BP Gas Station Boycott: Is It Fair to Station Owners?

As BP's oil spill continues to mire the Gulf of Mexico, there's growing evidence that Americans are trying to strike back at the oil giant by avoiding BP-branded gas pumps.

There are 10,000 BP gas stations across the country, and some stations have reported a dramatic decline in sales in recent weeks -- from 10 percent to 40 percent.

The drive to boycott BP has been fueled in part by social media, including a facebook group with over 700,000 fans.

But the giant British oil company actuallyowns just a small fraction of those BP-branded stations -- most are franchises owned by small business people. In fact, some argue that a boycott of BP doesn't actually hurt the oil company much at all.

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"It's quite possible that the BP station is actually selling fuel that is partially-refined by someone else," said Jeff Lenard, the vice president of communications for the National Association of Convenience Stores.

Local station owners fear that their profits are getting caught up by a spill that's not their fault, and they're asking BP for a cost break on gas to help cushion the losses.

But the man behind the Boycott BP facebook page believes that a boycott is still the right thing to do.

Lee Perkins, a videographer in Shreveport, La., told ABC's Diane Sawyer, "The franchise owners, they can rebrand the station. I don't think that after this happens, anybody in the south, the Gulf south at a minimum, is going to want to see a BP sign."

So, our question to you today: Is it fair to boycott BP gas stations?

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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