With its Great Green Fleet demonstration, the US Navy has shown that it can run on alternative fuels, including diesel from algae and chicken fat. The New York Times notes that the initiative is drawing the ire of lawmakers that say biofuels are expensive — in 2009, algae oil set the Pentagon back $424 a gallon. The Defense Department says that its biofuel spending is small at four percent of its budget request for energy efficiency initiatives, which also including purchasing better engines and using hybrid solar generators and batteries. "Our primary rationale is not economic," says Sharon Burke, the assistant secretary of defense for operational energy plans and programs. "Our job is to defend the country."
The Times adds that having the military purchase such fuels could lead to an eventual reduction in price. However, Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Tex.) says such purchasing should be curtailed. "We just want to require the Department of Defense to do exactly what every other American does when they buy fuel: they try to get the best price they can," he says.