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Re: April 30th

Poster: "Terri Morris" <TerriMorris@kemet.com>


This is another email urban legend as you can see below.  There is a list of
them telling which ones are true and which aren't at

-Sorcha the Red.

                                 Passing Gas

      Claim:   We should participate in a one-day "GAS OUT" to force down
      the price of gasoline.

      Status:   No.

      Example:   [Collected on the Internet, 1999]


           It's time we did something about the price of gasoline in
           America! We are all sick and tired of high prices when there
           are literally millions of gallons in storage. Know what I
           found out? If there was just ONE day when no one purchased
           any gasoline, prices would drop drastically. The so-called
           oil cartel has decided to slow production by some 2 million
           barrels per day to drive up the price. I have decided to see
           how many Americans we can get to NOT BUY ANY GASOLINE on one
           particular day!

           Let's have a GAS OUT! Do not buy any gasoline on APRIL 30,
           1999!!!!! Buy on Thursday before, or Saturday after. Do not
           buy any gasoline on FRIDAY, APRIL 30, 1999.

           Wanna help? Send this message to everyone you know. Ask them
           to do the same. All we need is a few million to participate
           in order to make a difference.

      Origins:   If we needed proof that it's not only little kids who whine
      and stamp their feet when they don't get what they want, here it is.

      The average price of gasoline in the USA has been been falling
      steadily since 1990. Last year the average price of gasoline hit its
      lowest level (adjusted for inflation) in thirty years. (In fact, in
      December 1998, the price of crude oil and retail gasoline fell to
      historic lows.) Gasoline is far cheaper in the USA than in Europe or
      Japan (or most other parts of the world).

      Now we're told we should be protesting this condition. Why? Because
      gasoline prices have gone up in some places, and the little kids among
      us don't think it's fair we should have to spend more of our allowance
      at the gas pump. Nobody complained when gasoline prices hit an
      all-time low last December, of course -- we certainly didn't hear any
      expressions of concern that some of the folks in the oil industry (not
      everybody in the oil business is part of the ubiquitous "oil cartel,"
      after all) might be losing money or just scraping by. By when then
      pendulum swings the other way, everyone lines up to blame the big,
      bad, greedy oil company bully who's stealing our allowance to line his
      own pockets.

      The reality of the world is that gasoline prices are determined by a
      variety of factors, not mere oil company whim. Even in the absence of
      unusual circumstances, gasoline prices always fluctuate throughout the
      year, and they typically increase in anticipation of the summer
      driving season. OPEC recently cut production to try to reduce a global
      glut of crude oil, which drove the price of gasoline up about 8 cents
      per gallon nearly everywhere. In California, where gasoline prices are
      generally the highest in the USA, a confluence of events occurred that
      resulted in higher prices:

         * Fires and explosions shut down two Bay Area refineries, including
           one (Tosco) that produced nearly 10% of California's refined oil.
           The operations of two other refineries in the state were also
           interrupted by equipment problems.

         * Gasoline inventories were already lower than usual before
           refinery problems increased demand even further.

         * California law requires the use of cleaner-burning gasoline than
           other states, meaning that sources to replace lost refinery
           output were not readily available.

      The end result? More costly gasoline bought from foreign refineries.
      And like it or not, whenever there's a shortage (or a perceived
      shortage) of gasoline, speculators who were smart (or lucky) enough to
      have a ready supply on hand are going to get all they can for it. When
      wholesalers and retailers have to pay inflated prices for their
      supplies, so do we.

      But if we all hold a one-day "gas out," that'll show 'em, right? Show
      whom? Is not buying gas for a day going to convince OPEC to increase
      oil production? Is it going to "punish" the speculators who've already
      unloaded their supplies at inflated prices? Are we gonna stick it to
      service station operators, who aren't really making any more profit
      than they did when prices were lower? (If the service station
      operators are truly the greedy ones, they need only jack up their
      prices on the days immediately preceding and following April 30 to
      stick it to the "protesters.")

      Even if the oil companies were wholly to blame for the increased
      prices, the proposed one-day "gas out" is absurd as an effective form
      of protest. It's not going to hurt the oil companies, since drivers
      will simply be shifting the day on which they purchase gasoline rather
      than buying less gasoline. Oh, but our "gas out" is going to show
      everyone that Americans can band together and stand up for themselves,
      right? You bet. We're going to let those oil companies know that we're
      willing to do whatever it takes to defend our right to low prices, as
      long as we're not actually required to sacrifice anything in the
      process. (Much like the recent fad for tag team "hunger strikes," in
      which groups of protesters fast in six- or eight-hour shifts. Hey,
      I'll take part in a hunger strike, but I ain't actually gonna go
      hungry!) Marginally inconvenience ourselves by filling up our tanks a
      day early or a day late? Okay! Put ourselves out by taking the bus and
      not filling up the tank at all this week? No way!

      The men who dumped tea in Boston harbor to protest what they
      considered to be unfairly high taxes understood that protest involves
      sacrifice -- they risked their liberty (and their lives) for what they
      believed in. Cheaper gasoline may not be worth giving up one's life
      for, but isn't it worth giving up at least something for? If the
      answer is no, then the "gas out" scheme resembles nothing so much as a
      bunch of spoiled children deciding to stamp their feet in unison and
      demand a higher allowance from their parents without having done
      anything to earn it. The men whom Samuel Adams led on a dangerous raid
      of British ships in Boston harbor -- men who understood the meaning of
      sacrifice -- are probably shaking their heads in disgust. And the oil
      companies -- oil companies who know from experience that only the
      outright unavailability of gasoline will goad Americans into
      curtailing their use of it -- are probably laughing their heads off.

      If we don't like the price of gasoline, let's try doing something
      meaningful about it, like setting aside some time on April 30 to learn
      about ways of using less gasoline, to familiarize ourselves with
      cleaner, more efficient energy sources?

      Whatever you decide to do, please don't send this message to everyone
      you know.

      Last updated:   12 April 1999

   The URL for this page is http://www.snopes.com/spoons/faxlore/gasout.htm
         Please use this URL in all links or references to this page


 Urban Legends Reference Pages  1995-1999 by Barbara and David P. Mikkelson

 [References:] Sources:

     Brooks, Nancy Rivera and Leslie Earnest.   "State Motorists Get Another
 Jolt at Gas Pumps."
          Los Angeles Times.   27 March 1999.

     Brooks, Nancy Rivera and Chris Kraul.   "Crude Oil and Gas Prices Hit
 Historic Lows."
          Los Angeles Times.   1 December 1998.

     Brooks, Nancy Rivera.   "Gas Prices Rise Almost 15 Cents a Gallon."
          Los Angeles Times.   31 March 1999.

     Brooks, Nancy Rivera.   "Gasoline Prices Jump Locally, Nationwide."
          Los Angeles Times.   17 March 1999.

     Brooks, Nancy Rivera.   "California Gas Prices Climb Higher."
          Los Angeles Times.   6 April 1999.

     Brooks, Nancy Rivera.   "State's Gas Prices Are Rising After Explosion at
          Los Angeles Times.   3 March 1999.

     Fields, Robin.   "Drivers' Patience Hits Empty as Gas Prices Soar."
          Los Angeles Times.   3 April 1999.

     Johnson, Jason B.   "With More Gas on the Way, Prices Should Ease Soon."
          San Francisco Chronicle.   31 March 1999   (p. A16).

     Seligman, Katherine.   "No Reason for Soaring Gas Prices, State Says."
          San Francisco Examiner.   30 March 1999   (p. A1).

     Seligman, Katherine.   "State Agency Says Gas Is Too Costly."
          San Francisco Examiner.   30 March 1999   (p. A1).

     Smith, Rebecca.   "Soaring Prices Infuriate Motorists."
          San Francisco Chronicle.   30 March 1999   (p. A1).

     Smith, Rebecca.   "Big Jump in Bay Area Gas Prices."
          San Francisco Chronicle.   12 March 1999   (p. A1).

     Sullivan, Kathleen and Katherine Seligman.   "Bay Drivers Pay up, but Don't
 Buy Excuses."
          San Francisco Examiner.   31 March 1999   (p. A1).

     Tansey, Bernadette and Stacy Finz.   "Extra Supply Fails to Lower Gas
          San Francisco Chronicle.   7 April 1999   (p. A1).

     Tanaka, Wendy.   "Adding Fuel to the Fire."
          San Francisco Examiner.   31 March 1999   (p. C1).

     Associated Press.   "Gas Prices Burning a Hole in Californians' Wallets."
            2 April 1999.

     Associated Press.   "Gas Prices Jump."
            31 March 1999.

     Los Angeles Times.   "Price Jump at the Pump Highest in About 10 Years."
            22 March 1999.

     Los Angeles Times.   "Paying at the Pump."
            21 March 1999.

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