps at Safeway supermarkets. In addition, BP sells aviation fuel to several major airlines and is one of the nation's biggest suppliers of lubricants for cargo and cruise ships.

BP's natural gas clients include Southern California Gas Co. Customers of Southern California Edison are among those who use electricity generated by BP-owned wind farms.

I'm going to add Arco to my list of places not to fill up. You won't find me hydrating at a "thirst oasis" either. But the fact is that fossil fuels, not BP, are the problem, and boycotts like this don't do all that much. So as a longer-term project I'm trying to arrange my life so that I don't need to buy a lot of oil-related anything, from any company.

Image: arco, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from thetruthabout's photostream

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