I was talking to a friend earlier about a non-profit oil company. Maybe membership alowed X number of gallons per year at discounted (non-profit) price, maybe include a bulk AAA membership buy for members to sweeten the deal. It seems like an awesome idea, I just have the feeling that big oil would kill it at its inception. Point of the limited gallons would be to promote small FE vehicles so people would realize how much money they'd be saving by dumping their gas-guzzling vehicles when they ran out of discounted gas after the first month and someone with smaller car got to drive on discount all year.
But where would the oil come from? Unless someone has billions to start new rigs for a product which is known to be running out eventually, you would have no source to get oil any cheaper than from the pump.
It seems like an awesome idea, I just have the feeling that big oil would kill it at its inception.
There are lots of independent jobbers to whom the oil companies sell their products. Very few stations are actually operated by the oil companies themselves anymore. Oil companies are cutthroat and mercenary and will sell to anyone. Exxon figures that if they don't sell to you, BP will, so they might as well sell to you.
So here's the thing. Why don't oil companies own the stations any more? Because there is very little money in operating them, maybe a penny or two per gallon. So if you open a station as a non-profit, you still will have a hard time selling to your members at a price that is noticeably below market price. The real money is in the convenience store, but I don't think you want to get into operating one of those as a non-profit, or trying to have a public c-store, but members-only pumps.
It's an interesting idea, though. I have seen farmers' co-ops that sold gas/diesel before, and wondered if that operated as a sort of collective kind of thing, and if so, did the members get a break on gas/diesel?
Also, there are some places I have seen called "FuelMan" that are unattended gas stations that operate only with a special card. I wonder if the prices there are better, and if so, if you could assemble a group of people that combined would meet the volume minimum that I suspect FuelMan requires.