In 1997, a gas boycott was organized to protest rising gas prices. People from around the country decided not to buy gas for one whole day. The gas boycott took billions of dollars out of the pockets from oil tycoons who promptly dropped the price of gas 30 cents.
It’s a great story right? Unfortunately, it isn’t true.
Several Facebook posts have been urging people to hold a “gas out” on April 15th to protest rising gas prices. Most messages are posted along with this story:
“In April 1997, there was a ‘gas out’ conducted nationwide in protest of gas prices. Gasoline prices dropped 30 cents a gallon overnight.”
According to Politifact, the 1997 “gas out” is a fictitious event that was created in a chain email and has now leaked onto Facebook. Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy.com, said that the story is “an outright myth/lie” and that there’s no evidence to support it.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration, which tracks gas prices from week to week, said that April 1997 started with gas prices at $1.19. At the end of the month, the price was $1.18.
DeHaan said that in addition to the 1997 “gas out” being a fictitious event, the premise behind the idea is also ridiculous. A one day gas out won’t diminish the demand for gasoline. It will just cause people to buy gas the day before or the day after the boycott.
“If there was any single day ‘gas out,’ it would never have a direct impact such as what is suggested. Shifting demand from the gas out day to the day before or after results in zero change in gasoline demand and, therefore, has no impact on overall demand.”
Avery Ash, manager of regulatory affairs at the automotive club, AAA, added:
“(A gas boycott) just doesn’t make economic sense. It’s not ultimately going to have any impact on sales, on consumptions.”
A gas boycott isn’t going to bring down gas prices but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t going to fall. A new report shows that gas prices around the country have peaked.