The Most Ethical Gas Station

gas-stationYesterday I was driving home when I noticed that I’d need to fill up the gas tank in my car soon. At the time I was driving by a BP gas station, and I thought about stopping to fill up. But then something occurred to me:

Given that I was in no rush to fill the tank, why not figure out the most ethical gas station and give them my business?

For some reason I’ve never thought of this. My goal has always been to drive as long as possible without filling the tank and then to go to the nearest gas station. I’m sad to say that I never thought to choose my gas company based on ethics, environmental practices, and the way they treat their employees.

I’d like that to change.

I did some Googling, expecting to find conclusive results, but I found quite the opposite. One report from 2010 lists Sunoco, Circle K, and Citgo (among other gas stations not found in St. Louis) near the top of their “social responsibility rankings.

Another listing, however, had Shell, ExxonMobil, and BP at the top of their ethical performance rankings–all companies that were near the bottom of the other ranking. Granted, this report seems to be a little older.

So I turn to you, dearest readers, to settle the score. What is the most ethical gas station? Is this a good way to determine where to spend my gas money?

7 thoughts on “The Most Ethical Gas Station”

  1. Strange things are afoot at the Circle K!

    Other than a little Bill & Ted reference…the answer is…who knows?! You’d have to consider that wherever you stop is most likely a franchisee. So beyond the big corporation aspect – what does that individual gas station owner do for the local community? Do they sponsor a little league team, or let the girl scouts set up a cookie booth? Does the local impact matter more than the global impact of the corporation?

    • Keith: That’s a great point about the local owners of the gas stations. I suspect that question is a lot harder to answer than which global corporation is the most ethical.

  2. I’ve had this same dilemma myself. In Madison, we have a lot of local gas stations that aren’t affiliated with an oil company. At one point, I contacted several station owners to find out who supplies their fuel. It ended up being a lot of work, but I found out that one of the local stations buys their fuel from Koch Industries. It created a greater dilemma for me, because of the toxic political activism of the owners of that company. I like the company that owns the station and I like that the profits stay local, so it became a difficult choice for me. In the end, I use the station when it’s convenient, and I try to stop there for snacks and drinks on occasion, since that helps the station more than fuel.


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