Free Markets, Free People

Why is the Navy willing to pay $27 a gallon for biofuel?

This sort of stuff drives me crazy.  Why is Secretary of the Navy Mabus fooling around with this sort of nonsense under the guise of being “necessary for national defense” when we’re in the middle of a oil shale revolution that shows the US with the most proven oil reserves in the world?  Secondly and just as important, why during times of tight budgets is he willing to pay $27 dollars for biofuel when conventional fuel costs $3.60?


A U.S. Navy oiler slipped away from a fuel depot on the Puget Sound in Washington state one recent day, headed toward the central Pacific and into the storm over the Pentagon’s controversial green fuels initiative.

In its tanks, the USNS Henry J. Kaiser carried nearly 900,000 gallons of biofuel blended with petroleum to power the cruisers, destroyers and fighter jets of what the Navy has taken to calling the "Great Green Fleet," the first carrier strike group to be powered largely by alternative fuels.

Now I know it says “blended”.  Apparently it’s a 50% blend, because:

For the Great Green Fleet demonstration, the Pentagon paid $12 million for 450,000 gallons of biofuel, nearly $27 a gallon. There were eight bidders for that contract, it said.

Oh, and you’ll love this:

The Pentagon paid Solazyme Inc $8.5 million in 2009 for 20,055 gallons of biofuel based on algae oil, or $424 a gallon.

Because, you know, that 8.5 million couldn’t have been used to improve the lot of our troops, could it?


Solazyme’s strategic advisers, according to its website, include T.J. Glauthier, who served on Obama’s White House Transition team and dealt with energy issues, but also former CIA director R. James Woolsey, a conservative national security official.

If you’re not disgusted, you’re not paying attention.

Meanwhile the administration has refused to approve the Keystone Pipeline and has just essentially reinstated the offshore drilling ban that stood for 27 years.

Hint: The military is not and should not be a proving ground for ideological goals.  It is the blunt instrument of foreign policy.  It is a well oiled machine (note the word!)  But it is an institution that cannot afford stupid profligacy like this.

Cruisers and fighters don’t run on chicken fat.  They run on petroleum.  Something we’d have plenty of if this bunch would get the hell out of the way.


Twitter: @McQandO

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11 Responses to Why is the Navy willing to pay $27 a gallon for biofuel?

  • Dude!  It’s only money.  Barry has LOTS of of Barry Bucks.  Chill.

  • $424 a gallon, but the troops need to kick in more for their health care, cuz they’s already payed like them rich folks up on Wall Street cha know.

  • What IS important kiddies, is that someone at Solazyme probably has bundled up buckets of cash for the Messiah, and the pay off, uh, contract, will help them bundle some more.

    • okay, I have no proof of that…there’s more proof that Darth was Luke’s father in fact.

  • America’s carbon emissions may drop back close to 1990 levels this year. That result would have been thought impossible, even at the end of 2011. But the shale gas revolution makes a reality of many things recently thought impossible. Shale gas production has slashed carbon emissions and saved consumers more than $100 billion per year. Truly astonishing!

  • The Bergius process plants were the primary source of Nazi Germany’s high-grade aviation gasoline and the source of most of its synthetic oil, 99% of its synthetic rubber and nearly all of its synthetic methanol, synthetic ammonia, and nitric acid. And it was probably cheaper (adjusted for inflation).

  • Well, this article tells me that the cost of bio-fuel has decrease by over $400 per  gallon since 2008.   As we proceed with Research and Development (R&D costs money) maybe the cost will decrease by another 1500% in the next five years.  Incidentally,  most of the oil transport through the Keystone Pipeline was destined for the Chinese market—after refinement into gasoline.

    • Of course it does. Except the biofuel in question isn’t even the same type. One was algae based. The other isn’t. So, as usual, you’re comparing apples and oranges. But it comes as no surprise that’s how you choose to present your spin while ignoring the major question – why is the Navy paying $27 a gallon for biofuel when conventional fuel costs $3.60? And especially in an era of fiscal austerity?

      Want to actually address the point of a post for a change?