The US Military and Oil

The US military uses more oil than any other institution in the world—but it’s also a leader in clean vehicle technology.

Published Jun 1, 2014

The US military is the largest institutional consumer of oil in the world. Every year, our armed forces consume more than 100 million barrels of oil to power ships, vehicles, aircraft, and ground operations—enough for over 4 million trips around the Earth, assuming 25 mpg.

Using that much oil makes the military vulnerable to price spikes. In fact, a $10 increase in the price of a barrel of oil costs the military billions of dollars. That’s money we can’t use on protecting and training our troops.

It’s also dangerous. Moving oil on the battlefield requires large convoys of oil tankers, a major target. At the height of operations in Afghanistan, one in 24 convoys ended in an American casualty.

Cleaner vehicles and fuels can help—and they already are

The military knows that using oil is a problem. That's why they’re pioneering innovative new ways to use less oil, without losing effectiveness.

Using hybrid-electric technology, the Navy’s USS Makin Island saved approximately one million gallons of fuel on her maiden voyage, and is expected to save more than $250 million annually. The Navy is also investing in advanced biofuels.

Meanwhile, a new hybrid-electric vehicle, developed by the Army in Michigan, offers the same payload, performance, and protection as a traditional HUMVEE, but with 90 percent better fuel efficiency and the capability to run silently.

Half the Oil benefits everyone

Using less oil is a winning strategy for everyone—not just the military. In fact, using solutions like fuel-efficient technologies, cleaner fuels, and electric vehicles, we could halve the amount of oil we use. Using less oil means creating jobs and reducing pollution—all while saving drivers money at the pump.

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