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Social media users call for gas boycott on Fourth of July holiday weekend, but will it lower prices?

People on social media are calling for a gas boycott for Independence Day weekend to lower prices, but experts say it won't make a difference.

Posted Updated

By
Chelsea Donovan
, WRAL reporter

Gas prices throughout the country have skyrocketed in recent months since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The American Automobile Association reports the average gallon of gas in North Carolina costs $4.61 cents as of Tuesday, which is lower than the national average of $4.97.

In Raleigh, AAA reports it costs $4.62 for a gallon of gas, which is higher than last month’s $4.39 average and the $2.92 average in June 2021.

The high prices have prompted social media users to propose a nationwide gas boycott for the upcoming Fourth of July holiday weekend. Specifically, the boycott would happen on July 3-5.

TikTok user @aidan_98_prelude posted a video on June 17 advocating for the boycott. The video has 11.7 million views as of Tuesday afternoon.

“People are trying to organize a boycott, and hopefully, that will bring the price of gas down,” Aidan said in the video. “This has been done before. It has worked before.”

On Tuesday, it cost driver Cindy Conyers $23 to fill her car with five gallons of gas.

“It’s insane, the effects [on] your travel,” Conyers said. “You add that it if you are going go to beach, mountains or lake.

“We have a boat, and now we just go to one spot and stay there.”

However, spokespeople with GasBuddy and AAA have told WRAL News that a boycott would be ineffective, and disputed Aidan’s claims.

“It’s not going to work because people are shifting demand,” said GasBuddy’s head of petroleum analysis Patrick De Haan. “People filling up on Wednesday not Thursday or on Tuesday instead of Sunday isn’t going to do anything.”

AAA Carolinas Public Affairs Director Tiffany Wright explained what she’s seen from gas boycotts in the past.

“Historically, boycotts haven’t led to anything significant,” Wright said.

In fact, Wright predicted a busy travel weekend for Independence Day.

“If we saw what Memorial Day saw, we know it will be a huge Independence Day forecast,” Wright said.

AAA is predicting 1.4 million North Carolinians will travel 50 miles or more from June 30 through July 4.

Wright said travelers get creative when gas prices increase.

“Historically, higher gas prices don’t detour people from traveling,” Wright said. “They find other ways to [travel].”

However, Wright acknowledged a decrease in the demand for gas over the past couple weeks. It comes after the Federal Reserve increased its key interest rate by three-quarters of a point – the largest bump since 1994 – to fight against high inflation.

De Haan said that while the demand for gas is high, while the supply is low.

“We would have to see consistent reduction in demand for several weeks at this point to make headway,” De Haan said. “Supplies are low, and it would take weeks of Americans holding back for supply to get back to normal and supply to drop.”

De Haan also disputed a Facebook post from March that claimed a nationwide “gas out” protest in April 1997 brought prices down by more than a quarter overnight. He said there was no truth to the claim.

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