The Pentagon Burns 395,000 Barrels of Oil Per Day


It’s always a bit of a mind-boggler when some statistics emerge showing how much oil the U.S. military consumes. From yesterday’s Politico:

So, you think you’ve got the gas prices blues. Just consider Al Shaffer, the man in charge of drafting an energy strategy for the gas-­guzzling Pentagon.

With wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and troops spread around the world, the Department of Defense is the nation’s biggest oil consumer, burning 395,000 barrels per day — about as much as Greece.

Rep. Steve Israel, a Democrat from Long Island who formed a Defense Energy Working Group back in 2004 after learning that the the Army’s Stryker combat vehicles got only 5 miles per gallon of gas, sums it up as such:

"Here is our current defense posture," Israel said. "We are borrowing money from China to fund our defense budgets to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to fund our military to protect us from China and the Persian Gulf. It is an insidious vulnerability."

And that’s not even including the part about destroying the planet.

The U.S. military’s insatiable thirst for oil isn’t exactly news. Blood and Oil author Michael Klare wrote a nice piece on this same topic last year:

Sixteen gallons of oil. That’s how much the average American soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan consumes on a daily basis… Multiply that daily tab by 365 and you get 1.3 billion gallons: the estimated annual oil expenditure for U.S. combat operations in Southwest Asia. That’s greater than the total annual oil usage of Bangladesh, population 150 million

The Allied war effort during World War 2 was fueled by six billon barrels of American oil.

Photo: Jacobnbailey / Flickr

  • Giulio

    Since we use 9.5 million barrels for transportation every day that number seems rather insignificant

  • Marty Barfowitz

    Then I guess the 750,000 barrels per day that the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge would produce is also pretty insignificant.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Like it or not, we’re at war. What if we faced an even more threatening national security situation?

    In WWII, the majority were willing to go along with gasoline rationing to make fuel available for the military. How many Americans would make that same choice today? (How many could?)

  • abe

    I am curious to see how much oil is actually consumed to fight the wars in Iraq & Afghanistan, and how much of that is wasted on keeping vast military bases all over the world.

  • So what does really make the oil price so high? If military reduce its oil consumption, will the oil price decrease?

  • The price of oil is high because the worldwide oil supply has peaked. That means half of it is gone and the remaining half will be much more difficult and expensive to extract. U.S. domestic production peaked in 1970. Coupled with the OPEC embargo of ’73, that led to lines at the gas pumps and the first nationwide consciousness of an energy crisis. That crisis never really ended, as we are now discovering.


Conference: The Economics of Oil Demand

The sixth annual international conference of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas (ASPO) comes at a time of increasing concern over the security of our oil supplies with the fear that after a century and a half of growth the industry is facing what is known as ‘peak oil’, the point […]

The True Cost of Gasoline, and What to Do About Energy

The news media has been writing a lot about energy and oil addiction lately.  One particularly noteworthy package of reporting highlights the hidden problems of oil addiction. Another searches for ways it could be alleviated but misses the most critical one. The first is The Chicago Tribune’s enormously important four-part series by Pulitzer-winning reporter Paul Salopek […]

Energy Policy Straight Talk From Elizabeth Kolbert

Back in his Straight Talkin’ days Senator John McCain acknowledged that offshore drilling wasn’t a viable solution for America’s energy troubles. In 2003, he broke with the Bush Administration and co-introduced legislation to reduce carbon emissions, by, in effect, imposing a price on them. McCain had a reputation for being a politician who told the […]

Al Gore Connects the Dots

"We’re borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn it in ways that destroy the planet. Every bit of that’s got to change." — A Generational Challenge to Repower America, Thursday, July 17, 2008.