Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Greatest Gas Guzzler of All

When it comes to burning oil in volumes that stagger the imagination, the United States Pentagon garners top honors, giving new meanings to terms like waste and inefficiency. As reported in, putting a wrapper around the words of Michael Klare, future wars may be fought just to fuel the machines that fight them. A quick excerpt:
Sixteen gallons of oil. That's how much the average American soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan consumes on a daily basis -- either directly, through the use of Humvees, tanks, trucks, and helicopters, or indirectly, by calling in air strikes. Multiply this figure by 162,000 soldiers in Iraq, 24,000 in Afghanistan, and 30,000 in the surrounding region (including sailors aboard U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf) and you arrive at approximately 3.5 million gallons of oil: the daily petroleum tab for U.S. combat operations in the Middle East war zone.

Multiply that daily tab by 365 and you get 1.3 billion gallons: the estimated annual oil expenditure for U.S. combat operations in Southwest Asia. That's greater than the total annual oil usage of Bangladesh, population 150 million -- and yet it's a gross underestimate of the Pentagon's wartime consumption.

It's hard not to grind your molars to dust at the absurdity of this equation.