WASHINGTON, DC: As the price of oil rises, so too does the anger of the American consumer. The petroleum industry, however, has already begun to take steps to combat PR problems caused by escalating gas prices.
WASHINGTON, DC: As the price of oil rises, so too does the anger of
the American consumer. The petroleum industry, however, has already
begun to take steps to combat PR problems caused by escalating gas
Since the situation developed rather quickly, the American Petroleum
Institute is attempting to be fluid and flexible in regard to short- and
long-term PR strategy.
’Gas prices fluctuate with the price of crude, so when inflation is
considered on an adjusted basis, the price hikes are not that severe,’
explained API media spokesperson Bill Hickman. He added that while the
industry obviously does not like higher prices at the pump, he thinks
that public concern will quickly dissipate as long as the increases are
Polling by Gallup last month seems to contradict this, however, with 40%
of Americans saying rising gas prices have already caused financial
hardship. The question, then, becomes whether petroleum companies are
doing enough to allay public fears.
BP/Amoco public affairs representative Dan Larson said that the oil
companies tend to adopt a ’reactive’ mode when oil prices inch upward.
He attributes this to memories of the 1970s, when gas price hikes and
reduced supply led to long lines at the pumps.
American Enterprise Institute public opinion expert Karlyn Keene Bowman
said that PR became an important issue to the industry during the tumult
of the 1970s. ’But back then, you had slow economic growth and high
Right now, we’re missing those things.’
Still, even Bowman concedes that financial issues could pose a horrible
PR scenario for the petroleum industry if, as some experts are
predicting, the price for a gallon of gas rises to dollars 2.00 this