2010 Archives


The following appeared in the June 28, 2010, edition of The Los Angeles Times. Bruce Bullock, director of SMU's Maguire Energy Institute, provided expertise for this story.

By Ronald D. White
The Los Angeles Times

Jesse Torres, an avid sport fisherman, says he's boycotting BP products out of anger over the company's handling of its massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

But the other day, he could be found filling up his GMC Yukon with BP gas at an Arco station in Santa Monica.

"Oh, I see it now," Torres said, squinting at the BP's small green-and-yellow sunburst logo on the Arco sign. "It's horrible what is happening down there. Next time, I'll go somewhere else for my gasoline, and I'm going to start reading the signs more carefully."

Torres and many other consumers may not be aware of BP's many tentacles. Indeed, few foreign companies have ever become as deeply rooted in the U.S. economy as BP. . .

"I'm not sure it's possible to boycott BP," said Bruce Bullock, executive director of the Maguire Energy Institute at Southern Methodist University. "When you combine the things that you can't see with the things you don't know, it's virtually impossible to avoid a corporation with the reach of BP. Most consumer boycotts are ineffective for that reason."

On a recent morning, Torres wasn't the only one who didn't notice the small BP logo and name on Arco's blue-and-red signs and pumps.

Read the full story.

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