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Archive for Saturday, June 28, 2008

Cost of fuel jumping for US armed forces

June 28, 2008

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— Consumers at the gas pump aren't the only ones suffering sticker shock. Military units in Iraq and elsewhere will see another hike in fuel costs next week, the second increase this budget year because of soaring oil prices.

On July 1, the cost for refined fuel used by troops will jump from $127.68 a barrel to $170.94 - an astounding 34 percent increase in just six months and more than double what the Pentagon was paying three years ago.

While prices charged to warfighting units have fluctuated in recent years, they have not faced such a steep spike in so few months. The cost of jet fuel, for example, jumped from $2.31 a gallon in October, the start of the 2008 budget year, to $3.04 in December. As of next month, units will start paying $4.07 a gallon.

Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Brian Maka said Friday that the latest price hike is needed to cover an anticipated $1.2 billion rise in fuel costs in the next three months. While a $400 million a month increase in fuel costs won't affect ongoing military operations, it will require a "reprioritization of daily support activities," he said in an e-mailed statement.

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