Friday, July 6, 2012
Admiral Of The Great Green Fleet
In pursuit of Navy Secretary Ray Mabus's plan to wean the Navy off traditional fossil fuels, he has ordered that 50% of the fleet must be entirely fueled by alternative fuels by the year 2020. Now that's better than the other civilian green weenie plan to require all-electric cars on the road by 2040, but not much better.
So what is this miracle fuel? It's biofuel, made up of sticks, twigs, seeds, algae and chicken fat. The downside, the fuel costs six to seven times as much as traditional fuel ($3.60 per gallon versus $26.00 per gallon). The upside, we have lots of sticks, twigs, seeds, algae and chicken fat and we can always print more greenbacks to pay for them. It's green all the way around. Since the Navy hasn't figured out how to fit ships to be run by solar power or wind turbines, why not use a technology already available?
The proponents of biofuel tell us that there will be no additional expense because engines do not have to be converted to use the biofuel. They haven't told us yet what will happen to the engines after two or three years of use of the biofuel. But what the heck, it's green and that's all that's important. They also assure us that the costs will go down, eventually. I suspect their "experts" are former employees of Solyndra.
Those reactionary Republicans are questioning the efficacy of the green fleet program. But more than that, they are questioning its immense cost. The US Navy is one of the world's largest consumers of fuel. A six or seven times price disparity between traditional fuels and biofuels is no small matter. And we are just supposed to take the "experts'" word for the eventual decrease in biofuel prices. Republican House Member Randy Forbes of the Armed Services Committee says that biofuel will always be more expensive, and demands that the Secretary produce actual studies backing up the contention of future lower fuel prices.
The green fleet proponents also invoke the spurious arguments about patriotism and self-sufficiency. They also use the ruse of referring to costs as "investments." Says Secretary Mabus's office: "Investment in biofuel will produce a competitively-priced and domestically-produced alternative to conventional fuel. Such investments help the Navy and the nation become less dependent on foreigh oil and thus less subject to volatility in oil prices that directly affect our readiness." Notice how he slyly manages to avoid talking about becoming less dependent on foreign oil by encouraging domestic production instead of trying to kill it in the name of the greening of America.
Green weenies never look at cause and effect, supply and demand, or the market. At some point in the future, the technology may be sufficient, the demand adequate, and the need genuine, such that this alternative fuel might be an answer. But for now, this is ideology over practicality. In the middle of an economic crisis, with enemies facing us on multiple fronts, this is no time to be messing with the fleet.