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The week of July 4 is a good moment to salute an unlikely champion of saving energy and switching to alternative fuels – the U.S. Navy.The Navy's energy diet began seven years ago with an edict from newly appointed Secretary Ray Mabus, who issued five goals for radically changing how the Navy bought and consumed fuel. A former Mississippi governor who had served two years as U.S. Ambassador to Riyadh in the mid-1990s, Mabus worried about how vulnerable the U.S. military was to foreign energy sources.The Navy brass resisted, in particular, Mabus' commitment in 2009 to switch the Navy's consumption so that by 2020, at least 50 percent of its fuel would come from alternative sources. At that time, many Navy commanders thought that 30 percent was a realistic target.The cost curve has come down sharply: Mabus says that four years ago when the Navy began buying jet fuel that used a heavy mix of biofuel, it cost $25 a gallon.Mabus also pushed the Navy and Marines to begin using alternative technologies for electricity.
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