The BP oil spill that continues to pump thousands of gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico each day has many across the nation feeling the need to take action.
There is a growing movement to boycott gas stations bearing the BP emblem.
After seeing these organized boycotts on places like Facebook, Amanda in Sutton Declared her Curiosity:
“Won’t boycotting BP slow down the costly clean up, since BP will be losing money from sales of gas?”
We went to local BP station owner Maurice Succar for some insight. He has operated his Hingham gas station for 17 years. The green letters ‘BP’ hanging high over his business have now become scarlet letters.
“I had a customer of 15 years tell me I should cover the sign so it doesn’t say ‘BP,’” he said. “I can’t reach it!”
Succar leases his station. It was a Getty station, but when a BP distributor took over he inherited the BP name and, now, the bad PR.
“I’m a small business owner in this area and this is my life,” he said. “If a consumer doesn’t want to come here for my gas, they’re only hurting me. They’re not hurting BP.”
A Boycott BP Facebook page has more than 350,000 fans. We had no trouble finding local consumers onboard the boycott, who purposefully drive right past BP stations.
“It’s personal satisfaction,” Randy Holmes of Nowell said. “That’s all it is.”
Some customers using the pumps at Succar’s station were only there because they didn’t notice the BP sign. “I don’t buy BP,” one unknowing customer told us.
WHO DOES IT HURT?
So who does a boycott really hurt?
The fact is, retail gasoline sales make up a tiny fraction of BP’s revenue. Nearly all stations bearing the BP logo are privately owned.
So, if you don’t fill up at BP that is a much bigger hit to the little guy than it is to British Petroleum. Local gas station operators need commissions to offset the big monthly bill they pay for the privilege of carrying the BP name. Most can’t just give up the name – they are under contract.
Murice Succar pays almost $7,000 a month for the pumps, the building and the BP sign. The only way he makes his money back is if he sells a lot of gasoline.
And that’s not happening.
Succar says that since the oil spill began, his business is down 30 percent, because the name his business inherited is now covered in disgrace like a bird covered in oil.
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