dissabte, de desembre 29, 2007

I have gotten several emails in the last couple years advocating a boycott of Citgo gas stations. The general premise of these emails is that since Citgo is owned by PDVSA (the Venezuelan state oil company) we should not support them, because doing so would also support Hugo Chavez.
It is true that Citgo is owned outright by PDVSA, but a closer look at the facts will reveal that this boycott is not only foolish but downright retarded.
Where do I begin?
First of all, it is important to note that, despite foreign ownership, Citgo is an American company that employs thousands of hard working patriotic Americans, of which my mother is one. I have been to visit her at her office, and believe me, it is not a bunch of red-shirted Venezuelan communists working there, most of the people who work there would be at home at any of the oil companies here in town.
Furthermore, branded marketing (the industry term for gas stations) is less than 10% of Citgo's business. The great majority of their business is refining, and their refined product goes into ALL the major gas station chains: shell, exxon, chevron, etc. So just because you don't go to a Citgo station does not mean that you are not getting Citgo gas, most likely you are. Also, they are a huge supplier of jet fuel in this country, so any time you fly on an airplane, there is an excellent chance that the fuel for the plane is from Citgo.
It is very silly to imagine that the only Citgo gas on the market is at Citgo stations; the stuff is EVERYWHERE, people.
Another point to consider (and perhaps the most obvious) is this: Venezela is the only OPEC member in this hemisphere, and Citgo is not the only oil company bringing crude out of Venezuela, in fact all the major players you could imagine are bringing the stuff up to North America. So whether you boycott Citgo or not, and even if you figure out how to boycott oil companies that buy refined products from Citgo (good luck with that) there is still a near guarantee that much of the gas you buy ANYWHERE has been refined from Venezuelan crude.
In short, boycotting Citgo gas stations will not make any difference in the money they are making. If the American people really want to stick it to Hugo Chavez, they should stop using petroleum all together, because let's face it, without all his petrodollars, Hugo Chavez ain't worth shit.