Who Uses the Most Energy in the US? The Military

Row of McDonnell Douglas C17 Airplanes Military Photo

Image via: Getty Images.

In 2007, US Department of Defense (DOD) spent $13 billion USD on fuel and this number jumped to $20 billion USD in 2008. With the military planning on moving forces from Iraq to Afghanistan this year, that dollar figure is only expected to rise further. In response, this week a panel of retired military brass called on colleagues to not turn a blind eye to going green.This is the same group of guys that two years ago came out stating that climate change is a threat to national security. Now they're asking the military to put some of their $1.2 billion alternative energy research budget, and the money President Obama is investing in research and green energy, towards making the military a more "efficient" machine.

What do they suggest? Well they're not going as far as to say things like run the humvees off of solar panels, but they are saying that there are very practical things that should be implemented that could save quite a bit of cash. For example, adding foam insulation to tents would potentially save up to 45% on electricity usage. Another suggestion included creating Smart Grid systems at bases here in the US. As the military is often a training for new technology, including new, green technology, there is no reason they can't use this to their advantage to both cut costs and cut electricity use.

And at $13 per gallon of gas to run a vehicle in Afghanistan (including transportation and security to get it there) and $42 to fly a tanker plane, all of that energy use adds up fast. Tack on things like all of the bases in the US and abroad, powering generators to provide lights and electricity at different outposts, and air conditioning units in the desert and the numbers and one quickly realizes that this is also a great opportunity at the same time. If the US military is being put in harms way to protect energy supplies, it seems like it would be in their best interest to reduce their consumption as much as possible to not exacerbate the need to stay any longer in harms way than necessary.

This seems like a great plan - conserving fuel and resources - and not a moment too soon, since that's one of the reason's we're over there in the first place.:Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot
More on Greening the Military
Reframing the Military: Earth Restoration Service Argues for Global Military Environmental Efforts
World's Largest Solar Project for Nevada Military Base
US Military to Use Cooking Oil to Fuel Guantanamo Base
Canada's Military Goes Green
Rubber Tracks Make Military Vehicles More Efficient, Durable and Quieter

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