Ironic, ain’t it. The fight in Iraq is over oil, the fight in Afghanistan may be over a gas pipeline and now we learn just how costly petroleum really is in the wars.
Every U.S. soldier in Afghanistan requires 22 gallons of fuel a day, reports TIME, and the cost of a gallon of gas bought and shipped to the deepest corners of Afghanistan averages $45. A study by the international accounting firm Deloitte puts the cost of fuel for the additional troops (expected to be proposed by president Obama) at nearly $1,000 a day per soldier — more than $350,000 per year (for each of the 30,000 troops who may be deployed.)
Beyond the financial cost of getting fuel to the thirsty trucks and aircraft is the danger that comes from tanker trucks traveling along increasingly heavily mined roads. More troops will need more fuel, which will require sending more fuel convoys into harm’s way. The study warns that stepped-up operations in Afghanistan could lead, by 2014, to more than double the 5,400 U.S. casualties (including 927 killed) so far.
As for Iraq, the US was shut-out when contracts for development of the Iraqi oil fields were awarded.