Dan Gilmore / July 30, 2015

Not a Typo: Military Pays Nearly $30 a Gallon for Green Fuel

A recent Government Accountability Office report on the Department of Defense’s fuel consumption habits illustrates just how expensive alternative fuel actually is. From 2007 to 2014, the military burned through 32 billion gallons of petroleum-based fuel. During that time, it also invested in two million gallons of alternative fuel to develop an alternative fuel supply. It makes sense: It’s all a part of developing resiliency. But while the Pentagon paid on average $3.35 for a gallon of conventional fuel, it paid $29.30 per gallon for a plant-based naval and jet fuel called F-76. Wage a war powered on the stuff, and you might just run out of money before you could win. Still, DOD is planning on increasing the amount of F-76 it uses — all in the name of powering 50% of the military on alternative fuel by 2020. “To help the Navy purchase alternative jet and naval distillate fuels blended with conventional fuels, the Department of Agriculture plans to provide funding directly to alternative fuel vendors that meet certain requirements and receive awards from DOD,” the GAO reports. “These funds are intended to defray some of the alternative fuel producer’s extra costs — such as costs of domestic feedstocks.” In other words, the Department of Agriculture will provide subsidies so that alternative fuels don’t eat away at the Pentagon’s budget. It’s an accounting trick meant to disguise the real cost of outfitting the green army. Just for your information, an M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank burns a gallon of fuel for every 0.6 miles.

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