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If Enough People Did This, Would Gasoline Prices Come Down?

Social media used to coordinate economic protest against higher energy costs.

Gas prices have been high for much of 2022, making struggling American families struggle more.

Fuel hit an average of $5 per gallon for the first time in U.S. history earlier this summer, and has surged even higher in states like California and Hawaii. The prior record high was in 2008 during the financial crisis at $4.10 per gallon. Last week, President Joe Biden criticized oil companies, saying they had tripled their profits while families are suffering from high gas prices.

The price of crude oil is the primary reason for the spike in gas prices but there are other reasons as well, some of them being supply chain disruptions due to the pandemic, Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and U.S. sanctions.

To cope with the high costs some people have sought out memberships at places like Costco   (COST) , where gas is discounted. However, those who have taken that route sometimes wait in line for hours to fill up because the locations are crowded with many other people who have the same idea.

However, it does seem like some relief could be in sight. According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), the average price per gallon has dropped to about $4.78, down almost $0.25. TheStreet's Martin Baccardax reported recently that "U.S. crude oil prices fell below the $100 mark for the first time since early May."

Gas prices may continue to fall, although some fear the reason why may be a predicted recession. Despite the dropping prices, many frustrated Americans are so upset by spending so much more on travel costs that some felt they needed to take action. That's why a gas strike recently arose on social media app TikTok.

A Strike on Buying Gasoline

TikTok posts started to appear on July 3rd encouraging people to join in on a strike against gas prices over the holiday weekend, using the hashtag #gasstrike. 

These users believed that if enough people took part, the strike would cause gas prices to go down, and that the larger the strike was, the better chance they had to accomplish that goal.

Some also cited the gas strike from 2008 started by a group of truckers in Atlanta, Ga. as proof that hosting a strike could send a message.

One user even went as far as to propose the idea of "shutting down one of the oil companies" by gathering people to boycott Exxon Mobil, saying the result would be to "watch how quickly it falls."

While some felt passionate about the idea of the strike and seemed to believe it could have an impact, others felt it would have no effect on the prices of gasoline and did not hesitate to say so, calling the strike "true performative internet activism."