President Barack Obama burned roughly 9,000 of jet fuel yesterday, Earth Day, and that only to deliver one speech in Iowa, reports CBS News's Mark Knoller in an April 22 Political Hotsheet blog post.
As if that weren't amusing enough, Knoller notes that the Air Force and the White House wouldn't disclose to Knoller how much fuel the president's plane burns on an average flight, so he had to consult with the manufacturer of the 747, Boeing:
In flying to and from Iowa today, President Obama took two flights on Air Force One and four on Marine One.
The press office at Andrews AFB wouldn’t give me the fuel consumption numbers for the 747 that serves as Air Force One without the approval of the White House Press Office, which as I write this has yet to be given.
But Boeing says its 747 burns about 5 gallons of fuel per mile. It’s 895 miles from Washington to Des Moines, so a round trip brings the fuel consumption for the fixed-wing portion of the President’s trip to 8,950 gallons.
Knoller went on to detail Obama's fuel consumption on Marine One:
The trip also put President Obama on Marine One for round-trip flights between the White House and Andrews AFB and between Des Moines International Airport and Newton, Iowa, site of his Earth Day speech. It totaled about an hour of flight time. The VH-3D that serves as Marine One consumes about 1200 pounds of fuel per hour which comes out to about 166 gallons consumed flying the President today.
Not included in these calculations are the presidential vehicles that took him the short distance from the landing zone in Newton to the event site at the Trinity Structural Towers Manufacturing Plant.
In closing, however, Knoller arguably gave Obama a pass for the waste of gas, pitting the cost of the flight with the imagined benefits of the president plugging alternative energy:
President Obama could have saved at least 9,116 gallons of fuel by giving his speech at the White House – but no wind turbines are manufactured here.
While this is true, couldn't the president have killed two birds with one stone by doing a teleconferenced speech that was beamed by satellite to the plant in Iowa but filmed at the White House? In doing so, the president could have heralded the fuel and time-saving promise of telecommuting while also plugging alternative energy.
Of course doing so wouldn't mean the White House press corps getting a fun field trip with a president whose agenda they generally support, nor would it have yielded the still photos that the Obama White House communications shop would covet.