Save Gas.. and the World, if You Get a Chance

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With gas prices nudging $3 mark, I almost gagged (which is a good dieting technique). Then I received this email alert: On May 15, drivers around the country are being urged to conduct a “gas out” in protest of prices. If 73 million Americans don’t go to the pump on that day, it will cost oil companies $3 billion, the e-mail said. In 1999, when the first gas-out occurred, prices allegedly dropped 30 cents over night, it claimed. It turns out there was a nationally-televised boycott in April of 1999 that was started by Mike Lambert, a Silicon Valley engineer. Unfortunately, it didn’t do a lick of good. Though thousands of people stayed away from the pumps, they all came out in droves the next day. Economists pointed out that loading up on a product one day to avoid buying it another day has, sadly, no actual net effect. There was no drop in prices. “Yeah, that kind of backfired on me a little bit,'' Lambert told the San Francisco Chronicle in 1999. ``If people are going to buy the gas anyway, that defeats the whole purpose.'' A better solution, say conservationists, is to walk more. – Rebecca Meiser

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