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A Shell gas station at the corner of Wellington St. West and Spadina Ave. in Toronto.


There are dozens of blogs sprinkled throughout the web urging motorists to boycott gas stations Friday to show Big Oil that consumers aren't willing to be gouged any longer. We mean business. We're not gonna take it anymore. Yadda, yadda, yadda. Whatever.

By no means is this the first time that this manner of protest has been tried but all previous attempts to bring the gas companies to their knees have met with the resounding thud of defeat.

But now, Facebook acolytes have gotten in on the act. A "Public Event" headlined "Don't buy gas on April 15th" has garnered big numbers, with about 874,000 Facebookers signing on to join the cause. On the same site, a further 689,000 or so people have said no, they will not be party to any such action.

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Just how meaningful these numbers are is anybody's guess. For today's lazy new-age web savvy generation it's easy to "Like" a cause and then sit back smugly, content that they've done their bit.

That, my friends, is called slacktivism - or as it's defined online by the Urban Dictionary: "The act of participating in obviously pointless activities as an expedient alternative to actually expending effort to fix a problem."

Well said. But rather than wasting everyone's time with this well-intentioned but misguided and ultimately meaningless boycott, here's what motorists can do to lower gas consumption and make a real difference:

1. Slow down

Taking your speed from 120 km/h to 100 km/h consumes 20 per cent less fuel.

2. Check your tire pressure

Tires that are inflated to the recommended pressure last longer and save fuel.

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3. Drive smoothly

Jackrabbit starts, quick acceleration and hard braking can increase fuel consumption by 25 per cent. Use cruise control on long trips to help maintain a steady pace.

4. Service your vehicle regularly

A poorly maintained vehicle uses more fuel and creates more emissions.

5. Walk

Leave that car in the driveway! Get up off it and walk to the corner store. Just put one foot in front of the other or ride a bike - it'll do wonders for your personal well-being, too.

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