This Fourth of July, many of us are looking forward to barbecues, family time, and fireworks. Regardless of how you're planning to celebrate, the Fourth offers the opportunity to get together with loved ones and enjoy (hopefully) sunny summer weather. But this holiday weekend, some Americans are planning a boycott instead of a party—and they're asking for you to join in, too. Read on to find out what many have pledged not to purchase until after July 5.
READ THIS NEXT: Jack Nicholson Asked Fellow Stars to Boycott the Oscars Over This.
Americans are familiar with inflated price tags.
Inflation has reared its ugly head in the U.S., driving up prices and making it difficult for some to purchase the necessities. As reported by The New York Times, prices have climbed 8.6 percent from the start of the year through May, which is the fastest rate in nearly 40 years.
Experts remain unsure as to how long these surging prices will plague us, as we continue to feel the aftereffects of the COVID-19 pandemic. People now have more money to spend, thanks to new jobs and saving during the pandemic, but there are also limited quantities of goods due to supply chain issues, The Times reported. And with many spending on experiences instead of material goods, inflation is now hitting the service industries. Things like air travel and hotels have higher price tags, largely due to the increased demand, but also due to the price of one key component: fuel.
A boycott effort has gained momentum on social media.
When you think of inflated prices, those ominous numbers at your local gas station likely come to mind. Fuel prices have shot up in recent months, largely due to the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. And on June 14, the national average gas price passed $5, making it the highest ever recorded. Americans are certainly feeling the pain at the pump, which is why some have decided to take matters into their own hands.
A TikTok video has made its way around the internet, which proposes a nationwide boycott on gas this holiday weekend. The video, which was posted on June 16, has over 2.4 million likes on the social media platform and asks people to abstain from purchasing gas between July 3 and 5.
"People are trying to organize a boycott, and hopefully that will bring the price of gas down," TikTok user aidans_98_prelude said in his viral video. "This has been done before, it has worked before. Repost this, share, tell people, and participate."
Some are fully behind the boycott, while others are skeptical.
Commenters on the post voiced support for the movement, with many pledging not to buy gas for the three-day period. But others have pointed out flaws in the plan, due to many Americans traveling over the holiday weekend.
"Just for once, it would be nice if we could all stop arguing and join forces," one optimistic user wrote. "It's worth a try!"
"This would be great if there wasn't an end date," another user said. "It'd be great if we actually stopped until they did it but that could take a while."
A boycott probably won't have the impact social media users are hoping for.
Experts weighed in on the potential effects of the boycott, and unfortunately, it's is unlikely to be successful.
"It's not going to work because people are shifting demand," Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, told WRAL News. "People filling up on Wednesday not Thursday or on Tuesday instead of Sunday isn't going to do anything."
TikTok users claimed the boycotting tactic had worked before, during the 2008 recession, but according to Tiffany Wright, AAA Carolinas Public Affairs Director, there isn't any real truth to this.
"Historically, boycotts haven't led to anything significant," Wright told WRAL about gas prices.
Joseph Von Nessen, PhD, research economist at the University of South Carolina, echoed this point, adding that boycotts need "a good period of time" to be successful. Speaking with WCNC, Von Nessen used an interesting example to explain his point about gas consumption.
"What if you decide right before Thanksgiving, you fast and then you eat a turkey on Thanksgiving Day, you get extra calories and extra desserts all of that," Wright told the outlet. "OK you might have fasted, but then you eat the entire fridge, so how are you moving the needle?"
Is there a silver lining?
While the boycott may not be effective, experts do offer a glimmer of hope for consumers.
The national average price of gas is down from the June 14 high, declining from $5.016 to $4.897 per gallon for regular fuel, according to data from AAA. And as per a June 26 Tweet from De Haan, these prices could continue to decline, moving as low as $4.75 per gallon by July 4.
A June 27 post from AAA attributes this decline to "economic fears of a potential global recession," which created lower demand for oil. Prices per barrel are currently down to $107, which is $3 down from last week's average of $110.
"Fear is not a good reason to move a market like the one for oil, but it is a powerful motivator," Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson, said in the post. "The cost of oil accounts for nearly $3 for every $4.89 at the gas pump. Consumers should find more relief when fueling up if oil prices drop further."