Photo via Green
BP has announced plans to send cash to suffering gas stations in the US -- which is pretty revealing. It's evidence that the numerous boycotts against BP that have been orchestrated across the nation are indeed having a very distinct, very significant impact. Those boycotts and the bad PR have had a serious and immediate financial impact, and will validate such action in the eyes of many activists. But BP plans to push back.NPR reports:
Oil giant BP PLC is floating a financial lifeline to the owners, operators and suppliers of the gas stations around America that bear its name and have been struggling because of boycotts prompted by the Gulf spill.A BP rep said that it was planning to send between $50 and $70 million, with more funds directed at gas stations around the Gulf.
The head of a trade group that represents distributors of BP gasoline in the U.S. told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the company is informing outlets that they will be getting cash in their pockets, reductions in credit card fees and help with more national advertising.
This certainly doesn't help BP quell the rumors that its heading for bankruptcy, with the face of its American operations apparently collapsing, or at least in dire straits. It also shows that BP isn't counting on conditions improving anytime soon, and consider sending out cash to its own franchisers at a time when it's strapped for it. Of course, considering BP is now spending $100 million a day on cleanup operations, this really isn't much more than a drop in the bucket -- but it's certainly symbolic.
It also goes a ways in countering that notion that you can't successfully boycott gas stations -- that people are going to get gas wherever and whenever they need it. That notion has now been proven to at least have limits.
It also bucks the idea that gas stations are too complicated to boycott effectively -- as the NY Times Green blog points out, fuel supplied to other gas stations may actually be supplied by BP, and BP gas stations may buy petrol elsewhere. This is why Greenpeace doesn't support a BP boycott. But both may now have to reconsider -- this boycott has undoubtedly proven effective, as BP now must cough up tens of millions of dollars just to keep its operations running. The boycott has done little towards making a statement against general oil dependence, of course -- but it has clearly and effectively punished BP.