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The big boys

Of the ten largest corporations on earth, nine are either oil companies or automobile manufacturers. The other - Wal-Mart - owns one of the largest private trucking fleets on earth.

Company Revenue Profits
(US$ billions) (US$ billions)
1) ExxonMobil 339.9 36.1
2) Wal-Mart 315.7 11.2
3) Royal Dutch Shell 306.7 25.3
4) BP 267.6 22.3
5) General Motors 192.6 -10.6
6) Chevron 189.5 14.1
7) DaimlerChrysler 186.1 3.5
8) Toyota 185.8 12.1
9) Ford 177.2 2.0
10) ConocoPhillips 166.7 13.5

The offering plate
All this money comes from somewhere. Every dollar spent on conventional transportation - whether at the gas pump or ticket counter - is a contribution to the oil cause. Every dollar fuels the apparatus. Imagine Donald Rumsfeld at the service station walking from vehicle to vehicle with an offering plate.

I bet you can't name more than one of the CEOs of the top ten corporations. And I bet Donald Rumsfeld has met them all.

The point is not to demonize the power brokers of petroleum (we could probably find better things to do), but to opt out. The point is non-participation - bit by bit, in the spirit of Gandhi, to withdraw one's support for, and participation in the oil apparatus. The point is freedom.

Sources: Fortune Magazine's 2006 Global 500 and Wal-Mart.