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.”