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7239life's little ironies

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  • De Clarke
    Apr 1, 2003


      The sight of US army Humvee troop carriers stranded in the Iraqi desert
      waiting for refuelling tankers to catch up with them has not only alarmed
      commanders in the battlefield. It has also highlighted efforts by the US
      military to develop a new generation of vehicles that rely on new forms
      of propulsion, cutting the cost of fuel and reducing US dependence on
      foreign sources of oil for future global military missions.

      The fuel cost numbers are startling. A gallon of modified jet fuel, which
      is used in tanks as well as aircraft, costs only 84 cents when bought
      wholesale from multinational oil companies such as Shell and ExxonMobil.

      By the time the cost of transporting the fuel to the battlefield is added,
      that sum can rise to hundreds of dollars per gallon.

      The US army says that for the campaign in Afghanistan, where there are no
      reliable or significant sources of fuel, the army depends on fuel flown
      in by helicopter from ships in the Indian Ocean. The cost per gallon:
      about $600 (557, £381).

      The US army estimates it costs about $150 per gallon for fuel used in
      Iraq. The fuel comes from 23 US military dumps scattered across the Middle
      East, a number that was doubled in preparation for the current conflict.



      There's something particularly -- ummm, Swiftian? or perhaps Vonnegutian --
      about American taxpayers paying $150/gal for fuel for vehicles to fight a
      war at least one of whose purposes is to keep fuel cheap for American taxpayers.

      Not to mention hastening to do fundamental research needed to release the
      armed forces from their dependence on foreign sources of oil, so that they
      may more confidently complete their global missions -- which are mostly
      motivated by the domestic population's abject dependence on, er, foreign
      sources of oil.

      this article was not dated April 1 :-)


      :De Clarke, Software Engineer UCO/Lick Observatory, UCSC:
      :Mail: de@... | :
      :Web: www.ucolick.org | Don't Fear the Penguins :
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