Filling up the ol’ gas tank is one of those mundane tasks during which, as a green-minded sort, you kind of hold your nose and look the other way. Sure, I wish I didn’t have to rely on gasoline to get around. I recognize that choices I’ve made (especially where I live) result in my need to consume fossil fuels. I don’t like it one bit, and I hope it will change.
In the meantime, though, there is the opportunity to make smaller choices within this area, by patronizing one gas station versus another. In theory, it’s possible that some oil companies are somewhat less harmful, polluting and exploitative than others. (It’s all relative.) But which?
I started thinking about this today after reading this (obviously quite opinionated) report about Chevron’s activities in South America. Then there’s BP (here’s the best article I’ve read about the Gulf spill) and Exxon (think Valdez). Shell has earned the ire of human rights activists and environmentalists alike.
Here’s a pretty good discussion of this question from Slate. The upshot is interesting: Smaller companies like Hess or Sunoco may be better.
It would be a great topic to learn more about, so that we could base our choices on something more than just which station is on the way home. Anybody have an environmentally preferred brand of gas? What are your reasons?