Pentagon Alone Can’t Fix Dependency on Foreign Oil
By Sandra I. Erwin and Grace Jean
Despite highly publicized efforts by the Pentagon to showcase its energy-saving technologies and efforts to cut back on fossil fuel consumption, it is not likely to become a pivotal force in reducing U.S. dependency on foreign oil. The Pentagon accounts for only 1 percent of the nation’s fuel use, which is about the same amount that American Airlines alone burns.
Although the Defense Department spends $2 billion a year on energy-efficiency programs, its buying power in the global oil market is negligible, at 340,000 barrels per day, compared to 21 million barrels for the United States as a whole. As a result, any substantial progress in weaning the country from foreign oil would have to come from civilian sectors of the economy, said John J. Young Jr., the Pentagon’s director of defense research and engineering. “We can be influential. But we cannot drive the marketplace.”