Even the U.S. Military Is Having Issues with the High Price of Fuel

by Hank Coleman

Every time an M1A1 Abrams main battle tank’s engine starts, the center piece of the American Army burns five gallons of fuel.  And, not just any fuel but high octane jet fuel.  According to a recent Stars and Stripes newspaper article, the military spent $11.7 billion on fuel last year alone.  With the price of a barrel of oil fluctuating on the open market, the military has been looking for ways to cut fuel costs.

The price of jet fuel that most military vehicles run on (JP-8) has risen 133% from a low of $1.74 per gallon in 2005 to the current $4.07 price tag this past summer.  The United States military has recently stepped up its fuel conservation practices in hopes of trimming its gas bill.  The cost savings plan includes reducing the number of Air Force flight hours, small Naval ship redesigns to reduce drag in the water, decommissioning of a gas guzzling aircraft carrier, new solar panels and energy conservation practices in offices, synthetic fuel blends, more flight and vehicle simulator use, and hybrid and electric government sedans.

Some of the interesting military fuel facts….

  1. The U.S. military purchases 130 million barrels of oil per year, more than the entire country of Sweden.
  2. The military uses 2% of America’s fuel usage.
  3. The Army uses $2 billion worth of fuel per year, $6.2 billion for the Air Force, and $3.5 for the Navy which includes the Marines
  4. The bulk of the Army’s usage is for helicopters
  5. Wheeled vehicles like humvees that make up 89% of all the Army’s vehicles only use 12% of all the Army’s fuel
  6. Naval ships use 11.6 million barrels of oil per year
  7. The Air Force will use synthetic fuel blends by the year 2011

Despite all of these cost saving measures, the military has been adamant that it will not sacrifice readiness or mission accomplishment in order to save money on fuel.  And, nor should it! 

Source: Stars & Stripes newspaper

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