Can driver protest cut gas prices? | VailDaily.com
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Can driver protest cut gas prices?

Alison Miller
Vail, CO Colorado
Preston Utley/Daily file photoWith gas prices continuing to rise, there is an Internet protest asking Americans not to fill up Tuesday.
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EAGLE COUNTY ” A whole day has passed, and though people have come and gone from the gas station to buy snacks and cigarettes, not a single person has filled their tank with gas.

If a nationwide “gas out” is as effective as the online group that started the consumer protest wants it to be, gas stations won’t be ranking in the dough from gas sales Tuesday.

“I got the e-mail last week and I’m going to do it,” said Avon resident Andrea Rahberg. “I was just talking about it with some people last Monday, and they are going to do it also. It would be nice if it worked and they lowered the price of gas.”

An e-mail campaign that was started on MySpace.com has reached Eagle County, encouraging drivers to skip the pump Tuesday in an effort to send a message to oil companies they need to lower the price of gas.

The average price for a gallon of gas in Eagle County is $3.30 a gallon. Americans use about 9 million barrels, or 378 million gallons, of gas each day, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency.

The e-mail claims there are 73 million Americans on the Internet, and if each one participated in the protest the gas companies would lose $3 billion in one day.

While filling up at the Conoco in Avon on his way through Eagle County on vacation, Greg Rhing said it’s nice to think consumes can have an effect on prices, but in this case it just won’t work.

“Sure, 50 million drivers could not buy gas for a day, but they will have to buy it the next day or the day after that,” Rhing said. “Unless you’re going to give up driving for like a month, or a week at the least, you may as well fill up during the protest anyway.”

Rhing can not participate in the protest because he is driving to California for vacation, but he said he wouldn’t participate even if he was in his hometown of Concordia, Kan.

The gas-out e-mail states there was a protest in April 1997 and prices dropped 30 cents a gallon overnight. A Web site created by David Emery, author of Urban Legends and Folklore, says the gas out of 1997 is a myth.

“There was one in 1999, but it didn’t cause gas prices to drop 30 cents per gallon overnight,” the Web site says. “In fact, it didn’t cause them to drop at all. Despite the popularity of the e-mail campaign, the event itself attracted scant participation and was completely ineffectual.”

Rahberg hopes the protest goes over big in Eagle County, she said.

“Our prices are so high compared to other places,” Rahberg said. “It can’t hurt to try.”

Staff writer Alison Miller can be reached at 748-2928 or armiller@vaildaily.com.


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