If America had a “Spend Like a Drunken Sailor Award,” Navy Secretary Ray Mabus would win hands-down, for blowing $12 million on biofuel for Navy ships.
Even as the armed services face drastic budget cuts under “automatic sequestration” and other proposed reductions, further undermining our national security, Mabus and President Obama clearly believe “it’s only taxpayer money.”
“Beat GSA” may have to replace Navy’s “Beat Army” football battle cry.
In fairness, Secretary Mabus’s “Great Green Fleet” of ships and fighter jets performed well during recent military exercises off Hawaii, burning blends of 50% biofuels and 50% conventional fuels. But the price tag makes the fleet a poster child for wasteful government spending.
The exercises cost the Navy nearly $27 per gallon for 450,000 gallons of biofuels produced from algae and waste grease and animal fat – versus around $3.50 a gallon for standard petroleum fuels.
The only way the Navy fiasco looks good is by comparison to the Air Force spending $59 a gallon for alcohol-to-jet fuel and $67 per gallon for camelina-based F-22 Raptor fuel – or the Navy’s 2009 purchase of 20,000 gallons of renewable diesel for $424 per gallon!
If Mabus achieves his “goal” and “persuades” the Navy to make half of its fuel “green” by 2020, the higher cost biofuels could add $1.9 billion annually to Navy’s fuel bill, according to a Defense Department study. That extra outlay would pay for a new DDG-51 destroyer and comes as the Defense Department budget faces $13 billion in cuts for Navy shipbuilding over the next four years.
Add to that boatloads of additional taxpayer dollars that would be wasted if the Army, Air Force and Marines also switch from abundant, affordable, reliable, proven petroleum fuels to untested, impractical, unaffordable, unsustainable biofuels. The Pentagon’s green spending spree makes the General Services Administration binge on lavish conferences and entertainment look like chump change.
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