Defense Department Pays $29 Per Gallon for ‘Alternative Fuel’

Despite budget cuts and troop reductions, Pentagon will up use of expensive green energy

U.S. military exercise / AP

The Department of Defense (DOD) has paid $29 per gallon for "alternative fuel" that is nearly nine times the cost of cheaper petroleum fuel options, costing taxpayers a total of $58.6 million, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.

From 2007 to 2014, the DOD purchased two million gallons of the alternative fuel. Despite the low cost of petroleum fuels, the DOD has declared that one of its strategic energy goals is to expand its energy supply options through investing in alternative liquid fuels that are derived from non-petroleum feedstocks.

"Two of DOD’s military departments—the Navy and the Air Force – have also established usage goals for alternative fuels," states GAO. "The Department of the Navy’s guidance sets a goal of deriving 50 percent of total energy consumption from alternative sources—including alternative fuels—by 2020, which, according to Navy estimates, would require using about 336 million gallons of alternative fuels (both naval distillate and jet fuels) annually by 2020."

DOD also has plans to deploy a "Great Green Fleet" by 2016, which will include ships and aircraft that are fueled by alternative fuels as well as other energy conservation measures.

DOD says that investing in alternative fuels is a "prudent insurance policy against future oil supply disruptions and high prices." Yet, the cost of these alternative fuels is nearly nine times the cost per gallon of petroleum fuels.

The DOD currently depends largely on petroleum fuels for military operations. From 2007 to 2014, the DOD purchased 32 billion gallons of petroleum fuel at a cost of about $107.2 billion.

During this time period, petroleum fuel cost the Pentagon about $3.35 per gallon.