A new Facebook group which is campaigning for lower petrol prices has reached more than 300,000 members at the time of writing. The group plans to boycott petrol stations across the UK on April the 1st, encouraging drivers to stock up on fuel in the upcoming days and negate filling up on Friday the 1st. It is hoped that the boycott, although only for 24 hours, will warn petrol stations and fuel companies of the power the consumer holds.
Recently, it was reported that petrol had risen to more than £6 per gallon.
The Facebook group was created by Shropshire personal trainer Jason Green and within just a few days had jumped to over 100,000 members, having originally begun with just 200 of Jason’s friends.
“This only started off as a small thing but it could be huge. I just feel like I’m only working to fill up my car. Travelling to work and drivingto see my girlfriend is costing me an absolute bomb and it’s the same for everyone in Shropshire. Nothing will get done if we simply do nothing. This is a chance to tell greedy fuel companies and the Government we have had enough.”
According to the fuel companies the rising cost of petrol, which reached £1.32 per litre a few days ago is directly related to shortages related to the Libyan crisis.
So what can you do to keep your fuel costs down? For starters, you can get behind groups like that of Jason Green. Will it work? It’s hard to say, but it’s important that your voice is heard. Facebook and other social media sites make it possible for those who wish to protest to gather – digitally at least – and have their voice heard.
For those sceptical, or perhaps those who need a little extra hope, here’s a few examples of a few successful linkups on Facebook.
Rage Against the Machine beats X Factor’s Joe for the Christmas Number One Spot
Simon Cowell may have believed that he controlled the media and the masses, but when Facebook users united against him, he found himself unable to control the charts in the ways he had in previous years.
Killing in the Name, the winning track from Rage Against The Machine brought about 500,000 downloads, around 50,000 more than McElderry’s ballad The Climb. It was a sad day for the 18 year old from South Shields, but a great day for social media, and particularly fans of Rage Against The Machine.
James Franco’s UCLA Commencement Speech Cancelled
James Franco never made his scheduled commencement speech at UCLA. Many believe this is as a direct result of a Facebook group which spurned national media attention, ‘UCLA Students Against James Franco as Commencement Speaker’. The several hundred students who joined protested not against James Franco in particular, but against the fact UC Merced had Michelle Obama as their speaker. JamesFranco’s speech was cancelled.
HSBC Withdraws Interest on New Graduate Overdrafts
It was an embarrassing day for HSBC, but a happy day for Facebook users who, following a successful protest, managed to get the banking giant to remove its interest charges of around 9.9%. The bank refunded interest paid and dropped the rate to zero. A victory for all those involved.
So what chance do the drivers of the UK have? Social media has been successful in creating a stir, and even getting things changed, but cornering fuel companies and the government is a far more difficult task. While HSBC customers could easily switch to a competitor, drivers will not have the same luxury of choice.
Drivers have a lot to protest about. Rising fuel costs is only one piece of the pie, the cost of car insurance is increasing, and women may be forced to pay the same amount as their male counterparts. Of course a victory over the fuel companies would make a huge difference to drivers and provide them with the confidence to go out and win more battles. Will social media win? I’m hopeful, but only time will tell.
Jennifer is a part of the digital blogging team at cashzilla.co.uk who work with brands like LV =. For more information about me, or to keep up to date with the latest in finance news, check out my posts at cashzilla.co.uk or visit my Twitter account, @cashzilla.