Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Chrysler will pay for your gas...maybe

"$2.99 a gallon? Yes, if you buy a Chrysler" by Christine Tierney of The Detroit News (link)

Forget gas tax holidays. Chrysler LLC is offering buyers of most of its products an opportunity to lock in to $2.99 a gallon for three years.

The Auburn Hills automaker late Monday unveiled a program called "Let's Refuel America" which allows most Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep new vehicle buyers to sign up for a program that lowers the price of gasoline to below $3 a gallon at eligible gas stations using a gas card they get after registering their new vehicle purchase on a dedicated Web site or toll-free telephone number that Chrysler has set up.

New vehicle leases are included, too, said Stuart Schorr, senior manager for sales, Mopar and dealer communications at Chrysler.
But, there is a catch. Isn't there always?
Chrysler's offer is good for gasoline with up to 87 octane regular unleaded fuel, E85 fuel or diesel fuel only.

The following vehicles are not eligible for the program, according to Chrysler: All SRT models, Dodge Viper, Dodge Challenger, Dodge Ram Chassis Cab, Chrysler Crossfire, Jeep Wrangler and Dodge Sprinter.
I guess anything is an improvement over the high cost of fuel right now. Hopefully this new incentive will increase sales, which will boost some confidence into the economy.

More info (link)
Chrysler's new program begins Wednesday and covers leases, as well as purchases. It is available at 3,521 Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge dealerships across the country through June 2. It provides an annual allotment based on the vehicle's mileage and 12,000 miles' driving for each of the three years.

Customers who are not interested in the plan can opt for traditional incentives. For instance, on the Dodge Ram pickup, customers have a choice between a $5,500 rebate or the gas plan plus a $3,000 cash bonus.

Updated May 8, 2008: Yahoo News link
Here’s how it will work: The new-car buyer who chooses to take the gas offer instead of a straight cash rebate will register for a special gas card that is linked to their own Visa or MasterCard. They then pay at the pump and swipe their card. The total cost of the fill-up (it can be up to 87 octane regular unleaded gasoline, E85, or diesel) is sent to a third party that splits up the bill: $2.99 a gallon is charged to the customer, the additional 66 cents ($3.65 per gallon currently prevails in many large U.S. cities) is charged back to Chrysler, explains Steve Landry, Chrysler executive vice president of North American sales.

There are some provisos: mid-grade or premium unleaded costs the consumer 15 cents and 30 cents more, respectively; grades higher than 94 octane are not covered; and you cannot use a gasoline card for diesel and vice versa.

The program is limited to 12,000 miles of driving annually based on the EPA combined city and highway fuel economy rating (lead foots may find they don’t get a full 12,000 miles in real-world driving) on the Chrysler vehicle purchased under the program, Landry said.. Thus, if the vehicle gets 28 miles per gallon, the customer will be able to purchase 428.5 gallons of gasoline at the program price, Chrysler said. Another unique wrinkle is that once the card is in the customer’s hands, it can be used by other family members and to fill-up other vehicles.

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