U.S. Navy Wants to Increase Armed Forces’ Biofuels Use

(Corrects amount spent on fuel in third paragraph of story published March 20.)

U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said he’s working to boost the use of biofuels and other forms of renewable energy by the armed forces because falling behind on the technology raises security risks for the nation.

“The risk is that other countries get ahead in those technologies, and they’re producing the jobs and not us,” Mabus said at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance conference in New York today. “I don’t want to trade oil from overseas for biofuels from overseas. I don’t want to fall behind.”

The Navy spends $4.5 billion a year on fuel and is considering ways to use renewables as an alternative to oil. Each $1 increase in the cost of a barrel adds $31 million to the Navy’s energy bill, he said. The Navy will use a 50 percent blend of biofuels at war games near Hawaii in July, Mabus said.

“We’re absolutely confident that if we bring a market here, biofuel costs will come down and become competitive with fossil fuels,” Mabus said.

The U.S. imports about half its oil from overseas, according to the Energy Information Agency.

“We’re trying to drive down our exposure to energy-price fluctuations,” Mabus said. “We’re only doing this to be better war fighters.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Benjamin Haas in New York at bhaas7@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net

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