Stop whinging

This afternoon I received a chain email which appeared to have pased through many pairs of electronic hands before it came to me. This one had a local touch, withe fine folks at the Ex-Service, Service and Veterans Party deciding to perpetuate a small bit of lunacy.

The thrust of the email is that we the poor oil-guzzling consumers are being ripped off by those mean, nasty oil companies who are changing extortionate amounts for the black gold that so many pour into their vehicles each day. The email encourages consumers to fight back against this awful, awful injustice which empoverishes us, we the bright sparks of the wide brwon land should boycott the two major petrol vendors, Mobil and BP, in the hope that they will lower their prices and hence start a price war. Okay, got that?

The email is monumentally stupid for multiple reasons, and it is surprising that intelligent, respectable people have decided to forward it in the hope of achieving their petrol-soaked orgy.

First, the fundamental practical argument. Petrol prices are high because oil is resource of which supply is dwindling whilst demand is ever increasing. It's simple free-market economics, and no amount of industry price tit-for-tat can obscure the fact that the scarsity of oil is a reality, and prices will continue to rise.

Secondly, the philosophical argument. Why are enlighted people becoming so incredibly vain and self-indulgent in deciding that petrol prices is their cause celebre. The campaign posits petrol consumers as poor, innocent victims desperately needing to be freed from their hated oppressors. One can well imagine the Tsunami victims of Banda Aceh taking pity upon the poor motorist of Kew, forced to pay $1.35... YES, A DOLLAR THIRTY FIVE... for their petrol this winter. They know a real tragedy when they see it.

Thirdly, and most importantly, the alternative. Consumers would be much better served by developing alternative fuels rather than bitching and moaning like spolit kids over the price of petrol. For the first time in ages, alternative fuel sources like hydrogen and ethanol are being taken seriously, and this can be directly attributed to the fact that high oil prices are making the alternatives more relatively viable. This is the future of energy production, and the sooner we embrace it, the sooner we can move toward containing the cost of living... oh yeah, and saving the planet.

Anyhow, enough from me... here's Barry's plan which got me all fired up:

Petrol prices - worth thinking about!

I called the number on the bottom of the email, and it is for real. This initiative does come from Barry Minster, worth calling and chatting to him if you need reassurance.

Apparently we are going to hit close to $1.35 a litre by the winter. If this happens the prices will flow on down to the price of every thing we buy! Want petrol prices to come down? We need to take some intelligent, united action. Philip Hollsworth, offered this good idea.

This makes MUCH MORE SENSE than the "don't buy petrol on a certain "day" campaign that was going around last April or May! The oil companies just laughed at that because they knew we wouldn't continue to "hurt ourselves" by refusing to buy petrol. It was more of an inconvenience to us than it was a problem for them. BUT, whoever thought of this idea, has come up with a plan that can really work.

Now that the oil companies and the OPEC nations have conditioned us to think that the cost of a litre is CHEAP at .89 / .95 cents, we need to take aggressive action to teach them that BUYERS control the marketplace not sellers. With the price of petrol going up more each day, we consumers need to take action. The only way we are going to see the price of petrol come down is if we hit someone in the pocket by not purchasing their Petrol!

And we can do that WITHOUT hurting ourselves.

Here's the idea:

For the rest of this year, DON'T purchase ANY petrol from the two biggest oil companies (which now are: BP and Mobil). If they are not selling any petrol, they will be inclined to reduce their prices. If they reduce their prices, the other companies will have to follow suit. But to have an impact, we need to reach literally millions of BP petrol buyers. It's really simple to do!!

Now, don't wimp out on me at this point...keep reading and I'll explain how simple it is to reach millions of people!! I am sending this note to a lot of people. If each of you send it to at least ten more (30 x 10 = 300) ...and those 300 send it to at least ten more (300 x 10 = 3,000)... and so on, by the time the message reaches the sixth generation of people, we will have reached over THREE MILLION consumers!

Again, all you have to do is send this to 10 people. That's all. (and not buy at BP and Mobil) How long would all that take? If each of us sends this email out to ten more people within one day of receipt, all 300 MILLION people could conceivably be contacted within the next 8 days!!! I'll bet you didn't think you and I had that much potential, did you! Acting together we can make a difference. If this makes sense to you, please pass this message on.


It's easy to make this happen. Just forward this email, and buy your petrol at Shell, Caltex, GAS. or Gull Outlets and drive past BP and MOBIL Stations.

Barry Minster ~ National President
Ex Service, Service & Veterans Party
13 Ermington Place
Kew 3101
Telephone: 03 9816 9713


DANIEL said…
I mean, if people want to save money on petrol... they should a)try to drive less, so they use less petrol, and b)drive more fuel-efficient cars. These are both 'duh' options, but a lot of people don't really consider them. For struggling students like me, these are the ways I can try to save a little bit.
Jeremy said…
Also, why on earth is SHELL less guilty of whatever sinister price-fixing BP or Mobil are up to? Oh yes, Shell, "the nice oil company". Ha ha.

That last bit was staggering.
Anonymous said…
I received this email too.

As a non-driver I find it hard to sympathise with people gasping at the cost of petrol.

The cost of owning, maintaining and driving a car is actually quite cheap - since most of the cost of people's car use and over-use is actually subsidised by others and the environment.

If the *real* cost of driving your car was actually factored into petrol prices, those poor diddums would be paying around $3 - $5 a litre.
Anonymous said…
Just got this email from a solicitor friend of mine.

I had seen it before and decided then that it was most likely created by some "genius" in the Shell Oil Company's marketing department, but decided to check on the mail via the net as it included a genuine person's name at the bottom this time.

The part that seems so callous to me is that not every Service Station is "oil company owned".

People passing this on or obeying the instructions could well be putting a family man out of a business they may have worked damn hard within for years. If an owner operator goes bust, the oil company will not care.

Anyway, I can just see people like the Rockefellers quaking in their designer snake skin boots on this!

Anonymous said…
Barry Minster here - I thank you for posting my idea on the net - I can also claim a little bit of credit for the current Mobil fuel being 12 to 15 cents lower than usual. Generally ULP follows Diesel - but over the past three weeks the price is definately 12 to 15 cents less.
Well done Australians.

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