US Defense feels the pinch as oil prices soar
There was a time in the early 1990s when Fighter pilots would use their government allotted fighters to fly to remote locations for golf matches with teammates who were co-pilots in some other part of the country. Those days pilots never even imagined that the prices of fuels would rise to such levels. A $1 per barrel increase in the price of oil costs U.S. $130 million. A B-52 bomber has a 50,000 gallon fuel tank, when all filled up, his fleet of 60 plus B-52s hold a total of 5 million gallons of JP-8 jet fuel. Defense planners are now looking to alternative fuel sources and synthetic fuel blends to help cushion the impact of rising oil prices. The goal is to have every aircraft using synthetic fuel blends by 2011.
However the alternates that are being used are not always environmentally friendly, some studies have shown that a new type of fuel called ‘synfuel’ is made via Fischer-Tropsch process from either coal or natural gas to produce a somewhat cleaner burning but extremely greenhouse-gas intensive product. Now unless we see tanks that run on hybrid engines or even better if a hummer could be made into an all electric vehicle, only then would we consider it to be a worthy progress towards green solutions.