Since 9/11, the military has paid heavily for the true cost of oil

On the ten-year anniversary of the terror attacks of 9/11/01, many people are using the occasion to take stock of how the past decade has changed us (The Onion nails it, again). Over the last ten years, we have debated, sometimes heatedly, what the appropriate response should have been to those attacks, but a military response was pretty much inevitable. Today, there's no denying that thousands of soldiers are still deployed to the Middle East because of what happened ten years ago. Given the green car focus of this website, we wanted to use this date to point out something that, you would think, would not be up for debate (but it is, somehow): Using less oil is good for just about everyone.

Whether you're a fan of keeping the environment as clean as possible, paying less for your transportation or have a national security fetish, there is no question that the U.S. uses more than its fair share of petroleum, and this has tremendous costs, especially for the military. One of the most poignant numbers – and we could quote dozens, maybe hundreds, of different figures here – comes from CNNMoney: One in eight soldiers who were killed or wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan between 2003 and 2007 did so while they were protecting fuel convoys.

Here are some other numbers noted by CNN: The U.S. military used 5.5 billion gallons of fuel in 2010, and overall, the energy used by the military makes up 80 percent of the energy used by the entire federal government. Per capita, the military used 3,555 gallons, while the average U.S. civilian used "just" 945 gallons.

There is a lot to think about surround this anniversary, and we hope the discussion in the comments will be respectful as you post your own thoughts. We just wanted to point out that there's a good case to be made that people who are often portrayed as being on different sides of the political spectrum – greenies and military supporters – should be able to agree on this one point: Using less oil is good for just about everyone. We'll repeat it for emphasis again if necessary.

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