Yes, the price of oil is in a free fall, and a gallon of gas at the station is falling fast, even below two dollars in some parts of the country. But you know who's not getting cheap gas? The U.S. military.
It's paying 100 times the price the rest of us are. The total cost of getting fuel where it needs to be is skyrocketing the cost for military gas. At a burn rate of 300,000 barrels of oil per day, the Department of Defense consumes 1.5 percent of total national consumption, and is the largest user of energy in America. As a result, it is the biggest proponent of clean energy. Even a total cost of $100 per gallon would be a steal for the military. That's because its calculations on energy costs are very different than for a regular consumer.
The $400 price tag, as spoken by Gen. James Conway to a Navy Energy Forum, is based on the "fully burdened" cost of fuel, adding up the price for security and transportation every step along the way. In places such as Afghanistan, transportation is a major problem. Cargo flights, helicopters and parachute drops are necessary to avoid extremely dangerous land fuel convoys.
Ashton Carter, the current nominee for defense secretary, once said: "Next to Antarctica, Afghanistan is probably the most incommodious place to be trying to fight a war.... It's landlocked, rugged [and] the road network is much thinner than Iraq, and it has fewer airports." It's not just money; so many soldier deaths are a result of just moving fuel.