These Chains Aren't Running Out of Gas
Spring is just around the corner, and with it comes the return of flowers and leaves and... "Gas Out" chain letters.
As the thaw sets in and more people get out, demand for gasoline increases, driving prices up. Chain letters proposing easy, grass-roots campaigns to lower the cost of gas at the pumps return every spring, as prices typically rise about this time.
The ever-popular Exxon-Mobile boycott chain has made an early return in 2004, probably because cuts in oil production and several refinery fires have driven prices up earlier than normal. For at least four years, this misguided chain letter has been trying to convince armchair activists the world over that we can get gas stations to lower their prices if we boycott the biggest of them. Even though the chain demonstrates the author's poor grasp of the finer points of supply-and-demand economics, it remains popular among folks who would rather do anything to pay less at the pump other than actually use less fuel.
Another perrenial "gas-out" favorites first surfaced in 2001 and instructed folks to boycott companies that buy foreign oil. It preys on people's selfish desire to pay less at the pump, while also cashing in on the widespread notion in a post 9/11 world that buying anything from the middle east supports terrorism.
The bottom line is that there is no quick and dirty solution to the rising price of gasoline. Prices in this commodity market are set by a variety of factors, but supply and demand play the biggest role. If you want lower prices, you have to either increase supply or reduce demand. Yes, oil producers can reduce production, thus decreasing supply and driving prices up. Likewise, consumers can reduce consumption, thus driving the price down.
Contrary to popular belief, the big middle-eastern oil fat cats do not arbitrarily set the price of a gallon of gas, nor would they want to. If the oil producers were to raise their prices uncontrollably, eventually, consumers would no longer be able to afford to buy their product, thus demand would drop until the producer had a lot of overpriced product and nobody to buy it.
Past Bulletins Now Available
By popular demand, an archive past issues of the Chain-Breaker's Bulletin is now available at BreakTheChain.org. Corresponding with a redesign of the Chain-Breaker's Library, the Bulletin Archive contains issues from the past year.
Hat Sale in the Gift Shop
Now through March 8, save $2 off any hat in the Chain-Breaker's Gift Shop. Choose from our sleek baseball caps or the popular trucker's cap, then enter the coupon code "WARMHEAD" at checkout.
Visit the gift shop today.