That Petrol Chain E-mail

No matter the intention, a chain email is a chain email.  Two copies of the one below arrived in my Inbox within half an hour from two people I know who I’m pretty sure don’t know each other (an example of 6 degrees of separation).

There are two notable differences to this one.  First the intention seems good, but the premis is wrong.  Second, it has opened up a debate.

One of the reasons that petrol is so expensive is Tax – not the Big Businesses who actually might reduce the costs because of their purchasing power.  My suggestion is to support the small independents such as Craigantlet Service station  (Google Map) which is almost always cheapest.  By the way – remember the variable tax on petrol the Conservatives campaigned on that they are likely to now drop?

The second points are made by one of the other people who sent me the email.  I’ll quote her in full:

I’m forwarding this on because for some people who really do need their cars the issue of rising petrol prices is an issue – however I pass it on with a personal note that I feel this movement is making a pretty big assumption that I’m not sure I agree with; that we have a ‘right’ to cheap petrol.  Petrol is a consumable product, and a pretty dirty one at that.  It is an imported and limited resource, which is fairly dangerous, difficult and therefore expensive to produce, so naturally the cost will reflect this.

Obviously there are those in our community who genuinely need their cars, but for most of us they are a very convenient luxury item (how many of us really NEED a car for work as opposed to just generally preferring it to public transport as more comfortable and less time restrictive option? I hope you’ll be really honest with yourself in answering that question).  While the concept below may work in driving down prices I believe that there is also space in this conversation for a push towards improving public transport and developing better renewable energy sources – which by reducing the demand for petrol overall would also reduce the cost, but would be a more likely to have a long-term effect in keeping costs down.

The idea outlined below could probably work, and certainly a mass movement can be extremely effective, but we must be sure that we are taking the right action to elicit the right response.  Shouldn’t we add to this (or replace it all together with) a ‘leave your car at home’ day?  Everyone commits to one day in a working week where they take public transport/walk/cycle/car-pool?  

This is the email that sparked it off.

But chain-mail is still chain-mail.  I’ll not be forwarding it.  Email is sooo last century.

We are hitting £1.29.90 a litre in some areas now and soon we will be faced with paying £1.50 per litre. So Philip Hollsworth offered this good idea:

This makes MUCH MORE SENSE than the ‘don’t buy petrol on a certain day campaign’ that was going around last April or May! The oil companies just laughed at that because they knew we wouldn’t continue to hurt ourselves by refusing to buy petrol. It was more of an inconvenience to us than it was a problem for them. BUT, whoever thought of this idea, has come up with a plan that can really work.

Please read it and join in!

Now that the oil companies and the OPEC nations have conditioned us to think that the cost of a litre is CHEAP, we need to take aggressive action to teach them that BUYERS – not sellers control the market place. With the price of petrol going up more each day, we consumers need to take action. The only way we are going to see the price of petrol come down is if we hit someone in the pocket by not purchasing their petrol! And we can do that WITHOUT hurting ourselves. Here’s the idea: 

For the rest of this year DON’T purchase ANY petrol from the two biggest oil companies (which now are one) i.e. ESSO and BP. 

If they are not selling any petrol, they will be inclined to reduce their prices. If they reduce their prices, the other companies will have to follow suit. But to have an impact we need to reach literally millions of Esso and BP petrol buyers. It’s really simple to do!!

Now, don’t wimp out on me at this point… keep reading and I’ll explain how simple it is to reach millions of people!!

I am sending this note to a lot of people. If all of you send it   to at least ten more (30 x 10 = 300)….and those 300 send it to at least ten more (300 x 10 = 3,000) .. and so on.  By the time the message reaches the sixth generation of people, we will have reached over THREE MILLION consumers! If those three million get excited and pass this on to ten friends each, then 30 million people will have been contacted! If it goes one level further, you guessed it…..


Again, all YOU have to do is send this to 10 people. That’s all (and not buy at ESSO/BP).  How long would all that take? If each of us sends this email out to ten more people within one day of receipt, all 300 MILLION people could conceivably be contacted within the next 8 days!!! Acting together we can make a difference. If this makes sense to you, please pass this message on.

PLEASE HOLD OUT UNTIL THEY LOWER THEIR PRICES It’s easy to make this happen. Just forward this email, and buy your petrol at Shell,Asda,Tesco, Sainsburys, Morrisons, Jet etc. i.e. Boycott BP and Esso

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