The Navy is no place to test the future viability of biofuels — not when costs defy common sense and potential benefits are more elusive than practical, according to an energy analysis and a corporate study.
The so-called “great green fleet,” advocated by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, is supposed to “reduce the Department of Navy's consumption of energy, decrease its reliance on foreign sources of oil and significantly increase its use of alternative energy.” Toward this end, Mr. Mabus says biofuels are key.
In the private sector, the claim is spurious. For the military, it's ludicrous, especially when a gallon of diesel costs Defense approximately $3.60 compared with $26 for a gallon of biofuel, according to a Heritage Foundation report.
Thomas Pyle, who heads the Institute for Energy Research, says biofuel production today remains “inefficient, expensive and ultimately unsustainable.”
Moreover, research shows that biofuels are more corrosive than petroleum fuels. And even if the Navy goes full speed ahead on biofuels, it would still have to rely on diesel in foreign ports.
Add to that a new study by the RAND Corp., which finds no benefit to the Navy or any other military branch by investing in biofuels.
America's Navy has far more pressing matters — among them, fleet maintenance and shipbuilding — than spending vital time and resources on a purely political directive.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.