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Greg Martin U.S. Military On Biofuels
by Greg Martin, click here for bio

Program: Line on Agriculture
Date: December 11, 12

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U.S. Military On Biofuels. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Line On Agriculture.

The U.S. military used 117 million barrels of oil last year at a cost of more than $17 billion. No surprise that it’s the largest petroleum user in the world. What may surprise you is that the Department of Defense is working to switch to using more biofuels…renewable fuels that can be grown and produced here in the United States out of things like rapeseed, soybeans, algae and even wood scraps.

WALMSLEY: They’ve been testing in all types of different vehicles. What the military is actually looking for is drop-in biofuels, biofuels that work in equipment they have today. They’ve got to have the same characteristics as traditional petroleum products so they don’t have a great expense of switching out jet engines or tank engines or anything like that.

American Farm Bureau energy specialist Andrew Walmsley says growing an ample supply of biofuels right here in the U.S. would eliminate a lot of the price shocks associated with foreign oil. Not only is that a benefit to national security, but also to taxpayers. 

WALMSLEY: The amount of fuel that the Department of Defense procures is enormous and when you look at every dollar increase in the price of a barrel of oil, that’s a $100 million impact to the Department of Defense. So when you have the volatility in the oil market, it takes away the Department of the Defense’s budget, their ability to train and be mission ready. So if we’re ready to come in with a cheaper substitute that has all the benefits of bringing jobs to this country, something that we have control over and the military can utilize, that is a win-win for everyone involved.

And Walmsley says having the military seal of approval will be good for the burgeoning biofuels industry.

WALMSLEY: When you look at where the military operates, it’s some of the most extreme places on Earth. They’re really having to test these fuels and put them through the rigors to make sure they can meet the demands and so far the majority of the fuels they have tested have passed with flying colors, in some cases actually outperforming their fossil fuel counterparts. 

Walmsley says domestically-produced fuels would reduce the exposure of many of our U.S. troops.

WALMSLEY: If they can find something that’s domestically produced, t that reduces some of the risk and exposure that is presented to our troops through using biofuels, where we can grow them here in this country, it’s a good thing and it’s something the military has supported and looked into.

He says military biofuel use will benefit the average motorist.

WALMSLEY: Eventually the benefits that the military will derive will trickle down to motorists, to the general public to have drop-in domestically produced fuels to utilize.

That’s today’s Line On Agriculture. I’m Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network. 

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