A group calling themselves the Terror-Free Oil Initiative announced this week that they will open the first gas station in the country to sell gasoline to consumers that doesn’t come from the Middle East and thus isn’t tainted by terrorism.
The group has attracted a lot of media coverage and while the idea may have a noble goal, in reality it isn’t very practical and won’t make a dent in the profits earned by OPEC countries.
Right now it looks like there is a lot of hype and not a lot of substance. The first station is slated to open in Omaha next month, which isn’t exactly one of the largest gas consuming cities in the U.S.
Even though the Initiative’s web site extols the virtues of the handful of companies that rely mainly on domestically produced oil, there is no guarantee it will always be terror-free. One of the companies mentioned on the web site, Sinclair Oil in Salt Lake City, UT told the Wall Street Journal that they sometimes have to purchase oil on the spot market and they don’t know the origin of that oil. In the end it’s a great marketing gimmick.
There are no doubt Americans who will go out of their way to buy gas they see as more American than what the oil majors sell. On the other hand unless the prices are competitive and the Initiative has not given any indication of how their prices will compare they will be dead in the water. The retail gasoline business is brutal and not for the faint of heart or under funded competitors.
I think the time and money invested in this idea would have been better spent on an effort to build more refineries in the U.S as well as opening up drilling in ANWR. This undoubtedly would lead to lowering our dependence on foreign oil and thereby lowering the revenues for countries that support or foment terrorism.