June 1, 2012  

Fuel folly

TO HOUSE REPUBLICANS for attempting to shut down the Navy’s biofuel efforts. By forbidding DoD to make or buy any alternative fuel that costs more than a “traditional” fossil fuel, the House Armed Services Committee knocks the wind out of Navy Secretary Ray Mabus’ attempt to ease his service’s — and by extension, the U.S. military’s — dependence on imported energy.

To be sure, the algae- and grease-based fuel loadout for this summer’s Great Green Fleet exercise will cost four times as much as its petroleum-based equivalent. The bill comes to $15 million. That’s a pittance in DoD budget terms, and a good investment in a diversified fuel stream. As with any nascent technology, the price of biofuel will come down — if there is a customer to support it.

The HASC language must still survive the rest of the 2013 budget process; let’s hope someone along the way realizes how shortsighted this move would be.