The Terror-Free Oil Initiative, which demands that companies get oil from non-Middle Eastern nations, opened its first gas station Feb. 1 in Omaha, Neb., but the station has no diesel pumps.
According to the group’s website (www.terrorfreeoil.org), it is “dedicated to encouraging Americans to buy gasoline that originated from countries that do not export or finance terrorism. We educate the public by promoting those companies that acquire their crude oil supply from nations outside the Middle East and by exposing those companies that do not.”
The website lists only one truck-stop chain, Flying J, under the heading “Brands that do not support Middle Eastern oil.” No truck-stop chains are on the much longer list labeled “Companies that finance terrorism by importing oil from the Middle East,” though that list includes many convenience-store chains that sell diesel.
Oil experts argue that determining the origins of all the oil traded on the open market and all the oil commingled in U.S. pipelines at any given time is nearly impossible, and that boycotting Company A in favor of Company B has little effect as long as the same amount of oil is being bought. When Company B runs low on supply, it simply buys oil from Company A to meet the demand.
In January through October 2006, the most recent period for which data is available, 18 percent of U.S. oil imports were from Persian Gulf nations, according to the American Petroleum Institute. Of the top five sources of U.S. oil imports during that time, only one, Saudi Arabia, is in the Middle East. According to the API, the top five were:
Those who want to open Terror-Free Oil franchises must pay $1 a year and follow a number of rules listed on the website, including “gas/diesel products must be purchased from a company that does not import oil from the Middle East”; donating 1 percent of revenue to 11 “approved counter-terrorism organizations” that include the Terror-Free Oil Initiative; and offering biodiesel as an option, if diesel is sold at all.
Supporting the Terror-Free Oil Initiative is American Truckers at War (www.americantruckersatwar.com), an organization founded by Mark R. Taylor, a civilian veteran of Halliburton’s trucking operation in Iraq. “We must do our best to purchase fuel from those companies who do not sponsor terrorism,” says Renee Taylor, the group’s webmaster.