The country is boycotting buying gas on the busiest travel weekend of the year

There’s power in numbers, especially when those numbers increase to almost $100 every time you fill up your car.

The U.S. has seen record-high prices at gas stations over the past few months, with a major reason being the Russian invasion in Ukraine. There are other reasons as well for the surges, such as less oil and gas from other sources and, ultimately, the demand for gas.

The busiest travel weekend of the year is just around the corner, but people across social media are urging travelers to fill up before or after July 3 to July 5.

The “gas boycott” aims to demand lower costs of gas. But will it actually lower the cost?

In 1973, an oil crisis ensued when members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), led by Saudi Arabia, announced an oil embargo. This embargo was targeted at nations that supported Israel during the Yom-Kippur War. The United States was one of the countries involved in Israeli support.

OPEC also raised the price of crude oil by 70 percent. This move, and the embargo, also reflected the rising tensions between OPEC and U.S. oil companies.

Three months later, local and national leaders asked their communities to reduce their energy consumption. This was because the oil crisis affected everyday residential and commercial use. 

The biggest impact was on the roads. Gas stations had lines that looked like a pre-Black Friday shopping sale. Some gas stations rationed their gas and businesses put limits on how much customers could buy. The results were not pretty and sparked a new oil shock five years later.

This sparked outrage. In Levittown, Pa, residents rioted, threw things at police, set cars on fire and chanted for more gas.

The 1970 oil crisis turned worse because of American panic, but strikes and riots did not seem to prove to be effective.

Not even in April 1997, as social media users shared years ago.

In protest of gas prices in April 2012, a popular Facebook post was shared, which read, “Just get your gas the day before on April 14 or the day after on April 16.”

It continued to say, “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, a website claiming to fact-check popular political claims, the New Jersey site “reviewed news archives and found no mention of a boycott in 1997,” The exception was that the site found recent articles referring to the post in chain e-mails and social networking sites. 

The site did find movements pushing nationwide boycotts in 1999 and 2000, but both efforts gained little support and gas prices had no major change. 

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, a data site that tracks the weekly national average price of gas showed that a gallon of regular gasoline cost roughly $1.24. By the end of the month, the cost had not changed.

One-day gas boycotts seem to prove little efficacy when demanding for lowered gas prices. During the busiest travel weekend of the year – and set to be the busiest travel period during the start of the pandemic – the impact of the “gas boycott” may or may not be impactful. 

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