House Republicans Vote To End Military Biofuel Research

With the political climate in America being what it is these days, it seems like most talk of serious action is anything but serious. It seems as though most legislation is introduced as a way to drum up rhetoric on one subject or another. Green energy is the latest target of the ire of Republicans and Tea Party Representatives, and recent legislation from the House Committee on Armed Services includes a provision that prevents the military from purchasing “green” fuels that cost more than petroleum products.

While Republicans seem intent on cutting every social program and green energy loan, so far military spending has been untouchable. The Republicans are even trying to scuttle their own plan to include automatic defense cuts if the budget deficit wasn’t reduced. And while programs like human telepathy and bombs that make you gay will still qualifying for funding, the Republican-led Armed Services Committee voted to ban the Department of Defense from paying any more for alternative fuels than petroleum costs.

In places like Afghanistan, petrol can cost $400 a gallon or more. And it is a sad fact that many Americans have lost their lives defending supply columns laden with thousands of gallons of fuel. Blood for oil, quite literally.

The military knows the market for oil will soon reach a point where supply cannot keep up with demand, throwing prices skyward. Every branch of the military, though in particular the Navy, has been experimenting with alternative fuels including algae. The Army meanwhile is pushing for a hybrid replacement for the Hummer, and both the Air Force and Navy have experimented with a 50-50 blend of JP-8 and camelina oil.

Of course these fuels often come with a price premium. The U.S. Navy spent $12 million buying 20,000 gallons of algae-based jet fuel, which comes out to about $15 a gallon. Not cheap, though it is all comparable. if the U.S. military could obtain a steady domestic supply of fuel, it would be much less reliant on oil.

What happens if oil prices double in a year? What if we go to war and our enemies cut off our oil imports? We’ll be wishing we had those alternatives. Domestic production of alternative fuels also means more jobs. Cutting out the largest customer for many of these companies would kll thousands of jobs. The Republicans on the Armed Forces Committee are obviously missing the point in their attempt to make a political stand.I guess that’s nothing new though.

Source: Talking Points Memo

Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.