In an effort to shed its reliance on foreign oil, the United States Airforce has expressed the desire to switch to biofuels to run its warplanes. With approval to use these fuels slated to clear by 2012, the Airforce will hopefully set a precedent for the other arms of the military. One obstacle preventing this smooth transition? Biofuels currently cost approximately ten times more than conventional fuel.
The message behind the Airforce’s goal is important – it wants to shirk its dependence on oil, and run a fleet with environmentally conscious, alternative fuels. But a gallon of biofuel will set the fleet back a pricey $35 a gallon, with JP-8 (jet fuel) being only 1/10 of that. Luckily, the Airforce conducted tests that determined their fighter and cargo planes could run on a blend of biofuel and traditional fuel with no difference in performance.
The Airforce also sees its reliance on foreign oil as a security issue, and with that in mind would like to source 50% of its domestic fuel intake from biofuels by 2016. Partnering with some commercial airlines, the Airforce is hoping this new demand will spur private investment in biofuel companies, which will in turn help lower prices.
The Navy and Army are hopefully not far behind, and have already looked into using alternative fuels for their fleet and ground vehicles. All three military divisions hope that their demand will help lower the price of biofuels for all.