MADISON, Wis. (WTAQ) - At least some of Wisconsin’s BP gas stations are losing business, as customers show their anger over the oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico. But station owners say the protestors are going after the wrong people – and they’re hurting the neighbors instead of the big oil giant.
Wisconsin has 675 BP gas stations. And all of them are franchised and owned locally – which means that BP doesn’t lose a dime from the decrease in business.
The group Public Citizen staged a protest in Washington Friday over the government’s handling of the oil spill – and they insist that their nationwide boycott of BP won’t hurt the little guy. But station owners beg to differ. They say every gallon they don’t sell is money that’s totally out of their pockets.
John Kruepke of J&M Limited of Jackson says most customers understand that the local station owners really have no control over what’s happening. Pam Christenson of the Wisconsin Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association says stations cannot change brands, even if they want to. She says their franchise contracts can last up to 10 years – and signing onto a brand is a big commitment.