To put this in context, the U.S. military is the world's single biggest oil buyer, and accounts for about 80 percent of the federal government's energy demand (and about 1 percent of all U.S. demand). And, for the past few years, the Pentagon has been contemplating an energy diet. It's easy to see the motivation here: In 2008, the military shelled out about $20 billion for energy, more than double the $10.9 spent in 2006, thanks to the spike in oil prices, and no one in the Pentagon sounded terribly thrilled with writing a $10 billion check to the Middle East.
On top of that, in recent years, military commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan have been saying they'd like to reduce their reliance on fuel convoys, which have been frequently targeted, put soldiers in danger, and divert resources from other operations. There's been a lot of interest in wind power and electric vehicles, in particular. Now, every time stories like these are written, military officials are all protesting that they're not hippie environmentalists. Okay, fine, but all signs are still pointing in an undeniably greener direction.
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Tuesday, August 4, 2009
It is about time we are seriously considering fuel efficiency in the U.S. military. Considering that the HMMWV gets 4-8mpg, an Abrams tank gets less than one mile per gallon, and God only knows how much fuel the Air Force consumes in its fighters/bombers/cargoes, we are creating our own logistical nightmare during both routine and combat missions and ensuring that we will continue to be dependent on foreign oil. The main question is, will gas guzzling equipment qualify for the "Cash for Clunkers" program? Can the Army, Navy, and Air Force, Chiefs of Staff turn-in equipment to Secretary Gates (pbuh) for a rebate?