Congress Votes To Increase Dependence On Saudi Oil
Last month both the House and Senate Armed Services Committee voted in new restrictions on our military. What these restrictions are is simple, the military can only purchase non-fossil fuels if they are less expensive per-gallon than fossil fuel. Considering the subsidies for oil based fuel over other fuel sources, this effectively would kill the Department of Defense effort to eliminate foreign dependence, a strategic weakness that the US Military has had for decades.
This may sound like being fiscally responsible, however this is not always the case. Not all fuel sources are equal. Boeing, for example, has been a pioneer in biofuel for airplanes for years. Their reasoning is not for being green, or for some kind of eco-friendly label. It is for purely business reasons. What Boeing found is that per-gallon, the biofuel is lighter than petroleum distilled fuel. In an airplane, weight is key, the lighter your plane is, the further it can travel, or the more payload it can carry. This is critically important for the military. A bomber flying on biofuel can travel further, or carry higher payloads than one on traditional petroleum-based jet fuel. This fuel, however, is slightly more expensive per gallon, but its higher performance more than makes up for it with lower cost per lb carried or mile traveled.
The same pattern is following elsewhere, biofuel has been found to be able to produce higher horsepower in tank or ship turbines. But this new rule hurts the US Military by requiring the purchase of fuel from the lowest cost vendor, regardless of any other factors. Since the lowest costing fuel is exported from foreign nations, many of which with governments hostile to the United States, this is a strategic blunder for the United States. Dependence on non-domestic fuel has cost wars for many nations in the past.
“An Army marches on its stomach” said General Napoleon Bonaparte. This remains as true today as it did when he uttered them over 200 years ago. And Congress seems determined to cut off our access to the food for our equipment.
Right now, the biofuel industry in America is at a critical juncture, at the same point the oil-based fuel industry was in the 1920s. The mandate by Congress to switch from coal-based to oil-based fuel for our military after WWI demonstrated the weakness of coal supply chains and is what switched the US to an oil-based economy. Remember, the Ford Model T was originally designed to run on Ethanol, not Gasoline. If we do not cultivate such today, we shall end up dependent on foreign nations for our security as they develop this technology. The most powerful warships, the best aircraft, the mightiest tanks mean nothing if we lack the fuel needed to move them.