Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Service Station Gasoline Boycott

There has been some buzz on the Internet and over e-mail about a gasoline boycott slated for Tuesday, May 15. Customers who are upset about high prices plan to refuse to buy gasoline for one day around the country. A gas station owner in Ramsey, Minn. says he will join the protest and not sell gas on Tuesday. "I thought it's a good way to protest, not selling gas for 12 hours and tell the people we are supporting them," said Sunfish Express Service Station owner Frank Yamoutpour. Yamoutpour said all day Tuesday he'll shut off the pumps to send a message. "I thought it was my duty as a citizen to do my part," said Yamoutpour. Ben Harris and his graphic arts company next door volunteered to make a big sign that will sit outside the convenience store to tell people about the protest. Harris thinks Yamoutpur is making a pretty bold statement. "I think that it's something that affects everyone and if we all do something to help it might make a difference," said VA Graphics Art Director Ben Harris. Some might think that gas stations make a lot of money when they charge $3.16 or more per gallon.It turns out when prices are this high Yamoutpour said he actually loses money. He showed his bill for Monday's gas delivery. He paid $3.07 a gallon for unleaded, but said after the fee for credit card transactions and the bills to keep his store open, he makes no profit. Yamoutpour said he makes his money inside the store but when customers spend so much at the pump, his snack sales drop. His customers have mixed feelings about his boycott. "It's a good idea and we support it all the way," said customer Ken Kennedy. "I don't think that's going to save anything. I just think we need to stop using gas," said Christine Gagne of Ramsey. Yamoutpour said he hopes other service stations will join the protest too. However, energy experts say that kind of protest likely won't make a difference because people will just buy gasoline on a different day.