OMAHA, Neb. – Claiming U.S. dollars used to purchase gasoline made from Middle East oil funds terrorism, a group called the Terror-Free Oil Initiative opened the nation's first "terror-free" gas station.
The Coral Springs, Fla.-based group opened its first station Thursday in west Omaha, seeking to sell only gas that originates from countries that do not support terrorism and from oil companies that don't do business in the Middle East.
Sinclair Oil Corp., which operates truck stops and gas stations throughout the Midwest and the West, will be the initial supplier, said Terror-Free Oil spokesman Joe Kaufman.
Dalton Kehlbeck, a regional manager for Salt Lake City-based Sinclair, said most of the company's oil comes from the U.S. or Canada, but some is bought on the New York Mercantile Exchange, where oil from all over the world is traded.
"It's a basket of crude oil," he said of the exchange oil. "We cannot be sure where the conglomeration of the product comes from."
The same is true of most oil products sold in the United States.
According to the Energy Information Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Energy, oil refineries often mix oil from different sources and companies during refinement and shipping.
The United States imported an average of 2.3 million barrels of oil a day from the Persian Gulf region in 2005, according to the administration. That accounted for about 9 percent of U.S. consumption.
"We believe that we are financing our own demise by purchasing crude oil from the Middle East," Kaufman said. "We'd like to avert another 9/11 if possible."
The U.S. Department of Treasury, whose Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence oversees the government's concerns about terrorism funding, said it would not comment on the prospect of oil money funding terrorists.
The Terror-Free Oil station is emblazoned with signs calling for the use of non-Middle Eastern oil. Kaufman said the station will open Thursday, with a grand opening scheduled for Feb. 12.
The Terror-Free Oil Initiative plans to open more gas stations across the country, he said.