If the United States military is forced to respond to a threat by blowing things up from the air, Americans can take comfort in the fact that the death and destruction is being carried out with minimal impact to the environment.
The Department of Defense has paid as much as $150 per gallon to purchase jet fuel made from algae, according to the findings of a new Government Accountability Office report. The cost for the environmentally friendly jet fuel is 64 times the current market price for conventional carbon-based fuels, which run about $2.88 per gallon.
In compliance with Barack Obama Administration efforts to eliminate greenhouse gas production at all levels of government, one Pentagon official told the GAO that the Nation’s taxpayers had doled out “about $150 per gallon for 1,500 gallons of alternative jet fuel derived from algal oil.”
According to the report, there are currently two accepted alternatives to conventional jet fuel that the government purchases for use in military aircraft.
“Of the two alternative jet-fuel production processes approved for use in commercial and military aircraft (Fischer-Tropsch and HEFA), DOD, according to a DOD official, paid from about $3 to $150 per gallon,” GAO reported.
HEFA, or Hydroprocessed Esters and Fatty Acids, is “renewable oil (e.g., vegetable oils, animal fat, waste grease, and algae oil) … processed using hydrogen treatment (hydroprocessing) to yield a fuel in the distillation range of jet fuel and diesel.”
Interviewing 23 “academic, federal government, and private industry stakeholders,” the GAO found that the raw materials needed for the production of the new fuel “even before it is transported or converted–currently exceeds that of conventional fuel.”
The Pentagon and other government agencies buying the exorbitantly priced alternative fuels serves as a way for the government to subsidize the companies working to produce the fuels.
“Alternative jet fuels produced on a commercial scale using the HEFA process would require a subsidy of $0.35 to $2.86 per gallon to be price-competitive with conventional jet fuels in 2020,” the report said.