TikToker’s video of alleged gas price gouging sparks debate

A viral TikToker video about energy companies allegedly raising gas prices has sparked debate on the social media platform.

Gas prices have been rising steadily since April, hitting a high of $5.02 a gallon per CBS on Tuesday. While the first drop in costs in months came on Friday (down to $5), many energy companies have accused slashing the price of fuel — an illegal offense that’s notoriously difficult to prove.

In May, the House of Representatives passed a party-line bill aimed at lowering gas prices by cracking down on alleged price-gouging by energy companies, according to a report by CBS. However, no Republican representative endorsed the bill, meaning it is likely to fail in the Senate.

The creator of the viral video, known as Trevor Patchen (@trev.p629), like most, is unhappy about the state of gas prices but argues that consumers are relatively powerless in this situation. Usually, when a company claims to lower the price of a product, customers can simply boycott that product. But most people can’t do that when it comes to gas, he says.

@trev.p629 As if boycott was all we had #gas prices #price gouging #capitalism #public transportation #gas #car #boycott #boycott ♬ Original sound – Trevor Patchen

“We can’t buy gas,” Patchen says in his video. “We have to buy gas because we’ve developed a society that revolves around cars and shit.”

He adds that where he lives there aren’t any small business gas stations to go to, rather than “those giant damn corporations.”

“What the hell am I supposed to do?” asks patching. “We are the consumers, we should have all the power, but we have no power. We have no power here.”

Plus, the TikToker says, if you live in the suburbs, you don’t usually have good public transport.

According to a 2019 report by the American Public Transportation Association, about 45% of Americans do not have access to public transportation. Those who are able to use public transportation save the US about 6 billion gallons of gasoline annually.

Patchen viewers agreed that public transport isn’t usually a viable option – nor is walking or owning a bike, which some people are suggesting as a solution to the gas price cut.

“Okay, but what if we don’t buy it and just ride bikes and stuff,” commented one viewer. In response to that comment, Patchen wrote, “Not when people have a 20 minute commute to work.”

“I’d like to see the ‘just walk or ride a bike’ people going 40 miles to buy something for two weeks [of] Grocery by bike,” commented a second viewer, in agreement with Patchen.

“‘Just walk,’ ‘Just own a bike’ — someone who doesn’t live in the US,” wrote a third viewer.

One user said he would consider cycling if it was safe. “I’d like to ride my bike to work, but it’s too dangerous,” they wrote. “A cyclist was just killed on my street by a driver who was drunk during the day.”

Someone else said, “Yup, the US wasn’t made for bikes and walks, it was made for cars.”

Instead of boycotting gas stations, one viewer suggested an alternative boycott.

“Let’s just all stop working, then we can boycott any company by staying at home,” they commented.

The Daily Dot contacted user @trev.p629 via TikTok comment.

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*Initial publication: June 19, 2022 at 11:29 am CDT

Cecilia Lenzen

Cecilia Lenzen is a journalism student at the University of Texas at Arlington and a freelance reporter for the Daily Dot.

Cecilia Lenzen

https://www.dailydot.com/irl/gas-alleged-price-gouging-transportation/ TikToker’s video of alleged gas price gouging sparks debate

Jaclyn Diaz

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