Martel added that there could be some economic benefits to auto producers if the cars are produced and purchased from U.S. automakers, but said her remains skeptical.
“I don’t get the strategic rationale,” Martel said. “I don’t quite see where we really gain from this, unless it’s a public push to extol the virtues of electric vehicles.”
The Defense Department is the world’s largest oil consumer and energy costs are a major concern for them, especially in tough budgetary times. The military has been looking for ways to lessen U.S. dependence on oil from volatile regions of the world. For example, the department came under fire last year for its “Great Green Fleet” which runs off of costly biofuels.
However, Kueter warned there are also political realities underlying the decision to use more renewable energy sources in the military.
“You’re seeing the Defense Department being used as a tool for industrial policy,” Kueter said. “The advocates for them are turning to the tried and true method which is to use the Defense Department and its budget to drive market demand.”
“We want to be mindful that there’s another game being played here,” he added.
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