U.S. Military: Single-Largest Consumer of Oil in the WorldWe constantly hear about how this or that car gets X miles per gallon, but we rarely hear anything about the fuel consumption of the various armies around the world. Out of curiosity, we decided to have a closer look. We limited ourselves to US military ground vehicles (all of which are currently deployed in Iraq, as far as we know). We might look at the Air Force and Marine at some point in the future.
First, we must make clear that TreeHugger is not a military website (duh). We're not experts at this stuff, and it can be hard to find exact information about fuel efficiency (many sources have different numbers, and many vehicles have countless variations), so if you notice errors or have good sources of information, let us know in the comments. We're also trying to focus only on fuel consumption here and forget about everything else. There is a lot more to say, obviously, but we've decided that here's not the place. Now that we've got that out of the way, lets move on...
340,000 Barrels of Oil per Day
According to NPR, all the tanks, planes and ships of the U.S. military burn about 340,000 barrels of oil per day, making it the "single-largest purchaser and consumer of oil in the world." If you break it down, the Air Force uses the most fuel, followed by the Navy, and then the Army.
If the Department of Defense were a country, it would rank about 38th in the world for oil consumption, right behind the Philippines, a country with a population of 90.5 million people.
Obviously, the biggest operation for the US military right now is the Iraq war. Lets have a look at the fuel consumption of some of the main vehicles deployed there.
High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV aka Humvee)
The Humvee light tactical vehicle replaced the M151 series jeeps (vehicles that are familiar to many of us from war movies) in about 1984. There are at least 17 variants in use in the US military, from ambulances to versions that carry Avenger Pedestal Mounted Stinger platforms (pictured below).
Fuel Economy of the Humvee: It varies, but generally less than 12 miles per gallon of diesel fuel. Usually around 8 on the highway and 4 in the city.
Cougar Armored Fighting Vehicle
The Cougar Armored Fighting Vehicle is designed to resist the blast from land-mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). You can see one doing an explosive test in the picture below.
Fuel Economy of the Cougar Armored Vehicle: About 9 miles per gallon, though it heavily depends on conditions.
Buffalo Mine Protected Vehicle
The buffalo is a mine resistant vehicle that can be fitted with equipment to detect and dispose of explosive devices. It is also built to withstand explosions (it has a 'V' shaped hull to deflect the blast). You can see its mechanized arm in action in the picture below.
Fuel Economy of the Buffalo Mine Protected Vehicle: About 3.5 miles per gallon (a range of 300 miles on a 85-gallon tank).