So about those plans for more military biofuel production...

A Republican-led group within the House Armed Services Committee recently voted to ban the U.S. Department of Defense from paying more for biofuels used for military vehicles than regular fuels, putting at risk hundreds of millions of dollars worth programs approved during the past few years for the purpose of cutting foreign-oil dependency, according to Talking Points Memo.

The projects that may be on the chopping block include the Air Force's testing of a blend of camelina (made from a mustard-like plant) and jet fuel for its Thunderbirds show-pilot team and the Navy's testing of other biofuels used in both ships and planes flown by its Blue Angels team. The biofuels programs had been enacted in part to cut some of the $300 billion in annual U.S. spending on crude oil as well as to boost revenue flowing through U.S. farms. Last year, the Pentagon said it pays around $400 a gallon for fuel in Afghanistan.

Last August, the USDA teamed with the Defense Department on a three-year, $510 million project that involved developing biofuels for the private sector. The prior month, ASTM International, which writes technical standards for global industries, green-lit the use of renewable fuels in military and commercial aircraft. Components of the renewable fuel were to come from sources such as algae, camelina, jatropha or tallow (animal fats).


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 40 Comments
      dmay
      • 3 Years Ago
      Great idea guys. Let's make sure our military remains dependent on oil imported from nations we are fighting wars against.
      Dave
      • 3 Years Ago
      "A Republican-led group within the House Armed Services Committee recently voted to ban the U.S. Department of Defense from paying more for biofuels used for military vehicles than regular fuels" If they can't produced the fuels for less than the price of petroleum based fuels, perhaps the programs aren't worth the effort. Personally, I would have thought a phased in approach (perhaps no more than double the price of petro-diesel at first, then less than petro-diesel 5 years from now.)
        Mark Schaffer
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dave
        Dave, First let's make sure that ALL externality costs are rolled in and then start comparing costs. Off loading all the short term health and long term climate costs into the picture would be honest accounting but the corrupt Republicans aren't interested in honesty.
      super390
      • 3 Years Ago
      These Tea Party actions have gotten so bizarre that they no longer even seem to objectively benefit free enterprise or national security. The oiil companies indeed are spending money on biofuel research, and you can bet it's costing a whole hell of a lot per gallon, but they need to field-test it in high-risk conditions. The military has a monopoly on the highest-risk conditions: in frontline combat vehicles and in jet engines. The airlines support this research but are too broke to help out on their own - they were trying to work with the DoD in buying test quantities of fuel from biofuel startups. Of course, if these congressmen are absolutely, religiously certain that US fracking and shale-located oil (it's not made from shale) will permanently solve our supply problems, then why don't they vote to shut down the hundreds of billions a year we spend on militarily dominating the Middle East, thereby ending any need to cut social programs or public infrastructure? Or have I answered my own question before even getting to Israel?
      Sasparilla Fizz
      • 3 Years Ago
      Sorry Marco I have to disagree. Shell isn't a US oil company - its a European oil company that actually (for an oil company, big caveat there) does some forward looking things - the US Oil industry, exemplified by the Petroleum Institute of America does not do anything like that and does not want biofuels developed - for a simple reason in the long run it'll reduce the future price of oil and profits when those oil prices will be at their highest (just like advanced batteries for EV's when Texaco bought the patents to the NiMH batts in the 90's) so they are blocked, attacked, disrupted and (large scale implementation) delayed whenever the opportunity arrises politically. If you think the House leadership allowed this without the prodding (and instigation) of the U.S. oil industry (and Koch oil guided tea parties which is all against biofuels as well) - then I just have to disagree with you.
      American Refugee
      • 3 Years Ago
      Just to clarify since its confusingly written above, the $400 a gallon price tag is what it costs for delivery of fuel to bases in Afghanistan; any fuel, not biofuel. It is a number that has nothing to do with biofuel. Just like this decision has nothing to do with sound policy, but is the action of a group of talk-radio-bred entertainment-addled ignorami with nothing but contempt for any economy, art or science that takes more then five minutes to understand.
        EZEE
        • 3 Years Ago
        @American Refugee
        Art?
          American Refugee
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          Yeah, EZEE, their cultural contempt extends to any art form, talent, or vision that takes a little understanding and education or tries to say anything complex. They ridicule anyone who challenges their narrow esthetics and reward those who pander to them in art. See: Hollywood, Nashville, the deeply bland yet popular fiction output of prominent "conservative" politicians.
        Ford Future
        • 3 Years Ago
        @American Refugee
        American, Well Said.
      Michael
      • 3 Years Ago
      Thankfully this vote is only symbolic and will not have any effect on the program. And to the idiots that voted to end it, you better watch out. Republicans are supposed to be the big time backers of our military, it's one of the ways you guys get elected. This program wasn't the brain child of a left wing Congressman or Senator, but rather came from the military itself. The last thing you would want to do is be seen by the electorate as is anti-military. They may have just dug their own political graves with this vote.
        kEiThZ
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Michael
        In reality, nobody will notice. Both sides make their own mythology now. Any Republican could vote for a defence budget cut and say that it was wasteful DoD spending, not helping the soldier on the ground. He can say that he still supports the troops (by voting for better equipment or a pay raise,etc.). But if a Democrat votes to cut a defence expenditure line item....
          Michael
          • 3 Years Ago
          @kEiThZ
          Not if the Joint Chiefs get involved (at least the retired ones, current members won't discuss politics). When someone like a Colin Powell comes out and states that these idiots are attempting to put in place policies that are in opposition to that of the commanders, these fools will be stuck with this vote. Not saying Gen. Powell will come out and say it, he was just an arbitrary choice for an ex-Joint Chief.
      Sasparilla Fizz
      • 3 Years Ago
      Brought to you by the Petroleum Institute of America. Be ready for a time when external oil is cutoff? Nah, get more lobbying money from the Potroleum industry and be more vulnerable in the future because you didn't develop domestic sources whose prices would fall over time - sign the GOP leadership in the House up!
        Marco Polo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Sasparilla Fizz
        @ Sarsaparilla Fizz One of the programs being cut is a Shell Oil bio-fuel project. This decision maybe supported by right-wing oil industry figures, but they are not Representative of the attitudes of the words major oil companies. Oil companies sell a the product they can produce! The problem for the Oil industry, is not how to sell more oil, but how to obtain more oil. The problem for the US is how to compete in a world where the US dependence on oil is being challenged by new and more vibrant economies. The US must develop, and quickly, alternate fuels. So far the biggest investors in US alternate fuel has been BP, Chevron and Shell. Oil profits pay for those developments. The oil industry, like any industry has it's fair share of troglodytes, who have accumulated vast wealth to spend on extreme right wing causes, but thats not the majority of the industry. Accusing OPEC nations as being America's enemies, is irresponsible. The rise of Islamic fundamentalism, has more to due with the US uncritical support for Israel and the problems of developing nations undergoing transformation, as it has to do with oil. In these countries, where the US retreats, the far more ruthless PRC corporations move into the vacuum. Do you propose that's a desirable out come ?
      Marco Polo
      • 3 Years Ago
      The action of the House Armed Services Committee to ban the purchase of bio-fuels would appear to be ideologically driven. The concept being that bio-fuel production is subsidised and therefore the taxpayer money is being wasted.. The other consideration may be a determination to prove the necessity of getting the pipeline built from Canada. This ideology may be a private view shared by right wing oil industry figures, but is not supported by the major oil companies who have billions invested in the production of alternate fuels, including bio-fuels. This GOP, ideologically driven, decision is especially dangerous, considering the PRC is spending billions, (even trillions) , to ensure long term strategic bio-fuel capacity for the rapidly expanding PLA. Civilian use of oil products is advancing unabated, despite the western world's best effects at oil use reduction. So far technical advances in extraction and production have kept pace with depletion, but are now reaching a limit. Eventually, no matter how deep we drill, or how efficient the extraction technology to maximise low grade oil production, oil depletion must commence a phase where Oil as a fuel (especially for transport) will no longer be economically viable. The large Western Oil companies are already aware of this fact, and warning economic planners to start preparing for the day, in the not too distant future, when the economy and industries like superannuation, retirement, taxation, etc will no longer have the enormous surplus wealth created by fuel oil to depend upon. Military, (or defence) spending is an unproductive expense for any economy. Necessary, but unproductive! The folly of this action by the House Armed Services Committee, would be to leave the US (and allies) with a disastrously weakened US military capacity, at a time when the US economy was most vulnerable, and the power of US rivals was gaining strength. The kind of short-sighted, foolish commitment to counterproductive ideology, is something normally associated with the left. For the GOP dominated House Armed Services Committee, to pursue this sort of action displays how bereft of policies and leadership the Republican party has become. Sometimes, a political party losing office is not such a bad thing. The party can productively use that period to renew it's relevance by developing imaginative policies and long term objectives, free from the administrative burdens and distractions of holding office. It can also use that time to rebuild it's grassroots machine and recruit new and better quality candidates. The Republicans have not taking advantage of this period to rebuild. Instead have retreated into the mistake of listening to the loudest voices of the extreme right of the party. While this may delight those on the left in the short term, democracy requires a strong, but constructive opposition to function.
      Ryan
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why am I not amazed that these cry baby Republicans who are bought out by big oil would do something like this? In a few decades when the military gets first dibs of the remaining oil that is available, people might start wondering why we didn't try and reduce the amount of oil they need.
      Campisi86
      • 3 Years Ago
      They may be paying $400 per gallon of biofuel, but that analysis incorporates every cost the study could quantify, including subsidies and logistics costs. If all of the subsidies, costs, and R&D that goes into gasoline were straight-up represented at the pump (including the cost of having each and every gallon delivered to the station by armed and escorted military parachute drops), the disparity in price would be far less profound. None of this really matters, though. If they genuinely cared about the cost of fueling military materiel in the middle of a remote and mountainous desert region, they wouldn't bother being there in the first place.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Campisi86
        For sure, we wouldn't be sending thousands of people half way across the world to do whatever it is they think they're doing.
      carney373
      • 3 Years Ago
      Talk about penny-wise, pound foolish. In 2008 we spent more directly on OPEC oil than on our combined war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. We were literally paying the enemy more than ourselves, and somehow it's mystery why it was so hard to win, why it's taken so long? Just like cheap labor (illegal aliens, etc.), cheap fuel isn't cheap - there are negative externalities that are NOT "just" environmental but also economic and strategic.
      Spec
      • 3 Years Ago
      How dare our military try to prepare for a time when oil supplies may be cut off! Thinking in advanced like that? Shame on them!
    • Load More Comments
    Share This Photo X