Mar 20

Two Tours in Iraq Give One Ex-Marine a New Perspective On Saving Fuel

 

By Huw Evans

In the past, it was more common to hear of military personnel who’d served overseas and couldn’t wait to get home and spend their hard-earned money on a new car. However in many cases, said car was often something sporty and perhaps a bit frivolous. Tales abound of returning GIs from Vietnam forking out on brand new V8 muscle cars like the Chevy Chevelle SS, Dodge Charger R/T or Pontiac GTO. Even a generation later, after the first Gulf War, many were still drawn to the notion of buying a Camaro, Corvette or Mustang after their tour of duty was up.

Today however, things are arguably different. With many of us having to deal with tighter budgets, saving our precious money has become more of a priority. Not only that, more of us are also increasingly energy conscious and that includes those who serve.

 

A good example of this, is Bob Tanner of Toms River, NJ. After returning stateside following his second tour in Iraq, Bob decided to buy a new car; only it wasn’t a Camaro or Mustang, but rather a 2012 Chevy Volt.

“Having fought overseas twice, I have strong opinions on oil and its effects on international politics and policies. A [big] decision to drive an electric vehicle was the fact I’d be using less gas,” said Tanner, whose first day of Marine boot camp was Sept. 11, 2001.

Since acquiring his new Volt, Tanner – who has completed his bachelor’s and MBA degrees and now works as a civilian product manager at the Army Contract Command in Fort Dix, NJ – says that he’s able to get 640 miles to the tank and only needs to fill up twice a month. By contrast, he says in his old car he was filling up every four days. As a result he’s gone from spending approximately $300 per month on commuting costs to just $90, which includes charging the Volt every night.

Reducing costs is one thing, but Tanner also sees driving the Volt as part of a bigger picture, namely conserving energy and reducing emissions. “It’s one of the same reasons I [originally] joined the Marines. Every contribution I make counts toward the overall mission.”

This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 20th, 2012 at 5:55 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 32


  1. 1
    Gsned57

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    Mar 20th, 2012 (6:53 am)

    Thanks for your service Bob. You and your brothers and sisters that served us after 911 are my main reason for supporting the volt. American citizens now have the power to get us energy independent the fed has had 50 years to work at it


  2. 2
    Jim Fallston Md.

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    Mar 20th, 2012 (7:30 am)

    This is the type of story that should be widely publisized by, for and to all Americans. We all appreciate your service Bob and all others involved in the messy buisness of our country’s wars.


  3. 3
    pat

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    Mar 20th, 2012 (7:45 am)

    GM should put these folks in the ads and make the ads in house …save themselves a bundle of $$$ than the big ad houses which come up with ads which only humor little kids.


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    joe

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    Mar 20th, 2012 (8:17 am)

    Thanks Bob for helping keep our country safe.

    You sound like a level headed person. Good luck on your new job.


  5. 5
    Mark Z

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    Mar 20th, 2012 (8:22 am)

    A great report. Thanks Huw for writing today.

    Bob, I am thankful that you have returned safely and are enjoying the Volt. We appreciate your service to our country and the freedom that our armed forces fight for each day. Our citizens are blessed to have the freedom to buy EV transportation that reduces our dependency on foreign oil. Thank you for your choice to reduce that dependency.

    I hope you will soon be able to plug-in at Fort Dix during the day to reduce the monthly fuel bill even further!


  6. 6
    Kevin R

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    Mar 20th, 2012 (8:28 am)

    Thanks for your service Bob and congrats on owning a Volt. Same color as mine and I will be buying Volt 2.0 when it comes out.


  7. 7
    Tim Hart

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    Mar 20th, 2012 (8:45 am)

    Congrats on buying the BEST car on the planet! And thank you for your service to our country. Hopefully more and more people will realize the tremendous service they can do for their country simply by buying a Volt!


  8. 8
    DrInnovaiton

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    Mar 20th, 2012 (8:50 am)

    Nice blurb. Bob should be on one of the Volt-owner commercials.

    Though I’ve never served I work with many vets and it was a part of my decision process to avoid gas. With the Volt, I get both minimal gas and good value.

    And to Bob, if you are reading here, thanks for your service and congrats on your Volt.


  9. 9
    James McQuaid

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    Mar 20th, 2012 (9:33 am)

    Congratulations to Bob Tanner on getting his Volt!


  10. 10
    MichaelH

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    Mar 20th, 2012 (9:39 am)

    I can only echo what others have written:
    thanks to Bob for your service,
    thanks to Huw Evans for this article,
    thanks to Jeff for supporting the post
    (you’re doing well for someone in “transition”). ;-)


  11. 11
    kdawg

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    Mar 20th, 2012 (10:00 am)

    Bob decided to buy a new car; only it wasn’t a Camaro or Mustang, but rather a 2012 Chevy Volt.
    —————-

    Technically he’s leasing it. For more details, his story is posted on the GM Voltage site. I liked this quote from the Voltage article: “Bob had been interested in electric vehicles for some time, but chose the Volt because of the gasoline range-extender and what he calls its more “masculine look.” He says he definitely plans on buying a Volt once his lease is up.”


  12. 12
    ewiggins

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    Mar 20th, 2012 (10:17 am)

    Many THANKS to you Bob and your many sisters and brothers in arms. It is always great to hear from someone who sees the bigger picture and overall mission.

    Hope you enjoy your Volt.


  13. 13
    George S. Bower

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    Mar 20th, 2012 (10:27 am)

    Great article. Thx Bob and Huw.

    Bob, Just curious if those are painted or polished wheels.

    What, only 640 miles on a tank?? Are you plugging in at Fort Dix??

    Huw (is it pronounced Hugh?) are you totally taking over for Jeff!! You both are great.

    Thx again!


  14. 14
    ziv

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    Mar 20th, 2012 (10:35 am)

    Thanks, Bob! And congratulations on your beautiful Volt!


  15. 15
    Jeff Cobb

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    Mar 20th, 2012 (10:38 am)

    George S. Bower,

    Huw is a freelancer for AutoGuide and HybridCars.com. He gave me this for HybridCars, I edited it, and posted it there and also here. It was on target for this site. So, Huw’s not taking over, but I may post other people’s work from time to time.

    -Jeff


  16. 16
    MichaelH

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    Mar 20th, 2012 (11:53 am)

    Interesting quote from March 15, Strategic Vision press release:
    http://www.strategicvision.com/press_release.php?pr=41

    “Chaney adds to the Total Value results, “An important ‘time marker’ in this year’s study is that for the first time in over ten years American manufacturers lead the number of Total Value winners with eleven segment leaders. This is an important milestone toward the ‘domestic comeback.’”

    “It is also important to note that four alternative fueled vehicles (Chevrolet Volt, Honda Civic Hybrid, Nissan Leaf and Lincoln MKZ Hybrid) led their respective segments. In previous years, these types of vehicles did not lead in Total Value as simply offering better fuel economy did not provide enough overall value to make these vehicles leaders. This change in leadership is a significant sign that the acceptance for more hybrid models is beginning to “turn the corner” of general approval and even desirability.

    “Part of this change in perceived value for vehicles like the Volt is because of the almost fanatic following of its owners. “Even though the median price of a Chevy Volt was $43,000, owners believe that for every dollar spent, they got more than did buyers of other vehicles. Customers had tremendous value appreciation for Volt’s technical innovation, warranty, standard equipment and certainly fuel economy,” says Alexander Edwards, President of Strategic Vision. “The Volt has been the center of attention for a number of reasons, but the customers love their vehicles and the perceived value they receive. With its leading edge and innovative powertrain, they have purchased a part of what will be the future,” says Edwards. Volt not only had the highest Total Value score in the Mid-Size Car Segment, but had the highest score of any vehicle in Strategic Vision’s comprehensive study.”

    But we knew that. ;-)


  17. 17
    Noel Park

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    Mar 20th, 2012 (11:55 am)

    I love the final sentence, “Every contribution I make counts toward the overall mission.”

    It strikes me that the same goes for all of you guys.

    Go Bob Tanner! Go Volt Nation! Go GM! Go USA!


  18. 18
    Noel Park

     

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    Mar 20th, 2012 (11:55 am)

    Jeff Cobb:
    George S. Bower,

    Huw is a freelancer for AutoGuide and HybridCars.com. He gave me this for HybridCars, I edited it, and posted it there and also here. It was on target for this site. So, Huw’s not taking over, but I may post other people’s work from time to time.

    -Jeff

    #15

    So much the better. +1


  19. 19
    Noel Park

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    Mar 20th, 2012 (11:57 am)

    MichaelH: Interesting quote from March 15, Strategic Vision press release:

    #16

    You can’t say it any better than that! +1


  20. 20
    pjkPA

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    Mar 20th, 2012 (12:00 pm)

    Thanks Huw.. for your service and for supporting American industry.

    Good article and I agree GM should use owners like you in their adds.


  21. 21
    Loboc

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    Mar 20th, 2012 (2:32 pm)

  22. 22
    Darius

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    Mar 20th, 2012 (3:41 pm)

    Volt saves not only lives but money as well!

    Quite promising Volt economic perspective. When comparing two cars for my commute pattern Volt ownership cost appears to be lowest.
    New calculator:
    http://iee.ucsb.edu/CleanCarCalculator/


  23. 23
    George S. Bower

     

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    Mar 20th, 2012 (4:17 pm)

    Darius:
    Volt saves not only lives but money as well!

    Quite promising Volt economic perspective. When comparing two for my commute pattern Volt ownership cost appears to be lowest.
    New calculator:
    http://iee.ucsb.edu/CleanCarCalculator/

    Interesting calculator. They are factoring in the emissions from the electrical power generating plant. Looks like they are using 527 gCO2/kwh. The numbers I have for power plants are (best to worst) Combined cycle natural gas= 385 g/kwh,, Oil fired=740g/kwh,,coal=970 g/kwh.

    So looks like they are using a power plant with emmisions about half way between combined cycle and oil fired……seems reasonable…….or not depending on your POV.

    This will lead to some interesting comparisons on CO2. It will make the Volt look less green.


  24. 24
    kdawg

     

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    Mar 20th, 2012 (4:53 pm)

    This pretty cool. A bunch of Spark EV’s driving around.

    http://www.thefutureiselectric.com/2012/03/spark-ev-development-drive/


  25. 25
    George S. Bower

     

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    Mar 20th, 2012 (5:47 pm)

    kdawg:
    This pretty cool.A bunch of Spark EV’s driving around.

    http://www.thefutureiselectric.com/2012/03/spark-ev-development-drive/

    Thx for the link. I will go to this site more often,,looks interesting. I noted our own scottf200 posted a comment.

    I really did not take the spark ev seriously but the more I think about it GM may have a little jewel on their hands. This little car will be less expensive than a Leaf (hopefully) so it will fit into a so far unoccupied space in the EV world (except for imiev).

    Just for fun I was running Darius calculator (#22). I would just pick a car and run it against the Prius (shsh don’t tell). Volt lost against the Prius due to cost. Then I ran the Leaf against the Prius and by golly the Leaf won. So to have a winner we need a low cost EV (duh like we didn’t know that already)…..Well maybe the Spark EV is the one!!

    Way to go GM!


  26. 26
    Demetrius

     

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    Mar 20th, 2012 (10:38 pm)

    George S. Bower,

    Have you ever checked to see how much electricity is required to refine a single gallon of gas? In fact it takes about a much electricity to refine a gallon of gas as it does to actually use the same amount of electricity to travel the same distance. So these discussions about the electric generation is actually no relevant at all because gas needs electricity as well just to be refined.


  27. 27
    pat

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    Mar 20th, 2012 (11:32 pm)

    Folks you will never be able to convince a gopper/sheep to see this electrical usage or electricity used in refining the oil. This group of people are fed the propaganda from the likes of rush, Hannity, Beck and many others at the Fix news. There are loads of propagandists at Fix news. They will lie, make up stories to keep the sheeple in line.

    Now those educated with some thinking/analysis neurons will adopt the new tech Volt and other plug ins. Volt is a luxury class car with new technology. Last I read europeans are taking to it and the demand right now is in the range of 10K +. That is a very good start in Europe. Hopefully, with new 2012 Volt with CA approved additional rebate demand will pick up in coming months.

    GM build the cars for Canada, Europe etc and export to other nations.


  28. 28
    DonC

     

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    Mar 20th, 2012 (11:56 pm)

    MichaelH“Part of this change in perceived value for vehicles like the Volt is because of the almost fanatic following of its owners.”But we knew that.

    Yes but it’s always nice to hear! Nice cite. I am though bothered by the characterization of “almost fanatic”? What are we doing wrong that warrants the use of “almost”?


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    john1701a

     

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    Mar 21st, 2012 (12:25 am)

    George S. Bower: Just for fun I was running Darius calculator (#22). I would just pick a car and run it against the Prius (shsh don’t tell). Volt lost against the Prius due to cost. Then I ran the Leaf against the Prius and by golly the Leaf won. So to have a winner we need a low cost EV (duh like we didn’t know that already)…..Well maybe the Spark EV is the one

    PHV wasn’t an available choice. What does comparing to a no-plug model tell us?


  30. 30
    Darius

     

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    Mar 21st, 2012 (1:57 pm)

    George S. Bower,

    This calculator is very sensitive to Your driving pattern. Therefore you should carefully consider daily commute and charging possibility at work. In my case most of the conventional ICE cars had higher ownership cost than Chevy Volt.


  31. 31
    Truman

     

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    Mar 21st, 2012 (2:25 pm)

    Reducing costs is one thing, but Tanner also sees driving the Volt as part of a bigger picture, namely conserving energy and reducing emissions. “It’s one of the same reasons I [originally] joined the Marines. Every contribution I make counts toward the overall mission.”

    I like that attitude – the bigger picture, contributing to the overall mission.

    Too many Americans are short-sighted, short-term thinkers.
    It’s hurt the country.


  32. 32
    john1701a

     

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    Mar 21st, 2012 (7:35 pm)

    This calculator is very sensitive to Your driving pattern. Therefore you should carefully consider daily commute and charging possibility at work.

    Real-World driving doesn’t have a pattern. You can make generalizations to give ballpark estimates, but accounting for personal & family needs and wants includes far more random drives than most realize.

    Start tracking your daily distances. That alone reveal inconsistencies, no patterns even for commute days. Weekends are all over the place.

    Heck, even opportunity recharging influences behavior.