(BP boycott article updated for reports of gas station owners dropping BP brand)NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Driving by a BP-branded gas station any time in the last two months, your garden variety gas-guzzling U.S. driver has been faced with this moral dilemma: to fill up at the BP pump, or bypass BP and find another gas station? As the question about a BP boycott has come into focus for many Americans frustrated and angered by the BP oil spill response, the idea of a BP boycott has led many to discover that BP's business in the U.S. is not as simple as its branded gas stations. Bypassing the BP gas station may feel good, but it may not be a true BP boycott. For example, many consumers who thought they were involved in an active BP boycott discovered while filling up at an Arco station that they were, in fact, buying BP gas. AM/PM convenience stores attached to many Arco stations are the same story, as well as Amoco products. Even the supermarket pumping stations aren't safe, though they seem so on the surface. Safeway stations are fueled by BP, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times that got to the heart of the Boycott BP problem. The shock at the pump that many consumers received when they discovered that they were still buying BP gas is just the most striking example of how difficult a BP boycott is to pull off. About 9,700 service stations are branded with the BP name east of the Rocky Mountains, according to the LA Times. In the West, including California, there are 1,350 Arco stations selling BP oil, and most of these locations include the AM/PM convenience stores where purchases of soda and chips ultimately support the BP franchise system and its tentacles all across the U.S.. In all, there are more than 11,000 BP-branded stations across the U.S., according to a report in the Chicago Tribune.
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