We all know that energy consumption per capita in the U.S. is amongst the highest in the world. To be precise, per capita energy consumption in the U.S. is 337 million Btu per year per resident. How much is the DoD’s? Well, 25 per cent more than the U.S. average, or 422 million Btu per person.

Check the chart I made below. Observe the jumps in 1991 and after 2003. Don’t need to say why.

We also know that oil accounts for the biggest part of the DoD energy consumption. How much is then the US military oil consumption per capita compared to the US oil consumption per capita? Remember that per capita oil consumption in the US is verrryy high. In 2007, it was 25 barrels (per year) per person. How about the U.S. military? Only 59 barrels per DoD employee.

What is the similarity between those two charts? The DoD energy consumption and oil consumption per capita follows more or less the same path? Why? Because oil accounts for 78% of the DoD energy consumption. That simple.

I wrote it here million times and I repeat again, if the DoD wants to reduce its energy consumption it has to concentrate on oil consumption by tactical vehicles and stop wasting money for the gadget projects, like the one below.

A news piece from AFMC on July 28, 2008 (Alternative energy project under way at Robins AFB) stated that the Defense Logistics Agency kicked off its fuel cell forklift pilot project on July 24 at the Defense Depot Warner Robins. It is part of an effort to find alternative energy sources and reduce America’s growing dependence on energy imports.

Concurrent Technologies Corp., is the lead contractor for the two-year demonstration program to retrofit 20 forklifts with hydrogen fuel cells. The hydrogen-to-power forklifts will be reformed on site from natural gas. A mobile refueling station will refuel the forklifts for daily warehouse operations.Leo Plonsky, DLA Research and Development program manager for hydrogen and fuel cells, said by helping the facilities here in terms of improving their operations, the nation’s alternative energy policy is being helped by reducing its dependence on imported fuel and helping the environment. Col Debra Bean, 78th Air Base Wing vice commander, said she is excited to see the program move forward. “We all live with the same federal mandates to find an alternative fuel for our transportation,” she said. “What you are doing here helps us reduce emissions and deal with the environmental challenges of batteries and processing and storage.”

QUESTIONS: How much the DoD can reduce its oil consumption by running 20 (or even all) forklift on hydrogen instead of oil? How much GHG emissions could be prevented? At what cost?

The DoD should stop sleep walking!

Note on data sources: The DoD energy, oil consumption and population data come from my database based on AER, DoD FEMR, DESC, and GSA. The US data are from AER of EIA and US Census Bureau. The US population refers to residents. The DoD population refers to active military and civilian personnel under payroll, including the personnel abroad. (September 30 of each year).