Environmentally friendly gas stations

My teachers told me there’s no such thing as a dumb question.

So I suppose “Ask Umbra”‘s latest inquiry should be intersting: “when I do fill up every three or four weeks I would like to support companies that are taking extra measures in social and environmental responsibility. Are there any particular gas stations noted for this?”

Umbra Fisk’s answer is more interesting and a little more nuanced than I would have expected. Still, I like her conclusion (and I don’t think I’m giving anything away in this answer): “Since there’s no perfect choice, here’s how I like to think about buying gasoline … Every time we go to the pump, a pelican dies.”


  1. I'm more violent than that.

    I tell myself “Every time I drive, I drive with the blood of an American soldier splattered on the hood, Osama Bin Laden in the passenger seat, and a dead dolphin in the trunk”

  2. …wow, wirehead…that's gotta be one stinky vehicle you drive…you need to wash & fumigate, inside & out…

  3. I never cared much for pelicans, but I'll be really pissed if I find out my Civic hurt even one potentially funny lolcat. Oh, it'd get a talking to, believe you me.

  4. =v= This was precisely the conundrum that drove me to carfreedom 20 years ago. 1990's Earth Day was all about green consumerism, which I was skeptical about, but I gave it a whirl. My idea was to boycott the bad but also support the good. I subscribed to periodicals devoted to socially-responsible options, and indeed I was glad to find such options for the things I buy. But there was no oil company that came close to qualifying.

    For those not going carfree, I recommend targeted boycotts when there's enough public sentiment for it to make a difference. (As a rule, a corporation will never admit that a boycott makes a difference, but change does occur.)

    As for the title of the blog entry, well, BP does have a handful of highly-publicized solar-powered filling stations. All part of them going “beyond petroleum,” you see.

  5. …any large corporation based on dwindling resources has gotta have a finger on the pulse of not only any new viable energy source but also the popular sentiment that jym mentions…

    …i'd venture to say the folks who'll be selling you on the new ideas will be making more money than the scientists developing any new technologies…

  6. @bikesgonewild – Big Oil hasn't had a finger on the pulse of new viable energy sources, more like a pair of hands around their throats. Deregulation during the Reagan years prompted some of them to buy up promising solar ventures and dissolve them. One major offender was AMOCO (now part of BP), who along with Exxon prompted a Congressional investigation. ARCO (now also part of BP) attempted to corner the market on copper to control solar cells. They are known for actually producing solar panels commercially, but their product took more energy (oil) to create than they can generate over their lifetimes.

    This went on in the 1980s, and over the last 30 years Big Oil really hasn't made any advances in alternative forms of energy.

  7. …jym…what you're saying doesn't surprise me (unfortunately we've all become somewhat inured to the practices of big biz) but by that same token, should there be a major change in direction in the “energy field” (careful now, punsters), once again these same bloated behemoths would be in charge of our destiny, for the most part…

    …btw…amoco used to advertise that their gasoline was more “environmentally friendly” & cleaner burning because it was clear rather than the typical “gold-ish” color…the feds finally put a stop to their bullcrap & maybe even slapped 'em on the wrist to the tune of a few million bucks…

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