You need gas. On the right is a BP. On the left is a supermarket gas station. Which do you choose, and why? If you skip the BP to go to the other, you might actually be putting more cash in BP’s stained pockets.
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Your corner BP station is mainly just a brand, a licensed franchise owned by a local businessman. The fuel that comes out of the pumps might have been bought from a totally different company. Only right before it gets put on the truck for delivery is the special BP sauce, additives, added.
However, if you opt for another place, like a supermarket gas-station, they could be a wholly-owned BP subsidiary, with BP getting all the cash. According to Facebook group Boycott BP these include Castrol, Arco, Aral, am/pm, Amoco, Wild Bean Cafe and Safeway gas.
This is not to say you shouldn’t choose a different gas station if the BP one makes you squeamish. Just bear in mind that doing so is a political act, one that has deals damage to BP’s brand in the long-term, rather than having direct financial impact on BP. No, the immediate business loss will be most acutely felt by the local businessman. Over the years, that same guy could own the same stations, and change it from being a Shell, an Exxon, or a Sunoco, depending on who’s got the best deal.
Then again, if no one is buying BP gas, do you think many new gas station owners are going to be eager to sign up for a BP franchise? Which would mean a loss of future franchise fee income for BP, and that will end up hurting their bottom line. Just not today.
The Misdirected BP Boycott [NYT Bucks Blog]
MORE: Boycott BP! Because it’s much better to give your money to Exxon [Newsweek]